Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Official Statement of the CORD Parliamentary Group Meeting of 29th October 2013


We members of the CORD Parliamentary Group, Governors Summit and National Executive Committees meeting at Orange House on the 29th day of October, 2013 wish to make the following statement:

We congratulate Gov. Cornel Rasanga and the Honorable Stephen Mule for recapturing the Siaya Gubernatorial and Matungulu parliamentary seats respectively in the just concluded by elections.As a Coalition we also commiserate with our brother Hon. KalembeNdile for losing the Kibwezi West seat.

We also thank our members and supporters in the areas where by-Elections were held for the many votes they gave our candidates. We urge them to remain steadfast and do the same in the upcoming by Elections slated for December this year.

We shall continue being united as a Coalition in the forthcoming by-election scheduled for December 2013 in Bungoma, LungaLunga, NyaribariChache, BomachogeBorabu and the vacant County Wards across the country. We ask our members and supporters to remain peaceful and show political maturity during the campaigns.

The Kenyan Government with the help of some member states of the African Union (AU) has requested for a deferral of the two cases before the ICC by invoking Article 16 of the Rome Statute. It’s to be noted that the Rome Statute itself has provided this specific mechanisms for purposes of a deferral. This factor should be born in mind by those calling for a withdrawal from the ICC or the repeal of the International Crimes Act. For the record, CORD has not changed its position on this matter and we are prepared to have a structured and constructive engagement with both the Government and the International Community within the context of the Rome Statute to ensure that victims get justice and impunity is punished.

CORD wishes again to condole and extend its sympathies to the victims of the Westgate Mall attack. Our view is that in handling both the attack and its aftermath elements within the security forces mishandled the operations. We note that the KDF has admitted that there was looting by some soldiers. We call upon the President to immediately establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry to investigate and establish the circumstances surrounding the planning and execution of the attack and the subsequent conduct of Public officials and institutions including the Disciplined Forces and the NSIS. CORD as the official opposition should be involved in making recommendations regarding the persons to be appointed as Commissioners.

Lately we have seen an unlawful and unconstitutional invasion of the freedom of the media and the freedom of expression. These two freedoms are the basic pillar and foundation of an open and democratic system of government. We will not allow the carpet to be rolled back against this fundamental democratic space that Kenyans fought for valiantly for so many years. The government should come out clearly both in its conduct and management of public affairs whether it supports and is prepared to protect these basic freedoms.

Finally CORD members of the National Assembly have drafted a Bill which is undergoing publication for purposes of exempting essential commodities from VAT. We call upon the leadership of the National Assembly to prioritize and expedite debate and enactment of the Bill.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Message from the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga on Mashujaa Day - 20 October 2013

By Raila Odinga
Mashujaa Day this year has found me in the United States of America with some of our country’s governors seaeking opportunities for our people living in some of our most neglected counties. It is an interesting coincidence that got me thinking of the work that the heroes of yesterday began and that our children and their children have to carry on with. Our country has had great men and women standing up at different times but towards the same goal of ensuring liberty, prosperity and justice for all.

The freedom fighters risked all to liberate us from the colonial yoke. After independence, another generation stepped in and risked all when the very dreams that inspired the freedom fighters were being rolled back. These are the heroes of the Second Liberation who faced the single party machine and reclaimed the rights and freedoms that were being taken away. Of course they paid a great price. The heroes of our first and second liberations have brought us this far. We are immensely indebted to them.

In December, Kenya turns 50. As we remember the heroes of the past half a century, we must focus on the next 50 years ahead and ask ourselves, who will be our heroes of that period and what will make them?

Listening to governors Ukur Yatani of Marsabit and Ahmed Abdullahi Mohammad of Wajir speak about the challenges and promises of their counties, I found myself thinking of our country’s next fifty years, its old challenges that we have been unable to subdue and the new ones we are yet to start figuring out. Then it occurred to me that the heroes of the years ahead might be made in the counties.

Our counties are certainly set to be the next theatre of action, opportunities, challenges and growth. In Wajir for instance, there is not an inch of tarmac road, 50 years after independence. The governor recently laid his hands on a 1913 colonial government report saying the county has sufficient limestone to produce cement for 100 years. The limestone has never been exploited to date.

In Marsabit, NASA records the strongest all round the year wind blowing in the same direction and capable of generating electricity for all of East Africa. It has never been exploited. Like many other African nations, Kenya is changing fast but transforming too slowly. The economy is growing. But so is poverty. Despite new challenges and new opportunities, the old mindset persists. The heroes of the next fifty years of our country will be men and women who accept that we cannot create the future by clinging to the past.

Kenya has a chance to open a new chapter with the coming of devolved units. Already, a number of our governors are toying with grand visions.

In the struggles of these governors, I see a journey to determine the country’s future by expanding our country’s productivity. In this regard, the counties carry great potential in determining our country’s next heroes. Unfortunately, the passion of the governors alone is not enough. Every defining moment in a nation’s history needs a champion at the centre. Abraham Lincoln stepped in to save the union that remains standing as USA. He remains his country’s hero to date.

Kenya too needs somebody to champion and save devolution and secure our next fifty years. There is a simple logic that makes me passionate about the future of the counties. The logic is that when I try to empower and make a neighbour rich, I create room for sharing, trading and making life bearable for my neighbour and myself.

We still need to work hard to create better relations between our forty plus ethnic groups. To win the battle against colonial powers, our founding fathers pulled together, in one direction. Today, we are falling apart at the seams. The heroes of the years ahead will be the men and women who will recognise this fact and act to permanently patch up the widening cracks between our ethnic groups by addressing honestly and candidly the things that are setting tribe against tribe.

But we must also never forget that the struggle for freedom never ends. Future heroes will be men and women who remember the words of Ronald Reagan that…”Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on…”

Finally, whether we are ready for it or not, the world is moving into the era of innovation, science and technology. Economists tell us that the world is getting smaller, but it is not coming together. The nations that innovate are going to rule the world.

Kenya has pioneered mobile money. The M-pesa is a unique Kenyan contribution to the world. While it shows the capacity of Kenyans to innovate, it may not be long before somebody comes up with something better. The heroes of the coming years will have to be men and women who keep Kenya on the front row through innovation, science and technology. We live in an era when some corporations are richer than entire nations. I am confident that if we invest in them, the Kenyan youth will give us the Sony, Citicorp, Philip Morris, Yahoo and Google of the next century and make them our heroes. The choice is ours.

The writer is CORD Leader and former Prime Minister of Republic of Kenya