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I'll use millions lost in corruption to uplift lives, Raila promises

By Brian Kisanji - May 26th 2022
Azimio la Umoja presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga and his team on a campaign trail at Shamakhokho market in Hamisi, Vihiga county on May 25, 2022. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential nominee Raila Odinga has vowed to end corruption if elected.

Speaking yesterday in Vihiga county at the start of his five-day tour of western region, Mr Odinga said he will seal loopholes used by corrupt officials to loot billions of shillings every year from public coffers.

According to him, the country has been losing more than Sh700 billion annually through corrupt dealings.

“That figure has been confirmed by the World Bank reports. Even former US President Barack Obama raised concerns about corruption in the country at some point,” he said.

The ODM leader blamed theft of public funds for the prevailing economic hardship.

He said his administration will also fight poverty and ensure better health care for all.

“I served as Kenya’s prime minister between 2008 and 2013. Before that, I served as minister in late President Mwai Kibaki’s government. I know the loopholes that they are exploiting to steal funds from the government,” he said.

Mr Odinga said money saved from graft would be enough to finance his social protection programme, which will see the poor receive Sh6,000 monthly stipend.

“Dealing with corruption will allow me to channel more resources into the Babacare social protection programme for the benefit of many needy Kenyans.”

But The Standard could not immediately verify his claim on the World Bank report.

The Azimio leaders will be crisscrossing the region until Sunday.

The coalition has its eye on the close to 2.7 million votes in Western counties and Trans Nzoia.

Western has in the past voted for Mr Odinga overwhelmingly, and it remains to be seen if the departure of Musalia Mudavadi of ANC and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetangu’la from his camp will weaken his performance on August 9.

The team kicked off their campaign with a town hall meeting, where they met key stakeholders in education and politics from the county.

They later made stopovers at Cheptulu, Shamakhokho, Chavakali, Mbale and Luanda markets.

Mr Odinga exuded confidence that together with his running mate Martha Karua, they will deliver the country’s “third liberation”.

“Our first liberation brought independence from the British while the second liberation brought multi-partyism in the early 1990s. The third one will bring economic liberation.”

He said the coalition has concrete plans to transform the economy, citing plans to create more jobs, improve agricultural production and value addition as well as reviving industries.

Recognition of Prior Learning plan, according to Mr Odinga, will help artisans with little education to access government tenders. 

“We have talked to Jua Kali and boda boda riders to ensure that they are operating in a conducive environment that will then help them grow economically,” he said. 

“Apart from agriculture, we will bring water and electricity closer to all Kenyans to ensure production.”

Mr Odinga promised the region more development projects, saying he would issue a charter to Kaimosi University College to be a full-fledged University, and tarmac more roads.

Also in the team were governors Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega).

They assured that the community’s interests will be taken care of in Azimio’s government.  

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