Keep off Nyanza, Raila tells detractors as he seeks support for BBI

ODM leader Raila addresses residents at Kisumu Sports Ground on October 22, 2020The facility has been now renamed Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports complex. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has called on Nyanza residents to back the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

He also warned those out to ‘betray’ the BBI course, saying there was no room for them in the region.

He cautioned those that have been visiting Deputy President William Ruto’s home for freebies, saying such conduct was unacceptable.

The former premier, who hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta in the first BBI rally in Kisumu, urged county assemblies in the region to take the lead in passing the BBI Bill once it is presented before them.

Raila’s call comes two days after he received the report together with President Kenyatta in Kisii.

“We were in Kisii yesterday (Wednesday) and they said they have come together so that Nyanza can stand as one. We want when the Bill comes to our assemblies, we pass it immediately so that Nyanza leads in this,” said Raila.?

He hit out at those supporting Ruto in the region because of his politics of tokenism and cautioned them against falling prey to free gifts to support a diversionary political course.

Ruto has lately been making forays in Gusii region with numerous visits to hold fundraisers. But with the region playing host to the launch of the BBI report on Wednesday, Raila expressed confidence that Nyanza will support the initiative as a block.

His visit to his Kisumu backyard was seen as aimed at whipping the region to avoid any opposition when the anticipated referendum is held. 

“We don’t want to see delegations from Nyanza trooping to Sugoi for freebies. We have started a serious movement that we don’t want detractors or betrayers,” said Raila amid applause from a huge crowd at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports Complex.

The DP has a home in Sugoi, Uasin Gishu County, where he has in recent months hosted delegations.

In what was wrapped in an analogy of prolific businessman Conrad Hilton of the Hilton International Hotels, Raila tore into politics of tokenism saying it cannot uplift the socio-economic status of ordinary Kenyans.

Hilton Hotels Corporation is an American multinational hospitality company that manages and franchises a broad portfolio of hotels and resorts. Founded by Conrad Hilton in May 1919, the corporation is now led by Christopher J Nassetta.

“Hilton started as a cobbler then turned to food vending in kiosks. Later, he consolidated his businesses, sold them for a price and sought capital to build a hotel. Today he has written off the history of a hustler going back in his life history. This is where we want to take our youths, and it cannot be achieved through wheelbarrows,” Raila said.

Hustlers narrative

The statement was meant to undo the narrative of hustlers propagated by the DP.

“From the story of Hilton, we borrow a leaf of a man who started from grass to grace and out of nothing he built a hotel empire. What can you build with a wheelbarrow or hand carts after ten years? This is all gimmicks. You cannot be stuck in one sector for years,” Raila told a cheering crowd.

The ODM leader said that its for this reason that he and President Uhuru Kenyatta thought deeply about how they can fix the economy of Kenya and find a suitable way to empower Kenyan youths and to create more wealth, business and employment opportunities for them as opposed to tokenism.

“This is why we came up with a raft of proposals aimed at empowering the youths in the BBI report. This includes reserving 30 per cent of national and county government tenders for the youths,” Raila said.

Download the BBI Judgement by all seven Judges - Civil Appeal No. E291 of 2021