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Raila urges international allies to stop Kenya Kwanza excesses

 Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga arrives at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa where he lectured on the journey of Kenya's Independence on December 8, 2023. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has called on the international community to help the opposition rein in President Ruto's administration over its excesses.

Raila said the country, under Kenya Kwanza, had veered off its founding vision and faced a gloomy future.

Speaking at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Nairobi, Raila regretted that Kenya is reeling under the heavy burden of taxation, officially sanctioned tribalism and "a harsh and heartless" Ruto presidency.

“Corruption is killing our future. Tribalism is stealing our potential under the current regime. These two vices are officially sanctioned and the country is divided between people with shares and those who don’t have shares,” said Raila.

He cited the irregularities recorded in the recently released 2023 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination results, noting that indications are that the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) will be sacrificed to protect “cartels”.

“The corrupt are getting plum jobs and protection. Those who try to stop corruption, get arrested and arraigned on trumped up charges…I therefore wish to call on our development partners to partner with us in calling out the ills of corruption and tribalism that are crippling our country and making nonsense of the aid we obtain from abroad,” he said.

In contrast to the democratic leaps and bounds made in the last 60 years, the former premier lamented that Kenya was on a downward spiral where its citizens were uncertain and fearful of what the future holds.

He reproached the government of the day for running the country on debt yet living large, and driving the nation into a trap with the IMF and the World Bank whose “unusual conditionalities are driving us back to the 1980s and 1990s.”

“I know the country is taking a wrong turn when workers take home only a third of their basic salaries, the rest going to taxes and when a 14-year-old child has to go to court to seek justice over KCPE marks. Kenya is failing her children,” asserted Raila.

And to underscore the countries woes, he brought to the fore the massive unemployment crisis which had forced skilled Kenyans to flee the country in search of jobs.

He also hit hard at the Head of state for failing to create opportunities for the youth.

“Young people with the new skills and knowledge that we need are being exported, because the government cannot get jobs and the government sees it as an achievement. When a whole president going running out there looking for job for people here something's terribly wrong," Raila observed.

The Azimio leader, however, believes it is not too late to reclaim the country and put it back on the founder’s vision although the dramatic departure from the sad state of affairs of today will not arrive easily.

Funding education

“I deliberately emphasized policy to democracy and rejection of corruption as a critical pathway to Kenya's progress. We'll have a country where leaders focus their energies on important things like funding education and schools, fighting corruption and creating jobs here for the children,” he noted.

Raila further called on President Ruto and subsequent leaders to leverage on the support received from the international community to turn around the country’s fortunes and regain its status as the regional powerhouse.

“It is my firm belief that if you made good use of the help and goodwill that the US, UK, EU, China and others are extending to us, Kenya can emerge from poverty and take its place among the economic powers. If we cemented and respected the ties with our neighbours, Kenya can cement its place as an economic powerhouse and guarantor of democracy,” he stated.

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