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Raila launches roadmap to house on the hill ‘through the mountain’

Politics
 

ODM leader Raila Odinga launched a roadmap for his race to State House dubbed, Azimio La Umoja, in Nakuru. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

After keeping Kenyans guessing for more than a year, ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday gave the clearest indication that he will run for president next year.

The former prime minister launched a roadmap for his race to State House dubbed, Azimio La Umoja, ‘roadmap to a united political action’ in Nakuru hosted by Governor Lee Kinyanjui.

The launch was done at a meeting with the Nakuru business community, where Raila’s dream to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta received backing from senior Mt Kenya politicians. “The journey we start today is intended to create the political and ideological unity we require to confront the problems afflicting our people,” said Raila. 

Governors Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), MPs Maina Kamanda (nominated), Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) and Maoka Maore (Igembe North), Chief Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh and former Assistant Minister Peter Kenneth vowed to “push him up the mountain.”

Others were MPs John Mbadi (Suba South), Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Gladys Wanga, (Homa Bay Woman Rep), Fatuma Gedi (Wajir Woman Rep), Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West) and ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna. 

Raila called for investments in manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare and information technology to create wealth and jobs.

“All Kenyans are in daily battles to make ends meet. It is unfortunate that their woes have become fodder for drumming up of chauvinistic and xenophobic political support,” he said.

Exuding confidence that he will get backing of the Jubilee party base, Raila said his intended political and governance framework would give the country’s economy a shot in the arm.

“We must bring our diversity, leaders and problems on one table and embark on a systematic and transparent search for solutions as equal stakeholders in Kenya’s future,” he said.

Raila pointed out the need to form coalitions, saying no single party or leader could single-handedly save the country from the wide range of challenges it faces. 

“No single man or woman can be our sole messiah. We have no option but to build inclusive political processes. We must embrace making compromises, coalitions and alliances for the sake of the nation,” he said. 

 

ODM leader Raila Odinga. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Raila said he would soon unveil his political vehicle targeting ordinary Kenyans, leaders, movements, social formations and institutions dedicated to advancing people-centered and democratic governance. 

“We shall soon unveil the vehicle that has space for the diversity of Kenyans to the promised land. We must fix this country, its systems, its politics then fix its economy,” he said. 

He criticised leaders riding on class and ethnic wars to ascend to leadership, warning that the country can critically suffer should it fall back to another cycle of electoral violence.

“We shouldn’t be pitting the poor against the rich, the young against the old, one faith against the other, tribe against tribe. Kenya cannot afford another era of election violence. We are too divided to be splintered any further,” said Raila.

The ODM leader called for a united front in the fight against corruption, which he blamed for the country’s social and economic woes. 

“We need a united front against corruption and impunity. We must unite to create wealth instead of using poverty as a political tool and unemployment as fodder for electioneering. We have to create a culture of forgiveness and not vindictiveness,” he said.

He made a clarion call on the political class to join hands in ridding the country of the spirit of anger, bitterness, revenge and entitlement and continue on a path that reconciles, unites and stabilises the nation.

While backing a Raila presidency, Waiguru urged the region to support him, citing his achievements in past governments.

“This is not the time for Mt Kenya to be lied to end up in the opposition. We should shun leaders dividing us. We can’t build a country on hatred. We can’t develop one area and demonise another,” said Waiguru.

 

Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru. [Harun Wathari,Standard]

With the anticipated ruling by the Court of Appeal on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) this Friday, she exuded confidence that an alliance between Mt Kenya and ODM will propel Raila to State House.

“We were in the BBI train and now we are boarding this one. This movement we are now crafting shall be unstoppable. Through it, there is hope to rebuild our economy, create jobs and guaranteed peace after polls,” said Waiguru.

Kinyanjui called on the Mt Kenya region to be open to shifting political landscape, assuring them that their leaders have their best interests at heart.

“I understand that as a region we are used to wooing others to our side. It is uncomfortable that this time we are being wooed. However what matters is that our interests are taken care of,” said the governor.

Ndiritu took a swipe at Deputy President William Ruto, terming his approach for economic empowerment unrealistic.

“There are millions of small and micro enterprises, which in my view can’t fit in the wheelbarrow approach. As a region we shall pay our old debts starting with Raila’s, which is the oldest,” he said.

Kioni said the region was committed to uniting its people, noting that Raila’s prominence in Mt Kenya would soon overshadow that of his competitors.

“There has been a single narrative being sold to our people and it is time to bring in a new one. We now bring our visions and solutions to our problems on the table with Raila on board,” he said.

Oparanya lauded Kinyanjui for hosting the event, terming it as the beginning for Raila’s journey to enter Mt Kenya and uniting the entire country.

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