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Raila Odinga: I am in the 2022 race and this is my agenda for the country


ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses the gathering during the Launch of Azimio la Umoja National Convention at Moi International Sports complex Kasarani Stadium on December 10, 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday formally entered the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, bringing to an end months of speculation on his political game plan.

The former prime minister also launched Azimio La Umoja Movement – a coalition of like-minded political parties that seeks to propel him to State House in next year’s race.

The newly launched movement is a conglomeration of Jubilee Party, ODM, Party of National Unity (PNU), UPYA Movement and Narc, among other parties coalescing around Uhuru and Raila.

Raila made the declaration in a well-attended political extravaganza at Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium, which was also attended by seven members of Uhuru’s Cabinet.

The opposition supremo seized the ecstatic moment to unveil his 10-point agenda for the country, which includes his Sh6,000 cash transfer to poor families, access to quality education and universal healthcare, among other ambitious plans to revive the economy.

He told the crowd that his decision to run was informed by the overwhelming request by Kenyans during his nationwide rallies.

“On this tenth day of December 2021, I Raila Amolo Odinga, having been faithful and committed to building a national, democratic and progressive Kenya in our lifetime, having worked with many patriotic Kenyans to achieve this goal, I do hereby accept to present myself as a presidential candidate at the Presidential Election on 9th of August 2022 following the request and unanimous decision by this Azimio La Umoja,” declared Raila.

Raila fought off claims that his candidacy was largely perceived to stop Uhuru’s estranged deputy William Ruto from taking over the reins.

Uhuru and Ruto fell out following the March 9, 2018 handshake, but the former has since been faulted by Ruto and his allies for rooting for a Raila presidency.

The President’s close allies, including members of his Cabinet and influential tycoons from Mt Kenya under Mt Kenya Foundation (MKF), have openly endorsed Raila for the top seat.

“I am not running for president to oppose anyone but to propose better policies. I am in this race to mould one indivisible nation,” said Raila yesterday.

He added, “I am not at war with personalities, I am at war with ideologies that would lead this nation in the wrong direction. Ideologies that divide us instead of uniting us. Ideologies that put the personal above the national good.”

Earlier, the organisers replayed views and string of endorsements from the 14 regions across the country, where backers of the unity bid toured to collect views. The meetings unanimously prevailed upon Raila to give the top job yet another attempt.

Former National Assembly speaker Francis Ole Kaparo led a mock parliamentary session that endorsed the candidature of Raila. The Motion was seconded by Likoni MP Mishi Mboko, among other individuals.

In his programmes for the nation, Raila listed Inua Jamii, Pesa Mfukoni, a social protection welfare that will see poor families receive Sh6,000 monthly. The ambitious programme will cost taxpayers at least Sh137 billion as it targets two million of the poorest households.

“It is not a handout but an investment and a foundation for a new transformational value chain that will also trigger massive economic activity and create thousands of localised small scale businesses and enterprises across the country,” said Raila in the programme’s defence.

Further, he pledged improved healthcare provision dubbed ‘BabaCare’. He said the programme will scale up the Universal Health Care pilot programme to the rest of the country.

“We want a Kenya where no one will ever have to wonder if they can afford to save their child’s life, get treatment for their ailing grandparents or manage a chronic disease,” said Raila.

Under Kazi Kwa Wote (jobs for all) programme, Raila plans to invest in critical sectors to spur economic growth and creation of job opportunities.

His said the programme will secure the welfare of the people by generating “avenues for productivity, through job creation programmes, investing in the critical jua kali sector and other macro and microeconomic stimulation schemes.”

Further, Raila announced “Uchumi Kwa Akina Mama”, an ambitious programme to finance women-led businesses.

“The programme will unlock access to financing for women-led businesses and provide support for women on other enabling factors such as access to assets for production, land tenure and proportional representation in all government levels,” said Raila.

He also seeks to initiate a programme to train the youth to make them competitive in the global market.

He said his government will invest in preparing the youth by equipping their mindset, skills, funds and technology to make them innovative.

On education, Raila promised an aggressive scheme to have all children get access to quality education. He pledged that his administration will deploy a new army of teachers to deliver quality education.

For northern Kenya, he said his administration will pursue a special affirmative action programme in admitting students from arid and semi-arid regions into teacher training institutions and universities.

In dealing with hunger that has remained perennial in some parts of the country, he promised to initiate a programme that supports agriculturally productive areas to grow enough food.

He further pledged to fix artificial and high cost of water where lakes and rivers burst their banks.

A host of President Uhuru’s CSs and top Jubilee officials attended the meeting, signalling his preferred choice for the top seat.

They were CSs Peter Munya (Agriculture), Eugene Wamalwa (Defence), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Ukur Yattani (Treasury), Keriako Tobiko (Environment) and Sicily Kariuki (Water). Also present was Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

Jubilee Party was represented by Secretary-General Raphael Tuju, Vice-Chair David Murathe and National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya

Cotu boss Francis Atwoli, 2013 presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Ndiritu Mureithi (Laikipia), Joseph Ole Lenku (Kajiado), Council of Governors Chairperson Martin Wambora (Embu), Ali Korane (Garissa), Wilberforce Ottichilo (Vihiga) and Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu).

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