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Raila Odinga calls on Opposition to remain united and fight for the less privileged, oppressed

POLITICS
By By KENAN MIRUKA and ERIC ABUGA | December 28th 2013

By KENAN MIRUKA and ERIC ABUGA

Kenya: CORD has slammed the Government’s push to switch off analogue broadcasting in some parts of the country.

Led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, CORD leaders criticised the Jubilee Government, which they accused of failing to fulfill campaign promises.

“Kenyans are tired of skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and the Government wants to add salt to the already wounded Kenyans who cannot even afford to pay rent,” Raila said. He added, “This is a government that wants to oppress its people. I call upon all CORD leaders to remain united and fight for the less privileged Kenyan.”

The CORD leader claimed Government officials who have bought shares in big companies are pushing for migration from analogue to digital television. Speaking in Kisii where he led campaigns for ODM candidate Chris Bichage, ahead of the Nyaribari Chache by-election, Raila waded into the television switch-off saga alleging foul play in the entire issue.

“This Government is pushing for a switch-off of analogue TV signals in Nairobi and later move to other parts of the country. We know of those in the Government who bought shares in private firms and are now forcing independent TV stations to use their infrastructure,” said Raila.

He questioned why Signet, a Chinese firm, and Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) alone were given exclusive rights to offer the digital migration platform when a consortium of media houses in Kenya were denied the same.

Monopoly of service

“Senior Government officials want to have monopoly in offering this digital platform but this is unacceptable. This is why CORD has to remain steadfast to defend the rights of Kenyans to access information,” added Raila.

Raila said private media companies had spent billions in putting up their infrastructure only for the Government to ignore their request to extend the digital switch-off plans.

 “We need proper planning and explanation of the entire process before we embark on digital migration. Poor Kenyans are worried at the speed at which the Government is moving in harassing Kenyans to buy the new gadgets,” said Raila.

The CORD principals, Raila and Moses Wetangula led a powerful brigade comprising three senators and nine MPs during campaigns in the constituency.

They urged their supporters in Nyaribari Chache to turn out in large numbers and vote in Bichage to send a protest message to the Jubilee government, which they accused of underperforming. Speaking at Keumbu Trading Centre, Raila asked residents not to be cheated into voting for the Jubilee candidate so as to be in government, saying the Constitution had created 47 county governments that serve the people.

“Those spreading propaganda urging you to vote for government candidates don’t know the Constitution. You voted for me overwhelmingly but they doctored the results. That is past and now, let’s boost our numbers in the Parliament,” said Raila

He cited the rising cost of living, runaway insecurity, the impending retrenchment of 100,000 civil servants and changes in media law as signs of failure by the Jubilee government.

Proverbial camel

“This government is like the proverbial camel that forced the owner out of his house. They came into power promising change but they are making life unbearable for Kenyans as days go by. They may soon take us back to one party rule,” he added

Wetangula said CORD’s wins in recent by-elections had helped build momentum ahead of the 2017 General Election. Earlier, the leaders addressed a meeting at St Vincent Pastoral Centre before crowning off with a rally at the Gusii Stadium.

“Don’t be cheated that voting for their candidate will help because they have already shared out everything in government,” said Wetangula.

Leaders who spoke on the campaign trail attributed their loss in just concluded Bomachoge Borabu by- election to low voter turnout and urged the electorate to vote in large numbers for Bichage.

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