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Raila Odinga: I’d rather stay home than lead a country where the corrupt go scot free

By Patrick Vidija | July 8th 2021

ODM leader Raila Odinga and Mvita Member of Parliament, Abdulswamad Nassir during NHIF Bio-metric Registration at Treasury Square in Mombasa on July 3, 2021.[Omondi Onyango,Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has maintained if he ascends to the presidency, the corrupt will pay a heavy price.

Raila said the country is facing economic hardship because those looting public resources have not been dealt with decisively.

He said it is unfortunate that after his remarks during the Mombasa tour last week, he has been receiving threats over his stand on the war against graft.

Speaking on Radio Citizen, Raila said he cannot join the circus of those who are afraid to speak against corruption.

“I have received messages and people have been threatening and warning me to go slow on corruption matters lest I lose the support of Kenyans should I contest in the 2022 General Election,” Raila said.

The former Prime Minister said such messages and warnings are a clear indication that corruption is entrenched in the country and if not fought, will consume the entire nation.

“If that is what people want, I would rather not be president instead of leading a country where corruption is beyond 100 percent yet the perpetrators go scot-free,” he said.

“We cannot proceed or develop as a country where corruption is the order of the day. The action taken against the culprits is what makes the difference in the war against graft,” he added.

Raila said the country has moved from the old days where it was ‘toa kitu kidogo’ to ‘toa kitu kikubwa’ and now at ‘toa kitu kila kitu’ scenario.

He said this is made worse by KRA officers who work in customs, income tax and VAT departments who have embarked on looting sprees to enrich themselves.

“They are openly stealing the money and living luxurious lives with fancy houses, luxury cars and numerous high-end flats. This is not to mention those who work in the procurement,” he said.

Raila added, “We have even seen others who call themselves hustlers yet they donate millions of shillings everywhere they go.”

He said to make matters worse, the government is currently undertaking major projects whose value has been overpriced forcing it to sink deeper into foreign loans.

“This is why I say I cannot be a president to a country where the corrupt have their way. I have not mentioned anyone but the guilty are always afraid. What Kenyans should know is that they are being bought with their own money that is looted,” he said.

He said he would rather lose the election than condone corruption, adding that wanton corruption has brought tough economic times and unemployment being witnessed in the country.

“If fighting corruption will make me lose popularity, so be it because if we don’t face corruption head-on as leaders, we will never grow as a country,” he said.

With regards to whether he will contest for the presidency in the 2022 election, Raila said he will announce his stand after the BBI process is through.

He said for now it is too early for him to make any declarations as such will throw all the gains made through the BBI into the thin air.

Raila said it is an open secret that he has contested for several elective positions before and won.

He said where he lost, he has always continued to work with the government when called upon.

"You can all see for instance my close cooperation with the government of the day. I have been working with Uhuru because Kenya is more important than our political ambitions," he said.

Raila added, "But if I wanted to contest, no one can stand in my way because that is my democratic right, for now, it is too early."

The African Union Special Envoy for Infrastructure said if he will have to contest, he will do so as a servant seeking to better the governance of the country through effective service delivery.

"I have been in government and in opposition and I understand very well what is ailing this country. Those who are currently showing interest in the top leadership do not hold the key to those solutions because they have nothing to offer but empty words," Raila said.

He said if given a chance at the presidency, he would prove his critics wrong.

"If I contest and lose, I will accept and continue to advise those who would have won as I do currently," he said.

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