North Eastern leaders back Raila's 2022 bid
By Abdimalik Hajir
| October 5th 2021
North Eastern leaders say they will back ODM leader Raila Odinga’s bid to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta next year.
In a resolution read by former Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi, the leaders said their support is pegged on the ODM leader’s past and present policy positions that they say are in the best interest of pastoralists and Asal communities.
The leaders vowed to rally residents and present a united front in support of Raila's 'Azimio la umoja' push.
The leaders said they had confidence in President Uhuru Kenyatta's policies, including the Big Four Agenda, saying they are key in realising growth.
They said the northern region had experience teething challenges such as drought, insecurity, teacher shortage, limited infrastructure and healthcare challenges.
During his two-day tour of Garissa, Raila who was accompanied by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, met clerics and local politicians. He took the chance to explain his agenda for North Eastern, promising to address challenges facing the region.
The ODM leader regretted that Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo and Marsabit counties had become synonymous with drought, floods, insecurity, poverty and hunger.
The former premier took credit for the creation of the Northern Kenya Development and other Arid Lands ministry during the grand coalition government. He told residents that if elected president, he would bring back the docket and give it more powers to unlock the region's socio-economic potential.
“Insecurity made teachers run away from this region. To address this problem, we will push for a special affirmative action programme in admitting students from Asal regions into teacher training institutions and universities to create a local, committed workforce to serve as teachers and education officers,” said Raila.
The ODM leader pledged to upscale the school feeding programme to maximise student retention and completion rates. He promised to ensure construction of modern low-cost boarding schools in each sub-county in Asal areas.
“We will initiate water for schools programmes to have all schools in the region connected to a water system. We will strengthen the formal school system and the mobile school initiatives among pastoralist communities as a means of increasing access to education,” the former prime minister said.
The ODM leader said if elected, he will ensure emergency programmes to cushion the region against drought, including livestock off-take by the Kenya Meat Commission.
At the same time, Raila said he was aware of Kenyans who had registered as refugees and had been blacklisted by the Interior Ministry and could obtain national identification cards.
He promised to have finger prints of those affected removed from United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) database and given Kenyan IDs.
Mr Yatani asked local leaders to look at the bigger picture and champion the region's interests, saying what unites the region is more than what divides it.
He said the region would not afford being in opposition. “Some challenges facing us today cannot be solved by the government but the people themselves by uniting and having a common agenda,” said the CS.
Garissa Senator Abdul Haji regretted that the region had suffered years of marginalisation. He said majority youths could register as a voters because of lack of identity cards.
“The region has many challenges such as drought that has wiped out livestock. We need to confront these challenges while united,” he said.
Raila was also accompanied by governors Ahmed Muktar (Wajir) Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) host Ali Korane (Garissa), Senator James Orengo, MPs Mohamed Dahiye (Dadaab) Fatuma Gedi (Wajir Woman Rep), Nominated MP Maina Kamanda and former Gatanga MP Peter Keneth among others.
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