Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila presidency bid shapes in Nyanza

Friday, August 20th, 2021 00:00 |
ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses participants during the Nyanza Leaders Convention held at Sikri Technical College in Homa Bay county, yesterday. Photo/PD/VIOLA KOSOME

Kepher Otieno

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga started his second Azimio La Umoja Movement journey to the Presidency by outlining his development agenda to the people of Nyanza.

Raila who brought together the political leadership from across the former Nyanza Province to a retreat at Sikri, Oyugis, Homa Bay County enumerated a raft of issues he will prioritise if he forms the next government.

Observing Nyanza is cosmopolitan and divided into six counties and ecological zones, Raila delved deep into each of the six counties’ economic potential and disclosed the response policies that lay in store to boost their economic production.

Boost agriculture

“I know that Nyanza is home to natural mineral resources that for decades remain under-utilised.

We have potential to produce copper but we don’t. Kisii is home to limestone and soapstones, Nyatike is a gold mine. With support we should be able to do serious commercial farming,” he said.

Raila assured farmers if his party forms the next government, they would provide farmers with high yielding seeds to boost their crop earnings and productivity, citing coffee, tea, sugarcane, banana and potatoes farming.

“We will make sure there is value addition for our crops and revamp the informal food markets,” he said.

Turning to the blue economy, Raila noted despite the existence of the second largest fresh water mass in the world - Lake Victoria in Nyanza, it’s potential was yet to be realised.

“We are yet to unlock the potential of blue economy, maritime and aquaculture,” said Raila.

Over the years, concentration has been in developing the fishing sector, but even so fishermen still lack the modern fishing equipment to make their economic activity lucrative. 

Raila also hinted at lowering the tax regime to cushion SMEs affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and to harness and develop ICT to revitalise the economy.

He underscored the importance of human capital, saying Nyanza people had infinite human capital.

“If we pull out synergies together, we will come up with more resilient and viable economic policies that turn around our economy,” said Raila

The Opposition leader said that despite having talented sportsmen and women, sports facilities in Nyanza is wanting.

He also rooted for boot camps, suggesting that there ought to be training sports and talent search centres for the youth.

On education, Raila called for increased investment in the sector as well as in the health sector which were cojoined in terms of out put and importance on building the nation.

10-point resolution

Kenya, he claimed can only grow if it’s people are healthy and educated.

Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri read the 10-point resolutions of the Nyanza convention caucus agenda.

Top of the agenda was to firmly rally behind Raila for President by mobilising and consolidating the two million registered voters in its basket in favour of Raila.

Then he claimed since the Abagusii were also part of the 44 communities in Kenya, they must also be on the negotiating table and hence the resolve to back Raila to enhance their bargaining chip.

Governors Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu), Cornell Rasanga (Siaya), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), James Ongwae (Kisii), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Amos Nyaribo (Nyamira) were present.

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna disclosed that due to the new Covid 19 measures, the party had postponed the Kakamega rally, but upheld the Oyugis one.

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