Raila spells out vision for country ahead of 2022

Thursday, July 8th, 2021 00:00 |
ODM party leader Raila Odinga addressing a gathering during a past event. Photo/PD/File

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

ODM leader Raila Odinga used yesterday’s 31st Saba Saba anniversary to spell out his vision for the country in what read as a manifesto for his 2022  presidential contest.

In his 15-point agenda with a hashtag What Raila Believes, the Opposition chief admitted that Kenyans were struggling to make ends meet and the only way to salvage them is by building an economy that works for all.

In a statement that yet again gave the clearest indication that he will give a fifth stab at the presidency in the 2022 General Election, Raila said he envisions a country with a firm foundation for the rule of law, backed by efficient government structures that can withstand pressure.

Outlining his economic Blueprint to Kenyans, Raila said he intends to make Kenya the African continent’s headquarters for global business, manufacturing and diplomacy.

“It starts with building an economy that works for all. It comes down to the promotion of SMEs, realistic taxation and, encouraging innovation,” he said yesterday , adding that it is possible and doable.    

Reform crusaders

The launch of Raila’s macroeconomic vision which seems to be a direct onslaught on Deputy President (DP) William Ruto’s bottom-up approach, focuses on the micro-economic aspect.

In a veiled attack at the DP’s hustler narrative, Raila trashed the bottom-up economy model saying all Kenyans have great aspirations and expectations amidst struggles to make ends meet.

“Our youth are struggling to clear school, secure good jobs, stop depending on parents, start families and save for the future,” Raila said, adding that amidst struggles to make ends meet, Kenyans still have great aspirations and expectations.

Veterans of the reform movement remember Saba Saba  as day  on July 7, 1990 when nation-wide protests took  place, as Kenyans took to the streets to demand free elections and constitutional changes. 

Opposition politicians Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia who had called a rally on the same day at Nairobi’s Kamukunji grounds were arrested three days earlier and detained.

Raila who had just returned from self-exile in  Norway had also been detained alongside lawyers John Khaminwa, Gitobu Imanyara and  Mohamed Ibrahim(now judge of the Supreme Court)  while Gibson Kamau Kuria sought refuge at the American embassy as then President Daniel Moi heightened his crackdown on the reform crusaders.

 The Saba Saba protests gave momentum to calls for  reforms that eventually opened the way for the return of multi-party democracy. According to Raila, Kenyans are a hard working lot adding that hard work must be made to pay.

“We must promote and finance innovations, entrepreneurship, teamwork and work ethic,” he held. 

DP Ruto, who is a self-proclaimed chief hustler, has termed the bottom-up economy model as the only way to change Kenya’s fortunes.

Raila said he imagines a country with a firm foundation for the rule of law, backed by efficient government structures that can withstand pressure.

“We must invest in higher valued-added industries and strong productivity, instead of just consumption,” he said, adding that consumption of things  “we do not produce is not sustainable.”

“We continue the vision of making Kenya a regional transport, communication, business and diplomacy hub,” he added.

The former premier held that with massive investment in air, maritime, rail and road transportation, we will position Kenya as a natural hub for multinational businesses.

Transparent tax regime

Raila said Kenya must ensure a fair, efficient and transparent judiciary.

“Investors and citizens need assurance that when disputes arise, there will be a Judiciary that will deliver fast, fair and transparent justice,” he noted. 

The ODM leader went on to highlight some of the steps that ought for to be achieved, including; investment in manpower development through a universal top-flight public education system and enforce meritocracy when hiring them.

“We must ensure massive investment in manpower development through access to top-flight education system. Trained manpower is the single most important factor determining whether we are competitive or not,” he said.

Raila stated that pursuing a low and transparent tax regime supported by a clean and efficient public service as well as investment in energy will help achieve this.

“We must continue investing in an energy mix to power the nation’s ambitions,” he said.

He added that continued investment in food security and an efficient public primary healthcare system will also play an important role.

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