Raila spells out vision for rural Kenya in 2022

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 00:00 |
Former NASA presidential flag bearer and ODM party leader Raila Odinga has broken his silence over possible alliances and formation for the 2022 general elections.
ODM party leader Raila Odinga. Photo/Courtesy
Raila Odinga.

In the latest indication that he would make another stab at the presidency, Opposition chief Raila Odinga yesterday released the second snippet of his 2022 presidential manifesto. 

The ODM leader spelt out his vision on investment in rural areas. According to Raila, to transform rural areas, he will make massive investment in infrastructure by providing cheap electricity, clean water and good public schools.

“Children and parents in rural areas must be confident that the education they are receiving is not in any way inferior to that of their counterparts in urban areas,” said Raila.

Manifesto seems anchored on devolution, with emphasis on strengthening rural economies through creation of access to opportunity with the aim of decongesting key cities. 

“Going forward, and to ensure more balanced growth, urban regeneration will need to go hand in hand with a very deliberate policy of rural transformation that makes rural life more livable and migration to cities unnecessary.”

Raila flew out of Nairobi to the United Arab Emirates  in what his handlers say is a mission to push for the formation of an African Infrastructure Fund — a continental private and public partnership kitty dedicated to capital-intensive projects under the African Union.

Raila is the AU Special Envoy for Infrastructure. Yesterday, in a statement shared on his Facebook page, Raila said his administration will invest in food production as well as provide reliable, efficient and quality healthcare. 

“In the years ahead, we should not have rural Kenya where people call themselves farmers while they go to bed on empty stomachs and pursue massive investment in development planning specific to rural areas,” said the ODM leader.

Raila said transforming Kenya from a poor to a prosperous country will require a deliberate focus on turning around the fortunes of rural Kenya.

He further notes that rural-urban integration is already taking roots silently across rural Kenya.

He explained that a new rural-urban migration was emerging in the form of new trading centres ready to compete with established towns. 

First manifesto

In his first manifesto installment on Saba Saba Day last week, Raila spelled out a 15-point agenda, citing the ills facing the country and expressed hope and confidence of Kenya’s ability to grow a vibrant economy and nation guided by the rule of law.

Opposition leader 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.

Raila said he imagines 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.

He also envisages making Kenya, a leading finance center in logistics, shipping, and an aviation hub.

“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.

“These new centres are already pulling people away from the land in rural areas.

But even in urbanised societies of the developed world, there will always be people not keen on moving to towns and will remain behind to do farming. I expect that to happen here,” he said.

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