Wait for my big declaration on December 9, says Raila
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga yesterday continued to keep the country guessing on whether or not he will be on next year’s presidential ballot.
Raila, who has set the stage for his fifth stab at the presidency by launching countrywide tours under the Azimio La Umoja movement, however, asked Kenyans to wait for his decision on December 9.
Campaigning in many parts of Nairobi yesterday, the veteran opposition leader said he will make a major announcement regarding his presidential bid on that day.
“I have been moving around the country rallying our people to unite. I am remaining with Ukambani region, South Rift and Nairobi. I will announce whether I will be on the ballot on December 9 in Nairobi,” said Raila.
Raila said the declaration will be the culmination of his Azimio La Umoja campaigns for which he has been rallying support across the country since August 16.
Signaling an imminent epic political contest against Deputy President William Ruto and the One Kenya Alliance (OKA), Raila told Nairobi residents to arm themselves by registering as voters.
Speaking after attending a church service in Legio Maria church in Makongeni, he said he was ready to face his opponents.
The ODM leader returned to the country from the Middle East on Thursday to a busy campaign schedule.
Raila was in the United Arab Emirates for a week where he attended the Africa Infrastructure conference. He is the Africa Union special envoy for infrastructure.
On Saturday, he took his campaigns to Nyandarua County as he toured the vote-rich Mt Kenya region to rally for support.
Yesterday, accompanied by Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Raila’s convoy snaked through Eastleigh, Juja Road, Huruma and finally Mathare where he said his administration would grow the economy in double digits within the first year in office.
He reiterated that his promise to give poor households Ksh 6,000 per month was realistic as long as corruption is stopped.
“I had promised that I will ensure every poor family gets a stipend of Sh6,000 per month. This is called the Social Protection Fund. It happens in other countries like the UK, US and Germany where poor families who cannot fend for themselves are supported by the government,” he said.
He added: “We can only have meaningful jobs if we put up industries. It cannot be just any job. We cannot realise an economic revolution when a section of our population does not have food to eat. Kenya shall be a Social Welfare State. We will build the biggest social welfare state in Africa.
“We don’t want to see our people going without food. That is why I have said that every family that has no source of income will get Sh6,000. I have served as prime minister, I understand the economy, and I know where the money is. I know all the loopholes where public funds are siphoned. I will seal all of them and make money available for people.”
He said that if he is elected, he will ease the cost of doing business so that investors gain confidence in establishing more manufacturing firms to bolster creation of employment.
The former premier said Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) should not harass small and medium size traders but should instead create a conducive environment of doing business.
He said he would ask President Uhuru Kenyatta to consider extending the Kazi Mtaani programme until August next year.
“This will offer an opportunity for the many families to rebuild their lives after Covid-19,” said Raila.
Flanked by MPs Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Walter Owino (Awendo), George Aladwa (Makadara), Caleb Khamisi (Saboti), Esther Passaris (Nairobi Woman Rep), Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated), and ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna, Raila said the time for the third liberation had come.
“The first liberation brought independence, the second one brought a new Constitution, the third should bring about economic revolution. This revolution is meant for the youth. We know where we want to go and we shall revolutionise the economy,” he said.
While drumming up support for Raila, Kenneth said the country needs peace to prosper.
“We will walk with him in every corner of Mt Kenya and the region will be behind him. Raila has always put the interests of the country first. We have the opportunity to reset the country,” said the former lawmaker.
Raila called on Legio Maria factions to unite for the sake of the church and offered to broker a peace deal between two warring factions.
“Unity is strength, divided we fall. I want to see the church come together and work as a team,” Raila said.