News and Views
Raila: I’ll go after stolen public assets
By PETER ATSIAYA and ERIC LUNGAI
Fresh from getting his party’s nomination ticket Prime Minister Raila Odinga took the battle to Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi’s doorstep with a warning that if elected he would pursue stolen public assets.
He directed the warning to unnamed leaders in the Jubilee Coalition whose leading lights are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta through The National Alliance, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and his United Republican Party, as well as Mudavadi and his United Democratic Front.
Addressing a series of campaign rallies in Vihiga County Raila promised that should he be elected, his government’s agenda would be to ensure stolen public resources were returned.
He declared that in his presidency members of the Jubilee Alliance should be ready to surrender public property. “It is stated in the Bible, (the book of) Leviticus chapter 25:10 that during the Jubilee year the country would be reborn, all slaves set free and property stolen returned to owners,” he went on to quote.
He added: “Jubilee Alliance team should be ready to return all the public resources they acquired illegally”.
Raila explained his government would ensure all Kenyan communities get their fair share of the national cake, quoting again from the Bible’s Book of Joshua 18:20.
Said Raila: “The battle would be between CORD (Coalition for Reforms and Democracy) and Jubilee… the rest are donkeys.”
He claimed Kenyans did not have confidence in some leaders in the Jubilee Alliance because they were to blame for the suffering they were encountering. “Some leaders who were at the forefront flashing red cards to oppose the new Constitution are campaigning on a platform of reform…you should reject them because they are not honest,” said Raila.
Raila addressed his supporters at Kima, Ekwanda, Luanda Mwichio, Vihiga, Majengo, Chavakali and Hamisi stadium where he declared his Coalition for Reforms and Democracy would form the next government.
Leaders who accompanied Raila lashed out at Mudavadi for ditching Orange Democratic Movement but the PM did not once name his former ally in his speeches.
Cabinet Ministers James Orengo (Lands), Otieno Kajwang’ (Immigration) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Planning) accompanied him on the long tour. Others in his entourage were key allies of Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who last week teamed up with Raila under the banner of CORD. They were government co-Chief Whip and Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama, Kibwezi MP Phillip Kaloki, as well as Kibwezi MP Wavinya Ndeti, who unlike the other two MPs from Kalonzo’s Wiper Democratic Movement, belongs to Chama Cha Uzalendo.
Raila explained that the Constitution provided solutions to problems Kenyans have been grappling with since Independence.
He singled out the devolved governance, which he argued, would be key to economic growth. “I am committed to implementing the new Constitution because I fought hard for it. The Constitution is key to the development of our nation,” said the premier.
He added he would give priority to ensuring equal access to education, medical care, housing and jobs to all Kenyans.
The PM reiterated the need for Kenyans to register as voters adding those who do not have Identity cards have received a reprieve after Parliament allowed them to use waiting cards and old national identity cards to register as voters.
“I am not happy to hear that residents of Western are lagging behind in voter registration when our opponents are registering in large numbers,” he added.
He went on: “For you to be Agwambo (Raila) soldiers in the war ahead of us, you must register in large numbers to have a weapon to use to defend me”.
Raila once again dismissed the Jubilee Alliance claiming they were not a threat to his bid. “I said from the beginning that next year’s General Election would be a two-horse race and my prediction has come true,’’ he added.
Orengo said President Kibaki and Mudavadi betrayed Raila for failing to support him after the Prime Minister stood by them when they were down politically.
“It is Raila who gave Kibaki and Mudavadi a lifeline when they were down politically but they have abandoned him at his time of need,” said the Ugenya MP.
Muthama explained how Kalonzo led his Wiper “troops” into joining Raila to show that they were not tribalists. “We have come here to show you that we stand by Raila because we do not subscribe to tribal politics. You as neighbours should emulate us,” said Muthama.
He argued that the Uhuru-Ruto campaigns did not reflect the face of Kenya.
He added Raila and Kalonzo were the only leaders who could bring the country together and end tribalism.
Former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile told Western Kenya communities expecting that Uhuru would step down for Uhuru as claimed by some in the Jubilee Coalition, this would not happen. “We have worked with the people Mudavadi is relying on for his presidential bid and they have proved they cannot vote for any other leader,” he warned the UDF team.
Said Kalembe: “If Uhuru is not on the ballot paper they would vote for (Kenya National Congress candidate) Mr Peter Kenneth”. Ndeti argued that they chose to support Raila because to them he has been a true defender of suffering members of the public.
She noted Raila was the only leader among those seeking to replace Kibaki that would implement the Constitution completely because the document was his brainchild.