Raila’s new year message on what he plans to do in 2o16 has forced President Uhuru to consult far and wide. Here is the message:
The year 2016 presents us with the best chance to face our challenges as one peopleâ€”the people of Kenya. This is because the challenges have never been clearer to a majority of our people.
Â Insecurity, runaway corruption, a wanting electoral infrastructure, wobbly economy whose growth is seen in the stock market and corporate profits but not in the lives of our people and safeguarding the constitution are some of the most immediate challenges we will have to address.
There is good news in the growing number of Kenyans who believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. It means we have no option but to change course in 2016.
Â Last week, the National Treasury paid Sh9.1 billion as the third interest installment for the Eurobond. Yet the National Government remains unable to explain the whereabouts of Ksh140 billion from this loan. The National Government is equally unable to point any infrastructure project funded through Euro Bond loan. On 1st December 2015, the Director of Public Prosecutions Mr Keriako Tobiko directed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate all government agencies said to have received the money and file a report to his office within ten (10) days.
Â Thirty days later, there is no report and Eurobond business goes on as usual. The payment of interest on the Ksh75 billion component of the loan continues at a minimum of Ksh6 billion every six months all the way to 2024. The payment on the Ksh200 billion component of the loan runs till 2019. By the time we are done with this loan, we will have paid a minimum of Ksh110 billion on interest alone.
Â Can we afford this when we have nothing to show for the loan? What are we paying for? What became of the investigations the DPP ordered? How opaque, irresponsive and unaccountable can a government be? The Ksh140 billion lost out of Eurobond money is enough to build Thika Super highway all the way to Mombasa. The Ksh791 million lost in NYS fraud would pay for fours years Bachelor of Commerce course for 6,389 or two-year Master of Arts in Economics for 3,000 students at the university of Nairobi. We will never stop demanding accountability and responsibility for these losses and theft.
Â As opposition, we commit to continue exposing corruption in government. Eurobond money must be fully accounted for. We commit that by the end of 2016, we will have forced the government to sack and prosecute the thieves and seal every loophole that makes corruption easy and profitable.
Â Our electoral infrastructure remains wanting. Since 2013, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has not taken any steps that can convince the public that it will be better prepared in 2017. Instead, the IEBC has started peddling the same old chorus of lacking money to finance its activities. Time is running out.
Â The issue of electoral infrastructure must be tackled within the first quarter of 2016 or we just prepare for another grand failure.
Â Security remains wanting. We lost a number of lives in 2015. The attacks in Garissa and Mandera stand out. Kenya needs a new approach to homeland security. It is not enough to say we have gone without attacks in much of 2015. We make the mistake of taking a lull as success then when an attack occurs, we go back to reactionary methods. We need an all-encompassing strategy that involves the people. We need to devolve some security functions. We must also stop believing that terrorism is our only security challenge, Recent events in Narok, which caught the government unawares, indicate very local resource-related security threats that could best be addressed through devolved security infrastructure.
Â The question of how Kenya should be governed was settled in 2010 with the promulgation of a new constitution. The beauty of that constitution is not only that it is progressive. It also provides clear guidelines on how it can be amended, either through two thirds of the National Assembly and Senate voting for such amendment or by popular initiative. Any attempts to ignore the constitution in our governance or go against express provisions on how it can be amended can only lead to friction and stagnation and we are already witnessing that. The Presidency has attempted to rewrite laws and the National Assembly has attempted amendments through legislation. The attempts are stifling progress and frustrating change.
Amending the constitution through backdoor maneuvers could easily degenerate into dictatorship as the old order seeks to have its way at all costs.
We need a renewed commitment to the protection and strengthening of our Constitution. We made quite some progress in 2015 that we must build on. We stopped the government from signing away our freedoms and liberties in the name of fighting terrorism through what was clearly a dangerous security bill. A number of other cases seeking to reaffirm the supremacy of the Constitution are in court and we will pursue them to logical end.
Â As Opposition, we have chosen the path of popular initiative to amend and fortify the Constitution, strengthen Devolution, address the management of security and land and overhaul our electoral infrastructure, among other issues. We appeal to Kenyans to support the Okoa Kenya Movement in this noble quest in 2016.
We must also address the question of wastage in government. We borrow like the poor, but want to live money like kings and queens. Too much of the borrowed money is spent on unnecessary travels, complete with bloated delegations, seminars, and conferences, sitting allowances and benchmarking trips. On this, we need look no further than Tanzania where President John Magufuli is cutting wastage and directing hard earned resources where they are needed most. Letâ€™s borrow a leaf from this neighbour.
Â In 2015, we hosted president Barack Obama, pope Francis and the WTO last year. Many other leaders are set to visit our country this year. The world has shown it is willing and ready to embrace and work with Kenya. In 2016, let us embrace the world and not be at war with it.Â Letâ€™s give diplomacy, strategy and dialogue priority over rhetoric and tough talk that has defined our relationship with our traditional friends in recent years.
Its our hope that in 2016, we can operate on an understanding that we all mean well for the country, that we can disagree without being disagreeable, that we can listen to each other and talk to each other rather than at each other. Let us be vigilant for our country, stand up for our rights and defend the Constitution.
Letâ€™s exercise care, protect and save lives over this New Year period.
Â Happy New Year, everyone.