GETTING ON ELECTION VICTORY MODE:
REMARKS OF RT. HON RAILA ODINGA, EGH TO THE ODM NATIONAL GOVERNING COUNCIL; BOMAS OF KENYA; NOVEMBER 1, 206:
When this organ last met in April 2015, the purpose was to review our performance, help the then new leadership bond and lay the ground for revitalizing the party. The new leadership has taken off well and given the party fresh momentum.
Today, we focus on our next big challenges; the elections due in August 2017 and leading the country thereafter.
Given the damage the Jubilee administration has visited on the nation, Kenya after 2017 and beyond is a heavy agenda that requires that we apply commensurate resources; human, intellectual, physical and financial to surmount the challenge. It does look like governing after 2017 might be a bigger challenge than winning the elections.
We are a social democratic movement. Our vision of Kenya is profoundly different from Jubilee’s. We believe in justice, equity, fairness, inclusivity, free speech and the rule of law. All these values have been basterdised in these last four years of Jubilee.
The 2017 election is therefore critical in many different ways.
August 2017 will determine whether this country stays on the path of progress or retreats into permanent retrogression, with the forces of Status quo that has been fighting our progress finally taking full control of our destiny. Those forces are now determined to reverse the gains from the Second Liberation struggle after betraying the ideals of our independence struggle.
The elections of 2017 will determine whether we remain an imperfect democracy trying to improve, or we return to a full-scale dictatorship.
The elections will determine whether we preserve devolution, the Constitution of 2010 and their promise to create a more equitable Kenya, or we say goodbye to our second experiment with two levels of government and a democratic constitution as happened soon after independence.
The elections will determine whether corruption, tribalism and nepotism become a permanent way of life in Kenya or we create an open and accountable society where your tribe and your relatives do not determine whether you get government jobs or not, whether you win State tenders or not.
So get me right fellow members of ODM: Winning in 2017 is not about ODM or CORD being in power. It is about saving Kenya.
It is about safeguarding the future of our children and ensuring they do not inherit more debts than they already have.
It is the dream of all parents to ensure a better, more secure and more prosperous future for their children. That must be our motivation.
Indications are that if ODM does not stand firm, act right, mobilise broadly and wisely, fight hard and smart, if we do not win 2017 elections, Kenya will go the way of Zaire under Mobutu Seseseko or the route of the many other African countries that were brought down by their leaders.
A Kleptrocracy is taking roots here. It is stealing public resources to buy and retain power and to create an absolute dictatorship bordering on a royalty and a monarchy. If we don’t stop it, nobody will.
A bandit government is taking roots here. It will take Kenya down and out while its elite squad stinks with wealth stolen from us.
Never in the history of this country have we seen so much plunder, theft, impunity, so many lies by the government, State sponsored extra judicial killings, and such incompetence in the management of the affairs of State as we see today. That makes for a bandit government.
Never in our history have we borrowed so much money abroad and stolen it abroad as they have done with the Eurobond. That is the making of a bandit government.
This country has had its share of scandals. We had KEN-REN, Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing. But never has this country seen its government come up with so many schemes whose sole purpose is to steal money from the public as Jubilee has done in four years.
That makes for a bandit government.
We have lost chunks of our country to terrorists and bandits. Life has come to a stand still in Kerio Valley and Mandera and many parts of Northern Kenya. Famine is ravaging parts of the country while government officials hawk stolen money in harambees. That is a bandit government.
Jubilee has to be stopped, and nobody will do it if we don’t.
Do not worry that our development partners are pampering the regime and fattening its accounts with more money. Do not worry that development partners are turning a blind eye to the corruption and impunity taking roots. They did so with Mobutu Seseseko and Kamuzu Banda and the many other kleptocracies until those regimes fell under the weight of corruption and lies. This is our country. We must save it ourselves.
Getting ODM on an election victory ready mode is therefore not a party affair. It is a matter of national interest.
We begin by strengthening ODM. I am glad that much has been done on this front. I want to thank all our officials, the governors, senators, members of the National Assembly, the MCAs and our women and youth who have applied themselves to the process of revitalizing the party. We are proud of you.
To those still standing on the fence weighing options, who are doubting ODM’s strength and determination, the window is closing and soon it will be too late. Going into this election, ODM will not recognise a middle ground or any grey lines. You are either with us or with them. You are either for us or against us. The time to make that choice is now.
Being election ready means ODM must strengthen, not weaken its ties with our coalition partners Wiper and Ford Kenya to form a more perfect and much stronger union founded on the values of trust and mutual respect.
We must also lead in opening our doors for other like-minded parties, individuals and organisations to join us. As our most celebrated writer Ngugi wa Thiongo tells us in his most celebrated book A Grain of Wheat, “A day comes when brother shall give us brother, a mother her own son, when you and I have heard the call of a nation in turmoil.” I am confident that as the Jubilee rot deepens, many Kenyans will abandon the shackles of tribe and kinship and join the race to save a nation in turmoil. Let us have a plan for engaging with them.
We must reach out to all the parties that hate the rape of our country by Jubilee; those who hate the tribalism, nepotism, impunity and the forces of revision who believe our best days were in the past.
Let us build bridges to the civil society, the youth, the women, professional groups, the academia, the students, labour movements and faith groups to save our country.
We must put up elaborate and tested structures on the ground to register voters, to get out the vote and to protect the vote on Election Day.
Before that, we must take a firm stand on the illegalities going on at the IEBC where commissioners who are legally and officially out of office are still transacting business, setting the rules of the game and seeking to reverse the law. They are part of the bandit regime that thrives on impunity, confusion and law of the jungle. ODM will not endorse the impunity and the illegality being committed at the IEBC.
Going into 2017, let us help our people draw the line between Jubilee and us. Let us not allow them get away with the lie that we basically agree on what needs to be done but we disagree on how it should be done.
Let us disabuse our people of a notion being peddled by the failed Jubilee regime that both the Opposition and the ruling party have failed.
First, we are in agreement with Jubilee on nothing. There is no single policy issue on which we agree with Jubilee as things stand today. We differ on the borrowing spree, on how to create jobs for the youth and how to secure Kenya.
We do not agree that the Constitution and independent offices are making it difficult for the President to govern and to fight corruption. We do not believe the economy is doing well.
As a party, we have a history of fighting for and anchoring reforms.
Jubilee has no known record of fighting for any progressive course unless that course is laced with prospects for private gain. That is what we learnt from NYS, the Eurobond, Youth Fund, Uwezo Fund, the maternal health program and the many other programs that are now officially scandals.
The scam at the Ministry of Health is a clear case of the Constitution being subverted for private gain. I want to task our able senators to build a bipartisan coalition in the Senate and demand to know from the National Government and development partners especially the World Bank why this illegality was endorsed and financed.
Finally ladies and gentlemen, let us be election ready by laying down and rolling out a clear agenda for nomination of candidates.
The National Elections Board must confront this as a matter of grave concern to our party and its followers across the country and abroad.
The mistakes of 2013 must not be repeated. We must get people who believe and share in the ideals of the party, who have stood with the party and who can be counted on to stand with the party in good and bad times, not those who will use the party only as a bridge to the other side and to other things. Our supporters out there know who our people are. This process has to be free, fair and transparent.
The process must protect women, youth and disabled candidates as vulnerable but critical members of our party. In the end, the nomination must lead to our party winning a majority of gubernatorial, Senate, National Assembly and County Assembly seats. And we must win the presidential race by a clear majority to enable us execute the reform agenda that Kenyans so desire and so deserve.
God bless you.