REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT JOINT ODM NEC/ PG IN MOMBASA,
JUNE 18, 2018.
Ladies and gentlemen;
Once again, we meet at an interesting time both for our party and our country.
Some say these are confused and confusing times because of the “handshake” and the developments that have followed. I disagree.
There is no confusion in our politics and our country. What has happened is that our country and our politics have changed since the 9th of March.
Those who have refused to see and embrace the change and those resisting the change and trying rewind the clock are the ones wallowing in or creating confusion.
They embrace the “handshake” in the morning and oppose it in the afternoon. They embrace the war on corruption today, and display its proceeds tomorrow.
They embrace national unity this week, and sow the seeds of discord the following week. ODM is not in that league.
From across the world, Africa and our country, the message I continue to get is that this is Kenya’s last second chance and that not many nations get second chances.
Kenyans know in their hearts that this time, the future must be different.
Kenyans know that they are preparing for a future in which they are not just going to be voting robots for parties and individuals but for their hopes and aspirations and their country.
The message ought to get to everyone that Kenyans are getting ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. I see this new group that is mobilizing for a new brand of politics and a different country becoming the new majority going forward.
As a party together with the NASA coalition, we must align accordingly. We remain committed to the vision and spirit of NASA coalition which we believe is as strong as it constituent parties. This meeting today is part of ODM’s determination to strengthen itself as our partners do the same.
For ODM, these are interesting and fulfilling times because all the issues we stand for are at play and the country is watching how we play our cards.
The most critical issues that have finally come to play are corruption and national unity. We have been at the forefront sounding the trumpet that corruption is eating our nation from inside out and corrupting our politics and our moral values.
Unfortunately, the corruption cartels used our very alarm bells to shield themselves from prosecution.
They used our alarm to politicize the war on corruption and to scare the government that we are agents of foreign masters out to bring down the President. They used our protests to build war chests out of public coffers ostensibly to fight a plot by ODM to bring down the government.
This year, we changed tact and assured the government that we are together in the war on corruption. We are no longer whistle blowers. We are one with the government in executing the war on corruption.
We remain in Opposition. But we have taken a principled position that what is good for Kenya is good for ODM.
The war on corruption is good for Kenya. We are in it fully. Lifestyle audit on leaders is good for Kenya. We are in it fully. Personally, I am ready for it. The vetting of procurement officers is good for Kenya. In fact, we pioneered it when we came to power in 2003 as NARC. We support it fully. And now, the corrupt are lost.
Today, we are asking the State to go a step further and enjoin external agencies and experts to boost local capacity in the war on corruption. The number of corruption cases are rising almost daily. The figures involved are mind-boggling. The suspects include the high and mighty. Soon, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations will come under severe challenges with regard to capacity and the rings ran by corruption cartels.
Since our inception as a party, we have advocated unity of the nation through equitable sharing of power and resources and a re-examination of our systems of governance, ethnic relations and the conduct of elections. These issues have been brought to the table and will soon be taken to Kenyans to debate and agree on.
As the handshake provides a lifeline to the long stifled war on corruption, ODM must do everything to enable its impact spread to the other areas stifling our nation and public life. If the handshake has enabled the war on corruption to take off, it must enable unity of our nation, end divisive elections and help us discover our national ethos. We need to agree on how.
There is a Kenya that has been and continues to be. That is the Kenya of corruption, tribalism, marginalization, nepotism, election violence and all the other evils that have defined our country over the past fifty five years.
And then there is a Kenya that is possible and which Kenyans sense is in the horizon since the 9th of March.
It is a Kenya that is united against corruption and that embraces and appreciates every citizen regardless of tribe, race, faith or gender and a Kenya where people live by certain moral values that they are not willing to sacrifice on the altar of politics, power and money.
Kenyans want our politics to take a new dimension and be more purposeful and people-centred. Kenyans are tired of the politics of more of the same that yields hate, tension, division, pain and even death every five years. Kenyans are yearning for politics that heals not one that hurts.
Kenyans are tired of politics that thrives on corruption and that gives way to more corruption and impoverishes the nation every five years.
That is the message that has come through in response to our 9-point agenda signed on March 9th.
In the past couple of weeks, you have seen me meeting Kenyans from diverse backgrounds including former enemies who fought it out in the streets and slums of Nairobi.
They all have the same plea: Help us build a country because we have none.
Help us reimagine our politics because what we have right now is toxic and dangerous.
Stand together as Opposition and government and slay the dragon of corruption because soon we will have very little for ourselves and nothing for our children.
Give us a country with morals and values otherwise we are failing as a nation.
Only last week, Father Joachim Gitonga, a member of the Kikuyu Council of Elders who attended a rally in Muranga as a young man in 1959 and listened to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga rally central Kenya behind the struggle for Uhuru and the release of Jomo Kenyatta asked me, how do we get back to that kind of politics and that kind of country?
How do we get back to electing leaders who are honest, sincere, committed and who put the country first? I am today putting Father Gitonga’s question to you.
As a party, we have never been shy to imagine and explore new horizons.
We must not be shy to leave the old Kenya and its old ways to those stuck in it and walk side by side with other Kenyans to the new Kenya that they yearn for and which they have seen is possible.
We must lead Kenyans in retracing our steps and returning the country to the brand of politics that puts country first.
We must refuse to be distracted by succession politics and concentrate on building a brand new nation within this window of opportunity before it closes.
Are you worried that some people have started campaigning in earnest? Worry not. A transition is underway in Kenya as the handshake bears tangible results in war on corruption and unity of communities.
Everything is going to change. In the process, we will change the factors that voters take into consideration when picking leaders and those who think they are ahead will find themselves behind.
Let those with ears hear and those with eyes see. But let’s also make it our role to make the politically blind and politically deaf see and hear that Kenya is changing and they must not stand in the way.