Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga is accusing Deputy President William Ruto and his brigade of vehemently opposing proposals that were meant to benefit Kenyans.
He says, the strong opposition to the Building Bridges Initiative – BBI put up by the Tangatanga brigade made it impossible for Kenyans to make the desired changes to the constitution which would have guaranteed them proper and efficient service delivery including the increasing of money to counties from the current 15 percent to the proposed 35 percent.
He says the Deputy President and his team also opposed the establishment of the Ward Development Fund which would have helped Members of the County Assemblies to initiate development projects and have them implemented without having to seek favors from the County Governments.
“When we proposed the One Man, One Vote, One Shilling to increase the allocation of funds to regions, Mt. Kenya was going to be the biggest beneficiary, but they opposed it for their own personal reasons”, he said.
Speaking at a consultative forum with leaders, businessmen, and opinion leaders from Murang’a County at the Thika Green Grounds today, Odinga said although there was a setback in the process to have the constitution amended and entrench some key proposals into it, the process will one day be revived to ensure better service delivery for Kenyans.
The ODM leader said rampant corruption in the country was the biggest impediment to development and vowed to ensure zero tolerance to corruption when elected President in August this year.
“We want to fix this country. We want everyone to have equal opportunities and be able to build a country that will attract investors both local and foreigners” he added.
He said Kenya deserves to be playing in a major league but due to corruption, the country has continued to stagnate in terms of development.
“We want to play in Super League and not in the second-tier league where we are today”, he said.
He said the agriculture sector is the bedrock of the country needs to be supported and farmers are given incentives to increase productivity.
The ODM boss assured farmers in the Mt. Kenya region that he will do everything humanely possible to make the agriculture sector vibrant by ensuring farmers get farm inputs at subsidized prices.
“We want a vibrant sector and I know, we can have it done if we are committed and put the interests of farmers before our own” he added.
He pledged to market local agricultural produce in the international market saying that Kenyan farmers have to get the value of their labor.
On roads network, Odinga reminisced his days as the Minister for Roads during the NARC regime saying how he was called names and branded the enemy of development when he came up with proposals to have the Thika Super Highway done as well as by-passes that have today eased traffic congestion in the Central Business District (CBD).
“It was for your own good. I did it knowing that one day, our farmers and other road users will need such roads to transport their produce and other services to various parts of the country” he added.
He called on the people of the Mt. Kenya region not to listen to people who only go to them with endless empty promises aimed at hoodwinking them.
“We want action-oriented people. Leaders who will inspire you and make your lives better and not those who will only come here to peddle lies and call people names” he said.
On his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Odinga their decision to work together was for the good and prosperity of the country at the time when Kenyans were faced with tension and anxiety following the disputed presidential election of August 2017 and the events that followed.
“The president and I chose peace. We chose to put aside our differences for the benefit of Kenyans and resolved to ensure Kenya is united”, he said.
He said Kenyans deserve leadership that will unite them and not one that divides them along tribal lines.
“Every Kenyan should feel comfortable where they live today. Nobody deserves to be called ‘madoadoa or kwekwe’, we are all Kenyans and should be proud of our heritage” he added.
The Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure Mr. James Macharia said the people of the Mt. Kenya region want a leader who will help them grow in terms of business and other investments. He said they had looked around and seen Odinga as the only man capable of uniting the country and helping Kenya grow.
“I assure you of our unwavering support in this year’s general election”, he said.
National Assembly Minority Leader Junet Mohammed poured called water on proposals by leaders allied to the Deputy President to amend the Budget Allocation Policy to provide for the increase of County allocation from 15 percent to 35 percent saying they were lying to Kenyans.
He said Counties are a creation of the Constitution and that any allocation to the devolved units must be through a popular initiative and not by an act of Parliament.
“They are used to peddling lies and making Kenyans look like children. Some things require commonsense. They can’t lie to Kenyans on matters that require legal procedure” he said.
Former Gatanga Member of Parliament Peter Kenneth heaped praises on Odinga whom he described as a leader with a solid mind that can help Kenya play in a higher league.
“I have never voted for you, but this time around, I will vote for you,” he said.
His predecessor in Parliament David Murathe said the country was yearning for a Mandela moment and that it needs a leader who has the oomph and the courage to put aside their personal interests and make Kenya great.
“Raila has stood the test of time. He is the most qualified from among those aspiring for the top seat to steer this country to the next level” he said.
Others who spoke included the Murang’a County Woman Representative Sabina Chege, former Kiharu MP and Murang’a Senator Kembi Gitura, business moguls SK Macharia of Royal Media Services and Peter Munga, the founder of Equity Bank, former Molo MP Njenga Mungai, small scale traders, and opinion leaders from Murang’a County.
On Saturday this week, Odinga is scheduled to address a major Azimio la Umoja rally at Ihura Stadium in Murang’a County