Saturday, August 20, 2022

Kenya

Raila Odinga: We’ve solid plan to create jobs, improve healthcare and industrialise Kenya

On Tuesday, Kenyans go to the polls to elect our fifth president.

Most likely, I will be the fifth president. Today, I wish to say a grand thank you to all those who have walked this journey with me and our country.

I also wish to spell out why, in electing me on Tuesday, Kenyans will be delivering unto themselves their own desire of ages.

Our brave and valiant founders envisaged a nation that would overcome poverty, ignorance and disease.

They envisaged a nation indebted to the virtues of hope, integrity, prosperity, social justice, equity, and equality for all.

The corruption that has eroded these grand values caught us unawares. We are assembling to confront it and its high priests from Tuesday.

After witnessing what befell us in the decades after independence, we began to imagine a nation in which the Office of the People is the king, not of the Office of President, the Office of the Governor, the National Treasury or any other state office. 

Over the last decades, we have moved progressively towards the realisation of our nation’s original dreams.

On Tuesday, we can, and I believe we will, reclaim that nation of our dreams with me as your president and Martha Karua as your deputy president.

Kenya needs fighters. Indeed, we are a nation of fighters and conquerors that has been derailed by a few sleek and smooth thieves.

That ends on Tuesday. Kenyans know that when they put Raila Odinga and Martha Karua as their president and deputy president respectively, they have a complete army to fight for them.

There are no fighters for Kenyans on the other side.

However generous we try to be, I think we all agree that there is no known fight to make Kenya a better place that has been led by the people on the other side.

Instead, they have benefited from the changes brought about by us.

Our opponents will tell you they have county charters in their manifesto. But they will not tell you they opposed the 2010 constitution that brought the counties.

They will tell you that they have formed their own parties because Jubilee is not democratic.

But they will not tell you they opposed the struggle for multiparty because they wanted Kenya to remain a one-party dictatorship.

Grand Poverty

Our opponents will tell you that our citizens are afflicted with grand poverty.

But they will not tell you that collectively, they have had more years in government than Martha and I and that the poverty afflicting Kenyans is a direct result of their acts of commission and omission in government, including grand theft of monies meant to lift people out of poverty.

There is hardly a leader on the other side who has no active case of theft, some dating back to the 1990s.

On Tuesday, we, the people of Kenya, have a chance to end the reign of this heartless lot that has found a home in Kenya Kwanza and a leader in William Ruto.

We have a plan to contain our rising national debt that includes dismantling the corruption networks, streamlining the budgeting, procurement and disbursement processes in addition to renegotiating and restructuring some of the debts.

We have a credible plan for addressing the rising healthcare costs that include health insurance for all Kenyans and controlling costs by focusing on preventive health.

We believe that no Kenyan should have to sell his land or property or hold Harambees to meet medical expenses.

Babacare makes quality, affordable healthcare not a privilege, but a right. 

There have been decades of talk on this matter and decades of trying by President Mwai Kibaki under Narc and in the Grand Coalition.

Insurance scheme

With this insurance, any Kenyan who falls sick will walk into any hospital and get treatment.

Azimio la Umoja Coalition Flag Bearer Raila Odinga in Siaya Town.

Azimio la Umoja Coalition Flag Bearer Raila Odinga in Siaya Town. 

Photo credit: Pool

And we will match the insurance scheme with investment in and recognising of community health workers as partners in healthcare provision at the grassroots level, investment in public health, expanded community health centres and provision of incentives for primary care providers.

We have a plan for creating jobs and raising wages for Kenyans through rapid and county-driven industrialisation.

We reject the notion that wheelbarrows can produce decent and well-paying jobs in the 21st century.

We know no nation that prospered by having all its citizens push wheelbarrows.

But we know many nations that eliminated poverty by investing in manufacturing, industrialisation and education.

Education

We are aware that Kenyans are passionate about the education of their children.

We have a plan to give the best possible start to our children from the first day in a classroom.

We have a plan for quality education for all our children. Construction of infrastructure in schools will be a priority to avoid congestion.

We also know that the most important thing in the life of a student is the teacher.

So we have a plan to ensure the teacher-student ratio meets global standards.

Today, we have 410,435 trained and unemployed teachers. We will get them employed to take care of our children.

We will pay them well and hold them to account to deliver to our children.

We have a credible plan to ensure Kenya produces enough to feed its citizens and sell the surplus.

Right now, the whole of Africa is crying that the war in Ukraine has caused a shortage of grains.

Ukraine’s population is 43 million people. Kenya has 56 million people. Africa has 1.4 billion people.

We are all waiting for grains from Ukraine. Why should Kenya, a nation of 56 million people, blessed with rich agricultural land that includes the former white highlands, be importing grains from Ukraine or fruits like lemon, and oranges from desert countries?

We want to turn Kenya into Africa’s food basket; Africa’s Ukraine. We want agriculture to be a source of jobs and income.

So we have plans to modernise agriculture by investing in technology, research, reforming land tenure, land and water management use, and transportation infrastructure to ease distribution and trade in agriculture.

Finally, Kenya has to account for and take care of every single citizen.

The Lord’s Prayer in the Bible tells us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom comes; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…

As we pursue programmes to ensure plenty is found within our borders, we will do everything to give the poorest Kenyans their daily bread.

This is the Sh6,000 per month for each vulnerable household. This is the assistance to single mothers.

This is a programme for unemployed youth. This is the programme to constantly review the cost of fuel, unga, mobile data and electricity.

This is the Pesa Mfukoni programme meant to give the poor this day their daily bread.

I know there are those who think their votes do not matter. Some think we have won this election.

I need the votes of every one of my supporters on Tuesday. We have not won until each one of you votes.

So plan to vote. Some of you are asking why they should vote. I will tell you why. We are facing many problems as a country.

Whether the cost of living comes down or remains high, whether youths get jobs or remain jobless, whether you get health insurance or not, whether you will continue paying school fees or government pays for you, whether single mothers get support or not, whether collapsed factories roar back to life or not depends on your vote.

We need the vote of each and everyone on Tuesday.

Mr Odinga is the Azimio la Umoja Presidential candidate.

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