Raila Odinga: Speech at the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) National Delegates Conference

This is the speech of the current Prime Minister of Kenya after being endorsed by delegates to be the party’s flag bearer in Marth 4th elections.



ODINGAOnce again, I am both humbled and overjoyed to be here with you today as the leader of our great political party, ODM. Chungwa!


Today,  we  remember  how  buoyed  with  hope  we  were  at  this  time  in  2007,  when  we  as  a party knew we were about to take over the leadership of this country.


All the blessings and good intentions of our ODM manifesto lay, as they do today, brimming over in our basket, ready to be delivered to the people.


But sadly it was not to be. We were denied our victory, and denied our opportunity to make a real difference to this country.

Now, however, we have another chance.


And I want to reassure everyone, here at Kasarani, in Kenya and around the world, that this election will be free, fair and peaceful. In fact, I want to ask that all presidential contenders come  together  in  a  strong  show  of  unity  and  resolve,  to  reassure  Kenyans  that  we  are  all unequivocally committed to a free, fair and peaceful election.

Ladies and gentlemen –

My purpose here today is to tell you a little about my far-reaching plans for the future of this beautiful country of ours.


Today, I want us, as a party, to make a social contract with everyone in this country – that we will deliver democracy, the rule of law, prosperity, unity, inclusiveness and equality.


In conjunction  with  our  coalition  partners,  we  will  fully  implement  the  Constitution  we fought so long and so hard to bring to fruition.

We will make devolution a reality, so that all of our country has the opportunity to develop equally.


Ladies and Gentlemen

In  2007,  I  said  we  must  invest  heavily  in  three  things:  One,  Infrastructure!  Two,

Infrastructure! Three, Infrastructure!


We  have  seen  the  result  in  expanded  road-building,  accelerated  growth  through  ICT,  and successful irrigation projects in arid and semi-arid lands.


While  we  continue  with  this  work,  I  now  pledge  that  we  shall  again  invest  heavily  in  three things: One, Jobs! Two, Jobs! Three, Jobs!

Every one of the ills we suffer has its roots in POVERTY. At the very root of this poverty is the lack of jobs.


Most  of  our  young  people  do  not  have  jobs.  Yet  our  youths  have  been  educated  to  expect something more from life.


They expect to be gainfully employed.

They expect to have the opportunity for personal development, to make a decent living and to contribute something valuable to their communities.

Lack of jobs, as we have seen, leads to only one thing: social insecurity.


Social  insecurity  is  characterised  by  corruption,  poor  policing,  muggings,  extortions, insecurity,  cattle-rustling,  land  clashes,  poor  health  and  education,  strikes,  deficient  local production and lack of food sufficiency.


Ladies and Gentlemen

Don’t get me wrong. I am proud to be a Kenyan. No one could be more proud than I am when I represent our country, as I have been privileged to do on so many occasions.


And  every  time  I  am  out  there  representing  Kenya,  I  am  always  trying  to  learn  from  the

experience  of  others,  always  seeking  the  best  ways  of  building  sustainable  economic development, always planning how we can provide an environment where local and foreign investors are eager to work with us.


I have spoken many times about the Asian Tigers, those countries once at par with, or behind,

Kenya,  and  now  way  ahead  of  us.  My  plan  is  that  Kenya  becomes  the  African  Simba,  the

Lion of Africa, and sets the standard for the continent.


To do this, we must take a very different approach to our national life.


We  have  already  taken  huge  strides  towards  making  it  much  easier  to  do  business  in  our



We have removed much of the red tape and bureaucracy that has made us so uncompetitive in

the past.


Ladies and Gentlemen

As well as these major steps, we shall also concentrate in areas that make a more immediate difference to the life of each individual Kenyan.

Too often, we talk about annual percentage growth, GDP, rising or falling inflation, and other such exalted matters of finance.

Too rarely do we consider how little the ordinary Kenyan can feel of this.


We  must  begin  to  think  of  the  individual,  of  the  cost  of  living  TODAY,  of  having  enough food on the table TODAY, of being able to send the children to school THIS TERM, of being able to afford that URGENT hospital bill, of having a road nearby so that we can market the crop ripening in the field AT THIS MOMENT.


We cannot  always  wait  for  the  long-term  results  of  big  business,  so  we  must  back  up  these

plans with parallel projects to help people improve their lives NOW.


To this end, we have many ideas that are intended to revolutionise our national life.


Ladies and Gentlemen

Our  ODM  manifesto  is  a  carefully  thought-out,  comprehensive  programme  to  change  the direction of this nation.


In  preparing  for  job  creation,  for  example,  we  shall  reform  the  Kenya  Industrial  Estates  to

establish incubation centres in each county, so that people can acquire locally the skills they need to get jobs.

We shall focus education and training systems to be more responsive to industry’s needs.

We  shall  provide  funds  for  enterprise  development  among  marginalised  communities  and

disadvantaged groups, including those living with disabilities and the differently-abled.


In the Kenya we envisage, our youths will be our greatest asset.

We shall invest in business skills development among the youth and women, and then offer

grants – not loans – that will provide the start-up capital to establish viable livelihoods.


We shall give the youth the life-skills they need, so that they don’t fall into the trap of drugs

and alcohol and crime.

Women  are  at  the  core  of  Kenyan  life – yet  their  true  value as  builders  of  this  nation  has

never been acknowledged.

We  shall  sustain  the  march  towards  parity  and  equality  across  the  gender  divide  whose

foundation has been laid.


Ladies and Gentlemen

All these goals tie in with our Vision 2030, and we can only realise Vision 2030 if we have industrial peace.

Over  the  past  few  months,  we  have  seen  many  of  our  workers  lay  down  the  tools,

complaining  of  low  pay  and  poor  working  conditions – university  staff,  medical  staff,  civil servants, teachers.


Just as I have moved determinedly forward in creating an enabling business environment, so I

plan  to  ensure  that  all  working  Kenyans  receive  remuneration  commensurate  with  the contribution they are making to nation-building.


We  intend  to  invest  in  rural  and  cottage  industries  and  to  foster  transformation  through  a good-neighbour system, so that community efforts help each and every person to build his or her house, to plough his or her land, to reap in good time whatever has been sowed.


I believe that, through ensuring social inclusion, social security, and marketable skills, we are

investing  in  sustainable  economic  development – and  that  means  a  quicker  transition  to  a

fully waged society.


Ladies and Gentlemen


Our  country  has  been  ripped  apart  by  factionalism  and tribal  hatred.  This  lack  of  social

cohesion  is  high  on  our  list  of  things  to  be  addressed.  And  I  am  well  aware  that  poverty contributes the largest portion to that kind of insecurity.

Poverty contributes to the ineffectiveness of our police force.

We intend to fully revamp our criminal justice system.  We  shall improve police conditions,

providing  police  officers  with  proper  initial  training,  as  well  as  sustained  retraining  and  the opportunity to acquire wider policing skills.


We  shall  provide  officers  with  decent  housing,  equipment  and  pay  cheques  that  match  the onerous responsibilities of their work in guarding our nation.


Speaking  of  onerous  duties – our  police  officers  have  a  very  onerous  and  important  task coming up soon – that of guarding our elections.

Because of their work, these officers will not be able to vote on March 4th.


In this sense, they are disenfranchised, and I am requesting the IEBC to put in place measures

to  allow  police  officers  to  vote  early,  so  that  they,  too,  have  their  say with  the  rest  of  the nation in electing the leaders of their choice.


All these measures we intend to take will give the police force a new culture and a new pride, guiding it towards a new identity as a pro-people agency of assistance and security.


Ladies and Gentlemen

Speaking of social cohesion brings me to the fundamental underpinnings of ODM as a social-democratic party that advocates the peaceful, evolutionary transformation of society through social inclusion.


Being  a  social-democratic  party  means promoting  a  social-market  economy  where  people have choices, not just at the ballot box but through being stakeholders in their own economic futures.

It means ensuring rights not just to education, but to QUALITY education.


It  means  ensuring  rights  to  accessible  healthcare  facilities – QUALITY  healthcare  that  is available to everyone through a universal health insurance scheme.

Our  social  inclusion  programmes  will  help  close  the  gap  between  the  haves  and  the  have-nots.


We have begun cash-transfer programmes. We shall extend this, so that anyone who cannot

make  a  living  through  no  fault  of  their  own is  not  forced  into  a  life  of  crime,  or  life  on  the streets.


This  transition  to  a  humanly  sustainable  way  of  living  will  loosen  the  grip  that  criminality,

homelessness, hunger, modern diseases, ethnic clashes and other ills have on our society.



And  when  people  are  treated  equally  and  there  is  equity  in  the  distribution  of  our  national

resources,  we  shall  finally  be  able  to  send  ethnicity  to  the  place  where  it  belongs – the museum of curiosities of human history.  NOW is the time.

Ladies and gentlemen –

Only national unity will make possible the great goals we have set for ourselves.

I  have  set  the  bar  for  co-operation  with  fellow  Kenyans  by  entering,  on  your  behalf,  into coalitions with some of my fellow leaders.

At  the  signing  on  Tuesday  this  week  of  the  largest  coalition  agreement  in  our  history,

Kenyans  saw  what  they  had  so  eagerly  been  waiting  for –  the  composition  of  a  new government that will usher in the change that our people have fought and sacrificed so much for over the decades.


Vice-President  Kalonzo  Musyoka,  the  Honourable  Moses  Wetangula  and  I – with  so  many

other  leaders  who  appeared  at  the  formation  of  the  Coalition  for  Reform  and  Democracy

(CORD) – have made a pledge of total commitment to a new future for our beloved country.


In the days to come, other leaders, professionals and activists will join us. All of them realise this election is by far the most important in the history of our country.

This will be the biggest step Kenya has ever taken towards real unity.


The Grand Coalition was a forced marriage but we have still managed to achieve some things

of  significance – the  new  Constitution,  devolution,  and  the  entrenchment  of  integrity  as  an essential pre-requisite for leadership.

We  must  build  on  these  gains  as  a  united  nation,  all  of  us  willing  to  stand  side-by-side  in mutual support.

In  the  search  for  unity and  dignity  of  our  nation,  I  commit,  as  I  have  said  before,  I  will

petition  the  Security  Council  of  the  UN  to  have  the  cases  facing  our  people  before  the

International Criminal Court, referred back to Kenya.

We  have  a  reforming  Judiciary  that  enjoys  the confidence  of  the  people  and  can  handle  the


My  message  is  one  of  peace  and  unity,  just  as  our  national  anthem  prescribes.  We  must “dwell in unity, peace and liberty.”


Our  hearts  must  be  “strong  and  true”  and  service  must  “be  our  earnest  endeavour.”


The third verse of the national anthem contains exactly the message I want to impart to you today:


“Let  all  with  one  accord,  In  common  bond  united,  Build  this  our  nation  together.


“And the glory of Kenya, The fruit of our labour, Fill every heart with thanksgiving.”


Nothing can say it better.


I, Raila Amolo Odinga, am more than READY. Are you ready? Mko tayari?


[Response: Tuko tayari!] Then, let us get on with the job!

ODM! Chungwa! Maisha bora!

Wiper!  Ford-Kenya!  Narc! All the people of Kenya!

Thank you so much, and go well. We have exciting work ahead.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s