Cord co-principal hints at need for 1990s-style agitation that brought change in Kenya.
Cord leader Raila Odinga on Friday claimed major State institutions were failures and hinted at the need for 1990s-style agitation that brought change in Kenya.
Speaking during the Law Society of Kenya’s annual conference in Diani, Kwale County, Mr Odinga asked why they had remained silent while corruption was taking root again in the country.
He painted a gloomy picture of the country since the enactment of the Constitution, saying important institutions such as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission; the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission; and the Judiciary had regressed, instead of improving.
In his written and off-the-cuff remarks, the opposition leader said even the youth were now growing up in a culture that glorifies get-rich-quick schemes without hard work and patience.
“Only six years ago, we unveiled what was easily seen as one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. Today, however, we are taking a closer look and once again we are saying we must jump-start reforms in virtually all our key governance institutions: the Judiciary, the police, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, schools, financial institutions and even the Legislature,” said Mr Odinga.
He blamed the government for the failures of the institutions, saying this was a deliberate move to scuttle change.
“Kenya is in the middle of a very necessary debate for a just, honest and caring government. All the key institutions are suffering from the impediment created by a government that is resisting change and trying to take the country back to the old order,” he said.
Mr Odinga said the struggle to liberate the country from bad governance, corruption and mismanagement of public funds, which was started during pre-independence times and in which he has participated, should continue.
He was, however, challenged by lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, over the recent demonstrations to force out the electoral commission members.
Mr Abdullahi asked why he had led supporters to the streets “knowing very well that it was unconstitutional”.
Mr Odinga said all attempts at dialogue had been snubbed and there was no way out.
“The Constitution provides demonstrations as the last option after all means have failed. In fact, protesters should be protected by the police to prevent hooligans from penetrating like what happened,” he said.
He added: “We got 1.6 million signatures to petition the electoral commission but they rejected 700,000 of them, claiming some looked like elephants.”
He accused the commission of manipulating and jamming the biometric voter system.
“Ten million people voted for governors, senators, MPs and MCAs, but an extra two million voted only for the President. How possible was that? Is it not strange?” he asked, quoting figures from a British firm that analysed the presidential poll results.
He said the government’s economic growth figures were untrue, saying the public debt had increased by Sh71 billion in one year.
“During the 2015/2016 financial year, debt repayment was Sh262 billion and today, it stands at Sh333 billion only a year later,” he said.
He said increased public borrowing leads to high interest rates, inflation and overburdening of future generations.
“There is a conspiracy against our people through corruption and mismanagement of resources. Kenyans today are among the highest taxed people in the world as we steal and borrow, then use the remnants on wrong priorities,” he said.
Mr Odinga urged lawyers to stand up against injustice, intimidation, bad governance, coercion, blackmail and other social vices perpetrated by the rulers.
He appealed to Kenyans to demand accountability, transparency and good social virtues.