Raila Odinga Stands Up to Challenges Uhuru Kenyatta

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CORD leader Raila Odinga is received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport yesterday when he arrived from a three-week business trip to Korea and China. (PHOTO: JACOB OTIENO/STANDARD)

CORD leader Raila Odinga is received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport yesterday when he arrived from a three-week business trip to Korea and China. (PHOTO: JACOB OTIENO/STANDARD)

In a hard-hitting statement, Raila warned that the country is about to sink economically and challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to rise up and save Kenya.

CORD leader Raila Odinga is received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport yesterday when he arrived from a three-week business trip to Korea and China. (PHOTO: JACOB OTIENO/STANDARD)
“We have warned that we are on the road to nowhere and that the Jubilee government is over-borrowing, over-spending and over-stealing,” said Raila.

Speaking during a press conference upon his return from a three-week business trip to South Korea and China, Raila attributed the dwindling economy to a myriad of factors among them wastage and inefficiency that persists in Government.

Raila said the current cash crunch was due to a combination of domestic and international loan repayments falling due, slow collection of Government revenue and demands for disbursements.

“The Jubilee administration has refused to agree that mega corruption will leave bigger thieves with nothing to steal and nothing to pay public servants,” Raila said.

He accused the President of glossing over critical issues affecting the country during his Mashujaa Day celebrations, adding that Kenyans want a roadmap for sustainable and equitable growth.

“Mr President, please get up and report on duty. Show Kenyans that you care. No wind will guide a sailor that has no destined port. Tell Kenyans where you are taking them, how you intend to get there and by when,” said Raila.

The former prime minister said the current cash crunch was responsible for the tussle between teachers and the Government.

Government broke

“Let us be honest, teachers have not been paid, not because they went on strike but because the Government is broke. The strike is the excuse,” said Raila, adding that “counties are getting their money too late, if at all”.

The Opposition leader claimed the economy was slowing down because President Kenyatta disbanded a think tank team of professionals dubbed National Economic Social Council (NESC) he co-chaired with President Kibaki.

He explained that NESC was composed of economic experts from Kenya, Singapore, Japan, China whose mandate was to review and advise the Government on the growth of the economy.

CORD maintained that at 5.2 per cent growth, Kenya’s economy is number four within the East Africa Community, only better than Burundi with Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) having lost another Sh60 billion in the last one month.

He painted a grim picture that the loss of Sh60 billion is an extended damage to Sh530 billion since prices of shares started falling seven months ago.

Raila explained that Kenya’s budget deficit stands at 10 per cent of the Growth Development Product (GDP) and 18 per cent of revenue, with the foreign debt overtaking domestic debt.

“The cost of servicing our foreign debt is rising faster than domestic one, largely as a result of huge commercial loans especially the Eurobond. But there is nothing to show for the big loans. We used to spend four per cent of our export revenue on servicing foreign debts. Now we spend 10 per cent,” said the Opposition leader.

The former prime minsiter was also categorical that ever since the Jubilee administration came to power in 2013, it has not started any tangible development projects that can grow the economy.

Instead, he accused the Jubilee government of cancelling multi-billion projects tendered during the Grand Coalition Government and re-tendered them by inflating the costs of the projects.

Raila listed Lamu Port Southern Sudan Ethiopian Transport corridor, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Green fields and Konza City as among some of the projects initiated during the President Kibaki and Raila-led government, but which have stalled due to lack of funds.

He said as the Opposition, they raised alarm that the Jubilee Government had increased the public debt by Sh860 billion in one year, from Sh1.8 trillion to Sh2.6 trillion, which translates to an increase of 50 per cent, the largest annual increase in the country’s history.

The former premier said the Grand Coalition Government increased the debt by Sh900 billion in the five years it was in office, an average of Sh190 billion, adding that it is regrettable that Jubilee has borrowed at almost five times the rate at which the Grand Coalition Government borrowed in just two years.

“When we raised questions, we were called names and told off in words that cannot be taken back. Political posturing, bickering and insults replaced honest debate. An ugly reality now mocks us,” said Raila.

He insisted the Opposition is ready to support measures that will steady the economy, support a growth strategy that takes Kenya where it belongs and a credible course for a stronger and better future.

“We demand a plan that creates a convergence; with productivity, job creation, fairness and inclusivity at the centre of our growth agenda. Mr President, provide Kenyans with a credible course for a stronger and better future,” he said.

The Opposition leader challenged President Kenyatta that multiplication of institutions and putting the country on auto pilot will not deliver more or better results.

He said tribalism was sanctioned by the Jubilee government through skewed public service appointments.

By Rawlings Otieno, The Standard

Raila Odinga Stands Up to Challenges Uhuru Kenyatta

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