National Super Alliance presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga launched his campaign on Saturday, pledging to improve living standards within 90 days of assuming power.
Top of the opposition alliance agenda, Mr Odinga said, would be lowering the cost of living, improving the country’s economy and creating a sound business environment.
Mr Odinga made the promises at a colourful launch of his presidential campaign at Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega County.
The Orange Democratic Movement leader said that unlike the Jubilee administration, “which gave many promises that are yet to be fulfilled, ours will be different”.
FREE SECONDARY EDUCATION
Mr Odinga said Nasa would implement the free secondary education plan as soon as it takes power in September “unlike Jubilee which talks of next year”.
A supplementary budget, he added, would be quickly prepared and passed by Parliament to provide additional funds for the scheme.
Mr Odinga said the regional administration, formerly called the provincial administration, would be restructured to conform with the Constitution.
“I want to assure chiefs that they will not be sacked ... Village elders will not also be done away with because they are important. Their pay will be increased,” he said.
The Nasa chief added that his administration would reform the police service “to address the rising insecurity in parts of the country”.
“We will reform the service to make it people-friendly. We want police to focus on providing security and ensure banditry and other forms of insecurity are addressed,” Mr Odinga said.
Nasa, he added, would address the plight of the elderly by increasing their monthly stipend from Sh2,500 to Sh3,500.
Mr Odinga said Kenyans should reject Jubilee during the August General Election because “it has promoted tribalism, insecurity, unemployment, corruption and disrespected devolution”.
“Kenyans should punish Jubilee by sending President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto packing for not fulfilling promises they made before taking power in 2013,” he said.
He challenged Jubilee to tell Kenyans why children joining Standard One were not given laptops to promote digital learning.
“Time has run out for Jubilee and its many promises. Vote for Nasa and we will fulfill our pledges and make our country better,” said Mr Odinga, who will be making his fourth stab at the presidency.
He said Jubilee had failed to address youth unemployment, ethnicity, corruption and runaway insecurity.
The rally was attended by Mr Odinga’s running mate and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, his Ford Kenya counterpart and Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula and a host of governors, MPs, senators, MCAs and other leaders allied to the opposition coalition.
Conspicuously absent was Bomet Governor and Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Ruto.
However, the Nasa campaign launch was boosted by the presence of former Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu who has, for the last three years, maintained a low profile following her dismissal from the government.
Mrs Ngilu, who wants to unseat Kitui Governor Julius Malombe, said she was delighted “at returning home”.
She was referring to re-joining the team that successfully campaigned for Mr Mwai Kibaki’s election as president in 2002.
“I am happy to be back home. I am not a stranger to these leaders we worked with in 2002,” she said.
She added that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto did not have the interest of Kenyans at heart.
FILLING THEIR STOMACHS
“They are only interested in filling their stomachs. This is a government of two people and we will vote them out,” Mrs Ngilu said to the applause of the huge crowd.
“In 2002, the current Nasa team helped sweep Kanu out of power. We will repeat the 2002 feat by doing away with Jubilee. We will campaign day and night to ensure Mr Odinga ascends to the country’s leadership.”
Mr Musyoka echoed his once arch-rival’s words.
The Wiper boss criticised the manner in which Jubilee treated Mr Odinga during the Madaraka Day celebrations in Nyeri County on Thursday.
“Mr Odinga was invited to the ceremony as a presidential candidate cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Failing to recognise him was wrong. It appears Jubilee is afraid of him,” Mr Musyoka said.
“These people should be taught a lesson by Kenyans. We will treat them with decorum once they are out of office.”
He said the government was arm-twisting parastatal chiefs and accounting officers to raise billions of shillings to be channelled to Jubilee campaigns.
Mr Odinga’s running mate said Nasa would hold the officers accountable for diverting public resources to private entities should it form the government.
Mr Mudavadi said Mr Errol Johnston, the outgoing Mumias Sugar Company CEO, declined to renew his contract after being pressurised by senior government officials to divert part of the Sh239 million released to the miller to fund Jubilee campaigns.
The ANC leader said he had a copy of a letter sent by Mr Johnston to the management of the factory explaining why he had opted to leave “after being put under pressure to release Sh10 million for Jubilee campaigns”.
KILLING WESTERN ECONOMY
“I am speaking authoritatively on this issue because I have worked closely with the managers who have given me this information. Jubilee should come out and explain the matter,” he said.
Mr Wetang’ula accused Jubilee of killing western region’s economy by presiding over the collapse of important industries.
“Nzoia and Mumias Sugar companies are on their knees. Pan Paper was sold to a private investor. It is not also working as expected,” the Bungoma senator said.
“During the burial of former Housing minister Soita Shitanda, Jubilee promised to tarmac the 51-kilometre Kakamega-Webuye road. This is yet to happen.”