alexa On North Rift tour, Raila hits out at Arror, Kimwarer project thieves' - Daily Nation

On North Rift tour, Raila hits out at Arror, Kimwarer project thieves'

Sunday June 30 2019

ODM leader Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga during a thanksgiving service at Chebara Primary School in Elgeyo Mrakwet County on June 30, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WYCLIFF KIPSANG
By WYCLIFF KIPSANG
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EVANS KIPKURA
By EVANS KIPKURA
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Politician Raila Odinga hit out at those who plundered at least Sh21 billion meant for Arror and Kimwarer dams in a tour of Deputy President William Ruto's North Rift backyard on Sunday.

The Orange Democratic Movement leader dismissed Dr Ruto's claim that only Sh7 million meant for the projects in Elgeyo Marakwet County was lost.

Mr Odinga said plans for the two mega dams were initiated under the Grand Coalition Government led by former President Mwai Kibaki.

He said Sh5 billion was allocated to the projects following a feasibility study.

“It has now been allocated Sh63 billion and Sh21 billion has been lost yet no work has been done,” he told a gathering at Chebara Primary School during a thanksgiving ceremony following the retirement of Ruth Kiptoo, mother in-law of Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny.

CORRUPTION

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The two multi-purpose dams would have cost a total of Sh63 billion. According to the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), Arror in Marakwet East was to cost Sh38.5 billion and Kimwarer in Keiyo South Sh28 billion.

Italian firm CMC di Ravenna, which won tenders to build mega dams in the Rift Valley worth more than Sh90 billion, is being investigated for allegedly bribing senior government officials to secure the contracts.

In line with the allegations of graft in the failure of the projects, Mr Odinga highlighted corruption, saying a report by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which showed Sh800 billion is lost annually due to corruption, was bad news for the economy.

The ambitious project was meant to serve more than 50,000 people living in the vast county by producing electricity and water for irrigation.

'CANAAN'

Sunday's tour of the North Rift was Mr Odinga's first since his March 9, 2018 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta, following an agreement for unity, peace, national healing and reconciliation and nationwide development.

Mr Odinga promised to follow up on complaints from the area's leaders and residents that institutions displaced to pave way for the construction of Chebara dam over 20 years ago are yet to be compensated.

He spoke of 'Canaan', his code word for the fulfilling future he has promised Kenyans, telling off those claiming the plan by the National Supper Alliance (NASA) has flopped.

“Canaan is for Kenyans to enjoy peace and have 'justice within our borders' as our national anthem spells out. That's why I teamed up with President Kenyatta to unite the country,” he said.

Mr Odinga also criticised leaders in the Tangatanga faction, who are allied to the DP, saying they have started campaigning for the 2022 general election at the expense of development.

SUCCESSION POLITICS

Mr Odinga took the tour accompanied by politicians including Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Senate minority leader James Orengo.

Others were MPs Junet Mohammad (Suna East), Millie Odhiambo (Suba North), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay Woman Representative), Mishi Mbogo (Likoni Woman Representative), Fatuma Gedi (Wajia), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), Paul Abuor (Rongo), Chris Omulele (Luanda) and Wilson Sossion (nominated).
Mr Junet hit out Jubilee leaders for engaging in succession politics despite President Kenyatta's warning.

“I sympathise with people from this region who are still suffering yet their leaders claim to be in government. I have seen that we have the same problems yet we have been in the opposition for a long time,” he said.

REFERENDUM
The MPs told off those opposed to referendum calls and vowed to pass a supplementary budget to facilitate it when it is presented in the House.

Mr Sossion, who is also the Secretary-General of the Kenya National Union of Teachers, noted the need to amend the Constitution.

He threatened to mobilise workers to boycott the next vote if a referendum is not held before then.

Governor Joho said the amendment is necessary as it will help Kenya have an all-inclusive government.

RAILA'S 'SACRIFICE'
The politicians heaped praises on Mr Odinga, saying he set aside his ambitions for the sake of Kenya's stability.

“He saw the country as bigger than his personal political ambition and entered a pact with the President, which calmed political tension. Those opposed to the handshake are enemies of peace,” said Mr Kutuny, who claimed he helped broker the deal.

“You cannot afford to ignore Raila by eating while he is outside," he added is his local dialect.

Mr Orengo said the DP was welcome to support Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta "in the spirit of the handshake".

Governor Alex Tolgos, who has been leaning towards the Kieleweke team, said any leader was welcome to Elgeyo Marakwet.

"We are firmly in support of the handshake. You are welcome any time to this county, Mr Odinga. Don't stay away for too long," he said.