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My family only worth Sh2 billion, says Raila

Monday January 27 2020

IBRAHIM ORUKO
By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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Orange Democratic Leader Raila Odinga revealed yesterday that his family’s net worth is about Sh2 billion. He became the highest ranking politician in the country to publicly disclose his wealth.

In an exclusive interview aired live on NTV, the former prime minister said most of his wealth is in property and shares of companies.

“People say I’m very rich. I am not rich. I am just about Sh2 billion which we own collectively as the Odinga family,” he said, when challenged to declare his wealth.

Mr Odinga denied suggestions that the Odinga family had used its influence to create wealth for itself, pointing out that his siblings, just like other Kenyans, are earning salaries from their jobs which they got competitively.

“Our father Odinga died a poor man. There is nothing we inherited from him as his children. It must be remembered that throughout his life that he was in government for only two and a half years.”

He was speaking yesterday during an interview with NTV’s consulting editor Joseph Warungu at his Karen home.

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The interview covered a wide range of issues, from the Building Bridges Initiative to corruption and the economy, and his relationship with the Kenyatta family, given their two families’ history.

He also talked about his personal experiences, including his daughter Rosemary Odinga’s health challenges.

However, the ODM leader refused to discuss the 2022 elections, only saying that he is focusing on the BBI initiative for now.

On the “handshake” with President Uhuru Kenyatta following the divisive 2017 general election, Mr Odinga said some “Good Samaritans” had approached him, leading to a meeting between only him and President Kenyatta.

He also dismissed as untrue Deputy President William Ruto’s recent assertion that the former prime minister had approached him before reaching out to the president.

Mr Odinga said his main problem with the Deputy President was his use of funds drives to influence politics.

The two were members of ODM during the grand coalition government of between 2008 and 2012 but fell out.

Mr Odinga said they fell out after he, as PM, tried to suspend Mr Ruto over the scandal involving the sale of maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board.

Would he work with Dr Ruto if the latter was elected President? “That is another question. I have my values and they would not agree with his,” Mr Odinga said.

The former PM, who has emerged as the public face of the BBI campaigns, took on the media which he accused of developing a counter narrative on the process, especially the cost incurred so far on the BBI process since it started early last year.

In particular, he appeared pricked by suggestions that the process had so far gobbled up to Sh10 billion.

“Where is this Sh10 billion?” he asked Mr Warungu. “Who has spent this money and where is it coming from?”

“I sometimes think the media should be bold enough to explain where they get this kind of information or figures from.”

He insisted that the BBI regional campaigns have been cheap as they only require a podium and a public address system.

“People will come on their own as they don’t need to be bused to the venues,” he said.

He praised President Kenyatta for efforts to fight corruption, but criticised the Judiciary for failing to conclude cases fast.

He said he had no ulterior motives in driving BBI. “We’re not doing it for Raila, or for Uhuru. We’re doing to for the future of this country.”

What will he be doing after BBI is implemented? “Well, after BBI is passed, then we will be working on its implementation,” he said.