Opposition leader Raila Odinga has told his supporters to expect good things when President Uhuru Kenyatta visits Kisumu next week for the launch of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme.
While appealing to his supporters to welcome the Head of State, the ODM leader expressed confidence that his partnership with Mr Kenyatta will bear fruit.
“We know where we want to go and I can assure you that much more is in the offing as we have embarked on uniting the country and ensure Kenya remains united,” Mr Odinga said during a rally at Posta Grounds in Kisumu Friday.
He expressed optimism that the ‘handshake’ will take the country to a path of unity as was witnessed in the period shortly after independence.
“I remember as a child that the founding President Jomo Kenyatta used to sleep in our house. We need to go back to the days when the country was united, devoid of tribalism,” he said.
He said his pact with President Kenyatta is meant to promote unity and ensure that the country ends the cycle of violence after every General Election.
President Kenyatta is expected to roll out UHC on Thursday next week.
Kisumu Health and Sanitation executive Rosemary Obara said more than 230,000 people have been registered for the programme, against a target of 240,000.
Speaking during a press briefing at her office yesterday, Dr Ombara said about Sh435 million will be used to hire new staff, Sh132 million for community health workers and Sh40 million for buying diagnosis equipment.
“We are aware that our hospitals are faced with shortages of staff, beds and even ambulances for emergency purposes.
“However, these have been factored into our supplementary budget,” she said.
Kisumu was picked as one of the pilot counties for UHC due to its high burden of communicable diseases.
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, who spoke during the rally at Posta Grounds, appealed to the residents to turn out in large numbers and welcome the President. “If there is any difference among us, this is the time for us to shelve them and welcome our guest who means well for everyone,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Odinga said members of the National Assembly should follow the recommendations of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission regarding their pay.
He said it is selfish for the legislators to increase their salaries at a time when the country is undergoing tough times.
“It is even more hurting that some MPs want Kenyans to bear the burden of their polygamous lives. They should learn to follow the Constitution and carry their own cross,” he said.
The Orange party leader reiterated that Kenyans will oppose any attempt to increase the salary and allowances for MPs.
Mr Odinga also urged ward representatives to faithfully adhere to the spirit of devolution, saying Kenyans stand to benefit immensely.
“Unfortunately, some MCAs are constantly wasting public funds in the major cities of Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi to make more money through bonding and committee meetings,” he said.
The rally was attended by Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili, Kisumu Central MP Fred Ouda, Nyando MP Jared Okello and Kisumu Central MP Fred Ouda.