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A NEW GOVERNANCE AGENDA FOR KENYA - Raila Odinga's statement at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on 22nd September 2007


Press statement delivered at JKIA, Nairobi, 22 September 2007
By Hon Raila Amolo Odinga MP

WHO WOULD HAVE imagined a conspiracy of fate that today - in September of 2007 - political forces in our beloved country have realigned themselves as malevolently as they have.

Today, the Daniel arap Moi who was evicted from State House 5 years ago has effectively returned there.

And the man who served as his Vice President, Mwai Kibaki who is now the constitutionally elected head of state is also in the same State House. And recently he has sadly been joined there by the Official Leader of the Opposition, Hon Uhuru Kenyatta.

Home guards who castrated freedom fighters now manage our security system, and the individuals from the Moi kleptocracy era continue to head and manage our civil service and the parastatals. Kenyans are once again at the mercy of the repressive and regressive forces.

The second liberation has been consumed by the authors of KenRen, Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing. The very same men who turned Kenya into one of the most corrupt nations on the planet have united in an attempt to hold onto power once again so that they can continue enriching themselves and their friends. To woo the wanainchi for their votes, stolen funds will be poured and they shall be constantly reminded of their differentness along tribal lines. The time has come to bring this vicious cycle to an end for good!

Everywhere I went during my recent safari overseas I heard the same weary complaints from Kenyans and foreigners about corruption. I would like to make a solemn promise to the Kenyan people today with regard to corruption in particular and governance in general.

Our ODM administration will implement a governance agenda to fundamentally transform the way Kenya is governed and end the game of geriatric musical chairs by thieves and would-be thieves that we have witnessed for decades.

The ODM's governance agenda is based on the premise that the single issue on which Kenyan minds are most concentrated is on equity. The lack of fairness fuels inequality, undermines governance institutions, weakens social cohesion and generally holds Kenya back from playing its rightful political and economic role on the regional and international stage. In my view "Equitably we share, together we prosper".

Our agenda will be achieved via seven interlinked pillars.

1. Constitutional Reform: This is the national contract between the governed and those who govern them. A key measure for ensuring equity shall be the integration of measures that promote Executive Accountability in the new Constitution via creation of the post of Prime Minister, including devolution of power. Executive Accountability will start at the top of the Government with the President who shall be answerable to the Kenyan people and not an aloof monarchical character who delivers development that should be a right as if it is a gift to be distributed prior to elections.

Subsidiary measures include abolishing the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs – after all constitutional reform will be done.

2. Growth for the People: The economic programme initially conceived for the NARC administration in 2002 was aimed at Growth for Employment Creation. Today's growth is for 0.5 million Kenyans while poverty deepens for the other 33 million – especially the youth. ODM's economic programme will be anchored on the Kenyan dream, that is, economic justice and prosperity.

To the business community my Government shall be a service provider, and an enabler and facilitator in the process of their making profits, paying taxes and creating jobs. Gone will be the days of economic growth, in spite of, rather than in partnership with government.

3. Justice, Truth and Restitution: Past economic crimes hold Kenya's political class hostage to their own past crimes; it has compromised our ruling elite and corrupted our politics and public service. It is this that has led to the weary endless questions about where the clean people in politics in Kenya are.

Our administration would bring closure to past economic crimes via a process of Justice, Truth and Restitution. This shall include asset recovery and amnesty where restitution has been made. To this end we are finalising what we shall call the Usawa Restitution Instrument for just this purpose. For those who admit, declare and repay there shall be forgiveness. For those who forget or pretend to forget their past abuses there shall be a heavy price to pay.

The principle of restitution has ancient African roots. There are powerful historical precedents for a process that shall be aimed at facilitating the act of restoring to the rightful owners that which has been taken away, lost, or surrendered in the past. A process driven by equity - making good or compensating for past loss, damage, and injury; is what we are proposing. We intend to return to the Kenyan people what is rightfully theirs.

My belief in the importance of this is not new. In the early days of the NARC administration I was part of the Cabinet Committee Against Corruption that resolved to trace, freeze and repatriate the proceeds of past economic crime that were now in foreign domiciles. Early in 2003 a representative of the internationally renowned risk advisory firm Kroll was introduced to me in London. I invited him to Nairobi and introduced him to the Secretary of the Cabinet Committee against Corruption, John Githongo, then PS in the Office of the President. They were later introduced to the Cabinet Committee against Corruption formally, and appointed to start the work. Incomplete version of their report was recently leaked on the internet. There is more to come. Our administration would pick up this ball and run with it as part of our Justice, Truth and Restitution and its critical Usawa Restitution Instrument.

4. Our administration shall also be a Listening Government and the Public Complaints Unit that was recently announced shall be transformed into a fully fledged Office of the Ombudsman.

5. We shall implement the principle of Transparency in Public Affairs: To this end our government would genuinely implement the Public Officer Ethics Act and go further to facilitate the open disclosure of wealth declarations: starting with the President - me!

6. Fighting Corruption: The current government was never serious about the fight against corruption. Recent reversals with regard to the Economic Crimes Act shall be critically reviewed by our Government. We will review with speed and clarity the entire anti-corruption infrastructure with a view to its rationalisation. This shall include in particular reviewing, rationalising and strengthening the capacity of the Attorney General's Office and that of the Solicitor General.

Over recent days we have heard the most expensive, ineffective, duplicitous and, I would add, hypocritical public servant in Kenyan history – Aaron Ringera – blame parliament for the so-called difficulties he has faced in his drama of pretending to fight corruption. This man owes a great debt to the Kenyan people morally and financially. On Anglo Leasing for example he has traversed the entire world at great expense pretending to find who the principles behind Anglo Leasing are when an entire nation of 33 million – from parking boy to chief executive - can tell him that Anglo Leasing is right here in Kenya! And it has Kenyan faces and even on occasion speaks Kimeru like him! The last remaining theatregoers left watching the Ringera saga are the representatives of bilateral and multilateral organisations. They mislead their bosses with the notion that Kenya is making huge strides in the fight against corruption. So the expensive tenure of the Chief Executive of the KACC, his fellow directors and the institution as a whole shall be rationalised.

7. Our Governance Strategy shall implement the principle of Equity in Public Service: The Public Service Commission will also specifically address issues of gender and regional equity in public appointments and do in a transparent manner.

Presidential Candidate 2007
Orange Democratic Movement