By Raila Odinga, ODM Party Leader.
Let me begin by thanking you for sparing time for this meeting and for the warm welcome you have accorded me.
It is clear from the hearty welcome that western is solidly Orange and CORDED.
I feel at home here today as always.
Let me alert you right away that we are on the home stretch to August 2017.
I also want to urge all of you to appreciate from the start that the stakes are extremely high for our country, in fact, so high that we cannot afford to relax or engage in business as usual.
Kenyans have a date with destiny in the elections of 2017.
Our country is suffering. Corruption is at an all-time high and is spreading its tentacles to all levels of government.
Only a few with friends and relatives in high positions in government are benefitting from the corruption.
Jubilee has descended on our nation like armyworms and cockroaches, eating and stealing anything and everything that can be eaten or stolen.
A tiny elite with relatives and friends in government are carrying money around in sacks like charcoal while millions of other Kenyans struggle to pay for basics like food, rent, school fees and even bus fare.
The National Government of non-believers has declared a full scale war against devolution, giving it a bad name and sabotaging its operations with a bid to returning the country to the old over-centralized order that reduced others to beggars for development funds in our own country where we all pay taxes.
Insecurity is rising across the country. Only two days ago, they hit Mumias and nobody knows where these forces of fear and terror will surface next.
Marginalization of communities and regions has marched step by step with the rhetoric of Jubilee leaders giving lip service to national unity.
We have seen economic policies that will have grave consequences on regions and communities being implemented across the country without any sense of guilt.
Here in Western, the importation of sugar, which Jubilee allowed in return for exporting milk to Uganda, is taking a toll on sugar cane farmers.
Tribalism now looks like an official policy of the National Government. Your name and where you were born are becoming strong determinants in access to opportunities in our country.
Whether you get a government job or supply tender now depends to a great deal on your tribe and whom you know and not what you know.
Businesses are closing and unemployment is at an all-time high while an increasing number of our youth are graduating from colleges and universities.
Tax monies that are meant to build factories and create jobs for our youth are going into pockets and bank accounts of individuals; yet when we raise alarm, the authorities embark on blame game and black mail to make us silent.
This is how the collapse of nations begins.
Luckily, a growing number of our citizens are saying they are tired. A growing number is saying enough is enough.
We have to save Kenya from Jubilee.
Kenyans are looking up to us, ODM, to stand up to Jubilee and stop it from getting a second next year.
As I told you at the National Governing Council in Nairobi last month, winning the 2017 elections is not about ODM or CORD being in power.
It is about saving Kenya. It is about safeguarding the future of our children and grandchildren.
Our country is banking on us.
I am in turn banking on you delegates and the entire diligent people of western Kenya to traverse the entire region and enable our people prepare for the battle with Jubilee.
It is going to be a titanic battle for the soul of Kenya.
It is going to be our own final battle between good and evil; between forces of status quo and corruption and tribalism that have always undermined our progress and the forces for change.
This will be our version of what the Bible calls the Armageddon or the battle between David and Goliath. I believe strongly that we, in David’s camp and flying David’s flag, will triumph over the ugly giant called Goliath.
Beating Jubilee next year is a civic and patriotic duty that everyone who loves this country must aspire to.
It is a goal we must realize for the sake of our country and our children.
If ODM, the single largest political party in the country with a history of reform does not stand firm, Kenya will go to the dogs and our children and future generation will put blame on us for failing to stop the slide into the abyss that Jubilee is leading us to.
We must explore all the dimensions and avenues to have our people registered as citizens and as voters in the continuous registration exercise and in the main registration scheduled for next year.
I am appealing to you dear delegates and particularly to the young and energetic youth of this region to go all out on this mission for your country and your future.
I am counting on you, the young men and women of western Kenya to stand up and stop Jubilee from stealing your future.
You can always be assured that I will walk hand in hand with you in that gigantic struggle for our country.
I will not let you walk and fight alone.
We must convince our people that it is their registration that stands between us and the better future that we desire for our children and our country.
As delegates, you are the eyes and the ears of the party on the ground. In fact, I want each of you to know that you are my eyes and ears on the ground as your leader in the party.
Our party calls on you and me to have a sustained focus on our core support constituencies like women, youth and people with disabilities.
We must roll out a clear strategy for engaging with women, identifying their issues and having them identify with us.
We must equally develop a clear strategy for engaging the youth at the county level by listening to them and giving them chances when opportunities arise.
And we must not forget the elderly. I am sure the elderly remember that when ODM was in government, we were responsible for a program that sought to pay allowances to them to keep them going, a program Jubilee today touts as it invention and is seeking to use for partisan politics.
We want to be back in government and take care of our senior citizens in a manner that does not derive them of the dignity they deserve.
We will begin nomination of candidates early next year in order to avoid the last minute rush that has worked against us in the past.
You will be my and the party’s ears and eyes on this. It will be upon you as delegates in this region to help the party lay down and roll out a clear strategy for conducting credible, free and fair nomination of candidates.
It will be upon you together with the National Elections Board to ensure that the mistakes of 2013 are not repeated.
We will be relying on you to ensure that we end up with candidates who believe in and share the ideals of the party, people who have stood with the party and who can be counted on to stand with the party at all times.
We have seen some of our members including those elected on our ticket cross to Jubilee claiming to be looking for development.
They are using you and the party for personal gain and I trust you will guard against such while you prepare to teach the traitors lessons they will never forget.
The nomination process must protect women, the youth and the disabled.
The nominations must enable us win majority of gubernatorial, Senate, National Assembly and County Assembly seats and see us take State House in 2017.
To achieve that grand objective, the party will be counting on you to put up elaborate and tested structures to register voters, to get out the vote and to protect the vote on Election Day.
I am confident that you are equal to the task, that you have the will and the ability to deliver for our party and our country.
God bless you all.
ADDRESS BY RT. HON RAILA ODINGA; EGH, ODM PARTY LEADER, AT WESTERN KENYA ODM DELEGATES CONFERENCE, KAKAMEGA; NOVEMBER 25, 2016.