By the Editor –
REMARKS OF H. RAILA ODINGA, PARTY LEADER, AT ODM NATIONAL GOVERNING COUNCIL;
ORANGE HOUSE, NAIROBI;
FEBRUARY 23, 2018:
Ladies and Gentlemen;
We have just come out of one of the toughest election battles in our history that tested our capacity beyond limits as a party and a nation. The election produced one of the strangest results; the lowest voter turnout in our history too. We are grateful to you and the thousands of people in every part of this country and across the world who worked so hard to ensure we mounted a formidable campaign against which our rivals could only rig and do so blatantly.
I wish to pay tribute too to our partners in the National Super Alliance; the Wiper Democratic Party, Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress for a battle well fought.
All over the world, coalitions are formed either to win elections or to form governments. In our case, we made history by living past 2013 elections and expanding beyond CORD into NASA to fight together in 2017 and beyond.
The election of last year has produced an enduring stalemate never seen before in our country.
You are aware that through a different front, we are mounting a formidable challenge to the culture of sham, stolen elections with predetermined outcomes. That is the campaign for electoral justice that we have been on since late 2017 and which will run till justice is done.
This party has a resolution to fight to ensure that electoral fraud does not pay and never happens again and that the robber is never again allowed to get away with it.
What has gone on since August 8 and the sham repeat election of October 26th; the crackdown on the media, civil society, Judiciary and NASA leaders have left no doubt that a dictatorship is raising its head again.
In this regard, the stalemate from the sham election has come with some silver lining. It has made it abundantly clear that Jubilee is offering yesterday’s approaches for today’s problems.
To respond to pressure for democracy, justice, fairness and reform of critical institutions, Jubilee is offering the repression of the 1960s to the 1990s.
Jubilee is offering Kenyans a re-sprayed old country and presenting it once again to the people of Kenya as something new.
There is no doubt that the times are tough and uncertain. The tides are rough and high. But we are agreed on one thing; there is no turning back. And that is precisely why the Orange Democratic Movement has had to assemble and reboot sooner rather than later.
These are the times for which the Orange Democratic Movement was formed. That is why we are here; to size up the battle ahead and get battle ready.
When the times are tough and uncertain; when everything we fought for and the gains we have made are threatened, Kenyans look to ODM for direction and leadership.
To meet the great expectations of our supporters and the country, we must have a complete and functioning team that is also equal to the task ahead. Luckily, the events of the last few months have prepared us for what lies ahead and informed the kind of team, policies and programmes we must put in place.
That is precisely the reason we have been at this task these past two days- to take stock, discuss the achievements, the set-backs and the work that lies ahead. We are also here to fashion a party united in purpose, strategy and resolve.
To this end, we agreed to set up a taskforce to look into our performance in the elections and to review our nomination rules, considering their positive and negative impacts on our performance. The taskforce will look into the capacity, resources, strengths, weaknesses and processes of our National Election Board not to apportion blame but to strengthen it and avoid past pitfalls. The Taskforce will present its report to the party within 90 days.
We are out to build a team that likes and works with one another. We are up against a malevolent dictatorship. A house divided, a party going for half measures, a party with no big screen view of the challenges and opportunities will not win the battle against the dictatorship. Yet win we must. The stakes have never been higher. The threat to our nationhood has never been more real. Luckily, there is a heightened awareness that now, more than ever, we must succeed.
There are many things we must do to set the nation on the road to recovery. I do not mean economic recovery alone, critical as that is. This is not about Vision 2030 which they abandoned but they now try to resurrect as a smokescreen.
We are looking at a fundamental recovery of the soul and architecture of the Kenyan nation. Something is rotten in the state of Kenya. We are stuck at a crossroads, uncertain whether to turn left, right or fire right ahead. The driver does not know. The Conductor does not know. We have just been presented with the most uninspiring Cabinet in our history designed to always seek guidance from the driver and the conductors. The passengers are crossing their fingers knowing well that they are on their own.
As a party, we want to step in and help re-establish the moral compass of our nation. We are stepping in to stop a leadership that is heading to the wilderness from taking Kenyans with them on that doomed mission.
When the cost of living is going through the window for the umpteenth time under Jubilee, when the education sector is in a mess as it is now, when the regime is piling new debts on top of old ones, Kenyans look to ODM to fight for them.
Essentially therefore, we are putting in place a national recovery and redemption team to fight for Kenyans as only ODM can.
From the ground up, ODM must be on the battle mode. From the ground up, all ODM leaders and supporters must without fear or apologies erect and fly the flag of justice, fairness and equity as only ODM can.
We must be prepared to fight alongside other like-minded parties and individual. But we must also be prepared to fight alone should it come to that.
We must come out and prove to the doubters that ODM has not changed in its resolve to create a fair, equitable, just and democratic nation in Kenya; that as a party, we still believe in those outstanding qualities that saw us bring a new Constitution and other inspiring reforms to this land and that we will continue knocking on the tightly locked doors of possibilities.
Let us put aside our selfish inclinations and begin to work together. By working together—each one of us will be able to do more than his or her best. Working as a team, we will achieve the impossible.
A new generation has joined the rank of ODM leadership and support base. This new generation can and must match or better, surpass the older one in ability, in courage, and in resolution.
When our people are confronted with the dangers of an incompetent dictatorship, then we ODM, must be, as we have always been; competent, courageous and resolute. Together, we will stop the steady rush into the abyss.
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