ODM leader Raila Odinga has blasted Deputy President William Ruto’s economic model ahead of next year’s transition of political power.
He said Ruto’s current political predicament is a result of not supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta to complete his legacy projects and instead prioritising his 2022 presidential campaigns.
He argued that since Ruto had bolted out of Uhuru’s development agenda, it was within his right to support whoever he wants to succeed him.
“We have a bigger agenda than those telling you mama mboga, wheelbarrow and boda boda. We have a bigger agenda to drive economic growth,” Raila said as he rubbished Ruto’s hustler narrative.
He added: “If you want to talk about hustlers, start with people like the late Nginyo Karuiki, who started from scratch.”
Although Raila is yet to declare his presidential bid, his allies and those of President Kenyatta have fronted him as the best bet to be the fifth Head of State.
“We want to lift Kenya from a third world economy to a middle income economy by 2030, which we designed with retired President Mwai Kibaki. It starts from the lower level, uchumi mashinani. It is lifting the economy and it can be done,” said Raila.
He argued the best way to change Kenya’s fortunes is to create resources and structures that will create more opportunities for women and youth.
“This is what China has done, devolving resources to the regions. China has elevated 500 million people from the lower level and we can do between 15 million to 20 million. We must deal with specific issues which are region based like tea, coffee, pyrethrum and milk. We must make sure things work so that farmers get value for money and deal with monopolies to create incentives,” said Raila.
He said giving youth skills to be wealth creators is the way to go and open up the economy to foreign investments.
“We have too many regulations and middle men that are improvising people. Don not charge taxes which are punitive, but spread the net so you create incentives. When you go after the small people and leave the big fish, it is not good. We will change the way business is done by promoting local investments,” he said after laying a wreath at the grave of late businessman Nginyo Kariuki in Limuru on Thursday.
Raila has sustained his push for a progressive economy and said top on his priority is the fight against corruption.
“We will start by empowering local businessmen by protecting and promoting them. Foreign investors do not come into our country to develop it,” said the ODM leader.
He added: “They put their capital and get profits after which they repatriate the said profits back to their countries as dividends to pay their shareholders.”
He took a swipe at DP Ruto’s hustler narrative, saying he has no idea of how the model works.
“It is so shameful that someone is coming here telling you about mama mboga, wheelbarrow and boda boda without saying how such dreams will be achieved,” he said.
The former Prime Minister was accompanied by his elder brother Dr Oburu Odinga, Siaya Senator James Orengo, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, his Kisii counterpart James Ongwae and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth.
Kenneth said they will give locals an opportunity to establish what kind of a leader Raila is, and help them make decisions devoid of misinformation.
He said Central Kenya leaders have embarked on a journey to market Raila in Mt Kenya. “We have allowed you to come and spend time with our people and let them decide what sort of a leader you are,” he said.
Kenneth noted that the most important thing for the region is to ensure its interests are secured.
Orengo castigated Ruto for not using the energy he is using to campaign for his 2022 presidential bid to support the president’s development agenda.
He said the political landscape will be different as people from the mountain and the lake will vote together.
Oburu called for a united and peaceful country devoid of tribalism.