Open Letter to President Kenyatta on need for structured national dialogue

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BY RAILA ODINGA

I wish again to convey my sincere condolences to the people of Mpeketoni, Lamu County, over the senseless and brutal killings of many innocent Kenyans and to share with you the grief and sadness over the tragic events that occurred in the county. This occurrence is an unfortunate additional tragedy to the now growing and harrowing statistics of attacks that the Kenyan people have suffered over the last one year.

We must stand together as a nation to fight terrorism in all its forms and your Excellency can be assured of my full support in the war against terror. I commend the people of Kenya who have shown unity and resilience and demonstrated courage and patriotism in defence of the motherland.

Last year after the Supreme Court heard and determined my petition challenging the presidential elections, I accepted the verdict. I did that as a true believer in constitutionalism and the rule of law and declared that Kenya is greater than any one of us.

However, since then, Kenya has been faced with major problems and challenges that may tear the country apart if not immediately addressed. I have chosen the path of dialogue as the lawful and sensible way of dealing with what the country faces today.

There are obvious signs that if we do not confront these problems and challenges now through a structured process of national dialogue then the road to peace will be thorny and difficult.

I seek no office or reward. CORD does not want to share power with the Jubilee administration. We have a constitutional mandate as the opposition in parliament and as a coalition of political parties. However, the problems and challenges facing the country cannot all be addressed as an exercise of law making or oversight. Nor can they be resolved on the basis of the classical interplay between the three arms of government.

All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and the people may exercise their sovereign power directly. The national values and principles of governance include participation of the people. We are seeking national dialogue within the context of the Constitution and not outside it.

I therefore urge you, my brother, to read the words of Prophet Isaiah found in Chapter 1, Verse 18 (King James Version);

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it”.

These words constituted the political choices that Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Junior took and which later informed and guided the resolution of the national question in South Africa. So I offer the hand of peace and an olive branch so that we may “dwell in unity, peace and liberty” and in happiness and prosperity.

CORD wishes to put on the table of dialogue five issues, which are; inclusivity and national unity, devolution, corruption, the electoral process and national security.

INCLUSIVITY AND NATIONAL UNITY

One of the running themes of the Constitution is the question of unity and inclusivity as a mechanism of slaying the hydra of tribalism, racism and other forms of discrimination. And every state organ and institution is required to be guided by the principles of competitiveness and transparent processes of appointment of state officers and the promotion of gender equality in the management of public affairs. Recruitment in state organs must reflect the diversity of the Kenyan people in equitable proportions. No single community, group or coalition should establish a hegemony over the public service or the distribution of state resources.

These are the standards and the imperatives set by the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. Less than a year after the last general elections, several communities are feeling excluded on the basis of ethnicity, identity or gender.

DEVOLUTION

One of the objects of devolution is to ensure that there is equitable sharing of national and local resources throughout Kenya. The guarantee for achieving this is found both in Article 203(2) and (3) as read together with Article 229 of the Constitution. In requiring that the Auditor General, the Executive and Parliament conclude financial audit in time, the Constitution protects the counties from the mischief by the National Government of using historical and old audited and approved accounts in the division of revenue. The funds allocated to the counties must be based on the audited accounts of the financial year immediately preceding the current financial year. The county governments have lost nearly 600 billion shillings in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 because the National Treasury has used outdated accounts for the purposes of sharing of revenue between the national government and the county governments.

The centralism of the old order has been retained by establishing and restructuring the provincial administration in its old tradition and format as a tool of colonialism before 1963 first and later the imperial presidency after independence. The interventions of the National Government through the Ministry of Devolution and Planning and other agencies are suffocating devolution and down grading and undermining the relationship between the two levels of government which otherwise must be conducted on the basis of consultation and cooperation between distinct and inter-dependent entities.
CORRUPTION

Despite promises made that corruption will be eradicated, the menace has resurrected vigorously and has compromised flagship projects of Vision 2030 and new development initiatives. The unlawful payment of Kshs. 4.5 billion to Anglo-Leasing related companies is shrouded in mystery and raises questions of lack of integrity, transparency and accountability. The Standard Gauge Railway project, which is a key and vital development in the expansion and modernization of Kenya’s infrastructure, has raised serious credibility concerns and it would appear that costs have been escalated in order to accommodate rents and kickbacks for brokers. Major questions are being raised about the probity and accountability of several pork-barrel and ‘sweetheart’ deals in the energy, oil, mining and agricultural sectors. Mega projects have become the handmaiden of grand corruption.

ELECTORAL PROCESS AND THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION

The Kriegler Commission articulated the basis for the reform of the electoral law in Kenya. The problems of 2007 general elections visited 2013 general elections and currently there is no doubt that unless a proper review and overhaul is undertaken, the conduct of free and fair elections will continue to be a mirage in Kenya.

It is not my wish to contest the results of the presidential elections held in 2013. Rather, I want Kenya to develop a political culture based on the proposition that elections should not be remembered through the repulsive images of disputes and even conflicts that arise after every election but rather by the power and might of the ballot exercised and cast in freely contested democratic election.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Under Articles 238 and 239 of the Constitution, the national security organs have important functions of protecting life, freedom and property. They protect Kenya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty against external and internal threats. The security organs need the unequivocal support and cooperation of the people particularly by denying terrorists and criminal elements sanctuary in our land. But we have been hit very hard and complacency and firefighting activities will not rid Kenya of terrorist attacks. People have lost confidence in our national security system and feel disappointed with the incompetent leadership at the head of our security and intelligence organs. Questions are also being raised about our military operation in Somalia not in terms of its validity or legitimacy but in terms of longevity and lack of clear operational objectives. In terms of the confluence and the fast and furious sequence of terrorist activities, 2014 may turn out to be the worst year since the attacks on the American Embassy in 1998 as Kenya lost in two days this week more than 70 people in Mpeketoni. This is besides the shooting, grenade attacks and IED explosions in Diani, the church in Likoni, Pangani Police Station, Mwembe Tayari, the outskirts of the Reef Hotel in Nyali, Thika Road, Nairobi and Gikomba market. And we are still counting. To deal with this sequel of terror and its fatal and devastating effects the nation must sit and dialogue together and in unison combat terror and other invasions to our peace, prosperity and the rule of law.

I want to assure your Excellency that we hold no grudges nor do we want to interfere with your tenure and that of the jubilee administration as the President and the Government of the Republic of Kenya. We have been holding very peaceful rallies as a way, under the Constitution, of engaging the people in an open and public discourse on how we can make Kenya great and prosperous; a free nation, a people liberated and an independent country in the international community of nations.

RAILA AMOLO ODINGA

NAIROBI, 20TH JUNE 2014

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  • Gabby

    That’s crying n’crocon’dile tears, RAO? – Kiraitu Murungi

    • Qwani

      That is the same opinion I have. Give him one week at most and he will be back to his usual ways of hurling all manner of comments at his rallies.

  • Githaiga Wa Mbuthia

    some people will never be satisfied.

  • madam mary

    ulipewa mkate nusu in the last govt what did you do with it????????/kindly give the current govt time to do they work.after five yrs will judge them by then

    • McNdeda

      To do ‘there’ work not they work. Maddam kizungu ngumu!!!!

      • babayao

        their work not ‘there’ either… ngumu sana

      • edu

        You also failed its ‘their’ work.

  • Mike Ndech

    This is more like it. You ask for dialogue you don’t demand and threaten the govt with dire consequences if they don’t. Now tame your fellow opposition goons

    • Gabby

      I thought dialogue happens in the parliaments – the county ones or assemblies, the senate and main parliament with even women representatives, where tonnes of motions of import like security ones can be brought at all tiers for debate aka ‘talk’. There are also security budgets in the allocations to the counties ? What was devolution all about; the ‘cake’ with no responsibility?

  • Anony

    Seeking dialogue does not mean cowardice. “I can be a fool within 5 minutes of asking, and you will remain fool forever because you never asked”!

  • Gabby

    RAO conspicuously misses out Westgate in his ‘list’ of indicting disasters.

  • irene

    looks like there is somebody who has got a mantra for eradicating corruption, and and and………. within minutes and wont give others a chance to hear themselves think and work on it without shouting to the whole world and disrupting the very processes of working out things. Some things are transitional and are eradicated as a new government continues working…….. whats the mantra for eradicating these things within a week?????? and where are the “if this is not done immediately, a tornado is coming” slogans that were there until kenyans said NO NO NO TO THAT KIND OF TALK. am sad. why paint everything black to look white???? People amicably without stabbing each other on the back and playing better than the rest….. am sad

  • liz

    All you guys sound shameless and pathetic. We need help and must agree mahali , tumefika hii gava inateleza. mwisho wa kuteleza ni kuanguka. grab the opportunity listen to each other and lets build kenya. Go RAO and go uhuru. we need safety, security and the many other promises that were made which we so much await

    • Keniota

      Rao can do nothing to the common mwanainchi beginning with his former constituents for more than ten years in kibra, he was there during Anglo leasing, approving the payments, he was there disbanded kivuiti commission and contracted the new IEBC he was there when kenya military went to Somali, now that he lost election by numbers and by law, all that should be changed until he become prezzo…comical opposition of men in black…..ashindwe

  • Qwani

    Raila tosha!!! That is enough. If you had come out in this manner right from the very beginning, perhaps we just might have believed you. As of now, there is a very big disconnect between what you said at those rallies and what you claim to say here. Some of the comments you made at your rallies have been very vile and distasteful to say the very least.

    • Keniota

      He is always a chameleon, when he sense danger, he coils his tail

  • rho

    So speaks a man who is not only a tribalist but a nepotist going by his appointments in the last government. Let’s not forget corrupt… can he please explain where the Kazi Kwa Vijana funds went? They were managed under the Prime Minister’s office. Let’s also not forget that Rogo… the rogue preacher was executed under your watch as Prime Minister. And he was not the only one. Grenades were set off in Garissa and Nairobi when you were Prime Minister. What did you do? The price of maize and other foods escalated when you were in government, what did you do? I remember a newsbyte of you telling people not to go to the streets to express the high cost of living. Now you preach a different story. What jobs did you create for the youth when you were in government? Give us a break with your shenanigans. You are a propagandists out to malign the name off the government. Plus you preach discord not togetherness of Kenyans. We have your speeches at rallies to show this. Are you going to deny you said things yet they are on record? The Jubilee Government has only been in power for a year,much shorter than your bloody 5 years. Give them time.

    • Sam

      Good thing is that you have no control over what Uhuru or Raila do. They can choose to dialogue or not to and all reason points to a possibility of agreement. In your case, you can only spew vile needlessly.

      • Rho

        ehem. I think you need to read your dictionary more often Sam. Vile? I simply stated facts. Raila wants to sanitize himself but he is no better. Calling a spade a spade. I want dialogue but his approach has been violent. This is how he should have approached it in the first place. Comment from a point of intelligence next time, will you?!

        • Keniota

          We’ll said

  • kimanthi

    While the article is well titled “need for a structured national dialogue”, Raila and CORD go ahead and itemize the five issues which would be discussed in such a forum without mentioning how such talks would be structured. Therein lays the problem, because the article doesn’t address the key dispute that is on the table currently. Uhuru Kenyatta and the Jubilee government have insisted that such discussions be held through constitutionally
    provided forums. This article therefore does not solve the current impasse and is therefore irrelevant in moving us forward.

  • Mik Jagger

    …again, Ultimatums!! What is it with the threats?

    • Sam

      Where is the ultimatum in the letter??

      • Georgy55ke

        …But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword…

  • mkenyahalisi

    Please note these people were voted in and given a term of 5
    years to deal with these same challenges —which you did not manage to resolve
    in your 5 year of power— After 5 years we will evaluate their performance and
    decide whether to give them another term or not. If they do not manage to solve
    the issues, we are ready to live with / deal with the consequences, since we
    voted them in full knowledge that they will stay for 5 years minimum. Once a leader
    has been chosen there is no middle ground, he has to run full course, that’s
    the inevitable truth about democracy. And please note the message being
    communicated so loudly we can’t hear… is that someone thinks he is better able
    to govern than the president himself. Now while everyone has the luxury to
    think the same, it is lack of etiquette to say such in public. This is sheer lack
    of respect and demeaning to the high office of the head of state. The head of
    state deserves the respect of everyone in order to perform his duties authoritatively
    and with dignity.

  • King George IV

    Ultimatums:1.
    Raila Quote:”There are obvious signs that if we do not confront these problems and
    challenges now through a structured process of national dialogue then
    the road to peace will be thorny and difficult”.
    “I say Kenya has largely been at peace with each other(tribally).The Alshabab issue is an external force,so who will make the road(read”presidents tenure”)thorny and difficult?And why cant these issues be raised in Parliament?
    Ultimatums:2.
    Raila Quote”All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and the people may
    exercise their sovereign power directly. The national values and
    principles of governance include participation of the people. We are
    seeking national dialogue within the context of the Constitution and not
    outside it”.
    I say”Kenyans have ELECTED representatives in both the Senate and the Parliament,have these leaders been unable to carry out the mandate give to them by the Electorate?,Has Cord failed to live up to their expectations as the peoples watchmen within the two houses?”.
    Ultimatums:3.
    Prophet Isaiah found in Chapter 1, Verse 18 (King James Version)
    Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins
    be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like
    crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall
    eat the good of the land. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be
    devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it”.
    I say that this quote speaks volumes who is the lord here?Raila????He wants to forgive????for what????the president shall be devoured by the sword for the “lord” has spoken it?This is to me a direct threat on the Presidents life and should be taken very seriously.
    Ultimatums:3.Raila Quote
    “So I offer the hand of peace and an olive branch so that we may “dwell
    in unity, peace and liberty” and in happiness and prosperity.”
    So all this is for personal gratification,Kenyans are just pawns and expendable lives….why the olive branch unless there is a struggle……..Raila Lost in both rounds,he says he agreed to the resolution of the Kenyan people and the Courts but I think he will stop at nothing to be President of this Nation,NOT for the betterment of Kenyans but to win a “war”,most likely the one lost by his father to Mzee Kenyatta.

    While the issues Raila raises are pertinent,there are avenues that show statesmanship and less likely to lead Kenyans to Tribal strife.three or four people should NOT DICTATE the way a President should rule.Inclusivity should not mean Luo,Luhya and a reluctant Kamba and a Coerced Coast region,at the end of it all it is just three tribal regions,what the difference.
    KENYANS WANT TO MOVE ON,AND THEY WERE DOING SO TILL A FEW WEEKS AGO.HIGHLIGHT THE INSECURITY ISSUES,CORRUPTION AND DEVOLUTION MATTERS SENSIBLY,AS IT IS NOW BECAUSE OF THIS BRAND OF POLITICS,KENYA IS MORE ETHNICALLY DIVIDED THAN EVER!

    • David Rono

      WE ARE SIMPLY TIRED OF THIS GOVERNMENT. NO MONEY!!1

      • T

        So you’re just sitting around waiting for money from the government instead of coming up with solutions for yourself? Pretty much explains why you are where you are. Don’t you think? Be part of nation building. Instead of asking what the government can do for you, change the question. You’ll surprise yourself with what you come up with. For one, you need to stop the dependency syndrome.

        • RONO

          MY FRIEND, THE MACRO & MICRO ECONOMIC CLIMATE OF THIS ECONOMY IS SET BY THE GOVA. OF THE DAY. THE PRESO & DP ARE SIMPLY CONFUSED AND ANYONE SUPPORTING THE GOVA. IS EQUALLY CONFUSED!

      • Keniota

        R u mentally handicapped or displaced??? Work hard and look for money. Stop attending political rallies on your empty stomach

      • Qwani

        Where are you looking for the money?? Under your mattress??

    • Guest

      You forget that Jaramogi outlived Kenyatta by 15 years… you cannot logically lose a war to a dead man, however influential.

      • Godfrey Kimega

        Kenyatta was older by about 20 years.

  • Bereaved

    Damage control?
    Sorry. Too little too late!
    This letter should have sufficed INSTEAD of the rallies past and future. Just think 68 daddies, sons would still be with their families tonight. i hope in the end it will have been worth it all.

  • Gathii

    Trying to save face after your key allies abandoned you? I thought you said you will not engage the President through the media? Let’s wait for the storm on Saba Saba. I have my umbrella with me!

    • Keniota

      It won,t happen, Saba Saba Tojo job Kama kawaida kutafutia watoto unga

  • Gabby

    13) “Baba when you were away. no Mpeketoni…”
    ” Baba when you were not away, _______”? (3 marks)

  • mkenyahalisi

    we the sovereign peoples of Kenya are the ones who appointed uhuruto, and gave
    them delegated authority as per constitution. If they fail to perform, we are
    ready to take responsibility and blame, since we voted them in full knowledge
    they are not perfect and will run for 5 years. Someone should stop distracting our
    leaders. If one has any concerns, let him refer to us ‘the sovereign’ peoples
    of kenya not uhuruto. But we only allow such discourse once in 5 years, 4 now
    we are too busy to have time for sideshows. At the same time, we ‘the sovereign
    peoples of Kenya gave some noble roles to parliament and judiciary – to provide
    checks and balances to government within the precincts of the constitution. This
    is where checks and balances should be exercised, not in public rallies. We the
    kenayn people do not, at this time, wish to exercise our sovereign power in any
    other mode. There is simply no reason to rock the boat

    • Keniota

      We’ll said this babu business is unacceptable. We have a constitution which guides us and road side ultimatums are unacceptable

      • Wakilimzuri

        Keniota,some of us here are looking for a genuine debate,either way,be sensible and address the issues for god’s sake!

        • Keniota

          Genuine debate is over, and babu now wants to go to state house alone for a cup of tea….not with your “some of us”

          • Wakilimzuri

            With this type of mindset,one prays that you are the only one of this kind preying around,and that the rest of the citizenry can engage in genuine and sober debates,either way,for the good of us all.The lesser said the better.

          • Wakilimzuri

            nkt!

  • barin

    Oh ye beautiful hardworking Kenyan sons & daughters, — so peaceful & hardworking that they have no memories of the PEV following political power gluttony in 2007. It is a pity Ocampo looked everywhere but the right direction to charge someone as responsible for the senseless blood letting. Well, we are no fools now. I wonder what is so very very very special about being president; at the expense of our nationhood! God save Kenya from Raila’s, imagined, or is it paranoid, bloody grand march to state house. Can you imagine the possible criminal chaos that may occur in the saba-saba thing? May we be wise and avoid delusional, self-imagined messiahs. We have work & issues to deal with as Kenyans. 2017 is just around the corner.

  • Mzalendo

    mmmmm.It is undemocratic to break the limits of democracy!

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