We meet at a moment of hope. Hope that change for the better can come for our party after the successful grassroots elections of last year.
Millions of people took part in the contest; a tribute to the democracy gaining roots in our party. From those elections, we emerged stronger and energised.
I congratulate each of our new officials for the dramatic campaign and your victory to secure the positions you occupy.
In particular, I want to thank the women and youth leaders.
You are pioneers in the positions you hold. You are beneficiaries of the constitution your party fought for. Your generation and your gender look up to you to make a difference. I want to see you exercise your power and influence.
And I assure you of my total support as your leader. I also want to thank you our MPs and NEC members for the support for me and our party.
We have been through tough four years. Many times we had to make compromises. Many times we pushed unpopular programmes that were necessary for the future of our nation. I don’t take for granted that support that brought us this far.
That support was never in vain. It gave the party significant successes on our election promises.
We never wavered in the quest for a new constitution. Thanks to our steadfastness, our country got a modern, progressive and liberating constitution in 2010. A new constitution was our number one election promise. In 2007 we told Kenyans that we were the party of Devolution.
In our manifesto, we said, and I quote, “We will reform the system of governance to empower local communities … We will disperse power to communities and engage our people in active citizenship by involving them directly in the management of their neighbourhood and the services they need.”
Thanks to your steadfastness, Devolution is a central pillar of the new Constitution.
We have steadily pursued the Green Energy Agenda. We have championed conservation of the environment. We have stood up for the preservation of our water towers. Because of these initiatives, the future of our rivers and lakes, the future of our people, looks more assured than before.
We continue to be the voice of women and youth in and outside government. We have mainstreamed the involvement of the private sector in public policy formulation. Our country is all the richer because of these steps.
And we are party to the massive investment in infrastructure that has taken shape in the last four years. Infrastructure was our key pledge in 2007.
On each of these areas, challenges remain. The old order is still trying to claw back the gains. They are fighting Devolution. They are trying to starve the County government of money and other resources.
They are trying to kill the Senate. They want to criminalize guarantees to our mothers and sisters like the right to safe motherhood.
We must stand as a party today, and all this year and tell them: NEVER. WE SHALL NOT ALLOW!
Across the nation, across class and across gender, ODM is once again present to represent all Kenyans. Our task is to ensure that this Party becomes the Government of our country next year. To realise this goal, we need unity of the party on this last leg.
On issues that matter to the party and the future of Kenya, we must speak with one voice from the Indian Ocean to Lake Victoria, from Mt Elgon to Mt Kenya.
Being an election year, and as the party to beat, we are going to have a lot of mud thrown our way. The aim will be to have us go down with the others who are on their way down and out. It will be your duty as leaders to help wananchi separate fact from fiction, lies from truth.
It will be your task explain what the party position has been on the various issues they will be digging from the graveyards to antagonize us. The party headquarters will soon get a new life with election of national officials.
I will expect the secretariat to furnish the leaders with timely and relevant information for onward transmission to supporters. You have heard the party’s plan of action that begins in the coming weeks.
I am counting on you to put your energy behind the party to ensure the success of these programmes.
We remain the mainstream political voice in the country today. We must use this privileged position to stand up for wishes of the vast majority. We must speak out for Kenyans when their interests are threatened by the entrenched interests that hold them back.
Most important, we must use our mainstream position to ensure that this country works together in order for our citizens to succeed.
We need to consistently remind Kenyans that divided we fall. ODM must stand against divisions along ethnic, regional, party and religious lines. We stand for the unity of the nation that we are sure to govern next year.
As a party… We have run a good race. We have kept the faith.
We must roll up our sleeves and prepare for the next big agenda for a Kenya we want to govern.
For this party, in this coming election, that big agenda is… Number one, JOBS; number two, JOBS; number three, JOBS.
I am confident Kenyans will give us a chance.