NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on Wednesday that he was justified to sack former Tourism Minister Najib Balala because he was not adding value to his party.
The premier told a political rally at the Tononoka grounds in Mombasa that Balala had outrightly opposed the Orange Democratic Movement and had to be kicked out.
He said he could not stomach Balala’s public attacks on the party and decided to relieve him of his duties.
He has assured Mombasa leaders that they would get a ministerial position even as Muslim leaders announced in Nairobi that they will not back his presidential bid in the next elections.
Local leaders who attended Odinga’s political rally in Mombasa distanced themselves from a section of the Muslim leadership which flanked Balala at a press conference in Nairobi where they castigated the premier for abandoning them and accused him of reneging on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with them in last election of 2007.
Odinga’s rally in Mombasa was attended by Assistant Ministers Ramadhan Kajembe, Ali Hassan Joho and legislators Masoud Mwahima of Likoni, Omar Zonga of Msambweni and Mombasa mayor Mohammed Mohdhar.
They said they strongly believed that Balala’s removal from the Cabinet was not a betrayal of the Muslim community since he was working against the interests of ODM.
Gender Minister Naomi Shaban who also spoke at the meeting appealed to the PM to consider appointing another MP from Mombasa to a ministerial position.
Balala was sacked on Monday and his position taken over by Danson Mwazo, who is the Voi MP.
Balala has accused Odinga of betraying his allies in ODM by failing to uphold democracy.
During his tour of Mombasa, Odinga launched a cash transfer programme that will earn 10,200 poorest households in the region a stipend of Sh2,000 each.
He said the programme will be piloted in Mvita, Likoni, Changamwe and Kisauni where the households will receive the stipend after every two months.
“It is a constitutional requirement. It is also a millennium development goal,” he added.
The Prime Minister explained that the selection of the pilot areas was guided by Kenya integrated household budget survey which identified them as some of the poorest regions in the country.
“The State can therefore no longer afford to allow any citizen to languish in poverty and disease,” he said.
He said the Bill of Rights grants every Kenyan the right to a decent way of living, adding the Kenya vision 2030 also identifies equity and poverty reduction as one of the four main pillars of economic development.
“We need bold policies that enable people to afford farm inputs. We must conserve our environment and we must do more irrigation,” he said, adding “We are taking steps in this direction and I am confident they will bear fruits.”