, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 7-The Orange Democratic Movement’s National Delegates Conference (NDC) on Friday unanimously endorsed Raila Odinga as the party’s flag bearer for the March 4 general election.
Odinga said that ODM represents the interests of the Kenyan people and was ready to make their lives better and transform the country.
The PM who spoke after accepting the nomination said that his priority areas will be developing infrastructure, creation of jobs for the youth, food security and enhancing national security.
When he took to the podium Odinga said that it signified the signing of a contract with the people of Kenya on what his administration will deliver.
“We focused on infrastructure in 2007 and we have seen the result in expanded road-network, accelerated growth through ICT, and successful irrigation projects in arid and semi-arid lands. While we continue with this work, I now pledge that we shall again invest heavily in three areas: one, jobs, two, jobs, three, jobs” he said.
“Every one of the ills we suffer has its roots in poverty. At the very root of this poverty is the lack of jobs. Most of our young people do not have jobs. Yet our youths have been educated to expect something more from life.
They expect to be gainfully employed,” he added saying that youthful population can be a curse if not empowered.
“We want to live in a country where every family can place food on the table, where water is plenty in supply and every child receives quality education,” he said.
The PM assured of a peaceful election saying that the country must avoid a repeat of the 2007/08 violence and added it is possible to turn Kenya into “an African lion”.
Odinga pledged to engage his coalition partners to ensure that the United Nations Security council refers cases facing four Kenyans at the International Criminal Court (ICC), back to Kenya.
Zimbabwe PM Morgan Tsvangirai who was the chief Guest at the conference challenged those seeking to be elected to always “serve the people and not to misuse power”.
Tsvangirai at the same time called for peace to prevail in the elections period and urged that voters make the right decisions to elect a government and avoid a forced coalition scenario similar to the one of 2008 between Odinga and incumbent President Mwai Kibaki through a power-sharing agreement mediated by former UN chief Kofi Annan.
“Coalitions like that of 2008 build discord and dysfunctional arrangement in government; we want one government that defines its own programs so that it is judged by those programs,” he advised, insisting that candidates had to accept election results.
“We have to learn that power is institutional and not personal, when you reside power in yourself you become a dictator. The reason why we have remained behind in development is leaders who assume power without vision,” he added.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, who was also present, said that his Wiper Democratic Movement and Odinga’s ODM will work together and deliver to Kenyans their dream of a “prosperous nation”.
Musyoka reiterated his call on leaders to put the interests of Kenya first ahead of their own at all times.
The VP who was accompanied by MP’s Johnstone Muthama, Philip Kaloki, and nominated MP Mohamed Affey.
It emerged that NARC Kenya turned down an invitation from Odinga who had wanted its leader Martha Karua to attend the orange party’s delegates’ conference
In a statement sent to newsrooms, Karua said that she was not part of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) as implied in the invitation sent to her. She insisted that she did not subscribe to pre election coalitions.
“For the avoidance of doubt neither me nor the party I lead Narc Kenya are members of the said coalition. We therefore, with respect decline your invitation. We wish you well in your deliberations and promise you and the coalition a healthy and grueling competition in the race to statehouse,” Karua said in a statement.
ODM Secretary General Anyang Nyong’o on Saturday dismissed Karua saying her statement “will not improve her political stature in Kenyan politics.”
“The ODM would like us in Kenya to take democratic practice among political parties to this higher level. Hon. Martha Karua shouldn’t make a mountain out of a mole hill,” Nyong’o said, citing the Great Britain where political parties usually invite sister parties, including opponents, to such conventions.