“Wake up and smell the coffee,” Raila tells Uhuru over economy

October 21, 2015 2:11 pm
Odinga flanked by CORD legislators at a press conference in Nairobi.
Odinga flanked by CORD legislators at a press conference in Nairobi.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – CORD leader Raila Odinga has told President Uhuru Kenyatta “to wake up and smell the coffee” claiming the country’s economy is on a downward trend.

Odinga who arrived from a three-week long tour of South Korea and China Wednesday expressed concern over the plummeting economy and called on President Kenyatta to address the matter before it worsens.

“Jubilee is over borrowing, over spending and over stealing. We have warned that the cost of living is rising and we also raised alarm that the Jubilee Government has increased our public debt by Sh860 billion in one year, from Sh1.8 trillion to Sh2.6 trillion,” he said.

He disclosed during his tenure as Prime Minister under the Grand-Coalition Government, debt only accumulated to Sh900 billion within five years.

In a direct address to President Kenyatta whom he accused of glossing over the concerns of Kenyans who have been ‘ranting’ on social media over the state of the economy, Odinga urged him to take his rightful position and crack the whip on individuals who had failed to effectively perform their duties.

“Do not underestimate the urgency of the situation Kenya faces; do not underestimate your imperative to act. Please get up and report on duty!” he posed.

Odinga however said the Opposition was ready to work with the government to better the lives of Kenyans.

“We stand ready to support measures that will steady the economy and ensure respect for our nation. We demand a plan that creates a convergence with productivity, job creation, fairness and inclusivity at the centre of our growth agenda,” he continued.

He further pointed an accusing finger at Jubilee legislators who are quick to insult the opposition when they raised concerns instead of having an honest debate and finding solutions to the issues ailing Kenya.

During his appearance before the parliamentary Budget and Appropriations Committee last week, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich admitted that the country was facing a cash crunch attributed to domestic and international loan repayments, slow collection of revenue and demand for disbursements.

CORD believes the government is however simply living beyond its means.

“Our budget deficit stands at 10 percent of the GDP and 18 percent of revenue, our public debt has doubled; foreign debt has overtaken domestic debt and the external debts are mostly commercial and non-concessional. The cost of servicing our foreign debt is rising faster than domestic one largely as a result of huge commercial loans especially the Eurobond,” Odinga said.

He said the rate at which the interest rates were rising were alarming, and warned Kenyans against borrowing saying it would be ‘stupid’.

Accompanied by several legislators and supporters, Odinga further urged Kenyans not to dismiss the El Nino warning issued by the Meteorological Department instead urging them to prepare for the rains.


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