Raila Odinga revives Mau debate, vows to protect the forest

Azimio la Umoja Coalition flagbearer Raila Odinga

Azimio la Umoja Coalition flagbearer Raila Odinga addresses supporters at the William ole Ntimama Stadium in Narok Town yesterday. 

Photo credit: Pool

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential aspirant Raila Odinga yesterday teamed up with his running mate Martha Karua for their first joint rally since the unveiling and asked the Maa community to reject Deputy President William Ruto for what he said was the DP’s inability to guarantee the preservation of the Mau Forest.

Speaking in Loita, Entasekera and at the William ole Ntimama Stadium, Mr Odinga promised the people of Narok that his administration will prioritise environmental conservation if he wins in August.

“I fought for the restoration of Mau forest in 2009. They threatened me that they will not vote for me in 2017 and I told them that even if it would take me going back to Kibera to sell mandazi, I was willing to as long as we conserve Mau Forest,” he said.

Mr Odinga claimed that the Mau evictees were eagerly awaiting DP Ruto’s election so that they can return to the forest.

“That other team will not protect your forests. Those people should not be trusted as far as environmental conservation is concerned,” warned Mr Odinga.

The ODM leader also responded to the cries of the Loita community conservancy who wanted the ongoing demarcation to be stopped due to what they termed a skewed process.

“On the Loita demarcation, I can assure you that I will talk with President Uhuru Kenyatta and this process will stop immediately,” said Mr Odinga.

The ODM leader also pledged to address the thorny issue of historical land injustices that have been dogging the community.

“Everybody knows that the Maasai had huge masses of land. Uasin Gishu County was originally Maasai land but now the Uasin Gishu clan is in Trans Mara. This community has been dispossessed from their land and we shall sort this issue,” said Mr Odinga.

The ODM boss also vowed to return all the stolen public money stashed in offshore accounts and jail those responsible should he be elected the fifth president. Mr Odinga exuded confidence that his administration will end runaway corruption in the country and stir economic revolution.

He also pledged to establish agricultural industries in Narok to add value to meat and wheat produced in the county, and extend the standard gauge railway to Kisumu via Narok.

On her part, Ms Karua said that their Azimio team was tried and trusted, adding that Mr Odinga was a true patriot who puts Kenya before his own interests.

“My president Mr Odinga has sacrificed a lot for this country. In 2002, he had an opportunity to be president himself but he said ‘Kibaki tosha’ and again in 2018 he shook hands with President Kenyatta for the sake of the unity of the country,” said Ms Karua.

She hit out at Dr Ruto claiming that he has no development record despite him having been in government for the last 10 years.

“Apart from corruption, those fighting against us have no known development record,” she said.

Ms Karua said that she was a serious leader who would not take her work lightly and urged Kenyans to support their bid.

She also vowed to fight for the empowerment of women in the country, saying her nomination was not in vain.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu took a swipe at Kenya Kwanza over what she termed as hypocrisy for purporting to support mama mboga.

“They are claiming that their agenda is empowering mama mboga yet they oppose our Deputy President candidate. What exactly do they want?” she asked.

Mr Odinga promised to ensure that all Kenyans are enrolled under the National Health Insurance Fund, and defended his social protection programme in which he says that poor families will get Sh6,000 monthly stipends.

Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth said: “This team (Azimio) is a clean team with no corruption cases. The other team will destroy this country.”  


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