ODM leader Raila Odinga Saturrday returned to Narok County to consolidate his support base in the Maa community with a promise to seal all corruption loopholes, protect the Mau and stop land-grab.
He first held a consultative meeting with the local political and religious leaders and opinion shapers in the county. The restoration of the Maasai Mau, grabbing of former Vice President Joseph Murumbi’s land, poor road network, and value addition to farm produce took centre stage.
Mr Odinga, who was installed as a Maasai elder and endorsed by the Maasai Council of Elders, led by Kelena ole Nchoe and Joseph ole Karia as the community choice for the presidency, promised to fight corruption, saying it was a cancer that has devastated the country for a long time.
“I am in this race to re-engineer the liberation of Kenya's economy and the greatest problem biting the stability of our economy is corruption. I will seal all loopholes so that all government money can benefit all Kenyans.”
Mr Odinga said the economy will be stable and he will generate money to give Sh6,000 as a social protection fund to each vulnerable family.
Dismissing Deputy President William Ruto’s bottom-up economic model, he promised to introduce the ‘Uchumi Mashinani’ programme that will empower local traders, youths and women to become self-reliant.
The opposition leader said having served in the grand coalition government as Prime Minister, alongside retired President Mwai Kibaki, he understands well how the government generates revenue.
Without naming names, Mr Odinga charged that some individuals who were busy donating millions of shillings to churches have also grabbed land in Maasai land.
“This guy has also grabbed over 2000 acres belonging to former Vice President Joseph Murumbi and with that appetite of land, nobody can trust him in leadership of this country,” he said.
The ODM leader reiterated his stand on issues that resonate with the Maasai community such as agricultural prosperity, land, livestock farming, stronger devolution, unity among Kenyans and clean water for every household.
Maa leaders present included Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina, Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta, Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella and Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Charles ole Sunkuli.
He was also accompanied by governors Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru), Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), former presidential aspirant Peter Kenneth, MPs Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Pamella Odhiambo (Migori), Memusi Kanchori (Kajiado Central), Kanini Kega (Kieni) and Judy Pareno (nominated senator).
Governor Muriithi accused the Deputy President of grabbing land, leading to conflicts between farmers and herders.
Thanking the Maasai for standing with him in the rehabilitation of the Mau Forest and giving credit to former Maa kingpin William ole Ntimama, Mr Odinga said the water tower should be conserved at all costs as millions of people depend on it.
Paid the price
He said he paid the price by losing a significant number of votes in the Rift Valley in the 2013 General Election because of his conservation efforts.
“I was fought hard because of my stand to implement the government’s decision to conserve all the water towers in the country,” he said.
“That propaganda made me lose some votes from the Rift-Valley. I had vowed that even if it meant not getting votes in this region, Mau had to be rehabilitated. I was ready to go back to Kibera and sell mandazi.”
CS Tobiko echoed the sentiments, saying through the unity of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, the Maasai Mau was restored.
“You paid dearly the price in 2009 when in Parliament you tabled a motion for the restoration of the Mau. You stood up and agitated for eviction of illegal settlers. And after the restoration in 2019, Rains have never stopped.
“You said you were ready to lose your seat and go and sell mandazis in Kibera, Kenyans will never forget you and the Maa nation trust you. Future generations have trust in your hands,” he said.
Mr Tobiko lashed out at DP Ruto, saying: “You said there is a shortage of fools in Kenya; there is shortage of fools in Maa nation and we know we are not safe in your hands.
“And I told you before, you are a mere clerk of the President like all of us in the Cabinet, but our difference is you have no manners and lack respect for your boss. Respect is a two-way traffic, you disrespect the President and expect respect in return"
Mr Mohamed said Murumbi’s land that was grabbed has to be recovered and returned to the Maasai community.