ODM leader Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga attends a Sunday service at the St Mary's Legion Maria of African Church Mission in Makongeni, Nairobi, on November 7, 2021.

| Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Raila’s Sh150 billion roadmap towards a social welfare state

What you need to know:

  • Mr Odinga’s calculations are based President Kenyatta’s January 18, 2021 claim that Kenya loses Sh2 billion to corruption every 24 hours.
  • ODM plans to use data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) to identify the targeted households.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga plans to spend at least Sh12 billion every month on his ambitious social welfare plan if he succeeds President Uhuru Kenyatta next year, the Nation can reveal.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader now says the Sh6,000-a-month campaign pledge, initially a carrot dangled before the youth, will target families and not individuals.

According to a document prepared by the former premier as part of his manifesto, the programme will reach about eight million poor Kenyans a year—given that the average size of a Kenyan household is four people.

“This initiative will integrate the current social protection programme on which we already spend Sh37 billion,” he says, adding:“We would add about Sh100 billion to this and expand it to include the poorest of the poor among Kenyans.”

To raise the funds, Mr Odinga explains that he will seal all corruption loopholes and redirect funds that will be slashed from ministries’ budgets, with some dockets taking a 25 percent hit.

“The budget cuts would be followed by an even wider rationalisation aimed at transferring government services to the poor and towards assisting the private sector—SMEs in particular—to grow and prosper.”

“Cash transfers will be aimed at providing immediate relief to millions of Kenyans. But they will not be ends unto themselves. They will run hand-in-hand with investment in long-term measure to create jobs, reduce cost of living and secure businesses, among other needs,” it states.

Raila Odinga

ODM party leader Raila Odinga (right) is gifted a sheep by Pope Raphael Titus Ochieng (left) of Legion Maria church and the Pope’s aide Sam Oganga (centre) in Makongeni, Nairobi County, on November 7, 2021.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The ODM administration, Mr Odinga says, will make social welfare “a critical and urgent policy agenda”, by restructuring and strengthening the existing programmes while coming up with new ones.

“All these will be accompanied by an aggressive anti-corruption campaign that would not only save money but also yield additional resources to be directed at protecting the poor,” he says. “We have been told Kenya is losing a third of its budget— the equivalent of about Sh600 billion— to corruption every year. We have also been told the country loses Sh2 billion every day. I don’t need to emphasise what these monies can do. The losses can and will be stopped.”

Mr Odinga’s calculations are based President Kenyatta’s January 18, 2021 claim that Kenya loses Sh2 billion to corruption every 24 hours, a statement that fact checkers have since found to be mostly true.

“This is a promise. I have served as prime minister and I understand our economy. I know where the money is,” he told the faithful at St Mary's Legion Maria of African Church Mission, Makongeni, during a church service yesterday.

“Uhuru said Sh2 billion is lost to corruption daily and annually this is about Sh700 billion. I know how those corrupt individuals in government steal it and will block all those channels and ensure the money is used to pay Kenyans.” He pointed out that he envisages formation of a government that “cares, accounts and caters, in word and deed, for every single citizen, rich or poor, young or old, man or woman.”

Targeted households

“We believe strongly that no single human being in our midst can or should be wasted or neglected if we are to create a great and prosperous nation. We believe Kenyans deserve a power structure and mindset that puts people first and politics last,” he added. Speaking during the church service, the ODM leader noted that at least 2 million families were living in abject poverty due to lack of income.

“Our 2010 constitution states that Kenya shall become a social welfare State. We shall create the biggest social welfare State system in Africa and from next year, every household not person, without any employed member shall receive Sh6,000 monthly,” Mr Odinga said.

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna yesterday told the Nation that they would use data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) to identify the targeted households.

“The Sh6,000 monthly promise is for the 2 million households who do not have any income. The data is there at KNBS from the recent census,” Mr Sifuna said.

After the church service, Mr Odinga addressed stopover rallies in Makongeni, Eastleigh, Mathare and Ruaraka accompanied by former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, MPs Junet Mohamed (Suna East), George Aladwa (Makadara), Godfrey Osotsi (nominated), Tim Wanyonyi (Westlands), Esther Passaris (Nairobi Woman Rep) and Caleb Amisi (Saboti) among a host of aspirants. The ODM supremo told Kenyans to ignore “corrupt leaders” whom he said were going round the country claiming the plan to pay Sh6,000 to poor families is untenable.

“They are the ones who have plundered the resources of this country. I will show them how to get the money and use it to support poor Kenyans,” Mr Odinga said at Makongeni. And in a jab directed at his rival, Deputy President William Ruto, Mr Odinga said those who have been criss-crossing the country “competing against themselves” are in for a rude shock as from December 9 when he will make a major announcement and hit the road.

“To our opponents, kutangulia sio kufika. You have been all over. Now we are warming up for you. I have toured Kenya—Homa Bay, Kakamega, Mombasa, Garissa, Turkana, Eldoret, Isiolo, Meru, Embu, and Tharaka Nithi—where we have held regional Azimio la Umoja meetings,” he said.

“We are headed to Ukambani then Mt Kenya (West) and Nairobi on December 9, which will be the day I will make the declaration whether to contest or not.”

He pointed out that the Azimio la Umoja clarion call is premised on “five ‘U’s—Utu, Undugu, Umoja, Usawa and Uzalishaji—that will ensure economic liberation of the country.

He said the coalition between ODM and President Kenyatta’s Jubilee will sweep all the seats in Nairobi County right from MCA to President.

“We are uniting ODM and Jubilee in a coalition deal that will guarantee us several seats especially here in Nairobi. We want all the seats here,” Mr Odinga said.

Mr Junet said Mr Odinga’s administration will address the inequalities among Kenyans and create jobs for the youth.

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