Reopen Keroche, Raila tells state

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: Simon Maina | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga has asked the government to reopen Keroche Breweries, saying his administration would end conflicts relating to taxes between investors and the state.

“Take the case of Keroche Industry owned by Ms Tabitha Karanja. I have been telling them to let it go. She is a Kenyan and is not running away,” Mr Odinga said in Murang’a county during his campaigns yesterday.

“If she has your debt, she will pay. Let her work. Do not kill the hen that lays the golden egg.”

The ODM leader added that his government would protect investors “since they mean prosperity and employment”.

Ms Karanja has been embroiled in a dispute with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over tax arrears, leading to the shutting of her Naivasha-based plant.

She is now gunning for Nakuru Senate seat on Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance party ticket.

Mr Odinga said he stands for KRA adopting a model that negotiates, adjusts, backs down and stretches to enhance harmony with investors.

He added that his administration would spur productivity by accelerating industrialisation, promoting value addition and structure the value chain “to gap the haemorrhage of direct returns”.

The Azimio chief said his government would not victimise investors.

He traversed Murang’a county as the Mt Kenya Foundation reiterated its support for his State House bid.

The foundation, which is led by former Equity Bank chairman Peter Munga, is made up of top businesspeople from the region.

It endorsed Mr Odinga’s presidential bid at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on July 13, 2021.

It has in the past backed former President Mwai Kibaki and incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We have no iota of doubt that our investment in you will come to be. We met, evaluated the pick and were unanimous that President Kenyatta’s choice was wise,” Mr Munga said at Thika Greens Hotel yesterday.

Mr Odinga recently picked Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua as his running mate.

“I started tasting success in scaling the mountain after they made Karua hold my hand,” Mr Odinga said.

He added that he appreciates and understands the importance of the region to the economy of the country.

Said Ms Karua: “Some people are walking around pretending to be more godly than others.”

Dr Ruto is known for using churches to campaign for the presidency and quoting verses from the Bible.

“Let us judge them on the strength of their actions and utterances. Even Jesus Christ said not all those who call out in his name will inherit the kingdom of heaven,” the Azimio running mate said.

She asked voters in Mt Kenya not to be hoodwinked into accepting aspirants “just because they proclaim to be religious”.

“After all, it is God who will judge us,” she said.

The former Constitutional Affairs Minister said Mr Odinga “is a man of the people, a selfless worker and servant of the people and who means well for this nation”.

“Some are walking around Mt Kenya urging residents to vote for Ruto because President Kenyatta promised to support him,” she said.

“The pledge was an ordinary political chat. He should relax. The world is not ending and there is still time for him to fulfil that promise.”

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said the Azimio presidential candidate is in safe hands “with the backing of the foundation, which is the most influential group in the country”.