We will reopen Kenya-Somalia border, Raila pledges as he campaigns in North

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga at a rally in Mandera town.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua started their campaign tour of North Eastern yesterday with a basket full of promises.

They promised that they will reopen the Kenya-Somalia border to enable business flow between the two countries.

While in Mandera, Mr Odinga said the border between Kenya and Somalia shall be reopened to allow free flow of goods and people.

“We shall put in place all that is required to ensure operations at this border resume so that we can freely interact with our Somalia brothers,” he said.

Mr Odinga promised to ensure security improves in Mandera and in North Eastern at large.

The region has continued to suffer attacks from the rag-tag Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants.

The latest incident was on Thursday where armed militants stopped a bus coming into Mandera and lectured the passengers for at least two hours.

Mr Odinga said his government will focus on infrastructure improvement in the region to open it up.

He cited the current construction of the Horn of Africa getaway project that cuts through Isiolo and Wajir, ending up in Mandera through Elwak town.

“We shall ensure the infrastructure project is completed within next year so that from Mandera you can get to Niarobi with ease,” he said.

For Mandera, Mr Odinga said his government will construct the Mandera-Takaba-Moyale Road to ease the cost of doing business

He promised to ensure the counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa get clean and sustainable water sources by drilling boreholes.

“We shall ensure we have sufficient clean water from the river passing through Mandera into Somalia,” Mr Odinga said.

He added: “We want to deal with water shortage in Mandera once and for all by drilling boreholes and have water pans to help harvest rainwater for both human and livestock use”.

The former prime minister promised that Mandera will also have a slaughterhouse if he clinches presidency. “We shall build a slaughterhouse here in Mandera so that we can process meat locally for export and the animal skin will be used in shoe-making,” he said.

He added his government will introduce livestock insurance to compensate pastoralists who lose the stock to drought.

“We shall introduce livestock insurance so that when a family loses their animals due to drought, they can be compensated by the government,” he said.

Under the One County, One Product plan by the Azimio government, Mr Odinga said every county will have an industry established.

“Every county shall have an industry to provide employment for youths and that is how we shall be able to deal with poverty in our country,” he said.

Mr Odinga promised to ensure Mandera is connected to the national electricity grid to enable industries grow.

He used the platform to reiterate his plan to give destitute families at least Sh6,000 monthly under social protection programme.

“Those in the other wing of Kenya Kwisha are peddling lies that Kenya has no money to fund all these plans. I want to tell you I was a prime minister and I know very well where money is for all these projects to be funded,” he said.

He urged the Kenya Kwanza brigade to keep off his pledges and concentrate on their campaigns.

“They should stop getting concerned about our plans. I know where the loopholes are in the government and I will seal them all to get funds for our plans,” he said.

He called on area residents to vote for him, arguing that he has a plan on how to fill the gap in the education sector that has suffered for years.

“We shall have an affirmative plan to deal with teacher shortage in this county where we shall admit more youths from here to train as teachers,” he said.

Mr Odinga called for peaceful co-existence among Kenyans, citing the political rising of Mr Junet Mohamed in Migori County far away from home as one of the benefits of tolerance.

“I have Junet from Mandera in Migori County doing very well politically. We want a Kenya where we can live freely and coexist peacefully,” he said.

Mr Odinga called for respect among political parties making up the Azimio coalition. This is after chaos erupted before his rally commenced.

“We have other parties making up the Azimio coalition but it is me and Martha Karua running on the coalition ticket. Let all these parties respect each other,” he said.

His running mate, Ms Karua, rallied supporters behind Mr Odinga, saying that he was the best suit person to entrench democracy and equity in the country.

“We are about equity before law and in service delivery to all Kenyans,” she said.

“Economic change will be brought about by our presidential candidate Raila Odinga,” she added. Before the meeting, ODM and UDM members clashed but calm was restored.

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