Orange Democratic Party leader Raila Odinga has urged Kenyans and the political class to rid the country of the spirit of anger and bitterness, the spirit of revenge and entitlement.
Speaking during the Nyanza Leaders Convention event on Thursday, Raila urged politicians and leaders to form coalitions for the sake of the country’s prosperity.
“We must cleanse our country of the spirit of anger and bitterness, the spirit of revenge and entitlement. We must continue on a path that reconciles, unites, calms and stabilizes our country. We must embrace forgiveness and not vindictiveness. We must make compromises, and form coalitions and alliances for the sake of the nation. That effort cannot work at the national level when it does not exist in the regions that make up the nation,” said Raila.
He urged Nyanza residents to embrace farming and use of natural resources as a way of recovering from the effects of Covid-19, especially for people who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
He also urged the county and national governments to provide farmers with high-yielding seeds, help them with the reclamation of the land, preservation of water sources and all else they need to feed the emerging towns and the entire nation.
“Nyanza is endowed with diverse resources. We have cash crops like tea, coffee, tobacco and sugarcane, minerals like gold and copper, livestock, fish and an array of food crops. With adequate support, our people should be able to do farming on a commercial scale,” he added.
“There is no reason why coffee, tea, bananas and vegetables from Kisii or Kuria cannot be processed here and marketed as refined produce of Kisii or Kuria.
“With a better and unified approach to development, we could drastically turn this region around by developing the home -grown industries like soapstone that have accorded livelihoods to our people but at very subsistence level.”
The former Prime Minister also challenged local leaders to explore innovative ways of ensuring residents benefit from the blue economy.
“Lake Victoria has much more to offer than just fish. We have not fully explored the lake’s capacity for tourism and maritime transport and aquaculture, among others,” he said.
“Even if we limit ourselves to just fishing, our fishermen are still frustrated by insecurity and lack modern fishing methods and equipment.”
He emphasized the need to explore innovative ways to support the creation and growth of SMEs, particularly youth-owned businesses.
The youth, he said, must be supported to realize their full potential using their skills and talents. He said the youth and children must be supported in their education.
On healthcare, Raila said there is an urgent need to mobilize resources and ensure the region has a robust primary public healthcare system, starting from the family level to the public healthcare delivery system as a whole.
“As a region that borders other countries, we are particularly vulnerable to policies of our neighbors. We have seen that during this pandemic and with regard to security. We therefore need to invest in health and security infrastructure that can withstand attacks,” he said.
“We need to always put our heads together and ensure substantial increase in the number of medical institutions, medical staff, clinics and hospital beds and access to a diverse choice of quality and healthy foods.”