We, the leaders from Mt Kenya region, have gathered here for consultations and to take a common position on our shared political future and destiny ahead of the Azimio La Umoja forum on Friday at Kasarani.
We want to thank all the stakeholders who have participated in today’s deliberations. We also want to extend special thanks to the Rt-Hon Raila Odinga for gracing this event. As the people of Mt Kenya, we are keen on taking a political path that encapsulates our vision and interests as a region.
As we prepare for the Azimio La Umoja launch on Friday, there are issues that are very close to our hearts as a region and that constitute the basis of our engagement today and in earlier forums of a similar nature. These issues are:
1. Peace, unity and stability
As a region, our people have faced the dark side of politically instigated and election-related violence. Our people have been killed, hounded, persecuted, displaced, evicted and our property destroyed. When Kenya burns, it is our people who bear the greatest brunt of the consequences.
The president has shown the way in his commitment to unity, stability and relentless pursuit of peace. We celebrate the prevailing period of unity, peace and stability that has seen accelerated growth and sustained development in our region since the March 2018 Handshake with the Former PM Raila Odinga. Today, we affirm our support for genuine efforts geared towards uniting the people of Kenya for the realization of a better Kenya.
2. Mt Kenya issues
As a region, we have issues that are unique to us that we want addressed by any candidate seeking our support. In this regard, we would like to see:
• A commitment to the implementation of the constitutional principle of democratic and fair representation, equality of the vote in representation and equitable resource allocation (One Man, One Vote, One Shilling).
• A demonstration of commitment to guarantee our fair share of government commensurate with our real population strength.
• A commitment to increase the devolution fund.
• Respect for property rights.
• Facilitate resettlement of our people who still living as squatters and help them reclaim their land from which they were evicted.
• A commitment to actualize a PEV Victim’s Fund
• A commitment to support and invest in agricultural productivity, particularly regarding tea, coffee, and milk.
• A commitment to address the youth unemployment crisis in the country.
• A commitment to address discrimination against the employment of people from our region, particularly in the public service.
• A need to respect devolution and adhere to the allocation formula provided by the Constitution.
• A commitment to complete ongoing infrastructure projects and set the country on the path of industrialisation.
• A commitment to eliminate alcoholism and drug abuse in the country.
• A commitment to support the family institution which is currently facing existential threat.
• A commitment to bring inter-generational harmony instead of pitting the younger generation against the old.
3. The economy
Contrary to what some people believe, our people care more about the economy than politics. However, we see politics as an opportunity to address our economic issues. We have also witnessed what corruption can do to an economy and cannot imagine a Kenya where looters are in charge.
Being an industrious people, our economy-related issues are complex, and cannot be reduced to a mere slogan, catchy phrases or handouts. Our region requires a coherent and comprehensive plan to recast and address our development and economic needs.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has laid a solid foundation for an economic take off through massive investments in infrastructure – roads, ports, airports, dams, electricity connections, stadia, etc – as well in social and human development. We now need a leadership that will seek to build on this legacy without subjecting our country to reckless untested experiments that are deceptively attractive but inherently divisive. As a business-oriented people, we shall support the candidate who will establish policies to:
• Provide a conducive environment for trade and investment, both locally and beyond Kenya’s borders.
• Fix the issues touching on critical sub-sectors in our region, including and not limited to coffee, tea, rice, miraa, pyrethrum, potatoes, horticulture, poultry and milk.
• Strengthen and protect the mining & manufacturing sectors
• Expand the ICT sector
• Reduced cost of credit for small businesses who include our farmers, market traders, boda boda operators, jua kali workers, matatu operators, cart-pullers, hawkers, food businesses, and others.
• Enhance international relations that will open opportunities for our people.
Cognizant of these, we are at a juncture where we have to make a decision on our political future. In making this choice, we have to follow a path that takes us forward towards the future we yearn for.
To this end, we resolve as follows:
• That as a region we fully support the Azimio la Umoja’s quest for a united front to address key issues affecting our region and country.
• That the vision, values and principles articulated through Azimio la Umoja best represent the Kenya we want to see.
• That we recognize Azimio La Umoja as an articulation of the future we desire as a region as it guarantees PEACE and SAFETY of our people, property, businesses, land.
• That Azimio La Umoja guarantees the CONTINUITY of the legacy and projects implemented by President Uhuru Kenya
• That through Azimio La Umoja, Hon. Odinga has demonstrated a willingness to address the interests of our region; secure Kenya’s peace and economy; and safeguard public resources from plunder.
• That the people of Mt Kenya have no confidence in sweet-talking people who want to take advantage of our problems and use them as fodder for electioneering without offering concrete solutions.
• That we have no confidence and reject people who proclaim themselves to be our leaders without consulting us and who want to impose leaders on us just like the colonialists once did.
• That we do not feel safe in the hands of individuals with a history of looting public coffers, land grabbing and perpetrating the displacement of our people.
• That we will form a technical team to negotiate on the above issues and work with Rt Hon Raila Odinga to realize our collective dreams as a region.
Consequently, we commit to work with Rt-Hon Raila Odinga to build on President Kenyatta’s legacy and make Kenya a great country that every Kenyan is proud to call home.
Tuko sawa na Azimio! Pamoja na Azimio!
- A Tell Opinion /Mount Kenya Foundation declarations