Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga yesterday pledged to implement key proposals of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), including extra allocations to counties if his party forms the next government.
Speaking in West Pokot County during his Azimio la Umoja campaigns, the former Prime Minister said all is not lost for the BBI even after the courts declared the process unconstitutional. The matter is currently before the Supreme Court.
Some of the key proposals the ODM leader intends to implement is allocation of at least 35 per cent of national revenues to counties, enhancement of the Equalisation Fund, implementation of a seven-year tax holiday for youth-owned business, and provision of cheap loans to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Mr Odinga said the problems facing the country can only be solved if the proposals in the BBI are realised through his Uchumi Mashinani (rural economy) programme.
“We had proposed to raise funds coming to counties from 15 percent to a minimum of 35 percent. They shot it down but I would like to assure Kenyans that [BBI] will be back to ensure that more funds are made available to county governments,” he said.
Marginalised counties like West Pokot were the biggest beneficiaries in the BBI that proposed the Equalization Fund’s lifespan be increased from 20 to 30 years.
70 extra constituencies
It is not clear if Mr Odinga will also push for the creation of 70 extra constituencies—a key BBI proposal—were he to win the 2022 State House contest. He, however, promised to add a constituency in Tiaty. He defended his social protection fund program where families without incomes will be receiving Sh6,000 monthly from government.
The ODM chief was accompanied by area governor John Lonyangapuo, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet and MPs: Junet Mohammed (Suna East), David Pkosing (Pokot South), nominated MP Maina Kamanda, Stanley Muthama (Lamu West) Senator Samuel Poghisio and former Tiaty MP Asman Kamama.
Apart from cleaning up the mess in the agricultural sector, the former premier promised that his administration will subsidise of farm inputs.
West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo who is also the leader of newly formed Kenya Union Party pledged to present proposals by the Pokot community to all presidential candidates.
Mr Pkosing expressed confidence that Mr Odinga’s administration will address historical marginalisation of the region.
Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio said the One Kenya Alliance should rally behind Mr Odinga as he has displayed exemplary leadership qualities.
Mr Kamanda urged Kenyans not to vote in leaders with questionable characters.
He added that the vote-rich Mount Kenya region had decided to support Mr Odinga’s bid.
“We are experiencing a Mandela moment with Raila,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said Deputy President William Ruto should not promise anything to Kenyans as he has failed to deliver on similar pledged given in 2017.
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