Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga has thrown his weight behind a proposal by President Uhuru Kenyatta to have Members of the County Assembly benefit from a car grant.
The opposition leader argues that the ward representatives play an important role in nation’s development and should not be overlooked on the issue of grants which fellow representatives at the National Assembly and the Senate currently enjoy.
“If the MPs receive Kshs. 7 million car grant, why should it be a crime to do the same for MCAs?” Raila posed during a meeting with MCAs from his party drawn from all over the country.
According to the former Prime Minister, the ward representatives deserve the said package given that they are “the ones that are in daily contact with the electorate.”
“I know it because whenever I go to my rural area, my home is always full by five or six o’clock and people come with serious problems. I fully understand what you guys meet on daily basis.” He said, to a roaring cheer from buoyant MCAs
The MCAs who spoke welcomed the proposal and asked Raila to hold talks with President Kenyatta in a bid to fast-track the issue before it is overtaken by other events.
On the issue of BBI which will soon be the subject of deliberations across all the 47 county assemblies, the ward representatives vowed to support it and popularize it before the electorate so as to guarantee it sails through once and if subjected to the people in a popular initiative.
The county assembly members however asked the ODM leader to ensure that MCAs are given an opportunity to drive campaigns to rally support for the initiative at the grassroots.
“Lets form a bipartisan team comprising of the leadership of majority and minority and the whips from across the 47 county assemblies to steer the BBI process.” one of the MCAs said when he rose to speak.
Raila welcomed the undertaking by MCAs to back the constitutional Amendment Bill 2020. He said all leadership cadres must join hands and invest in the future of the country through the BBI.
“The decision you make over the next few weeks or months with regard to BBI will have a great bearing on whether our children will grow up in a land of plenty or land of mere survival.” He said
“BBI seeks to anchor in the constitution a new economic model that focuses on value creation, promotes industrialization and supports small and micro enterprises.” He added
In the BBI, Raila notes that there are other issues that may not be directly economic in nature but have serious impact on the country’s economy like elections.
“Elections must seize being civil wars. BBI seeks to usher in an electoral system where every vote is counted and every vote counts.” He said
Raila expressed concern that the country comes to a standstill every election year due to violence. He ward that already the drums of war are being sounded and that it was easy to tell how it will end.
“We have to decide whether we want elections or civil wars every five years.” He remarked.
The AU special envoy for infrastructure reiterated his firm believe that BBI will address the gap in the 2010 constitution by ensuring that economic and social rights are enforceable and are not just aspirations.
Raila’s meeting with ODM MCAs comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta held talks with ward representatives from Mt Kenya’s 10 counties in a move aimed at enlisting their support for the Building Bridges Initiative.