ODM leader Raila Odinga has cautioned Mt Kenya residents that they risk losing a lifetime opportunity if they are persuaded to reject changes envisioned in the BBI referendum.
Raila, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s political buddy, said there may never be another opportunity for the region to negotiate for the kind of goodies contained in the report.
“Bahati haipigi hodi mara mbili (Good luck doesn’t knock twice). Opportunities have wings; if not taken, they fly away,” Raila said in an interview with Kameme TV.
This was the same message by President Kenyatta during an interview with Kikuyu radio stations last week.
Raila said the region should look at the BBI process not as for taking him to State House but as a step towards solving Kenya’s problems.
“My appeal to Mt Kenya is to look at BBI positively. It has many good things in it that will accelerate development in the grassroots,” the ODM leader said.
Mt Kenya is argued to be the biggest beneficiary of the BBI drive.
It will get the highest allocation of new constituencies, which come with many benefits.
All recruitment to the security forces are done at the constituency; cash transfers to the elderly and the orphans are also done at the constituency level.
Each constituency also gets Sh100 million annually in CDF.
BBI seeks to increase county revenue share to 35 per cent, gives a seven-year tax holiday for youth-owned businesses, grants for businesses, and incubation centres for start-ups.
However, Deputy President William Ruto and his allies have opposed the drive saying it’s only meant to create jobs for the “big boys
Raila opened up about his relationship with Mt Kenya saying it traces back to the days of his father Jaramogi Oginga.
The ODM leader said he has no problem with the Agikuyu community, adding that if people were to talk of political debts, he is the one who is owed.
He relived the times when his father refused to take the offer of being prime minister because Jomo Kenyatta was still in detention.
Raila referred to a letter by Mbiu Koinange and the late Vice President Josephat Murumbi praising Jaramogi for standing with Kenyatta.
“He (Jaramogi) agreed to let Kenyatta rule. This brought tranquillity between Luos and Kikuyus and later ushered the country’s Independence.”
Raila also revisited how he led campaigns for retired President Mwai Kibaki in 2002 when the latter was hospitalised in London following a road accident.
He said his March 2018 handshake with President Kenyatta had nothing to do with the succession politics but for the sake of the country.
“What we are doing is to unite Kenyans and forget the past. I was the one who was betrayed, twice. It is me who is owed. I have no one’s debt.
“The friendship we are building is a Kenyans issue, not just Kikuyu and Luos. If that friendship is enriched, we will be far.”
Raila said it was not right for Ruto and his allies to blame ODM for the Jubilee’s inaction on its 2013 and 2017 election pledges.