THT-Kenya’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has promised miraa farmers in Meru that he will secure a market for miraa in Somaliland and various countries if elected president in 2022.
Odinga spoke in Mau town, Meru County, on Monday on the first day of his three-day tour to woo voters of the eastern counties of Mt. Kenya region.
The former premier said among the countries he will be looking forward to securing markets for the miraa include Somaliland, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, and Somalia.
“There is a part of Somalia that has been liberated, called Somaliland, they have already agreed to take the miraa from us, but Somalia has prevented our plane from passing and sending the miraa there. We will solve the problem, our flight from here to Somaliland.”
The ODM chief vowed to resolve the border issues between Kenya and Somalia to ensure the safe passage of miraa into the easternmost country of Africa.
He further pledged to seek the indulgence of foreign nations about the possibility of exporting the miraa and having it sold there.
“I know that myrrh farmers have had a lot of problems with the lack of a market… our Somali market is declining, once they have closed once they have opened… I will make sure that Somalia opens its borders and the miraa goes there,” he said.
He added: “I am a close friend of the president of DRC Tshisekedi, I will speak to him and he will allow our miraa to enter the DRC market… as well as our neighbors below. We will also continue to talk to the European government as there is no evidence that marijuana is affecting people’s lives. ”
“I will speak to the Tanzanian president so that we can get the market. There is no evidence that miraa affects one’s health,” he said.
Odinga defended his proposed social protection fund that he said is aimed at giving every vulnerable household a monthly stipend of Ksh.6,000.
He hit out at political opponents that have opposed the proposal saying it is very much doable and will cost the government about Ksh.150 billion.
The ex-Prime Minister said Kenya loses approximately Ksh.600 million every year, adding that he will block all loopholes of corruption and redirect this money towards the social protection fund.
Raila promised to prioritize economic revival and the fight against diseases and poverty. He said he was banking on the youth to lead the revolution to usher in a new dawn.
“You are my soldiers through votes,” he told residents during stopovers at Maua, Laare, Muthara, Kianjai, Makutano, and Meru town.
The ODM leader promised to address unemployment and empower the youth.
“I want the youth to be empowered and those who have graduated from technical courses to have meaningful employment,” he said, adding that he will ensure they get capital for new business ventures.
Addressing residents at Muthara, Raila said he will curb cattle rustling, which is a major challenge in Tigania and Igembe regions.
“There is cattle rustling here and there. We will end that,” he said.
He promised to ensure all Kenyans access proper healthcare.
Munya said Raila deserves to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Baba is our defender, he has fought for democracy for a long time. He has done a lot in fighting for freedom and for the marginalized,” he said.
“We see Baba (Raila) going to State House next year,” added the CS who told Raila to ensure water provision and road construction in the area if he wins the presidency.
Kiraitu told off those claiming that Raila was too old to lead the country.
Igembe North MP Maoka Maore said it was time the ODM leader received an overwhelming endorsement from the region.
“It is time for Raila, we welcome you. This is a miraa county and farmers have been suffering after Somalia’s market was closed. I will work with you to re-open the Somalia market,” said the National Assembly deputy majority whip.
A long time supporter of Somaliland’s quest
Raila Odinga is among the top politicians on the continent who have persistently called on their governments to recognize the Republic of Somaliland, arguing Somaliland would help stabilize the region.
The ODM leader made the remarks at Chatham House London where he delivered a public lecture:
“I am a strong supporter of the full recognition of Somaliland. I think Somaliland has a very strong case,” he said during a question-and-answer session at the forum.
Furthermore, on 15 December 2020, Raila Odinga, who was Kenya’s opposition leader and the Africa Union special envoy for Infrastructural Development, asked the AU and the UN to allow divorce between Somalia and Somaliland after meeting Somaliland President Muse Bihi who was on an official visit to Kenya.
He has challenged the AU to speed the process of recognizing Somaliland as a fully independent country.
Speaking at the Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi, Mr. Odinga said that it is impossible to reunite Somalia and Somaliland.
“AU needs to wake up to the reality that it is not going to be possible again to bring these two countries together, and recognize them as two separate countries,” Raila said.
“I have talked in the UN, and I have talked in the London Chatham house. I said, and I have no regret and I will say it again that Somaliland is a reality, that the world has got to live with,” Raila said.
The ODM leader added that Somaliland will continue to progress and service without depending on Somalia.
He added that the sooner the issue is solved by the international bodies, the better for the two countries.
Raila said AU should step in and open a conversation about Somaliland, the way it handled the Western Sahara disputed territory on the northwest coast and in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa.