Raila Odinga’s Katiba Day Speech

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Fellow Kenyans.

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Today we celebrate the fifth year since we promulgated the new Constitution. We live in different country from the one we had five years ago, much more different from the one we had years before then. But we are not done.

Our constitution has brought within reach opportunity, growth and improvement in people’s lives on a scale never seen before in our history.

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It has shown the potential and tried to create an inclusive Kenya, bring us together in unity, and ensure that once again, Kenya becomes a home for all Kenyans.

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The Constitution has sought to revive Kenya’s long shattered national and local institutions of governance.

It continues to be a bastion for basic rights and freedoms of citizens, including the right to free expression, assembly and political participation.

It has sought to lift our women out of total seclusion and exclusion of the past when appointments went to them as tokens and acts of charity. If only this constitution was respected and implemented in letter and spirit!

But our constitution lives in perpetual danger of being basterdised. Our shared goal of a stable, self-reliant and democratic Kenya is still far from being achieved.

Many are the people in powerful position who see no need to achieve the hallowed goals in the constitution.

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The challenges that remain and the enemies of the new order are significant. They have the potential to derail our progress and reverse our achievements.

We are yet to see our aspirations realized through strong, effective and accountable national institutions.

The permeation of corruption and a culture of impunity have undermined the development of institutions and the promise of our constitution.

Our constitution needs new champions and steadfast defenders.

Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s, a small band of patriotic men and women risked all to stop the cannibalization of the independence constitution. When they failed to stop the onslaught because they were outnumbered and out gunned, they never gave up.

They again took it upon themselves to ensure what was eroded was restored. They launched a risky but spirited fight for a new Constitution.

That is what we promulgated five years ago.

A new band of committed patriots must emerge and stand up for our nation in its hour of need.

These are the moments the youth are for. These are the moments representatives of the people are elected for. These are the times for which the civil society and the independent media exist.

I ask our women, where are the Wangari Maathais of this generation? Where is the Chelagat Mutai of this generation?

I ask our young people, where are the Ntai wa Nkurarus of your generation? Where are the George Anyonas, James Orengos, Paul Muites and Lawrence Sifunas of this generation?

Let us all rise again.

I welcome whole heartedly the decision by civil society groups like Bunge la Wananchi, Unga Revolution, the Slum Dwellers Associations Kenya (SDA-K) and the Coalition for Constitution Implementation (CCI) to work with us in the Opposition to defend our constitution and realize its promise.

A pattern is building, and we need to read it right lest we are caught off guard. The clique we rejected in 2002 when we elected NARC, has regrouped because its members are in power. And they have proved that Kenyans were right in rejecting them in 2002.

They have embarked on doing exactly what we thought they would do with power in 2002.

They are reinventing the past. They are curtailing media freedom. They want to stifle civil society, free expression and association in the name of containing insecurity. They have reinvented the era of mega scandals and huge debts that they will pass on to our children.

We must resist and continue to move on the path we have chosen. We must pursue our fervent desire to live in a peaceful country where we can enjoy a dignified, happy and prosperous life in unity and harmony. We must continue pursuing a stable, democratic and prosperous country.

Kenya must be the peaceful home of all Kenyans.

We must not allow Kenya to ever again be turned by leaders into a threat to its own citizens as happened before.

Let us consolidate the fine achievements of the past five years and continue our efforts with determination.

Let us work to fight corruption and demand efficient, transparent, and accountable government.

Let us demand the rule of law and reforms in the Judiciary and security sectors.

Let us stand up for Devolution so that all parts of Kenya can have equal chance to develop. The tale of a child in Nyanza being more likely to die than a counter part elsewhere must end. The tale of a child in Taita Taveta or the Coast more likely to be a squatter than a counterpart elsewhere must end. The tales of a child in Baringo more likely to miss schooling because of marginalization must end. Devolution is our best weapon.

Let us continue to perfect the electoral system to ensure that future elections are transparent, free, and insulated from fraud and interference.

Responsibility for the future of Kenya rests with Kenyans.

Let us, young or old, not fail or falter in assuming that responsibility. I urge that we continue to work in solidarity and unison between now, 2015 and 2025.

Within the decade, we can consolidate our gains and continue to address the challenges that remain. That will make our success certain and our progress irreversible.

Thank you.

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