Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga has sustained political forays in Meru County.
Raila yesterday met representatives from the Ameru business community to secure leaders’ endorsment his bid to win over Mt Kenya region.
Ameru politicians and Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi hosted Raila in Nairobi where they declared his support and vowed to dismantle political propaganda used against Raila for years in the region that has always voted against him to the last man.
“The Raila I know is a strategist. The Raila I know is a man of ideas. He knows more history than historians although he is an engineer. The Raila I know is a man of energy, focus and determination,” Kiraitu said
Raila promised to ensure that residents and farmers from Meru County and the larger Ameru community get value for their farm produce.
“Meru land is very rich in terms of Agricultural production where if you invest, there is a high rate of return. Coffee, tea, avocados and miraa grow well in this area. Miraa has been a very good revenue earner until challenges like the ban in Europe affected it. I invite Kiraitu to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with me so that we see what my friend President Tshisekedi can do for our miraa market,” Raila said.
Raila said that reforms have been carried out in the tea sector to get rid of monopoly so that farmers can get value for their produce.
“Avacado is the new gold which needs to be promoted. And dairy farming too. What we need is to create processing plants that add value and create more wealth for the farmers,” Raila said.
The ODM leader further warmed up to the Ameru business community with his plan to create employment for the youth stating that the youth can either be a blessing or a curse.
Raila revisited the stalled Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which he said would have ensured more resources are sent to the counties.
He said apart from seeking an alternative market after the ban in Europe, there was need for value addition to the produce.
“Ameru are part of Kenya but there are issues specific to the people. The region is a high yielding area. But there have been challenges facing tea, coffee and miraa,” said Raila.
He told Kiraitu he was ready to negotiate with other friendly African countries to provide a market for the produce.
“But we can also think out of the box by having value addition. Reforms have been carried in the tea sector to break the monopoly. Avocado is the new gold that also needs to be promoted. Dairy farmers also need to be assisted. What is most important is value addition,” he added.
He said some challenges would have been resolved by proposals in the BBI including a seven-year tax holiday for small enterprises, ward development fund as well as an increase from the current 15 to 35 per cent allocations to counties.
At the event were former Education assistant minister Kilemi Mwiria, former PS Mutea Iringo, Igembe North MP and National Assembly Majority Deputy Whip Maoka Maore, acting Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu, former Justice Aaron Ringera and BBI Secretariat member Dr Sarah Kilemi, among others.
Raila was accompanied by Eala MP Oburu Oginga and Siaya Senator James Orengo.