Nairobi – Fellow Kenyans, my colleagues in the struggle, my worthy opponents, ladies and gentlemen
For more than three decades, I have dedicated my life to fighting for a free, just, and democratic Kenya. For my efforts, I was ridiculed, trailed by the security forces, intimidated, harassed, tortured and detained without trial. My family suffered lack, isolation and ridicule. I could not even attend my own mother’s funeral. My health suffered because of being locked in darkened and cold cells without basic amenities.
I thank God for keeping me alive. Some of my compatriots did not live to tell the story.
In the course of this journey, I learnt to become a better human being, my resolve to fight for justice and equity only became stronger and my vision became clearer. Kenya has become a lot better not just because of me, but also because of the great men and women who suffered alongside me and the many Kenyan people who have stood by us to date. I thank you all.
In 1990, we transitioned from a single party dictatorship to multiparty democracy. It was not easy. It took sweat, blood and tears for this dream to come true.
We did not stop there. In 1997, I ran for President for the first time, hoping to bring better governance, social justice and economic prosperity to our nation. I was not successful.
In 2002, the entire opposition rallied behind former President Mwai Kibaki. If you asked me about my best moments of the past twenty years, the day I made the clarion call “Kibaki Tosha” would easily make the top five. That was the best moment for Kenya. We had failed in previous years largely because of opposition disunity but also because the entire electoral system was tilted in favour of the then ruling party, KANU. It was virtually impossible to defeat the KANU leadership without unity in our ranks.
The day Kibaki was declared President was ecstatic for Kenyans. Rightly so. For the first time in fourty years, we had succeeded in removing a dictatorship and replacing it with an inclusive democratic government.
Sadly, we lost it when a few people, driven by greed and having conveniently forgotten why we fought for so long, ganged to frustrate the dreams of Kenyans.
I ran again for President in 2007. You all know what happened and I do not wish to remind you of the painful memories. But suffice it to say a new constitutional dispensation was birthed in the post 2007 debacle.
I ran for the third time in 2013. We did not agree with the results but we accepted the Supreme Court ruling and returned to the drawing board.
2017 marked the fourth time I was running for President. I have some serious grievances with the manner in which the election was managed. We brought these to the attention of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission at different stages during the election. We are not totally satisfied with the way they handled our complaints. The NASA team will, in due course share its report with the relevant institutions and the Kenyan people if only to better our democracy.
Ladies and gentlemen, every time I ran for office, I did not do it to acquire power and wealth for myself or just to prove a point. I had an agenda for Kenya. I wanted to transform this country to be one of the greatest in this part of the world. I did it for the Kenyan people. You have and will always be my priority. I am devastated that during the past few days, police have used brutal force to put down innocent citizens who came out in the streets to express their displeasure, a right guaranteed in the constitution. I say pole to all who have lost loved and those who have suffered injuries. I urge the police to exercise utmost restraint because one day they will be individually held accountable. At the same time, I urge all my supporters and others aggrieved with the outcome to keep the peace, return to work and improve their own lives and those of their communities.
Fellow Kenyans, my colleagues and supporters, I have played my part on the political stage. I have made my contribution. I am particularly excited about devolution and a new constitutional dispensation. And as the Wise Man once said, there is a time for everything. After consulting with my family, my colleagues and Kenyans from across the divide I have made the difficult decision to exit the political stage. Difficult because there is so much still to be done. The bad governance, runaway plunder of our commonwealth and discrimination of some Kenyans in their own country remains a serious problem in spite of us having a progressive constitution in place. I hope Kenyans will rally together around these causes and not allow the country to be destroyed as you watch in silence. Governments by their very nature must be held accountable. That is why we talk of eternal vigilance. If you perpetually sing its praises, it will weaken you and eventually destroy you.
I thank you Kenyan people. I thank the millions who braved adverse weather conditions to cast their votes for me. It was not in vain. I thank my Co-principals for bringing energy into the campaign and for believing in me. Steve, Musalia, Moses and Isaac, you have been wonderful. I am grateful that you stood by me through it all.To the entire supporting team, the secretariat, those who supported us financially and those who prayed for us and wished us well, I am grateful.
I wish you well. God bless you. God bless Kenya.”
Right Honourable, Raila Amolo Odinga