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Bunge La Mwananchi: Don’t use our taxes to campaign for Raila’s AU job

The Kenyan government’s bid to front the Opposition Leader Raila Odinga as a candidate in the upcoming election for the chairmanship of the African Union Commission (AUC) continues to draw mixed reactions.

The latest is from the Bunge La Mwananchi lobby group, whose leaders have expressed their reservations.

While welcoming the country’s second bid for the post, which saw former Sports Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed lose out to incumbent Moussa Faki Mahamat during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure, the lobby group has set conditions on the government.

In a press statement on Tuesday, Bunge La Mwananchi President Frank Awino said the government should not use public funds to campaign for Mr Odinga.

Also read: Raila Odinga visits German alma mater amid doubts over his AU job qualifications

President William Ruto has instead been asked to find an alternative way of campaigning for Mr Odinga without using public funds.

“The job is good and we wish Raila the best, but it is a personal thing. If you saw that there is a problem in the country, you should deal with it on a personal level and not using our taxes,” Mr Awino said.

Mr Awino said that should the government use public funds to lobby for Mr Odinga’s candidature, they will have no other option but to go to the streets.

“We are organising to move to court even before the money is released so that the court can stop that. We shall mobilise all our 47 county members so that we tell them this is not right, and we will be making loud noise at the National Treasury until everything is done the right way,” Mr Awino said.

The lobby group gathered in Nairobi to commemorate the World Day of Social Justice, which is observed on February 20 every year to offer a platform to raise voices against injustice around the world.

The group also expressed concern about the recent violation of the rights of Kenyan workers abroad, with some being sent back in coffins and others arriving in deplorable conditions.

With the government continuing to announce thousands of job vacancies abroad, the group questioned the government’s preparedness in terms of working conditions.

“Which mechanisms have you put in place to make sure that our daughters and sons are safe when they go out? Don’t take advantage of our desperation because we don’t have jobs, and throw us away to jobs which will see us being returned as corpses.”

His remarks were echoed by Bunge La Mwananchi Attorney General, George Bush, who said that they would not allow the withdrawal from the exchequer to support the bid to anybody.

“If those funds leave Treasury, we will hold CS Njuguna Ngung’u personally liable for misusing, misdirecting and channelling public resources to support the bid of somebody we’re exporting to the rest of Africa. It is against the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” Mr Bush said.

During the address, Irene Asuwa, who is a member of the Nairobi Water Justice Working Group said that they are disappointed by the Parliament for passing regulations and bills surrounding water without public participation.