Raila to launch ODM Relief Service to help disaster victims today, move seen as new strategy for 2017 elections


Orange Democratic Movement party will today launch an initiative to mobilise resources to help victims of disasters across the country.

Party leader Raila Odinga and his deputy Hassan Joho will launch the Orange Relief Services at Orange House.

Money raised will be channeled towards buying food, clothes and building homes for the hundreds of the affected families.

The move is seen as part of Raila’s strategy to offer alternative solutions to the challenges facing Kenyans as he scales up his 2017 presidential campaigns.

Raila has come under pressure from his critics who have faulted him and other Cord leaders for persistently criticising the government without proposing policy and emergency response interventions.

A statement from Raila’s spokesman, Denis Onyango, said the relief and humanitarian initiate will be a social and community service wing dedicated to mobilise material help and relief for communities in distress.

The initiative, which is a collaboration between the political class and ODM’s Peace and Reconciliation Movement prayer group, is as a result of sporadic insecurity incidents in various parts of the country.

The launch of the relief service follows Raila’s recent visit to the volatile and banditry-hit Baringo County where he held several meetings with local communities which sought help.

“During the visit to Baringo, the ODM team came face to face with teachers in the few working schools who have been forced to also host displaced children in their own homes,” Onyango said.

Mombasa Governor Joho said the initiative was the party’s way of showing gratitude to Kenyans for continued support and a kind of corporate social responsibility by the largest party in the country.

“We do not command the kind of resources at the disposal of the government. So nobody should expect us to compete with or do what the government should and can do to avert disaster,” Joho said.

“But we will be seeking to respond within our means to distress wherever it occurs and whenever we can through this initiative.”

He said while the Orange Relief initiative is meant to respond to some of the requests the residents made to Raila during the visit, it aims to be a long term program to respond to similar needs in other parts of the country.

Some schools have become homes to the displaced communities and their livestock, making learning and living difficult.

In Baringo, Pokot and Turkana many families have lost all their livestock, which is a critical source of livelihood, with residents complaining they have watched helplessly as their cattle are allegedly being transported in CDF lorries to the slaughter house in Nairobi.

“Many residents are sick as a result of eating poisoned seeds. They complained that instead of being supplied with food, the government distributed treated maize and beans seeds to them.”