ODM leader Raila Odinga with Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia when they addressed several stopover rallies in Nyandaru on Saturday. [Courtesy]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has defended his social protection programme which will see poor families get Sh6,000 monthly stipend if he succeeds President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying if elected, he will implement it immediately.

Addressing a stopover rally at Njabini when he toured Nyandarua county on Saturday, to campaign for his 2022 State House bid, Raila said he knew where the money was and that his pledge was a debt he owes Kenyans.

“My opponents say it is an empty promise meant to hoodwink Kenyans to back my candidature, I want to tell you this is a debt that I will fulfil if elected,” he said. 

Raila likened the Sh6,000 stipend promise to the free primary education Narc team under President Mwai Kibaki and him promised Kenyans ahead of the 2002 General Election which they implemented.

“When Kibaki and I promised free primary education in 2002, there were many sceptics, but when we formed government, we delivered the promise,” he said.

Raila hit out at Deputy President William Ruto’s wheelbarrow politics saying it will make education meaningless.

“Educating a child from nursery to university is not a joke, but it is sad that after all that expenses, your child is offered a wheelbarrow, it is not fair,” he said, adding that young people deserve better jobs after school.

He said the government pumps a lot of money into the education sector, hence the need to create opportunities for those who go to school.

“It is sad that after spending colossal sums of money educating a child, the best that awaits him is a wheelbarrow.”

He said he has an elaborate plan to unite the country, fight graft and create meaningful jobs for the youth.

“Do you want to push wheelbarrows after school?,” Raila asked the crowd that responded with a No.

He began the tour at Soko Mjinga Flyover and has so far addressed stopover rallies at Kwa Haraka, Njabini.

Mt Kenya leaders led by host Governor Francis Kimemia, Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru), James Nyoro (Kiambu) and Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia) accompanied Raila among them MPs, senators, MCAs and grassroots leaders.

In the last two months, Raila has visited Mt Kenya counties in the company of governors from the region except for Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.

Raila’s quest to succeed President Kenyatta in 2022 received a boost in October following the unanimous endorsement of most governors from the larger Mt Kenya region.

Raila also has the backing of governors Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Martin Wambora (Embu) and Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi).