How A Raila Odinga Presidency Could Alter The Political Landscape In East Africa

Mr Raila Odinga

A Raila presidency could see a paradigm shift as he has previously demanded Kenya withdraws troops from Somalia. Ironically the troops were deployed in 2011 when President Mwai Kibaki and Mr Odinga shared power

By The Weekly Vision Online

There is little doubt that the most important political event in East Africa in 2022 is going to be Kenya’s August 9th presidential election. While Uganda is yet to witness a peaceful transition in 60 years from colonial Britain, Kenya and Tanzania have been transferring power from one president to another without bombs being dropped or guns being fired!

Debate and discussions have been going on till late in the night in capitals around East Africa over who between Raila Odinga and William Ruto is likely to become Kenya’s 5th president.

On Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook, discussions run on for hours as people take sides about Kenya’s next president. They are in Kampala, Dar, Rwanda, South Sudan, the USA, and the UK among others.

President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power since 1986 openly supports Ruto. The DP has vast investments in Kampala and is a personal friend of Museveni. Kenya’s DP has even been a frequent guest at Museveni’s vast rural cattle ranch in Rwakitura. Debate on Kenya’s 5th president has also engaged the minds of many Kenyans in the diaspora.

Mr Odinga would further have to contend with a territorial dispute in the Indian ocean between Kenya and Somalia claimed by both countries said to contain an oil-rich segment that the ICC UN court ruled in favour of Mogadishu

Even former US president Barrack Obama is said to be keenly following developments in the land of his father, the late Obama Senior. Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, remains a key western ally and a strategic partner of the USA in the war against terror. But some say a Raila presidency could see a paradigm shift as he has previously demanded Kenya withdraws troops from Somalia. Ironically the troops were deployed in 2011 when President Mwai Kibaki and Mr Odinga shared power. Mr Odinga says this can’t be indefinite, while also expected to come hard on ownership of the disputed Migingo Islands on Lake Victoria.

Mr Odinga would further have to contend with a territorial dispute in the Indian ocean between Kenya and Somalia claimed by both countries said to contain an oil-rich segment that the ICC UN court ruled in favour of Mogadishu. Kenya has since rejected the UN court verdict and vowed to safeguard “every inch” of Kenya’s territory.

Odinga could if he wins power probably be more aggressive and deploy troops for offensive incursions in the war-torn country. His confidantes privately admit the ODM leader would have little time for Museveni and could swiftly support the opposition in Kampala. Uganda’s opposition led by youthful reggae musician and MP Robert Kyagulyanyi aka Bobi Wine; believes he won the January 14th 2021 presidential election. Raila agrees with him!

Independent observers dismissed the poll in Kampala as “neither free nor fair” and accused Museveni of using the police and army to harass the opposition and massively rig the election.

Odinga has since 2016 denounced elections in Kampala as a “brazen travesty of democracy” with western observers and donors raising the red flag. US President Joe Biden called for a thorough “audit” of elections in Kampala warning of “dire consequences” if rigging claims were proved to be true.

Under Odinga, Kenya could move closer to Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, if Kampala became hostile. But the two sister states with relatives across the border have enjoyed close ties despite occasional hitches. Raila with a kin business acumen, managing the family business empire may play his cards deftly not to isolate Kenya’s largest trading partner.

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