Raila Odinga spoke for millions of squatters at the coast who have to live at the mercy of absentee landlords most of whom reside in the Middle East, the climax being the 2007, 2003 and 2007 elections when his radical credentials remained impeccable
A banner headline in one of Kenya’s local dailies pondered recently whether the Azmio la Umoja Presidential candidate Raila Odinga was a “Prophet or Project”? He is faced with a mounting dilemma having been a firebrand anti-establishment icon for decades in the process endearing him to millions of supporters across the country.
Mr Odinga was easily the voice of the “down-trodden” majority groaning from bad leadership in Kenya where widespread corruption from state bureaucrats is a daily occurrence. The son of Kenya’s founding Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, he turned out to be like his dad, never shying away from exposing one major scandal after another. From Eurobond to Anglo Leasing, from NYS to Goldenberg scums Mr Odinga was the fiery voice of dissent that could not be silenced!
Dr Mutunga and Mr Odinga were jailed by President Moi in the 1980s; Mutunga says Raila Odinga of 2022 is far from the left-wing radicalised man of the 1980s and 1990s but a “state project” being propped up by a corrupt regime to protect its interests
He spoke for millions of squatters at the coast who have to live at the mercy of absentee landlords most of whom reside in the Middle East, the climax was the 2007, 2003 and 2007 elections when his radical credentials remained impeccable. Experts say that since the March 9th 2018 truce with President Uhuru Kenyatta, that is no longer the case. The symbolic handshake outside the presidents’ office on the steps of Harambee house marked the beginning of the end for “Odinga the radical” says former chief justice Willy Mutunga and university of Nairobi political scientist Prof. Edward Oyugi.
Dr Mutunga and Mr Odinga were jailed by President Moi in the 1980s; Mutunga says Raila Odinga of 2022 is far from the left-wing radicalised man of the 1980s and 1990s but a “state project” being propped up by a corrupt regime to protect its interests. But Professor Oyugi adds a rider that politics is ever-evolving and going through a metamorphosis and that Mr Odinga has become the “subdued voice of reforms” due to political devolution.
Oyugi was also jailed over the failed coup attempt in 1982 and associated with Mr Odinga. He claims that Mr Raila at 77 years of age can only do so much. “It’s time for him to slow down and consolidate past gains and not open new war fronts.” He adds that history would judge Raila kindly as more “sinned against” having been cheated out of successive election victories since 2007, 2013 and 2017 by the conniving political elite. “He never went to the bush to fight like Museveni in Uganda after 1980 elections.”
But ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula close allies of Mr Odinga in 2013-2017 claim he is a “state project” who has turned his back on decades of radical struggle for good governance.
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