Raila Odinga is the man to beat in the 2022 presidential elections

Raila Odinga

Mr Odinga seeks to achieve what eluded his late father Jaramogi decades ago

By Brian Togo-Togo in Kisumu

By the time Kenya holds the 2022 transition elections, one of the candidates, Raila Odinga will be 77 years of old, he will only be shy by about 10 years to the age his father, Jaramogi contested for the presidency against former President Daniel Arap Moi in 1992.

Jaramogi contested on the FORD opposition party, many knew at the time he stood little chance of upstaging the cunning fox in president Moi. The professor of politics as Moi was often referred to, contested on the then ruling KANU party and with a well-oiled machine in financial terms and the provincial administration under his command was no pushover!

Jaramogi died in 1994 having long fallen out with Kenyatta whom he opposed till his death in 1978. At his burial, Jaramogi was described by mourners as the “president who never reigned” roundly hounded and frustrated by the Jomo and later Moi regimes.

In 2007, Raila Odinga had all but captured the presidency with a one million vote lead against incumbent president Mwai Kibaki, but then came the staggering Tharaka Nithi-North Imenti “post office” ballots that “slashed” his lead by a huge margin, he ended up losing the presidency

But 2022 offers probably the best opportunity ever for Jaramogi’s son Raila Odinga to ascend the throne in East Africa’s largest economy. The top office has been so elusive for Jaramogi’s household, some people had even given up on one day ever witnessing his presidency.

Raila Odinga’s father the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga

In 2007, Raila Odinga had all but captured the presidency with a one million vote lead against incumbent president Mwai Kibaki, but then came the staggering Tharaka Nithi-North Imenti “post office” ballots that “slashed” his lead by a huge margin, he ended up losing the presidency, albeit with a majority of MPs on his side. This time in the words of his elder brother Oburu, Raila cannot fail! He has the “system” and the “deep state” on his side! This is an apparent allusion to “invisible” power brokers who call the shots in the corridors of power.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has made no secret in his wish to see his “brother Laila” succeed him at state house! Instead of his DP William Ruto, his deputy of 10 years. This would bring to an end a three-decade search for state power by an Odinga.

But many also say defeating deputy president William Ruto will be no walk in the park as he has been oiling a massive political machine with millions of shillings being donated to evangelical churches through his born-again wife Rachel. The DP has been at every church funds-drive, whether Catholic or Anglican until Covid-19 restrictions outlawed public meetings.

As he donated millions every week, an alarmed Odinga demanded to know the source of the cash, at one time he warned catholic clerics in Kisumu who had received a gift from Ruto, a brandy new vehicle to reject it. Raila claimed it was from “proceeds of corruption”. President Kenyatta backed him and demanded a lifestyle audit be conducted on all leaders.

If Odinga pulls a fast one on Ruto and steps into the statehouse, no one knows how he will treat the Kenyatta’s with their vast possessions, especially prime land. Locals at Kenya’s world-famous beaches at the coast have for years lived as squatters with absentee landlords having the last word on where they live and cultivate crops for food. The Kenyatta family own the Mama Ngina Beach Front, a business complex among other prime multi-billion-shilling properties and are the biggest landlords at the cost.

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