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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 2 November 2014


They say that old age does not stop at the door and knock asking to come in. You just find it inside. In fact, you discover after years that you have been living with it. This, you know when you forget where you placed this or that object or when a task that you could earlier do with your eyes closed now requires superhuman effort to accomplish. Others do not even realise they are getting old and it takes onlookers to tell.

When word started leaking out within the Cord family that opposition lynchpin Raila Odinga should not run for presidency but instead should groom one to succeed him to face Uhuru Kenyatta 2017, many said it was just politics but we now reveal that these was not just an idle proposal.

Those who have been observing Raila closely over the years now say that from the look of things, the peerless Tinga like everyone else has been too preoccupied with the treadmill that is life that he never heard the “Hodi” said to him by old age. From the manner he has lately been handling political affairs, allies who interact with Raila on a day-to-day basis say, there is an element of recklessness akin to the impudence associated with the aged when they hit a certain mark in life.

From the Kasarani ODM debacle that forced Raila to flee Kenya for three months to save face to the recent Orange House ejection of ODM CEO Magerer Langat who was pulled by ODM county reps right from Raila’s armpit where he was seeking refuge, even the most ardent supporter of Raila is seeing a weakening of the once supremely deft political moves Raila made when he was at the top of the game.

The problem, Raila people say, has to do with his ebbing mental alertness and general health quality. Had this not been the case, they say, Raila would not have allowed the above goofs and would have found a way to circumnavigate the challenges and left everyone unaware there had been an issue in the first place.

 But most worrying to Raila’s innercircle is that he has, according to them fallen prey to the stratagems of Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula, his co-principals in Cord to have affiliates get a cut from registrar of parties’ fund. To them, the Sh87 million is for ODM and that is why they had to disrupt the parliamentary group meeting to discuss the issue last week at Orange House.

Claims Kalonzo and Wetang’ula are capitalising on Raila memory lapses to benefit is the talk of town. Also being mentioned is how Bishop Margaret Wanjiru fooled Raila to have her son Stephen Kariuki to get direct ODM nomination for Mathare by-election despite opposition from party members who wanted preliminaries to guide the exercise.

After winning the seat, Wanjiru deserted Raila with word she has given instructions to her son MP to work with Jubilee. A combined Luo, Luhya and Kamba vote could have landed a non Kikuyu in the seat since the Kikuyu vote went to TNA candidate.

Those in Cord now openly state that Raila is a pale shadow of his former self compared to the run-up to the last general elections and has not come to terms he is not the president and that William Ruto is the deputy president to Uhuru.

They also say Raila is not the same man who mounted a serious campaign onslaught in the controversial 2007 polls that he lost to then President Mwai Kibaki leading the formation of the coalition government after the events that followed the elections.

Raila in the two controversial presidential campaigns would traverse the country. For now, his handlers say, even attending two rallies a week is not easy. That is why the referendum campaign lost steam and did not reach all corners of the country as it had been planned.

To worsen matters, Raila still refers to Kalonzo makamu wa rais and Wetang’ula waziri while chairing Cord matters. Unlike before when he would call every MP from Luo Nyanza by name, the former PM is unable to and now he is only able to recognise a few due to his poor eyesight. The fear that Raila is losing his marbles seemed to be reinforced when he was shown on TV last week following Gor Mahia fans’ anarchy in Machakos saying: “Soccer is a game played by gentlemen and watched by thugs” which shocked many as it was seen as a condoning of the violence that leaves millions of damage whenever Gor loses.

Fearing that Raila is not himself, those who have survived politically by surrounding him are working on various options to remain relevant ahead of 2017 including in his Luo home turf. Not to be left behind are politicians from regions where ODM enjoyed fanatical following in last polls in Coast, Western and parts of North Eastern.

As a result of his current state, where he is forced to sleep early and reduce his intake of hard drinks as per doctor’s advice, Raila appears to be in the grip of the worst and most desperate, outdated, incompetent and unpopular of the Luo Mafia operatives.

Psychiatrists, psychologists and other observers with a medical background and experience of personality changes in older people are quietly stating that Raila, who is 69 years old, nine of which were spent in detention is showing all the signs of early onset dementia or accelerated senility.

A top medic who spoke to Weekly Citizen on condition of total secrecy as he has been close to both Raila and his father, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in the past observed that the tell-tale signs are all there for those with trained eyes to see.

“Jakom has not been himself since at least mid-last year in the aftermath of his third loss in the presidential elections. The hyperactive, thrilling, mesmerising and galvanising man of the people is no more. Instead, we see an individual who could pass for the body-double of the real Raila of yesteryears, but does not possess his content. In other words, we are looking at a different Raila,” said the doc.

A well-known radio and TV political analyst who also did not wish to be named said it appears the former prime minister is held hostage by some of the most self-defeating political forces in Kenyan history, or he is simply not himself.

When this analysis was put to a third opinion, a medical doctor with political links remarked: “It is also entirely possible that the former PM is afflicted by both terrible advisers in his inner – and most trusted – circles and by extent, senility. Nine years in the detention dungeons of the Moi era was no joke, it was bound to have consequences. Even great leaders who were much older than Raila suffered the consequences of extended incarceration to their dying days – look at the cases of Jomo Kenyatta and Nelson Mandela.

This moot question came to the fore when ODM called a parliamentary group meeting on Thursday October 30 at the party’s Orange House headquarters in Nairobi’s Kilimani area.
Also specially invited to the meeting was Kalonzo and Wetang’ula.

What transpired at the ODM PG shocked most of those present and then the country and the rest of the world. It is said, those behind the chaos were bitter that Kalonzo and Wetung’ula aware of Raila’s current mental status, have convinced him to be part of the share of millions of shillings ODM is to receive from the registrar of political parties. A section in ODM wants the money only for the party and want Magerer Langat, the executive director out of the office to control the huge amount. Analysts say if the money sharing factor is not well handled by Cord, affiliated parties will split the opposition outfit.

The ODM executive director was seated at the high table in a big tent erected in the Orange House compound, next to Raila and Kalonzo and other VIPs, when a goons squad rushed into the venue and went straight for him, ordering him to get of the enclosure.

Half-a-dozen men attacked the official, whom they ejected from the PG meeting in full view of the coalition leadership.
ODM secretary-general Anyang’ Nyong’o blamed unspecified “hooligans” for the attack, saying the party would meet soon to discuss the matter. The father of Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o played the same role at Orange House as he did in February at Kasarani, putting on such a show of shock and innocence it could snatch the next Oscar from his daughter.

Later, it was alleged that differences over the use of political party funds and a push by youthful MPs for a stake in the ODM leadership were behind the assault against Lang’at. That the Kasarani chaos and the Magerer saga clearly manifests a political father whose children are fighting over gains putting in considerations his survival.