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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The untold story of Fidel’s untimely demise


Social media may have been flooded with reports that Cord co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka gave a pittance Sh25,000 as his contribution to Fidel Castro Odinga’s funeral. However, the Wiper party leader’s main contribution was lost in talk about the causes of multiple deaths that have hit Cord leadership. 
Addressing a Press Conference at Fidel Odinga’s residence in Karen, Kalonzo sensationally attempted to connect Fidel’s death to the earlier deaths of two Cord bigwigs: Mutula Kilonzo and Otieno Kajwang.  “I know a lot of us are asking a lot of difficult questions, Mutula Kilonzo, Otieno Kajwang and now Fidel Castrol Odinga, first son to Rt Hon Raila Odinga,” he said.
Fidel’s uncle and Raila Odinga’s elder brother, Oburu Odinga, was equally sensational. During the funeral in Kang’o Ka Jaramogi, in Bondo Siaya county, Oburu expressed concerns that Fidel’s death was not an act of God; there was a human hand was involved.
A year later after Mutula died and hot on the heels of Fidel’s burial, Makueni senator, Mutula Kilonzo Junior, joined the Cord chorus that there is a killer of Cord leaders on the loose out there. In a media interview on  January 13 2015, he claimed that his late father was poisoned. “I have doubts with the findings of Dr Ian Cadillac, which are similar to those of government pathologists Johansen Oduor, that my father died of excessive bleeding,” said Junior. 
But did Fidel fall to the hand of man or to his own hand?
Cord leaders have exploited an old African belief that people do not die, they are killed. Three deaths in a span of less than a year of top operatives from one political party cannot be just a coincidence, at least according to the belief among members of the opposition Cord. 
The deaths of two senators: Mutula, Makueni and Kajwang, Homabay and most recently Fidel all in a span of 10 months has left many unanswered questions. None of the deaths has been conclusively explained.
On one hand is the fact that before they died, they had no known recent negative medical records that were life threatening. The young Odinga and Mutula died peacefully in their sleep. Senator Kajwang died while on the way to the hospital after complaining of chest pains amid  reports that five days earlier he had been involved in near-fatal road accident in Homa Bay.
There has been little, if any explanation from the families of the three on the findings of the pathologists. This is despite their families hiring some of the best pathologists, who are also family friendly.
As a result, speculation and leakage of those reports is what has formed the opinion of the public. The Cord brigade  according to a section of analysts is ironically using the three deaths to make political capital. They have to them out to use  Fidel’s death to armtwist the government to enter into a dialogue to share power. 
In a country where the public believe politicians more than their own feelings, it is common place that the Cord crowd is using the deaths to amass some sympathy—that the government is killing some of their best.
The death of Fidel is particularly significant. He was not only the first son of Raila, but was also the heir apparent to the Odinga dynasty.
Raila, who have since lost three presidential elections,  just clicked 70 years old this month, his birth on January 7 1945 almost coinciding with his son’s death on January 5. Odinga has been grooming Fidel as the heir of not only the Odinga family’s presidential ambition but also the cultlike leader of the Luo nation, where the Odinga family derives nearly all of its political capital.
Fidel, close confidants said, had expressed interest to run as a member of parliament in Kibra in 2017, a seat previously held by his father. He hoped to take advantage of the large Luo backing that reside in the slum. It was expected that this would gradually sharpen his nails to run for the highest office in the land.
Significantly, none of the Raila’s other children has showed political interest as Fidel did and also none in the larger Oginga family is likely to excite the Luo nation as Raila did. That is why his death is a major blow to the Odingas and also the larger Luo nation, which has suffered a generational loss.
Many theories have emerged regarding Fidel’s death. One is that his body shut down after a toxic combination of excessive consumption of hard liquor and other hard substances. This led to the liver being overworked to the point of shutting down. 
However, the family would not reveal these findings fearing public embarrassment. Instead, Cord principals found it convenient to make political capital out of Fidel’s mishap and the deaths of two other senators.
The facts of his movement on that day may give a glimpse. But sources closer to his social circles reveal that Fidel abused alcohol every day.
Fidel, it emerged, was extremely liquid and would spend as much as Sh200,000 in a single outing entertaining his friends. Fidel too had a soft spot for women according to friends.
Although he had come into trouble with hard stuff earlier, in Kenya he became hooked after meeting his wife-to-be and law student at Nairobi’s Parkland Campus, Veronica Wanjiru Ng’ang’a.  Fidel married Vero in 2007. But it was not the “Kikuyu Delilah,” as the Luo liked calling Veronica, but her sister, Ida Wamuhu Ng’ang’a, who became Fidel’s partner in social circles.  Some sources also alleged his high dalliance with alcohol was one of the reasons Fidel divorced his first wife. Fidel’s uncle, Oburu Odinga, claimed Wanjiru was barren and unable to sire a heir to the Odingas. However, a complex love triangle created the “irreconcilable differences” cited in the divorce. 
Friends spoke of how Fidel would enter a club, pay for all the beers and the patrons would drink for free. While this is a normal occasional practice among the wealthy in Kenya particularly the politicians, his generosity was regular especially when he patronised top Nairobi bars. His circle of friends too, is known for such extravagance.
His liquidity is partly explained by the fact that he used his father’s political connection and the family business Specter International to import bitumen for road construction among other business activities. He had cultivated relationships across the political divide meaning it was easy for him to land government contracts despite his father’s strong opposition politics.
After declining to have lunch with his father on the fateful day on the reason that he had promised to have lunch with some of his friends, he left home and went Westlands where he joined his friends and cousin Bill. They went to Capital Club Imperial, and then had lunch at Artcaffe at the Mall before going to The Oval.
It is while at The Oval that a Ugandan friend, Barnabas Tarema, called Fidel and his friends at about 6:35pm and invited them to the Sankara Hotel, where they relocated at 10pm until about 3am. Fidel ordered Vodka. Fidel also met former South Sudan leader John Garang’s son Mabior Garang at the same hotel. He was also with Robert Gichuru the son of the former managing director of Kenya Power and Lighting Company Samuel Gichuru, one of the most controversial parastatal heads in the history of Kenya among other male and female friends.
Friends said Fidel was at one time during the drinking sessions intoxicated with hard liquor and had earlier complained on stomach pains following what he suspected was food poisoning from a previous weekend drinking spree.
He was however responsible enough to request the taxi driver to drive him in his vehicle home but unfortunately this is where he was found dead in the morning.
Information that has been leaked so far indicates that Fidel died of excessive alcohol consumption but the family would not reveal these findings fearing embarrassment. The family and the wider opposition also wants to make political capital out of Fidel’s death and that of two other Cord senators. The other embarrassing  information leaks are bound to surface hence the opposition’s move to counter by bringing a new dimension in his death.
Records acquired indicate that Fidel’s controversial social life goes back to his school years in America.  Characteristic of mourning sessions, speakers avoided addressing Fidel’s previous involvement with the life that might have most likely contributed to his untimely demise. It is not clear why in his Karen house, authorities found a bullet proof vest, 2000 rounds of ammunition and high calibre rifles.
In 2001, while studying in the United States, Fidel Castro Odinga was fined US$305 (Sh24,000) by the District Court of Montgomery County for possessing illegal substance. Fidel was also found guilty of possessing what is referred to as, “paraphernalia,” a reference to equipment used for preparing and consuming illicits. Fidel’s case number is 1D00109194 and his probation officer was Malcolm Mac Dermid.
Earlier, young Fidel was found guilty  by the same court. He was accused of stealing $300 (Sh23,000) in criminal court case number 4D00083780. Fidel’s probation officer is listed as Ms Deborah Williams. The complainant police officer was SD Murphy and whose police identity number was 1579.