Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday 28 September 2014


If Raila wished to live a kingly life with the trappings that come with it, he could have enjoyed life just the same way president Uhuru Kenyatta enjoyed while a toddler in the hands of the first family or like Senator Gideon Moi under his father who ruled this country with an ironfist for 24 years.

Instead Raila’s eyes were set on something bigger  and left his father’s business empire that ranged from real estates and East Africa Spectre Company among others and teamed up with the likes of Anyona Anyona, Martin Shikuku, Masinde Muliro, Kenneth Matiba, Gitobu Imanyara, Timothy Njoya, and Kipsang Muge who agitated for freedom of expression and political pluralism.

When the revolution gathered momentum and became widespread president Moi cracked the whip hard, Imanyara and the society of Njehu Gatabaki were banned and strict censorship of the press was imposed, some politicians including Raila Odinga were thrown into detention.

In 1990, the professor of politics Moi bowed to pressure and accepted the repeal of Section 2A of the constitution that paved the way for multiparty democracy. The agitators for more political space formed Ford as a vehicle to wrestle power from Moi. In the run-up to the general election of 1992 Ford splintered into two – Ford Asili of Matiba and FORD Kenya of Jaramogi due to disagreements which led to their defeat by Moi.

In 1997 other players including fencesitters like former president Kibaki joined the fray and Raila made his first stab at the presidency through NDP. Again Moi triumphed.
Having been defeated by Moi twice, the opposition drafted a plan to defeat Moi’s preferred candidate Uhuru but before the ink dried on paper Raila pulled a surprise that could forever haunt him to his grave. He went public at Uhuru Park and asked “Si huyu mzee ametosha?” with Wamalwa Kijana as his running mate. This marked the beginning of Raila’s tribulations.

In his mind he thought that Kibaki would reciprocate and support him for presidency.
Raila is a master strategist but he has got one weakness – he never maintains allies but instead antagonises them. In the build-up to 2007 elections he failed to convince and maintain Kalonzo an ally who could have tilted the scale in his favour. It is this fear that come 2017, key players in Cord alliance are likely to bolt out.

Raila was appointed the prime minister in a power sharing deal with Kibaki that ended the chaos. And since Raila had graduated to miscalculate, Kibaki handed him the Mau question to hang himself.

Having all the tools and manpower at his disposal and a motorcade with chase cars, Raila forgot that he still needed the support of Kalenjins to secure the presidency and went ahead uprooting people from Mau Forest instead of consolidating their support.

Before 2013 elections, Raila had already lost the entire Pentagon team – Charity Ngilu, Najib Balala, Musalia Mudavadi, Joseph Nyaga and William  Ruto and then courted  Kalonzo and Moses Wetangula.

The next elections are beckoning and Raila is busy fighting Ababu Namwamba. He is grooming Agnes Zani a greenhorn to take over the prestigious post of secretary general of ODM.
As the referendum debate gathers momentum with both sides of the political divide trying to woo voters, Raila should not bank all hopes on it to rejuvenate his lost glory having miscalculated twice for the top job. Analysts say he should tame  hardliners among them Otieno Kajwang, Mohammed Junnet, Jakoyo Midiwo and his brother Oburu Odinga.

Otherwise, fear is come 2017, a story will be narrated of a king who reigned but never ruled.

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