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What's next for CORD’S chief politician?

03 April 2013, 18:35 Paul Orodi

After His Excellency Mzee Kenyatta’s death, Kenya witnessed the birth of a new era of politics. The then president Daniel Moi had not expected such heavy demonstrations from university students.

Likes of James Orengo had emerged as headache for the regime of that time.

It wasn’t long before Moi witnessed the entrance of a new hard player; Raila Amolo Odinga. Born in the house of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Raila dived in to the murky water of politics while teaching in the university. He was arrested for attempting to overthrow the government of the day and thus landed a cool prison sentence that saw him come out after 6 years only to be incarcerated again sooner than later.

It was not until Raila went to exile that the government let him off the hook. However he came back to some ruthless and hostile reception as the Nyayo torture chambers served as his home for sometime. The learned Engineer had come to the brink of it all when he decided to play some safe politics. After running for presidency in 1997 and failing, Raila decided to tone it down and first dethrone Moi then strategise on building his own dynasty.

With this thought, Odinga arranged a merger between his party NDP and KANU. The merger was a success and from there Raila started lobbying the KANU die-hards like the late Saitoti, Kalonzo, Ntimama and many others including the UDF party flag bearer Musalia Mudavadi.

This mass exodus left Moi with no support base in close to two thirds of the country. Uhuru Kenyatta was the only card Moi had and he had to play it whatever the outcome. The whole country was experiencing a tide and Raila had marshaled all his stolen soldiers in Kibaki’s camp. It was humiliating for Moi.

Raila led the troops against Uhuru and this led to Kibaki garnering a over 60% of cast votes. No one would dare interfere with the polls at that time because the whole country was in a movement kind of environment thanks to Raila Odinga.

The government that was formed after that election of 2002 had promised so much but what was at the heart of it all was a new constitution. When Kibaki took over the reigns of power, he formed a government and quickly embarked on development and implementing the pledge of a new constitution. Raila sat in the cabinet and he was regarded as a key player in the government; however, this did not seem to calm his critics.

After a long journey by the Bomas delegates to arrive at a constitution that is worth it, it is alleged that some powerful players in government did not like some tiny bits of it and therefore went with the draft to Naivasha and then Mombasa in a bid to alter the few clauses. This did not go down well with Raila and some of his like-minded fellows. During the referendum, Raila was very vibrant in urging Kenyans to reject the document and with him was a contingent of ministers, assistant ministers and government side MPs. They went to the extent of dining with Uhuru Kenyatta and yet he was in the opposition.

A humiliating defeat was handed to the government. No doubt, Kibaki had had enough. He wanted nothing to do with the traitors. Raila’s move had cost the entire cabinet ministers their jobs. The president reshuffled the caibnet and threw out Raila and his troops. Two years later and Raila would be facing it off with Kibaki in the most contentious election ever since independence. It was to an extent of causing violence. This time, Raila was handed a seat closer to State House than any other. He was regarded as co-principal in government and he coordinated all government’s activities from his Office of the Prime Minister.

Recently, He was contesting for a third time in the presidential election and he has once again lost but now the constitution is very clear on procedures to be followed by aggrieved parties. After a defeat by Uhuru’ Jubilee, the prime minister decided to approach the courts and indeed his case was heard for a considerable amount of time. However the verdict upheld Kenyatta’s victory and therefore he will be sworn in on 9th April 2013.

What next for Raila? One would ask.

He is a farmer and a multimillionaire in terms of business entities. The son of Jaramogi has so much on his plate domestically. Internationally he might also play some key roles in the ranks of peace ambassador, eminent personality or UN chief observer. He has risen to very senior ranks in government business and political engineering that he can be of use in very many sectors of this world. Nonetheless, he has his brother in the Senate and his sister as governor for Kisumu, the man still has some cards to play in terms of power plays and policy formulation.

The ODM gurus will also consider him for advice in terms of political navigation and his insights will be of great impact.

He might even vie for a fourth time but that is highly unlikely considering his age and the lengthy stay away from politics.

Whichever way he decides to go, Raila has and will remain to be one of Kenya’s most influential politicians of our times. He has rocked powerful presidents and dismantled their ships in search for democracy and equality.

Kenya will miss his antics and theatrics on the political arena.     

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