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Raila’s Good Days are Behind Him, The Luo Nation Should Focus On His Successor



CORD Leader Raila Odinga (Pic Courtesy)

CORD Leader Raila Odinga (Pic Courtesy)

By Nicholas Olambo

While many have described the Former Prime Minister Raila as the kingmaker, the enigma of Kenyan politics, crowd puller and the best player in confrontational politics who is never short of surprises, Raila’s best moments are behind him as Prof. Makau Mutua puts it. I don’t think Tinga has more cards close to his chest to pull, his opponents have studied and known him. In fact, President Uhuru Kenyatta is causing him sleepless nights via proxies. What if he comes direct?

The former premier must be acknowledged for nurturing many politicians most of whom have turned to be his sworn enemies. He has not nurtured any from his back yard, Luo Nyanza despite Kenyan politics being so tribal. No one from Nyanza has received Raila’s blessings in case he quits the political stage which can’t be too long after 2017 polls. From where I sit, possibilities of ‘Luo Nation’ not voting as a block in post-Raila era are extremely high.

Only Kidero comes out as the Luo politician with the might to take after him, but sycophants and Raila followers from his native Central Nyanza are not ready to back any politician from South Nyanza where the Nairobi Governor, Dr Evan Kidero hails from. Raila has every right to run for president in the coming 2017 polls but after three unsuccessful shots, the experienced politician must also think of passing the Burton. Right now he comes out as one who thinks he is the only Luo who can be president.

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As much as it’s said that Raila has been betrayed by the same individuals whose political careers he helped built, he must change his tactics and try new avenues. Politics is a game of numbers, but Raila has been unable to keep his house intact, he has been busy putting off rebellion fires in his party when his opponents are planning for 2017 polls. Money also plays a great deal, and Jubilee is seriously moneyed, but Odinga has been accused of sitting on the wallet when his foot soldiers are being ‘bought’ like toffees. So many broke politicians stand for nothing but gullible to shift allegiance for the love of the money.

Opportunity only comes once in a lifetime they say, and Raila let the presidency slip from his hands in 2007 and that moment will never come again. Believers in the say like Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast never allowed his win slip away from him; he fought to the very end and took over from Laurent Gbagbo, a dictator who is now facing war crime charges at the Internal Criminal Court (ICC). Raila was fixed through the deal that saw the formation of a grand coalition government that he shared with the then president, Mwai Kibaki. The deal was the last nail in the ‘coffin’ of his presidential ambitions.

They say history repeats itself, and Kibaki became President at the age of 74, and Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria became president on the fourth attempt. Raila may be hanging his hopes on these thin and weak threads, but the generational change in Kenyan politics punches another big hole on Odinga’s dreams.

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The incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta was elected the fourth president at the age of 51, this kind of generational change makes it hard for him to be elected to succeed Mr. Kenyatta.

He has now and after 2017 polls to give direction to the Luo nation that has strongly been with him through his political career especially the south, many will be waiting to see if Central Nyanza can back a leader from the South.

This article expresses the author’s opinion only. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Kenya Insights or its Editors. We welcome opinion and views on topical issues. Email: [email protected]

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