By Stanley Okoth,
January 25, 2018,
Raila Odinga, the son of Kenya’s first Vice President – the late Jaramogi Odinga is set to be sworn-in on Tuesday, January 30th at Uhuru Park. It will be a culmination of brilliant life and sacrifice, only made possible by the very few men and women, who have sacrificed their liberties and humankind for generations.
Raila Odinga; a former student leader, B.Sc. Engineering honors, Lecturer political detainee, MP, Minister, the Opposition leader, and Prime Minister—he was instrumental in the restoration of Multi-Party, as well as the push for the second liberation that ushered in Kenya’s new Constitution that brought devolution. He is also a farmer, businessman, statesman and describes himself as an Afro-optimist. Raila believes in what he calls African’s renaissance.
The Enigma from Siaya County had an ordinary primary school life in Bondo, joined Maranda High School. A Political detainee of Moi Era from 1982 – 1988 Nyayo house basement cells, Manyani and Shimo la Tewa prisons in the Coast. Raila was a member of the Young Turks together with Nthenge, Shikuku, Nyongo, Orengo, Kituyi, Muite among others who teamed up with Jaramogi and Matiba to fight for the second Liberation 1990- Dec 1992.
Liberation, freedom and plenty have always come as a result of huge sacrifice world over. Liberation struggle for Kenya independence united her people—President Kenyatta, however, continued with neo-colonialism– the kitchen cabinet in post-independence killed the dream of a united nation. Many Africans including the freedom fighters came from the forests to realize that they had become squatters in the new country.
Jaramogi was subsequently kicked out of KANU and Power in 1966, followed by Tom Mboya assassination in July 1969, then attempted coup in 1971, then J.M Kariuki murder of 1975 When Daniel Moi took over in 1978 after Kenyatta’s death, especially after ‘1982’ attempted coup, Kenya degenerated into darkness
Detention without trial became the order of the day. Failure to be a Kanu member was a criminal offense in Kenya. The Moi’s tenure saw the primitive accumulation of wealth by the president and his cronies. The likes of Biwott and Joshua Kulei were powerful and very wealthy. After the infamous ‘Mlolongo’ elections of 1988, the murder of Robert Ouko in 1990 and the burning of an effigy of one ‘Brigadier Odongo’ then capped a country at a deadlock.
Ten years of Moi rule after the repeal of section 2A in December 1991 galvanized an opposition, who united and took over the Country’s leadership in 2002 with Raila being key to this victory. However, the Kibaki’s inner circle again killed the nationhood dream and catapulted the country into serious divisions.
We remember reading the book ‘The Kenyatta Succession’ by Paul Ochieng and Karimi in the western Kenya bushes in 1987 because of fear. I salute one Gitobu Imanyara with, his famous ‘Nairobi Law Monthly’ journal as well as Hillary Ngweno’s ‘weekly Review’ another journal. Their boldness re-affirmed the freedom struggle to 2nd liberation.
As Kenya still grapples with challenges of harsh weather conditions, insecurity, tribalism, exclusion, nepotism and a country seriously divided, the only hope could be to give Raila a chance at leadership and the burning vision, that he holds. With his leadership; the dreams, the aspirations and the desires of the poor, vulnerable and hopeless will be rekindled.