Silas Chepkeres Jakakimba, a former aide to Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, has publicly criticized Winnie Odinga, Raila’s daughter, for what he perceives as disrespectful behavior.
In a statement on Sunday, March 12, 2023, Jakakimba claimed that Winnie had insulted him for taking a photo with President William Samoei Ruto, Raila’s main rival in the 2022 presidential election. Jakakimba said that Winnie called him a traitor for using the photo as his social media cover photo.
Jakakimba, who has served as Raila Odinga’s personal assistant and advisor for many years, called on Winnie to respect others for who they are and for the sacrifices they have made in the service of the country. He also criticized her for using foul language against him.
“Winnie Odinga used ‘F’ word on me last night for what she terms betrayal in lieu of my cover Photo. What she fails to appreciate: We respect Jakom-done half the yrs of my life arnd him & if she cares to know, we’ve had to hard-furnace via invisible sacrifices to that cadre of loyalty.
Moving forward, Winnie Odinga must learn to respect people for who they are – if not least, for what they’ve been in a long journey of several lows and countable highs, for love of Country. Jakakimba,” said Mr Chepkeres.
The photo in question was taken during Ruto’s second visit to Homa Bay County in January 2023. Governor Gladys Wanga welcomed Ruto after initially bailing on his first official visit to the county. Jakakimba’s post calling out Winnie Odinga, revealing the nature of their current working relationship, is a stark contrast to the praise he gave her in November 2022 amid a debate about who between Winnie and Ruto’s daughter, Charlene, was more popular and impactful.
Jakakimba’s relationship with the Odinga family goes back many years, and he has been a key figure in Raila Odinga’s political circle. He is also a seasoned politician, but he put his own political ambitions on hold to ensure Raila Odinga’s success in the 2022 election.
In a statement in February 2022, he said that he had skipped his earlier intention to stand for elective public office, including the Lang’ata Parliamentary seat, to focus on helping Raila win the presidency.