Raila Odinga

Category: press

ALL GOVERNMENT BRANCHES, CITIZENS AND FRIENDS OF KENYA MUST STAND TO BE COUNTED IN WAR ON CORRUPTION:

ALL GOVERNMENT BRANCHES, CITIZENS AND FRIENDS OF KENYA MUST STAND TO BE COUNTED IN WAR ON CORRUPTION:

In recent couple of days, the Government of Kenya has mounted a commendable crackdown on corruption and the culture of impunity on which it rides.
This crackdown and the support by the public were unthinkable at the start of this year with Kenya torn down the middle by ethnic politics, elections and impunity until the MoU in the Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation happened with a very clear agenda on how to address our ages old problems.
Thanks to the bipartisan support, public lands whose recovery started then stalled under the NARC regime in 2003, has kicked off, with the grabbers denied the ethnic and political party sanctuaries they usually hide in. The political atmosphere has enabled us to look at our problems minus the usual ethnic lenses. Attempts by suspects to appeal to their ethnic bases have therefore generated near zero support.
As the crackdown continues, as it must, we need to see similar energy and speed directed at recovery of assets that were acquired from the proceeds of corruption and impunity.
It is fair to expect that the business premises that were set up on public land generated some private gain for the illegitimate owners in the same way stolen public funds generated income in the form of bank interests and property for the suspects. The Asset Recovery Agency must move with speed and ensure that the suspects, both those out on bail and the ones facing arrest, do not hide their ill-gotten wealth or access and use them to undermine justice and frustrate the war on corruption and impunity.
Kenyans need these monies seized and returned to the public to finance the many gaps being experienced in the development plans, including repayment of the ever-rising foreign debts. Partly because of wanton theft of public funds including those from donors, taxes are going up on virtually everything. Ordinary Kenyans must not continue to bear this burden while the corrupt keep their loot.
Asset recovery must be seen and felt in our anticorruption crusade. Depriving corrupt actors of these ill-gotten wealth and returning them to the public will support development and economic growth. It will restore confidence in the current crackdown. Corruption must be made a painful crime.
The Asset Recovery Agency must move out of boardrooms and be seen to be acting publicly in unison with the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
It is equally important in the process of asset recovery to work together with the Kenyan public. Many people in this country want to contribute to this war and are looking for a way in which they can assist the anti-corruption agencies to remove this scourge from our society. It is the people who know better who is living beyond their means. The public is the best source of information. The Asset Recovery Agency needs to urgently set up a platform through which the public can share this information with the government.
All branches of the government; the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive must pull in the same direction if the corruption networks are to be overcome. The public currently feels cheated by Parliament, which has become the weakest link in this war, with reports of money changing hands for adoption or rejection of reports. This is a major shame to the nation and deserves urgent and thorough investigation by multi-agency team from the EACC, DPP and DCI.
In the March 9 MoU, we agreed to fight corruption from a wide and common front by strongly supporting whistleblowing from all Kenyans. The MoU mandates the public to report corruption whenever they witness it. Kenyans must take up this role and also pressure their elected representatives to fight corruption or resign.
This is also the time for our international partners, who have long lamented about the culture of corruption and impunity in Kenya, to play ball, open up their institutions and help trace Kenya’s assets and monies hidden in their countries.
About three months ago, the DPP appealed for the collaboration of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the fight against corruption. We are anxiously waiting for that support, preferably in more practical ways than routine capacity building and training. Already, Switzerland has promised to probe their banks and trace Kenya’s assets and fund hidden there. All our other partners should do the same.
END.
AUGUST 12, 2018

MEETING BETWEEN H.E RAILA ODINGA AND PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

MEETING BETWEEN H.E RAILA ODINGA AND PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

It’s always a great pleasure meeting with one of Kenya’s most famous sons, President Barack Obama. He spoke very passionately about his foundation and particularly the empowerment of the youth and I commend both him and his sister Auma Obama for the commendable job they have done in building the community in Kogelo.

Always a champion of democracy, President Obama threw his support behind the Building Bridges initiative and pledged his support in helping bring the country together and fighting corruption.

Finally we spoke about ending the stalemate in South Sudan and finding peace for our neighbours. I join the rest of the nation in saying welcome back home Barack!

Tribute to Professor Douglas Odhiambo

Tribute to Professor Douglas Odhiambo

 

Prof Douglas Odhiambo who died last week belonged in the increasingly outnumbered lot of scholars who believe their role in society is to search for, generate and disseminate knowledge until they believe their last.

It is not a surprise that Prof was still studying as he was taken ill never to recover.

In his death, Kenya lost an exceptionally brilliant and serious academic who had much to brag about but chose a humble, behind the scenes life from where he argued for more support for and less interference with our public universities.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT JOINT ODM NEC/ PG IN MOMBASA,

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT JOINT ODM NEC/ PG IN MOMBASA,

Ladies and gentlemen;
Once again, we meet at an interesting time both for our party and our country.
Some say these are confused and confusing times because of the “handshake” and the developments that have followed. I disagree.
There is no confusion in our politics and our country. What has happened is that our country and our politics have changed since the 9th of March.
Those who have refused to see and embrace the change and those resisting the change and trying to rewind the clock are the ones wallowing in or creating confusion.
They embrace the “handshake” in the morning and oppose it in the afternoon. They embrace the war on corruption today, and display its proceeds tomorrow.
They embrace national unity this week, and sow the seeds of discord the following week. ODM is not in that league.
From across the world, Africa and our country, the message I continue to get is that this is Kenya’s last second chance and that not many nations get second chances.
Kenyans know in their hearts that this time, the future must be different.
Kenyans know that they are preparing for a future in which they are not just going to be voting robots for parties and individuals but for their hopes and aspirations and their country.
The message ought to get to everyone that Kenyans are getting ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. I see this new group that is mobilizing for a new brand of politics and a different country becoming the new majority going forward.

As a party together with the NASA coalition, we must align accordingly. We remain committed to the vision and spirit of NASA coalition which we believe is as strong as it constituent parties. This meeting today is part of ODM’s determination to strengthen itself as our partners do the same.
For ODM, these are interesting and fulfilling times because all the issues we stand for are at play and the country is watching how we play our cards.
The most critical issues that have finally come to play are corruption and national unity. We have been at the forefront sounding the trumpet that corruption is eating our nation from inside out and corrupting our politics and our moral values.
Unfortunately, the corruption cartels used our very alarm bells to shield themselves from prosecution.

They used our alarm to politicize the war on corruption and to scare the government that we are agents of foreign masters out to bring down the President. They used our protests to build war chests out of public coffers ostensibly to fight a plot by ODM to bring down the government.
This year, we changed tact and assured the government that we are together in the war on corruption. We are no longer whistle blowers. We are one with the government in executing the war on corruption.
We remain in Opposition. But we have taken a principled position that what is good for Kenya is good for ODM.
The war on corruption is good for Kenya. We are in it fully. Lifestyle audit on leaders is good for Kenya. We are in it fully. Personally, I am ready for it. The vetting of procurement officers is good for Kenya. In fact, we pioneered it when we came to power in 2003 as NARC. We support it fully. And now, the corrupt are lost.
Today, we are asking the State to go a step further and enjoin external agencies and experts to boost local capacity in the war on corruption. The number of corruption cases are rising almost daily. The figures involved are mind-boggling. The suspects include the high and mighty. Soon, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations will come under severe challenges with regard to capacity and the rings ran by corruption cartels.

Since our inception as a party, we have advocated unity of the nation through equitable sharing of power and resources and a re-examination of our systems of governance, ethnic relations and the conduct of elections. These issues have been brought to the table and will soon be taken to Kenyans to debate and agree on.

As the handshake provides a lifeline to the long stifled war on corruption, ODM must do everything to enable its impact spread to the other areas stifling our nation and public life. If the handshake has enabled the war on corruption to take off, it must enable unity of our nation, end divisive elections and help us discover our national ethos. We need to agree on how.

There is a Kenya that has been and continues to be. That is the Kenya of corruption, tribalism, marginalization, nepotism, election violence and all the other evils that have defined our country over the past fifty five years.
And then there is a Kenya that is possible and which Kenyans sense is in the horizon since the 9th of March.

It is a Kenya that is united against corruption and that embraces and appreciates every citizen regardless of tribe, race, faith or gender and a Kenya where people live by certain moral values that they are not willing to sacrifice on the altar of politics, power and money.

Kenyans want our politics to take a new dimension and be more purposeful and people-centred. Kenyans are tired of the politics of more of the same that yields hate, tension, division, pain and even death every five years. Kenyans are yearning for politics that heals not one that hurts.
Kenyans are tired of politics that thrives on corruption and that gives way to more corruption and impoverishes the nation every five years.
That is the message that has come through in response to our 9-point agenda signed on March 9th.
In the past couple of weeks, you have seen me meeting Kenyans from diverse backgrounds including former enemies who fought it out in the streets and slums of Nairobi.
They all have the same plea: Help us build a country because we have none.
Help us reimagine our politics because what we have right now is toxic and dangerous.
Stand together as Opposition and government and slay the dragon of corruption because soon we will have very little for ourselves and nothing for our children.
Give us a country with morals and values otherwise we are failing as a nation.

Only last week, Father Joachim Gitonga, a member of the Kikuyu Council of Elders who attended a rally in Muranga as a young man in 1959 and listened to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga rally central Kenya behind the struggle for Uhuru and the release of Jomo Kenyatta asked me, how do we get back to that kind of politics and that kind of country?
How do we get back to electing leaders who are honest, sincere, committed and who put the country first? I am today putting Father Gitonga’s question to you.
As a party, we have never been shy to imagine and explore new horizons.
We must not be shy to leave the old Kenya and its old ways to those stuck in it and walk side by side with other Kenyans to the new Kenya that they yearn for and which they have seen is possible.
We must lead Kenyans in retracing our steps and returning the country to the brand of politics that puts country first.
We must refuse to be distracted by succession politics and concentrate on building a brand new nation within this window of opportunity before it closes.
Are you worried that some people have started campaigning in earnest? Worry not. A transition is underway in Kenya as the handshake bears tangible results in war on corruption and unity of communities.
Everything is going to change. In the process, we will change the factors that voters take into consideration when picking leaders and those who think they are ahead will find themselves behind.
Let those with ears hear and those with eyes see. But let’s also make it our role to make the politically blind and politically deaf see and hear that Kenya is changing and they must not stand in the way.
Thank you.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA TO OXFORD UNION;

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA TO OXFORD UNION;

OXFORD UNIVERSITY;

MAY 17, 2018.

 WHY EUROPE AND AFRICA REMAIN PROBLEMS TO EACH OTHER:

I am greatly honored to be at Oxford University as a guest of the Oxford Union, one of the oldest debating societies in the world.

I come here a few days after speaking at Cambridge University as a guest of the Cambridge Union. Together, you make for two of the greatest institutions whose footprints are found everywhere on every subject, across the globe.

Oxford and Cambridge universities have been part and parcel of Africa’s vision of education as an indispensable ingredient to the achievement of a vibrant democracy; sustained and equitable economic growth, good governance and eradication of poverty.

I must therefore recognize and applaud this university for the continued commitment to providing sound education to Africa’s youth through scholarships like that administered jointly by Oxford and Cambridge Society of Kenya to undergraduate and graduate students.

I also recognize your joint research projects with Kenyan universities. Research is the weakest link in Africa’s universities largely due to funding challenges.

With ties that bind like the colonial heritage, education and cultural links that broke language barriers, Europe and Africa should be enjoying greater and more mutually beneficial relations.

The reality however is that Europe has a problem in Africa. It is what I wish to speak to you about.

As signature institutions like this great university have strived to maintain the ties with Africa, their efforts have been undermined by European politics and attitudes.

Africa is feeling the impact of the inward-looking, populist regimes emerging across Europe that are also steeped in old images of European grandeur towards a supposedly dark African continent of wars, poverty and pestilence.

The ties between Europe and Africa have failed to change with the times, making our two continents miss the opportunities that have emerged over time.

There is minimal language and transport barrier between Europe and Africa. All the major European languages -English, French and Spanish- are spoken in Africa. Geographically, Africa is closer to Europe than to Asia and North America.

Because of geography and history, Europe remains Africa’s leading trade partner.

But Africa and Europe have not leveraged these very clear advantages.

 

Europe has taken either these ties or Africa for granted. At some stage, Europe appeared to embrace the idea of Africa being a “Hopeless Continent” as Economist magazine once referred to it. Europe got content with occasional and predictable reports about corruption, civil wars, stolen elections, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Female Genital Mutilation and starvation because these are in line with the thinking in European capitals about what Africa is.

In the process, Europe failed to see the emergence of this long suffering but immensely resilient and endowed Continent.

Yes, Africa continues to experience fundamental socio-economic and political challenges.

The Continent continues to be plagued by poverty and political crises that make it to media headlines and shape the general perception even among policy makers here.

Unfortunately, this has kept Europe stuck on sending troops and occasional aid to struggling countries. In the process, they made Europe fail to be a genuine partner with an emerging and booming Africa that has experienced sustained high economic growth of around five per cent, over the past decade.

Africa is today looking for partners in Europe who can combine better the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity that fueled the French Revolution and which must now be realized in the context of modern day regime of human rights, the rule of law, economic prosperity and democracy. Unfortunately, these now appear to be getting sacrificed at the altar of European political, economic and strategic considerations that work against Africa.

Africa is looking for partners who believe in win-win relationships. We are keen on greater practical, politically backed engagement with the private sector and civil-society actors, on both continents to fuel democratization and economic prosperity.

One area in which Africa feels most cheated by Europe is trade. Africa is feeling the pressure by Europe on African governments to sign trade deals that would work against Africans. To date, Economic Partnership Agreements remain points of great disagreement and suspicion between Africa and Europe. These agreements need to be concluded once and for all in a way that is fair and beneficial to both parties.

Africans are equally getting increasingly apprehensive over Europe’s immigration policies. Africa is outraged over the number of its citizens who die while trying to reach Europe. Young Africans resort to boats and other unorthodox means to access Europe because legal avenues have become too complex or simply unavailable. Europe has failed to enact EU-wide common asylum and immigration law that offers safe transit routes and is fair and efficient for asylum seekers.

Instead, immigration and fear of immigrants is being used as means to rise to power in Europe. These developments are quietly entrenching the feeling in Africa that racism remains real in Europe. Suspicions over trade and immigration make our citizens and leaders view Europe as an unreliable partner for Africa.

Even more disturbing is Europe’s ambivalence on democracy today.

As we meet here, many pro-democracy activists in Africa are no longer sure they have the support of Europe. It is not clear if it is still Europe’s policy to stand only with regimes that promote open, free and fair elections and respect human rights. That ambivalence is itself a source of conflict in Africa.

We see democratization as key to the economic and political empowerment of Africa. On paper, the EU development aid includes an important component supporting democracy, good governance and rule of law. The EU has also become an important partner in election observation and democracy assistance, on paper. In practice, the EU has become part of the growing trend in the west where elections in Africa are judged only by how peaceful they are and whether they create room for trade and war on terror.

We see this this attitude in your diplomats and election observers across Africa and it is not helpful even to your desired goal of stability.

While Europe and its diplomats are interested merely in stability and trade, we in Africa know that only a full embrace of democracy will give us the momentum we need to take off and provide for our young generation who are currently forced to cross into Europe because of lack of opportunities in Africa.

The wind of change that blew across Africa in the 1990s proved that only democracy ensures that public goods and resources are put too much better use by the government.  It is the wind of change that resulted in six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries being in Africa.

 

This was a monumental leap considering that from 1974 through the mid-1990s, Africa’s growth was negative, reaching negative 1.5 percent in the 1990-94 period.

With the wind of change, life expectancy in Africa increased by about 10 per cent and child mortality rates started falling in most African countries. Real income per person increased by more than 30 per cent. In the previous 20 years, it shrank by nearly 10 per cent.

Where Europe has dithered, emerging economies have moved in and seized the new opportunities.

The western world is lamenting about China’s deep roots in Africa today. But China is not alone. India, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Japan and South Korea are equally developing deep roots in Africa, taking advantage of the doubts Europe seems to have about the Continent.

As new players move in, Africa is also moving away from just lamenting about diminishing donor funding and trade opportunities. We are coming up with ambitious strategies to mobilize own domestic resources. We are determined to harness high potentials from natural resources and to invest in industrialization, security, healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure and institutional reforms.

The ‘hopeful continent’ will continue to be frustrated and disillusioned by missed development goals.

But we are no longer waiting for the reluctant world to help us out of our political and economic challenges. Because we have a better understanding of our problems and their dynamics, we are turning to ourselves to resolve the problems.

That is why in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and I shocked the world by closing ranks after a bitter election contest that left the nation torn down the middle.

As leaders, we came to the acceptance that solutions to our problems must result from an honest assessment of objective realities prevailing in the nation and the best interests of our people.

We are determined to address ages-old problems of ethnic antagonism, lack of national ethos, marginalization, strengthening devolution, divisive elections, safety and security and corruption. We will need partners, not patrons on this journey.

We very much appreciate the speed with which the EU and the rest of the western world have embraced the handshake and offered support. But I must emphasize that Kenyans are prepared to walk it alone if it comes to that.

It is our hope that the Handshake between the President and I can inspire other African nations struggling problems similar to Kenya’s and make them seek home-grown solutions based on mutual understanding.

 

The indifference of the external world has also inspired the creation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

We are determined to encourage intra-Africa trade that stood at a mere 16 per cent of Africa’s total trade in 2016.  We are determined to move Africa away from simply being a place where the powerhouse economies of the West and East come for raw materials.  Africa has triumphed against monumental odds before. Africa will triumph again.

 

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ODM NEC MEETING; MAY 8, 2018.

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ODM NEC MEETING; MAY 8, 2018.

We are meeting at an extra-ordinary time, under extra ordinary circumstances. The times and circumstances demand that we speak the truth, and that we do so frankly and boldly as we face the conditions in our country today.

So let me begin by being very clear on one issue. The meeting we are holding here today, the others to come in the near future, the activities we have pursued in recent past and those we will embark on in the coming days, are not about 2022 elections.

We meet against the background of the March 9 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and I during which we launched the Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation initiative.

That handshake has been hailed across the world and many of our citizens as a bold step towards addressing ours problems once and for all and bequeathing a better country to our children. But it has also become the subject of much political discourse and distortion by sections of leaders.
That handshake was not about 2022. It was too significant an event to be reduced to a struggle for positions, promises and ambitions of individuals.
This country has had elections before. We had Presidents, Prime Ministers and even Chief Secretaries before. There is nothing special about 2022 elections. The only thing that is special is that we have arrived at an agreement that we must do things differently going forward. We also have something special in the realization that if we don’t do the things we have set out in the MoU with President Uhuru Kenyatta, 2022 elections will amount to doing the same thing time and again and expecting different results.

Without the changes we envisage in the MoU, 2022 will be messy. It will come with the same confusion, heartbreaks and possibly chaos. We are trying to forestall such eventualities. As a forward looking and reform minded party, we must resist the efforts of political shylocks demanding their pound of the flesh out of the handshake.

Let us take a dispassionate look at where we were before the handshake and where we are now as a country and decide whether this was a worthy effort.

I am convinced that it was the right thing to do and I know President Kenyatta equally agrees it was worth the effort and the risk and we are determined to push it to its logical end.

Kenya is at a crossroads. Elections are mini civil wars. Businesses close at election time. Citizens relocate to perceived safe areas at election time. Many of our citizens feel disenfranchised and excluded. Corruption is killing that nation. Citizens view each other with suspicion, mistrust and anger. A little misstep and we tip over the precipice.

As leaders and a party, we have a duty think beyond 2022 and put the country on a path towards lasting unity and meaningful reconciliation. Not many nations that get to the brink secure a second chance to rethink and re-imagine their destinies. We are among the very lucky few and we must not take it for granted.

In the MoU called the Building Bridges to the New Kenyan Nation, we have identified ethnic antagonism, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, strengthening devolution, ending divisive elections, ensuring safety and security of our people, ending corruption and ensuring shared prosperity as issues our country has to address if we are to create a nation at peace with itself.
We will soon unveil a series of public events across the country to outline the terms of the MoU to Kenyans.
Addressing some of these issues may require changes to some of our laws and even amendments to the constitution. When that time comes, we must be bold enough to pick up the challenge as a matter of duty to the nation.

To participate actively in the national discourse and drive the agenda ahead, we must reorganize, rebrand and rebuild as a party. We must stay focused and refuse to be distracted by familiar voices that always stand on our paths to reform.

On this agenda of great national importance, we are prepared to work with old and new allies in the Opposition and in government as we have done in the past. ODM must take its rightful place in driving Project Kenya and the birth a new nation within the next one year, together with other like-minded parties and leaders. I am counting on your support. The country is looking up to us for leadership.
I thank you.

SWEARING IN

SWEARING IN

Yesterday’s swearing in could not have gone better for Raila, NASA or Kenya. A vast, virtually limitless crowd celebrated Africa’s first ever duality of presidencies, with the conviction that this would bring closer the prospect of peaceful change against regimes which rule with a murderous fist.

But despite this revolutionary resonance, the mammoth event was utterly peaceful. Not a single act of violence was reported, even though that was widely predicted in the scaremongering we saw. The Nation’s headline yesterday proved thankfully wrong: “Violence Looms as Nasa Digs in on Oath.” But Raila still had no hesitation about going it alone after he was left significantly more exposed by co-principals Kalonzo, Musalia and Wetangula staying away at the last minute for the swearing-in.

A major outcome from yesterday’s event was that it put the lie to repeated accusations against Raila that his supporters cause mayhem whenever they attend rallies. Did so many of them need to have been killed by police in the last few months?

Praise is due to the wiser heads which persuaded Uhuru, Ruto and the police chiefs to set aside their threats to unleash force against those participating in the swearing-in, even though it was in their own self-interest.

But against this seeming Jubilee wisdom, we witnessed two highly self-destructive decisions which gave a powerful boost to Raila’s democratic, electoral-justice message.  As the NY Times highlights today, the television blackout and designating NRM an organized criminal group “seemed to add legitimacy to Mr. Odinga’s oath, which some observers had earlier dismissed as political theater.”

Those two draconian measures also made what might have been a small story for the foreign press into a much more loaded one, as it revealed dictatorial tendencies that the Uhuru, Ruto regime has repeatedly exhibited. Thanks to those two government directives, the world now knows better than it might have that Kenya has a People’s President, Raila Odinga – and that the other president is not such a nice guy.

Preceded as it was by threats President Uhuru Kenyatta personally delivered to senior media figures when they were summoned to State House, the closing down of all three main TV channels, the first time in our history, hurt him badly with Kenyans, journalists in particular. Some spoke out very strongly. “There’s no doubt anymore that the government is out to cripple the media,” veteran journalist David Aduda said to the NY Times. “It shows that we have a very intolerant government that does not respect media freedom.” I believe we have not yet heard any strong language from our envoys about this assault on the media by Uhuru.

Some have minimized the importance of Raila’s having been sworn in as President as it conferred no State power. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Jubilee knows that best, which is why it had said the event was treasonous and the organizers would be tried and hanged.

The swearing-in’s most potent consequence is the creation of authoritative alternative institutions which will hold currently-absent discussions on how to tackle Kenyans’ pressing concerns at both presidential and parliamentary levels. Prices of maizemeal for example have gone through the ceiling again, and crime on even previously safe Nairobi streets has exploded, but there are no known plans about tackling these and other crises from Uhuru or the National Assembly.

With competing institutions now, it will much easier for Kenyans to see which cares for them. But most important will be the efforts to try to fix the electoral mess, which of course will come from, and strengthen, only the NASA side of the divide.

Finally, a lot is being made of in certain quarters about the political impact of the three co-principals staying away from the event yesterday. I had written here three days ago that the three made no bones about being political moderates, although they had grown bolder in the opposition. Nevertheless, I had pointed out that one reason they were still with Raila after Uhuru forced himself back into office was the unequivocal public insistence of their bases that they stick with NASA and Raila and the swearing-in plans.

The three have indicated that they are still fully with Raila in his battle for change. If that is in fact true, then their absence yesterday will not mean all that much. But their no-shows definitely dented their future standing as opponents of the status quo willing to fight for change, a trait that Raila amply possesses and which is what catapulted him to the political front ranks nearly two decades ago. Unless there is a dramatic development shortly, the three leaders’ caution will open up the inevitable campaign as to who will inherit Raila’s mantle when he retires.

One thing we can conclude comfortably is that an already strong Raila Odinga, the country’s most popular leader since 2007 with three presidential election victories under his belt, has emerged much stronger than he was three days ago, while all the other five have been diminished.

Salim Lone, Adviser,
H.E. The People’s President Raila Odinga