Your Excellency, Comrade, and Dear Brother,
I write on behalf of all overjoyed Kenyans and indeed Africans who were absolutely thrilled today to finally see you take the helm of the great nation of South Africa. The excitement is particularly strong as there is a conviction that you will restore the bright flame of leadership that has diminished in the land of our dearest Nelson Mandela.
All of Africa, now in so much need of inspirational figures, is confident that with your dynamic past and leadership history, the recent national and continental vacuum will shortly begin to be a thing of the past. All African democrats are praying for your success, since no other country’s leader anywhere in the world has the expectations of an entire continent riding on him. So your election yesterday is a victory not only for the African National Congress and South Africa but for all those forces across the continent still fighting for the full democratic and economic emancipation of all our people.
I recall our discussion a year ago when we were preparing to run for the leadership of our respective political parties in Kenya and South Africa. We both emphasized the imperative of renewed African democratization as the indispensable base for building a vibrant continental economy with an equitable distribution of wealth as that alone would help contribute to the global movement for moral and ethical leadership. You now have the opportunity and honour to fulfill that vision, with my full support of course.
You were one of the pivotal architects who supported our beloved Mandela in creating a South Africa that captured the imagination of the entire world. It will not be easy to restore that respect in our turbulent times, where a few take too much from their countries and leave misery and instability in their trail.
Knowing you as I do, I know you will forcefully pursue the challenge for both South Africa as well as the continent, immense though it is. With South Africa’s still vibrant global standing, I am confident you will restore to it the high respect that it, and the continent, enjoyed under the fabled leadership of Nelson Mandela in particular.
As you can no doubt imagine, Kenyans were electrified when they heard you twice use our language Swahili and the phrase “Not Yet Uhuru” to encapsulate the challenges that still lie ahead if we are to fulfill the hope of human dignity that our legendary freedom fighters nourished for every African. They thought that only those in East Africa knew call to action, coined and immortalized as it was by your friend and my late father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
With my sincere best wishes,
RAILA AMOLO ODINGA
Republic of Kenya