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Has Raila Odinga outlived his usefulness?

Raila Odinga should now focus more on his roles as an African Statesman

When I see Raila Odinga I see the second Mandela of Africa.” Those are not my words but those of Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu back in 2007 when she was part of Raila Odinga’s pentagon.

I ascribed to the same sentiments back then especially because that was going to be the first time I would participate in deciding the future of this country. Raila Odinga then, stood for everything we loved.

ODM represented “the face of Kenya” and the issues of exclusivity, putting an end to impunity, and embrascing the rule of law were issues that resonated well with a vast majority of Kenyans and on December 27th 2014 they came out in the droves and voted Raila Odinga as their president until Kibaki stole their vote.

Seven years down the line, I think Kibaki stealing the vote could have been a blessing in disguise. Started with the split in Raila’s party that saw him lose all the other four members of the pentagon. He changed from being the “Mandela of Africa” to a tribal chief under whom the very vices of ethnicity that he fought thrived.

Tribal outfit

Today ODM is the most tribal outfit in Kenya, anybody who is not Luo is considered a mole in the party. Look at what they did when Ababu Namwamba was poised to take over the party’s Secretary General’s position, they made sure voting will not take place -funny how people who even admitted to hiring the infamous “men in black” have had no action taken against them.

Last week’s ouster of Magerer Langat was the icing on the cake, typically shows how the party is intolerant to people from certain communities in this country. Magerer’s sin was saying the truth – telling his party that Raila Odinga had outlived his usefulness and that it was now time to allow someone else to take the mantle ahead of 2017.

Instead of thanking Magerer for opening their eyes they threw him out like an unwanted dog.

What is a positive sign though is that people are starting to realize this, Raila is no longer that popular even within his own Luo Nyanza backyard where he is currently dealing with dissenting voices from the “Luo Nation” save for his native Siaya County. His own people have come to accept the fact that they are being used to push personal ambition and sooner rather than later the Luo vote will be as disjointed as the Lhuya vote is currently.

When a leader cannot even hold the grip of his political party, how will he run a country with over 40 million people?

I admire what Raila Odinga has done for this country, but like Mandela he should have bowed out after ruling for a term with President Kibaki as his Prime Minister.

ODM playing catch-up to Jubilee

Raila’s creativity was at its peak in 2007 today he is left to play catch-up to a more vibrant Jubilee Coalition which keeps stealing points from him every now and then.

I am not saying we have a model President in Uhuru Kenyatta, no we don’t we have very serious problems that need to be dealt with but he is more keen on playing PR and taking selfies in military attire when our soldiers are being attacked in their barracks and police officers killed as the president throws parties at Statehouse.


My problem is that Raila Odinga as the opposition leader should be offering alternatives but he is such a lame duck of late – age must have finally caught up with him and it is probably time that ODM seriously considered bringing in new ideas and younger candidates like Magerer was suggesting.

Focus on statesmanship 

It is not just about age – we all know of young people who think that their brains were intended for aesthetic purposes. What we know for sure is Raila Odinga cannot offer this country anymore leadership and as long as ODM revolves around him then it too will die a natural death.

What Raila urgently needs is a way out of politics, he is on the right track as far as that is concerned but he just needs to take the invites he gets from countries abroad to give lectures on democracy more seriously. His main job should be being seen as an African Statesman and when his time comes we will remember him as a true patriot and maybe we will see “a Mandela” in him.

Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde

   I would like to know what you think about this article, take a minute and leave your comment. 




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