10 Sides of Raila Odinga Kenyans Saw in 2018

  • Raila Amollo Odinga, the man described as the enigma in Kenyan politics, made headlines with his every movement throughout 2018.

    Kenyans.co.ke reveals some of Raila's notable sides that Kenyans observed in 2018.

    1.Brave

    The government had issued a warning that Odinga and anyone else who participated in the illegal swearing-in on January 30, would be charged with treason, which warrants a death penalty on conviction.

    Unafraid, Raila bravely took the oath alone, administered by his lawyers Miguna Miguna and TJ Kajwang, after his NASA co-principals, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, and Moses Wetangula failed to show up.

    Despite his security detail being withdrawn, Odinga declared that he was willing to die in the struggle to correct Kenya's electoral injustices.

    In his address at Uhuru Park, Odinga asserted that the mammoth crowd that had gathered to witness the historic event was a clear manifestation that, “Punda amechoka (the masses had had enough)”.

    2.Nigerian number prank

    Barrack Muluka, the ANC secretary-general, claimed that Odinga threw his colleagues into a spin when he appeared alone at Uhuru Park for the swearing-in, despite an agreement to meet at one of the principals' houses before the event.

    Muluka sensationally claimed that Odinga had asked his three fellow principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, and Moses Wetangula to switch off their phones and wait for his call using a Nigerian number.

    3.Statesman

    After months of insults during a deadly and divisive 2017 election, on March 9, the two heirs of Kenya's most powerful political dynasties, stood side by side on the steps of Harambee house and shook hands pledging reconciliation.

    President Kenyatta and Odinga’s decision to bury the hatchet for the county's best interests has been hailed globally as an act of statesmanship.

    4.Not so Friendly-Left Miguna to hang dry

    Raila Odinga came under sharp scrutiny after he failed to secure lawyer Miguna Miguna's return to the country after forceful deportation to Canada over a citizenship row.

    Many commentators questioned how a deal that was supposed to have laid the ghosts of the last elections to rest could not protect Miguna from politically-motivated State harassment.

    It was expected that despite Miguna's hostility and criticism of the handshake deal, considering he personally swore in the people's president, the least Raila would have done was to guarantee the lawyer an easy return to the country.

    5.Mysterious Man

    Raila's political engagements following the famous handshake have left tongues wagging, after hosting delegations and meetings with leaders from all over the country.

    Some of the notable leaders included; Former president Daniel Moi, Former President Mwai Kibaki, and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. Others were Moses Kuria, William Kabogo, Anne Waiguru, Peter Kenneth, Joseph Nyagah, Jamleck Kamau, Ndung'u Gethenji and Kembi Gitura.

    Some people have speculated that he could be making deals which would finally propel him to the highest seat if he decided to make another stab at the Presidency.

    He has, however, refuted the claims and assured that his meetings with the various leaders have been part of his mission of uniting Kenyans, the "building bridges initiative."

    6.Master in re-invention

    After being labelled a rebel leader by members of the international community following his involvements with the National Resistant Movement, Raila was tasked with new ambassadorial roles and diplomatic assignments on behalf of President Kenyatta. 

    Earlier in the year, the former Prime Minister visited India on a week-long assignment. He also made trips to South Africa and South Sudan.

    It is reported that  Ambassadors and heads of mission were under instructions to treat Raila Odinga as the President's representative and to personally receive him and his entourage at airports. 

    7.Avid sportsman

    In May, after attending Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park, Odinga took a chopper ride to Nakuru in order to watch a match considered the best in Kenyan football arena, the Mashemeji derby.

    He was accompanied by veteran footballer Joe Kadenge, Nairobi Senator and AFC Leopard's supporter Johnson Sakaja alongside SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri. 

    It was reported that the winner of the derby was set to lock-horns with English Championship side Hull City.

    Elsewhere in a similar fashion in November, Raila, who is also Gor Mahia's Club patron, jetted in the United Kingdom to join other Kenyans in cheering on Gor, aka sirkal, against English Premier League side Everton FC

    8.Mover and shaker

    According to the Communications Authority, mobile service provider, Airtel, registered 1.2 million new subscribers during the period Raila had asked his supporters to boycott Safaricom on claims that it was linked to the bungled August 8 election.

    Released in April, the report stated that Airtel recorded a 20 per cent increase pushing up their numbers to 42.8 mobile subscribers.

     9.Visionary

    The government, in July, deployed a multi-agency team comprising of officers from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Administration Police Rapid Deployment Unit, to evict at least 12,000 illegal settlers that had encroached into 146,000-hectare of the Mau forest.

    In 2009, the former Prime Minister had called for the removal of settlers who had encroached into the same forest, claiming that their continued occupation posed a threat to the country’s biggest water catchment tower.

    He further went on to add that cutting of the trees would have affected the whole of East Africa region including the surrounding communities, ecosystem and tourism activities in the Maasai Mara game reserve.

    This year, a Task Force on Mau Forest Conservation reported that encroachment of the Mau forest first began in 1999 after groups in the Maasai Mau trust ranches started mushrooming. 

    The group ranches, Sisiyan, Nkaroni, Enoosokon, Enakishomi, and Reyio group, were allegedly granted permission to subdivide their land.

    Afterwards, government officers, politicians, private surveyors, and influential people irregularly increased the sizes of the ranches and the excess land was later sold to unsuspecting outsiders.

    10.Tameable

    In the past, former Kenyan presidents have tried to keep Raila in check, without much success. However, according to many pundits and observers, President Kenyatta seems to have successfully tamed Raila.

    As a minister in Kanu, Raila would always make his ambitions and intentions clear. 

    Under the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) after 2002 elections, he was a constant pain in Kibaki’s side. Within a short time, he had left Narc and was leading the opposition against the referendum of 2005. In 2008, he was made prime minister but was still constantly fighting for his space.