Day Kibaki Abandoned Raila After Setting Him Up

  • Former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, has experienced betrayal countless times, but they've not deterred his ambitions.

    On one particular occasion, retired President Mwai Kibaki abandoned him, despite having convinced Odinga to join a plan to disrupt the swearing-in ceremony of the then President-elect Daniel Moi in 1998.

    Raila detailed in his biography, Flame of Freedom, that the plan was hatched at a meeting held at Muthaiga Country Club, Kibaki favourite spot, on the evening of January 4, 1998.

    "Kibaki was there, accompanied by Njenga Karume and Joe Wanjui. Charity Ngilu came with Nginyo Kariuki and I went with Job Omino," Odinga wrote in his book.

    "It was suggested that we mobilise our supporters to disrupt the presidential swearing-in ceremony, scheduled for the next day at Uhuru Park, Nairobi. 

    "I had my reservations about this and reasoned that it would look like an act of desperation but others disagreed, arguing that both NDP and DP had the capacity to mobilise people into paralysing activity in the city," Odinga recalled.

    Ngilu challenged Raila that if he had become a coward, she would lead the protest herself. Others agreed with her, including Kibaki. 

    "So we decided to mass our supporters at the General Post Office by 7am the next morning. We leaders would meet up at the Norfolk hotel at 9am, then lead the march to Uhuru Park, to disrupt the swearing-in scheduled for 11am,"

    Supporters started streaming in as early as 6am, whereas Odinga arrived at Norfolk at 8am.

    The first hurdle was when Nginyo showed up to Raila claiming to represent Ngilu, who couldn't make it. 

    Njenga Karume arrived late and without any communication from Kibaki. 

    They watched as the media covered the crowd that had gathered at GPO, which seemed to be getting agitated with every passing minute. 

    "No other leaders had arrived and I realised that none of them had any intention of acting on their own decision.

    "It is difficult to describe my sense of betrayal. It was I who had not fully approved of the disruption plan and they, who had forcefully persuaded me that we must go ahead. Now it appeared they had chickened out," the former PM noted.

    Raila finally decided to drive to GPO and disperse the supporters who had gathered waiting for a signal to move in on Uhuru Park.