How Raila Charmed Citizen TV Journalist to become ODM Communications Director

  • Opposition leader Raila Odinga gestures before his swearing in as the people's president on January 30, 2018 at Uhuru Park Nairobi.
    Opposition leader Raila Odinga gestures before his swearing-in as the people's president on January 30, 2018, at Uhuru Park Nairobi.
    File
  • ODM leader Raila Odinga's political charm is without a doubt an enigma to many people trying to figure out how exactly he has remained relevant in the ever-changing political scene in the country.

    While many have indeed had the chance to work with Raila in one capacity or the other, only a few have stuck with him for a very long time, one of them being the ODM Communications Director Philip Etale.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on Thursday, May 14, Etale revealed that his work with Raila and the ODM party began during the Yes and No Campaign for the Constitution of Kenya 2020 referendum.

    ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga with ODM Communication Director Philip Etale. Photo undated.
    File image of ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga (left) with his party's Communication Director Philip Etale (right)

    Before that, however, he revealed that he had been constantly watching Odinga's political campaigns and was always fascinated with the charm that he exuded and the passion in his delivery. 

    "When I was a journalist working at Citizen TV, I was a big admirer of Raila Odinga's politics. I, however, first met Odinga when I was only 20 years old in 2000 after he joined forces with Kanu.

    "I remember very well that I was the first journalist to cover Raila after the merger with LDP. After my tenure in the mainstream media, I left and showed my interest in political communications," Etale narrated.

    Etale stated that it was at this point that he joined the Yes campaign in favor of the constitution working alongside Odinga, the late George Saitoti, Mzee Kibaki and Kalonzo Musyoka among others

    He further stated that he was hired by the ODM Party after the new constitution was passed and normal politics resumed. 

    He, however, stated that his work has never been totally easy as there are times when he has been approached by people looking to exploit his closeness with Odinga's for personal gains. 

    "I have been at the height of political storms, where I have even been approached by other political parties that were hell-bent on teaching Raila a lesson in politics. 

    "They have offered me a better house and a better car but I have turned them down because I am loyal. My loyalty to Raila is insurmountable. It cannot waver," Etale confessed. 

    Etale hailed Odinga as a revolutionary and a gentleman and also explained that contrary to the opinions of many out there, Odinga was indeed a keen listener and a careful planner. 

    Watch a video interview of Philip Etale and Digital Strategist Dennis Itumbi below: 

    "Raila is a very good man, one man who understands things and also a man who listens. Many people might say that Raila never listens but I can tell that he is a very good listener.

    "Raila uses every bit of information given to him that can help and be the father of democracy in the county and the man who stood for equality. You can say that these skills have come in handy, " he praised. 

    Etale further let it slip that he has political ambitions but was not keen on practicing right now because time was not right but in the near future he would declare his stand.