Was Raila Flown to China for Cancer Treatment? ODM Responds

  • ODM Leader Raila Odinga, Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna (second left) and former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro at Chungwa House on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
    ODM Leader Raila Odinga, Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna (second left) and former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro at Chungwa House on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
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  • The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, on Monday, June 22, addressed claims that former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was flown to China for medical treatment. 

    Rumours had hit social media claiming that Raila had been flown to China for the treatment of a type of cancer associated with old age.

    The reports further indicated that Raila flew together with his daughter Winnie Odinga and a male aide on Sunday, June 21.

    In a statement, however, ODM Director of Communications Philip Etale rubbished the claims as fake news.

    ODM leader Raila Odinga speaks at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
    ODM leader Raila Odinga speaks at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
    File

    "‪Ignore the fake news. It is the work of sick people who have run out of ideas. Ends," he stated.

    He further clarified that the former premier was in DRC Congo in his capacity as the African Union Envoy for the virtual Pan African Conference on the Grand Inga Dam.

    "Hon. Raila Odinga is currently in Kinshasa, DRC in his capacity as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa for the virtual Pan African Conference on the Grand Inga Dam.

    "The project aims to unlock the world's largest hydropower scheme and is part of the vision to develop a continental power system that is key to Africa’s manufacturing and value addition ambitions," he added.

    The dam has been touted as Africa's biggest water project with leaders expected to grace the event either physically or virtually including those from Angola, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa and Kenya.

    Raila had earlier been tasked with speaking directly to leaders about the project with the intention of the meeting being the discussion of its feasibility.

    This discussion is said to include funding sources, contractors and timelines for the project.

    The project includes eight separate dams with a power output of 43,500MW and is expected to cost $80 billion (approximately Ksh8 trillion).

    According to a schedule for the event shared by Raila, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi is expected to kick off the event with an opening speech at around 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 22, before Raila gives an address at 1:30 p.m.

    Among those expected to address the event are Wang Yu, the President of China Three Gorges International, Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University and Laura Gnassou, an experimental economist.

    It remains unclear whether Odinga flew to Kinshasa amid Coid-19 restrictions as by the time of going to press, the ODM party was yet to respond to our inquiries. 

    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)