By Fred Mugenya,
The dramatic March 29th handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta, the magic of time and repetitiveness of presidential contesting have literally paled Raila Odinga’s spectacular stranglehold on Kenya’s political scene.
It is without doubt that the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga made a lot of personal sacrifice to expand the democratic space and socio-economic justice in Kenya in his active days in the political scene.
He did these so meticulously that he literally became the face of change; with anyone who yearned for political change fully identifying with him and his course. Consequently, the son of the first Vice President of Kenya got unrivaled support from those who desired to see a change in the political leadership of Kenya.
His followers loyally supported every course he stood for ; not limited to some apparent undemocratic practices that ave been associated with his way of handling of politics.
Raila Odinga has represented the aspirations and consciousness of most Kenyans who considered themselves disadvantaged and disenfranchised by the political systems of the day, making the oligarchs and aristocracy to formulate every strategy in the book to stop him from ascending to power.
”If Raila is to engage in campaigns in the near future, he needs to do a lot of serious convincing to get the attention of his former die hard supporters”
In Kenya, anytime a charismatic individual charms and wins the support of the common mwananchi, he expressly becomes a headache and a key target by ruling class. This is who Raila has been for over three decades. He however, reached the crescendo of it all with his secessionist call and mock swearing-in as the People’s of President on January 30th 2018, after bolting out of the repeat presidential elections in October 2017.
To many of his followers, Raila Odinga was the reference of hope for better equitable governance for decades and the only one the change seekers identified with. This stood still for decades until March the 29th when the charm of Uhuru Kenyatta stabbed him with the most unprecedented HANDSHAKING compromise, that saw Raila de-climbed from the high pedestal.
The handshake destroyed Raila’s mettle and demonstrated him as a selfish betrayer of his ardent supporters, betrayer of a high political calling, and a long time trusted leader who chose to abandon a great course for his selfish reasons.
The handshake disillusioned many of Raila’s supporters, scattered many, killed many hopes, broke the trust and the unwavering support they had in him. Most of his supporters who saw him as change are reeling disbelief to date. They can no longer take him seriously.
This partly explains the apparent open voting defiance in his backyard of Ugenya constituency recently. If Raila is to engage in campaigns in the near future, he needs to do a lot of serious convincing to get the attention of his former die hard supporters.