Raila Odinga is not A Sandwich to be Packaged and Delivered to AU by KK Politicians

12 mins read

It is actually nice and a good sign of politics in our country that politicians from all walks of life and corners of the country are very supportive of Raila Odinga’s now public quest to be the next AU Chairman. That is mature politics and it is commendable. But there is an element of opportunism there that is quite sickening.

There are a lot of KK politicians who are salivating at the thought that they can package Raila as a bag of sandwiches and hand him over to the AU and Raila’s revolutionary politics and war for democracy in Kenya will be over with and thugs can then run the country without any fears from Raila or from the Kenyan masses. That is nonsense.

To his credit, President Ruto has been principled about his support for Raila to get the AU job and he is doing it in a way that does not anticipate that Raila will be out of the political picture in Kenya even though that is what most of his loud political supporters were praying for.

That is a smart way for Ruto to approach the situation because Raila Amolo Odinga will never be out of the political picture in Kenya as long as he is alive.

And one thing both Ruto and Raila know is that being AU chairman is not a full-time job. You don’t have to sit in an office here or there except be in and out of Addis Ababa for meetings. It is a leadership job to be on contact with the leaders of the continent and having meetings here and there to address the problems, including political crises that may arise from time to time.

This effectively means Raila will be in Kenya most of the time even after he gets the AU job. And if there is anybody out there who thinks that Raila will sit back and watch as Kenyans are thrown down the drain because he has AU job, they need another head to help them think.

Kenyan people are Raila’s life and it has been so since Kenyans got to know him in 1982 and that is 42 years of great achievements, including throwing Moi out of office while Kibaki was hospitalized in England and forcing Kibaki to accept the much beloved 2010 Kenya constitution. That Raila is not going anywhere.

When I first met Raila Odinga, I was a 22-year-old University of Nairobi Student in 1982. I was the Secretary General of the Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) and I was arrested and put in a police cell at Kilimani Police Station. They bring Raila in there, take off his handcuffs, and let him to mingle with us, the other political prisoners at the time. We told him he was going to be fine. And we told him in there you don’t talk much. In fact, you don’t talk at all. He got the message.

And years later Raila and hard-working Kenyan freedom fighters saved our country from the Moi tyranny which to some was a permanent curse on Kenyans. Gone.

So Raila Odinga being the Chairman of AU will work very well for him because he has tremendous influence with many African leaders and sitting presidents and PMs.

It could also be a good thing for William Ruto because both of them will have to work together on continental issues and they can achieve things for Africa and Kenya and the EAC as well because that has a big part of our continental economic growth possibilities.

There are big areas of work in Africa.

Sudan is in chaos. DRC is in chaos and so many other places in our continent need principled and organized leadership to find solutions and Raila can help that happen. South Africa has filed a historic ICJ case at The Hague against Israeli genocide in Gaza. There is an update in that case at the ICJ on February 26, 2024. That is going to go to the wire at the full hearing and the AU will have to take a clear and firm position against the horrific and barbaric genocide Israel is committing in Gaza.

Those are just a few hot spots and points but we need to get the whole picture on how to develop the continent of Africa. There is so much talk about climate change and all the politicians in Kenya do is plant a few trees and water them while taking pictures while nicely dressed up. Those political gimmicks will not do anything about climate change effects on Africans, their lives, and the economy.

If someone like Raila Odinga as AU chairman can develop honest and genuine programs for fighting climate change and improving our economies that would be a great job for him and very valuable for the continent.

The first fight against climate change that will benefit millions of Africans is to have every piece of arable land in Africa ploughed and covered with food crops, fruit trees, vegetables, trees for building, canola trees that could produce all the cooking oil we need.

If every inch of arable land in Kenya has a plant on it we would all have food and make a whole ton of money. Why can’t we do that instead of politicians and CSs joking around planting one tree to take pictures? They know it is nonsense but of course, they don’t care.

Africa has more arable land than any continent in the world and we have over 1 billion very hardworking population of people. What can we not do with that? It is our political and economic stupidity that keeps our countries backward. Raila Odinga as AU chairman should try to address that and he will get a lot of support from the continent and from international partners for development.

The other area where Raila can do a lot of work for Africa is in the area of building the infrastructure across the continent and Raila knows that because he has specifically worked on that for the AU. In Africa, we have the poorest communication and transport systems between our countries.

It is a shame in East Africa that when the British ruled Kenya as a colony from 1896 to 1963 they built and maintained the best railway and waterway systems between Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda and made Lake Victoria a hub of shipping lines between all those three countries. Now all that is dead. Why? Dumb political leadership that is why.

So if Raila Odinga focuses on the big picture and ignores political opportunists and predators who see this as a window to remove Raila from Kenya politics he can do a very good job and then come back and run for the Kenya presidency in 2027 after two years as AU chairman and he will be in the best shape to take presidency.

Let Raila show Kenyans what he can do as the leader of the continent of Africa and come back to take the Kenya presidency.

Just ignore these noisemakers who are doing nothing for the country as we speak apart from taking pictures for the media.

Here is Wetangula offering Raila the job. Just total nuts as usual.

“This is the turn for Kenya. Na hiyo kazi tutamuunga mkono kikamilifu, kwa sababu si yake, ni ya Kenya. And he is going to be Kenya’s candidate and we shall support him unequivocally and unconditionally and become the chairman of the AUC,” Wetangula said.

“He now wants to go to Addis Ababa and he can’t go there without the blessing and support of the government. The President has said the job doesn’t belong to Raila but the Republic of Kenya,” Wetang’ula said on Sunday.

In addition to that, the Speaker noted that the time is ripe for Raila to exit the political stage, considering he has vied unsuccessfully for the presidency five times.

“What he has done on the local scene is enough, even Shakespeare said the world is a stage, you come to play your part, you leave and others enter the scene. Let him go to Addis Ababa,” Wetang’ula said.

Raila doesn’t even need to respond to the political wish list of the Wetangulas and just do a good job and if he wants to run for the presidency in 2027 Kenyans will welcome him in a way never seen before and that is a decision for Raila himself and the Azimio voters during nomination to decide and no KK politicians will make that decision. As simple as that.

The rest is history.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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