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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Party of the Year: Raila’s Homecoming

The Kibaki succession soap opera is expected to move a notch higher this weekend when ODM captain and the man many people widely believe defeated Kibaki at the presidential poll, Raila Odinga, heads to Nyanza and Western Provinces to host a series of significant events at his rural homes in Nyanza in celebrating his homecoming.

According to sources privy to the arrangements, the ODM has laid down elaborate plans for Raila’s homecoming ceremony expected to run for the entire coming weekend from May 10 to 12, culminating with putting in an appearance at the home of the Minister for Fisheries Development, Mr. Paul Otuoma in Funyula, Western province. The guest list reads like who-is-who in Kenya’s political and business circles. The entire ODM pentagon, the party’s NEC, the yet to be disbanded presidential campaign team and a distinguished mix of local and overseas visitors are expected to grace the occasion including the flamboyant Ukambani politican John Harun Mwau. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Guest of Honour will be none other than President Mwai Kibaki. Although the V-P Kalonzo Musyoka has been officially invited, he is unlikely to attend and risk being fried alive (read: embarrassed) by Ngilu and Mwau who are his Ukambani political archrivals, not to mention prospects of facing the thousands Raila’s fanatical supporters drawn mainly from Kondele and Obunga slums who, unlike IDPs in Eldoret, have nothing to lose and will not hesitate to heckle the V-P who is deemed as a man who has been out to politically frustrate ODM.

Not since the NDP/KANU merger rally in Kisumu a decade ago has the region witnessed such momentous organization. A committee that includes the Kisumu Mayor and the Nyanza OCPD has been meeting regularly to ensure everything goes according to plan. Hotels and commercial flights to Kisumu are fully booked for the weekend although a good number of guests are expected to land at Kisumu airport in personal and chartered aircraft.

The region is currently bracing itself to give ‘their son’ a thunderous homecoming following his well planned and highly publicized but abortive presidential bid. To the people of Nyanza, the president will hardly visit the area unless he is coming for official state functions. Things were not made easier for the president that his relations with Raila were not the best ever since the collapse of the NARC coalition following the trashing of the MOU. The president himself, as candidate in 2007, did not campaign in the area and even his own lieutenants planned but completely failed to address a single campaign rally in the Luo Nyanza region.

Political observers opine that these homecoming events are just but political rallies aimed at flexing political muscles. High on the agenda at Raila’s homecoming, will be the explosive issue of the still unresolved pecking order in the higher echelons of government.

Interestingly Ababu Namwamba, the ODM MP for Budalangi, and a long time admirer/supporter of Raila Odinga, yesterday successfully sort and got permission to introduce a bill in parliament aimed at establishing an official opposition. Although Raila himself has on several occasions spoken against forming an official opposition in a grand coalition, Raila is not - by all means - a politician who was born yesterday and he very well may be the one behind the clever actions of one Ababu Namwamba. ODM’s unfinished business (read: taking over the reins of power in Kenya) is still well within grasp; and despite the diplomacy and smiles exhibited by its leaders some of whom are now in cabinet, the ultimate goal of the party is to ensure that it becomes the ruling party in Kenya – on or before December 2012. In prevailing circumstances, there is no other way in toppling this government except through parliament where incidentally, the party has significant control through both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker's posts.

Many people doubt this, but anxiety in PNU has not gone unnoticed by keen political observers. The forthcoming by-elections in 5 constituencies are due in a month and they will be a litmus test for the stability and future of the grand coalition cabinet. President Kibaki’s PNU (which in reality does not have a single MP in the house) is a coalition that exists only by name and is nowhere near assembling its campaign machinery for the forthcoming mini-general elections. Looking at the agenda 1,2,3&4 on the Annan peace roadmap, it really reads like ODM’s 2007 manifesto. DPM and ODM Vice Captain Musalia Mudavadi led the ODM delegation to the Annan talks and the agenda was obviously because of their influence.

It therefore should not surprise any Kenyan that the ODM is behind the moves to create an official opposition in parliament even though its leaders are serving in government as cabinet ministers. The reality is that the opposition will have much more liberty to propagate party policies, oppose legislation umwanted by ODM as well as expose government scandals because ODM cabinet ministers are tied by the draconian oath of collective responsibility in cabinet!

Raila arrived back in the country earlier this week, after a spell in South Africa, where he met with the anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, his wife Graca as well as the leader of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai. Prior to that, he had been in Germany, where he had undergone laser eye surgery.

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Anonymous said...

It's amazing the way an intellectual of your calibre can end up being a Raila youth winger. it seems you picked a lot from Kenya times during Moi's tenure....loking for petty things to give you grounds to praise Raila.

Anonymous said...

Thank you God for ODM because Kenyans can hope for a better tomorrow. PM na wageni wake wajienjoy weekend and all evil thoughts that may interfere with that be defeated.

Thanks for the update Phil and may you remain loyal to the party. With people like you looking out for us, we (Kenyans) can afford to catch forty winks every night and hope for a better tomorrow.


M-Pesa said...

"...High on the agenda at Raila’s homecoming, will be the explosive issue of the still unresolved pecking order in the higher echelons of government...."

Sorry to rain on ODM's parade but shouldn't the first items on our beloved Prime Minister's agenda be addressing high poverty and HIV infection in which Nyanza is the nation's leader?

This is precisely where our leaders get it wrong a case of putting the cart before the horse. We can all bet the homecoming will just be an excuse to party, "terro buru" style and self glorification without any mention of sensitive issues that affect common mwananchi.

Who wants to place a bet?

chris said...

Hi Phil,

Umepotea sana. Nimeku-miss and I am sure I talk for most Kumekuchans when I say that.

Thanx for this great insider article that prepares us for the explosive weekend ahead.

I also know that you are a stickler for facts. Please re-confirm that last point in your article about the PM undergoing eye surgery. My sources in Germany assure me that there was no surgery carried out. Just a check-up. But please confirm.

P.S. Anon @ 3:46, kindly note that it is Phil's democratic right to be Raila's youth winger just as it yours to be Kibaki's. The difference is that Phil does not hide his political preferences the way you hide your true agenda.

Phil said...

Anon@3.46, why bother read/comment views of a 'youth winger'?

@Gentleman, thank you. Aluta continua

m-pesa@ the PM's official role in this government is not even clarified yet because your party prefers to play politics after stealing elections. Besides this, in as much as ODM has a well laid out national poverty eradication plan, what did your duly erected president do to benefit Nyanza or indeed other parts of the country except being serial blunderers? HIV/Aids is a global problem, not just Nyanza, with very close links to social and economic issues. Only if we could get the right structures and leadership in place!

@Chris, mimi niko mta pozi na kazi, tunapigana na hii uchumi ya kibaki. Thanks for the compliments!

The eye surgery took place Chris. The miners goggles are no joke. Of course, the PM is no small man in African politics, and should be expected to multi-task whenever he travels abroad, dont you think? I urge you not to fall for PNU propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Stop crying louder than the bereaved! What is the point you have with HIV issue here? Raila does not offer VCT services kindly try your ignorance elsewhere

Mcheku said...

All I can say, is that I was mighty happy when I heard that the MPs agreed to have an opposition in parliament. In my view anybody against an opposition that is meant to check the excesses of this grand coalition government is an enemy of Kenya.

Why would someone not want to be checked if they are doing the right thing? In fact I think those opposed to it have theft agendas on their minds.

Phil, I know RAO can be underhanded and all but wasn't he one of those people who vehemently opposed the Namwamba group when they started their signature collections? Most of the people in ODM (and also PNU) said Ababu, Linturi and friends were people feeling scorned because they didnt get cabinet positions, maybe I was dreaming. So no I am not going to credit RAO with this one, at least not yet.

Kimi Raikkonen said...

So, Raila's official campaigns for 2012 have began? Did you also hear that he will be going round the country on "listening tours" to gauge peoples problems? It is way too early to start campaigns if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Precisely M-Pesa… “Sorry to rain on ODM's parade but shouldn't the first items on our beloved Prime Minister's agenda be addressing high poverty and HIV infection in which Nyanza is the nation's leader?”

Well said mate, I read yesterday Daily nation and Nyanza has the highest school drop out in the country. Nyanza and Western provinces recorded the highest dropout rates for girls due to unwanted pregnancies while Central recorded the lowest.
It’s about time our PM do something to rectify the harsh reality that has plagued his own people otherwise history will judge him harshly if he fails to bring his own people out Msiri.


M-Pesa said...

I've got absolutely no problem with 2 days of partying even 3 or 4 as long as real issues that touch mwananchi are addressed. My fears- and this will be proved right on monday- is that they won't!

Now that ODM is deeply embedded in power and Govt, there's no passing buck this time round. I'm just looking out for all Kenyans regardless of their location or background.

Will Raila and co have the guts to utter the words security, high prices, Aids, etc? Don't bank on it. It will be the usual matusis and mimi.. mimi.. mimi. There's more to power than flying the flag in your Ushago!

Talk of gluttonous politicians vomiting on the shoes of overtaxed and overworked Kenyans!

Anonymous said...

Huh some comments......Take 5th ammendment. I thought the GoK gives everyone a JD or they stopped. I guess we will soon be hearing that the PM is busy flying here and there and yet my toilet has not cleaned...I will be in hometown Funyula passie waiting for my prime minister and president. Mtado


Anonymous said...

Huh some comments......Take 5th ammendment. I thought the GoK gives everyone a JD or they stopped. I guess we will soon be hearing that the PM is busy flying here and there and yet my toilet has not cleaned...I will be in hometown Funyula passie waiting for my prime minister and president. Mtado


Anonymous said...


Na Bado

Phil said...


First I am sensing frustration, panic and apprehension from your comments and I think I am not the only one.

Second, it is the duty of government to develop and allocate resources to ALL regions of this country, EQUITABLY. Previous regimes have all had their chances and unfortunately Nyanza also happens to born the brunt of marginalization despite being a leading tax contributor to the exchequer. That is a fact you cannot dispute!

I also do not agree with your assertion that ODM is deeply embedded in government. In my previous comment, I was trying to vividly inform you that even the PM's role itself has not been properly cut out. Instead, the executive is using junior officers to frustrate the coalition partner, not to forget it has kept the most important portfolios.

Now that the people of NEP have been voting for government side since independence, and they have had senior minister since 1960s, do we also blame the PM for their under-development?

@Mcheku thank you for your views.

Raila also supported the Safaricom IPO but what was his party's official stand on the same process? Please understand this, not from what newspapers publish, but from the reality of Kenyan politics.

I also want to add, just for your sake, Raila was the first leader to offer Mungiki leaders an olive branch which happened soon after Internal Security minister issued a government statement that it would not relent on or negotiate with Mungiki. Raila himself had in previous years condemned the Mungiki. Right?

As we speak, rejected politicians from Central Kenya, including one who was Defence minister, came up and now, even the churches are urging the state to free Maina Njenga and negotiate with what was previously a terrorist organisation.

Do you see the politics being played out in the whole saga?

Anonymous said...

Phil i agree with you but the idea of my PM negotiating with mungiki, that one i have refused. Kila mtu abebe mzigo wake. Let them negotiate with their patron, they are known. They can run but they cannot hide!!!! Ok on the other hand you dont have to answer some comments it is pure waste of time


Mcheku said...


I get what you are saying but I think I love my politicians straightforward. This thing of people saying in public one thing and doing another elsewhere just does not fly with me. It was public knowledge also that during the Safaricom debacle, Anyang' Nyong'o was pissed at RAO's public statement asking wananchi to buy those shares.

Phil, you and I know better we also know about politics not being a black and white affair, that what is on the surface is not necessarily the truth but most people dont, I know some people who had vowed not to buy those shares but once RAO decided to okay it Phil, they were literally tripping over themselves trying to get to the nearest broker. So for some people its not even a matter of principle its about doing what Agwambo says, is it too much to ask that he says things in a straight forward manner? Where 'maji yamezidi unga', he can keep quiet, that Safaricom statement for one was totally unnecessary.

Well about the mungiki negotiation story, I will distance myself from that, I think RAO is roping himself with that one. Its a big mistake, a very big mistake.

Anonymous said...

Why is this Kwale character so obsessed with anything Jang or Kale? Kwani a Jang/Kale chick broke your heart or rejected you? What's with the obsession, by the way Thika (Read-Kyuk) has the highest rates of HIV infection in Kenya. Please reference the WHO reports. If it ails anyone Kenyan it ails us all, you need to grow up Kwale, ama mama is not giving it to you right?

Anonymous said...

pole tji shows how wrong yo political analysis is. hehehhehe ati raila is behind the opposition move

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