Former Prime Minister and Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga is at a crossroads in his political career. He has to choose between leading the Opposition from outside Parliament or walking away from politics and into some form of retirement.
This week, he appeared to swing between the two choices. After a holiday in Zanzibar to recover from
the grueling campaign and the subsequent loss in the elections, he made his first public
statements at a luncheon after the swearing-in of the new Mombasa Governor, Abdulswamad
He turned his anger on the Supreme Court, whose stinging rejection of the petitions against the election of Dr. Ruto left Azimio in shambles. Mr. Odinga suggested a return to the demonstrations and protests of the past, saying, “We can lead a one million march and send them back home. They will have no choice
but to do so.” The new administration has been clear it will not revert to the sort of rapprochement retired President Uhuru Kenyatta employed to silence Mr Odinga in 2018 in the form of the Handshake.
After they met at the airport in Mombasa on Friday, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua
pointedly posted on social media that: “We have tremendous respect for our senior citizens.”
Even as he complains, insiders in his camp have begun to point out the weaknesses.
On Friday, Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo and Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi said that the former
Prime Minister was let down by selfish people around him.
“We as the Orange party must go back and ask ourselves where the rains started beating us. There are people who cheated Mr Odinga till the last minute, we know them and she shall ask
them,” Dr Otiende said.
Among those who have stirred discontent is Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, who some senior members of ODM deem responsible for the series of blunders at the election, chief amongst them the failure to recruit and deploy agents on time. Other insiders who have been critical of Mr. Odinga’s campaign machinery are activist Boniface Mwangi and Saitabao Kanchory, who was his chief agent at the National Tallying Centre at Bomas of Kenya.
If Mr. Odinga chooses to take up the Opposition mantle, he has experience and numbers on his
side. Azimio enjoys the majority in the National Assembly and has a number strong enough in
the Senate to force through his agenda.
The protest marches and demonstrations he deployed in the past are unlikely to succeed due to his supporters’ fatigue, but he has the numbers to effectively check the excesses and wrong moves of the new administration and offer an alternative view.