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Decongest the Space around Raila Odinga

By Odeny Salim

One day I promised here that I will be sharing some of the very good lessons I have learnt from Hon. Dr. Oburu Oginga, Hon. Aduma Owuor and Hon. Millie Mabona in my encounter with them in the political space.

It cannot be denied that of all the Members of National Assembly we currently have in Luo Nyanza, none of them has had a long history of closeness and unwavering support for Raila Odinga than Hon. Aduma Owuor.

But does it worry you that rarely do you see him around Raila Odinga? When last did you see his photo with Raila Odinga being splashed on social media or elsewhere? Even at a public function, have you observed the proximity of where he sits in relation to where Raila Odinga sits? Did you know that Raila Odinga has a lot of confidence in him and will consult him on a number of matters from time to time?

Those questions bothered me a lot and one day I decided to get closer to him to get answers to these questions. One thing I noticed was that, these acts by Hon. Aduma are very deliberate and well intended. During the three serious sit downs at Ciala Resort, Nyanza Club and at his wigot home, I learnt a lot.

He warned me never to be so cocky and excited about being very close to Raila Odinga. “Mano en ker. Nyaka imiye luor ma kende ma kata ong’eyi. Ka isemose to kik isusri bute mana ka en ema oluongi bute.” He said.

This has been my engagement with Raila Odinga since then. I only greet him to register my presence then I take back seat whether in public event or even in private and unofficial meetings.

While at his home when we visited with my friend Geoffrey Andrew, Hon. Aduma admired my God-given talent and power of the garb. But he did not hesitate to warn me against two things that have brought down many people with talents. One of them he said is alcohol without moderation. “An bende ing’eyo ni amethoga?” He asked.

I answered him that I know he drinks but rarely have I seen him drink. He told me that he is very careful not to drink where jakom is and he also knows what quantity of alcohol he can take, if any. From his previous observation, he registered his concern that he had noticed that I can just sit pretty and imbibe frothy liquids on the same table with Raila Odinga and other seniors like SC JAMES ORENGO among others.

He gave me an example of an old man (whom I know pretty well but whom I choose not to name) who lost a very good position that Raila had intended for him thanks to excessive alcohol. Again from that day, I have never taken alcohol whenever Raila Odinga is. Then I noticed that there were so many people who were concerned about the same behaviour but unlike Aduma, they couldn’t summon confidence to talk to me about it or they simply don’t care.

My uncle Prof. Adams Oloo and Engr Carey Orege Cbs always laugh whenever they remember how I quickly reverted to taking water when Raila Odinga abruptly walked into our small drinking party. They were very happy about that decision.

Hon. Aduma told me many other things. But today, I want to dwell on the first one. About a month or so ago, I was talking to our party SG Edwin Sifuna while at the home of my friend Dr. Kevin Osuri Jr. and he mentioned something which I agreed with completely. He said that other people have never experienced Raila Odinga.

They have had another Raila being sold to them who is completely different from the Raila we know. It was time we allowed them to experience Raila. I quickly added that we needed to decongest the space around Raila Odinga. Today I add that we need to play Aduma Owuor with Raila Odinga: too close and yet too far.

I do not agree with the idea (and it has began being the topic for discussion among our opponents) that while visiting other regions, Raila should be thronged with the Members of Parliament from his backyard who may have nothing to say in those regions.

Perhaps somebody like James Orengo who has a national appeal can accompany him from our region. Others should go elsewhere to help build up support for Raila Odinga. Let the people who do not know Raila Odinga experience him. Even if you happen to be in those functions, please let the local politicians sit next to Raila Odinga because you are not adding any value there other than turning that function into a photo session for your local campaigns.

Let’s hear that Raila Odinga was in Mukurweini while some other Luo Nyanza MPs were drumming up support form him in Garissa. That makes sense because when you visit with Raila, you get subsumed in his big shadow and you add no value other than taking up space that should have been taken by the local politicians to help them experience Raila Odinga.

Recently, I met Raila Odinga at Muthaiga Golf Club in the company of SC Senator James Orengo, Hon. Dr. Oburu Oginga, H.E Dr. Evans Kidero among others. After greeting them, I left and sat somewhere away from them. He called me out “Ooooh, Jayimbo kara in ka?” I noticed that they were meeting other political leaders from another region. Every time any of those leaders arrived, our leaders from our region who were with jakom created space for the former to sit as close as possible to jakom. So that by the time I was leaving, Raila was sandwiched by people from outside our region and others were seated so close to him while people like Kidero were almost outside the room because of creating the space.

From the faces of the guest political leaders, you could tell that they were happy. They were experiencing Raila Odinga. Some of them for the first time. I left unannounced and Governor Kidero had to call me around midnight to inform me how jakom reprimanded him for releasing me before their meeting ended. Hahahahahaha. I apologized and explained myself that my presence was not very necessary in that sitting.

Even the idea of our local leaders addressing people outside our region in the function attended by Raila Odinga should be regulated.

That is why out of juvenile excitement some of them end up saying things that are so untoward. Did you see any Kalenjin speak in Kakamega or Busia the other day or even in Gachie yesterday? Some of these things are very easy to learn.

I know that by stating this, I have invited the wrath of such politicians who play the role of being hangers on around Raila Odinga even where they add no value.

But I owe it to this generation, my party ODM and to myself that I must speak the truth. Nothing but the truth. Sifuna is already working on decongesting the space around Raila Odinga. Let’s support and help him.

The Writter is political activist and a Law Student at the University of Nairobi Kisumu Campus

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