Is Raila Odinga’s Long Political Journey Coming to an End?

The young leaders know the time for the old lion to quit has come. Yet, he clings on...

By Mwang’ombe Mwamburi

I shed a tear when I looked at an aged Mugabe wobble and hobble to the dais at the United Nations General Assembly this year. Tears rolled down my cheeks when Hassan Omar walked the platform in Serani to declare his support for UhuRuto. He has quit the struggle. I cry due to the depth of symbolism carried by the two events.

The circumstances of Mugabe remind me of two great yet old men of my life; Raila Odinga and my dad. When you see a dictator in Mugabe, I see an aged man held hostage by nature’s unfairness to all. Doesn’t your aged parent or relative cling to an idea whose time you think passed and livestock that drought will finish? You will cry once you know the sentimentality and identity they attach to these antiques.

Mugabe and Raila made one mistake

Mugabe and Raila have committed a mistake in their lives. They have stayed on stage until young people and time have caught up with them. Dawn exposes their wrinkled nakedness because sunlight has found them. It is the race against time, and no one wins it because nature predisposes it.

Mugabe cannot trust anybody else in (or with) power.  It is the frailty of the African conscience, a betrayal of nature. Otherwise, how do you understand systems which desperately mishandle elections in favour of Uhuru because his alternative is the ‘Muguruki’ (‘mad man’) Raila?

The crossover of Hassan Omar to Jubilee is a great event. This is what my people call “Siku ya Ndovu Kumla Mwanaye”. Like any intelligent politician, Omar has made me a fool. I literally spent litres of ink writing how Hassan cannot support Uhuru. Gallons of my saliva went to persuading people such a man of political depth and immense ego will never support UhuRuto.

Now that he has switched sides, he points us to two ugly possibilities. One, that it is the macabre end of Raila Odinga, and second, the brutality or sincerity of nature. Like all great bachelor lions taking over a pride from an old dominant male, young leaders do so to Raila with intention of sheer massacre.

Raila’s politics work against him

The young leaders know the time for the old lion to quit has come. Yet, he clings on to orgasmic goodies. They pounce on him without respect or mercy. I see UhuRuto dismantle the enigma that is Raila. The duo have won the war of perception. They have no mercy on his supporters like me who will soon become permanent political orphans.

The mass exodus of young politicians toward Jubilee points to the unpalatable nature of Raila’s philosophy among the vital youth. His politics maintain a cutthroat exclusion of young leaders. I have watched with bated breath the death of ODM, from the greatest party in South of Sahara and North of Limpopo to a lady whose beauty erodes with every stroke…

Some think it is the lack of internal democracy that chocks out young ideologues like Ababu and Hassan. However, it is truer that ODM (synonymous to Raila) did not know the appropriate time to exit the stage.

Pep Guardiola left Barcelona at its highest, when Barça had swept all the six possible trophies in the world. He is not the greatest coach because he led his team to a high any football team may never reach. He was the greatest because he knew that was the time to leave.

Pep knew “the Tide in the affairs of men during the Voyage of Life” talked of by Shakespeare. The finest of swimmers know how to take advantage of this tide and what time to abandon it. If you know your peak, utilize and quit while you still stand the advantage of positive judgment.

‘Baba’ has a chance for redemption

Brethren, the people who surround Baba are like the cronies around Mugabe. They benefit by keeping Mugabe in power while it is evident he is no longer useful. It is for the same reason Baba’s cronies give him miserable speeches. They sell party nominations and use his name in vain, to reap the political granary that is Raila.

Does Mugabe even remember where Harare is on the map of this world? When Mugabe will one day say in a world platform that Harare is a village shopping centre in Chile, the King will be naked. It is an embarrassment I don’t want Raila to face.

Baba should not fall to the temptation of the glory to see all things he has fought for happen in his time and presidency. There comes a time the main actor SHOULD leave the stage.

As it stands, only a minority of Kenyans not at the centre of modern politics due to age and disinterest know and appreciate what Raila has fought for in this country. It is a number that stands accused as archaic and ignorant in the face of today’s capitalist rat race. Baba has fought enough. One cannot fight for a people forever.

All is falling (or must fall) apart around Raila. You do not expect a man who recalls Salim Lone to head his communication team while versatile and young brains like Seth Odongo abound to excel in the politics of our time.It would be possible to maintain the political valour of Baba if his communication team had packaged “the Story of the Second Liberation” in a way this ‘pizza and twitter generation’ understands.

“When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep…”
~ William Butler Yeats.


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George Githinji
George Githinji
Githinji is passionate about devolved governance and public finance. He also comments on topical issues in Kenyan politics and society. In addition, he manages the @UgatuziKenya platform.


  1. A day in politics can be a long walk indeed! Politics is about the masses as opposed to a few that defect.

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