What you need to know:
- Mr Odinga’s presidency will be a culmination of a political journey that has taken over four decades to accomplish.
- This country needs a conversation with itself and, the best person to kick off that conversation is Mr Odinga.
I can’t recall where I read or who uttered the following words: “Through your voices, I have found mine; through yours, our Nation will find its own (voice)”.
This perhaps sums up Raila Amolo Odinga’s quest for State House, a painstaking journey that has seen him spend years in detention, witness the rebirth of a new constitution and take part in many political processes that have shaped the Kenyan political landscape.
Through our voices, this man, Mr Odinga, has dared find him and through his voice, this man has redefined politics in Kenya and around the world.
Our nation has been able to stand up to dictatorship and oppression over the past 40-plus years.
Thousands of Azimio la Umoja coalition party supporters will be gathered at the Kasarani stadium today to witness the party flag-bearer’s final political submission to the Kenyan people as a civilian.
The next time they will be gathering here or elsewhere in the city, I hope, shall be at his swearing-in as the country’s fifth president.
Mr Odinga’s presidency will be a culmination of a political journey that has taken over four decades to accomplish.
A journey that has demonstrated resilience, patience, tact and political skills whose documentation will make it to political science classes on leadership and politics and into the annals of history.
Those attending Mr Odinga’s final submission at Kasarani stadium will witness this gentle giant make his last case before the country goes to the polls next Tuesday.
Among those in the crowd will be hundreds who have been tear-gassed and maimed alongside Mr Odinga as he struggled to fight for a free and just society.
On the terraces will be family members who lost their loved ones in the struggle through police bullets or state-sanctioned assassinations.
Away from the stadium teeming with thousands of his supporters will be millions of other Kenyans who have faithfully gone to the polls in the past four elections only to be disappointed by a contested win at the polls.
Despite electoral setbacks, these millions of Mr Odinga’s supporters have never given up on a man who has demonstrated not only resilience but the highest levels of forgiveness.
Then there are those who will not witness this historic moment at Kasarani and the eventual crowning of Mr Odinga as President.
The thousands of Kenyans who have lost their lives in the line of “political duty”.
Those felled by bullets, those hacked to death, and those who bear permanent scars – all victims of pre, during and post-election electoral cycles.
As a young cameraman, I witnessed Mr Odinga’s entry into RFUEA grounds along Ngong Road where he had come to pay his last respects to victims of violence.
In my young journalism career then I had not witnessed such a high number of caskets lined up with victims of police brutality.
Mr Odinga got off his vehicle, but before he could walk to the dais, the meeting was violently broken up by the police.
Mourners scampered for safety, those dead falling off the tables, as relatives and friends rushed to preserve the dignity of their loved ones and return their bodies to their caskets.
This election will be about those who cannot speak out but will rejoice when Mr Odinga takes over the reins of power to welcome his rule.
In my memory are two gentlemen I encountered during our public engagements in Central Kenya, Prof Maina Kiongo and Prof Ngotho wa Kariuki; two scholars who found Mr Odinga in detention and served with him an extra three years before their release and were later arrested in February 1988.
These two people chose Mr Odinga as their spokesman when they faced their oppressors at State House before their release.
Mr Odinga will be heading to State House as a man who has seen it all, gone through it all and survived to take part in a journey of guiding the nation to self-discovery, peace, stability and prosperity.
I wrote in this space last week and said this year’s election is about resetting our country to its factory settings, an election that will give us a chance to dare dream of a nation where its history is important as its present and its future.
This is Mr Odinga’s moment, a moment for him to oversee the affairs of the country where meritocracy will replace mediocrity, where good governance will replace bureaucracy and accountability will replace scapegoating.
Mr Odinga has said several times that he looks forward to a nation where if “one’s tribe is not in power, then those in power will not victimise those out of power.
A country where if one was to apply for a job, he or she will not surrender his fate to his or her employer because of his/her the second name; I Raila Odinga would want to see a country where a victim of injustice will not sleep at night agonising how a judge will rule over a matter before him but the rule of law shall prevail”. This he says can be done. Inawezekana.
This is the chance. The first step is rectifying what is wrong with our nation. A chance to give our people a voice to speak about the past.
A past that we have kept buried but danced around hoping that it will not germinate and catch up with us.
This country needs a conversation with itself and, the best person to kick off that conversation is Mr Odinga.
Ladies and gentlemen, President Raila Amolo Odinga.
Mr Onsarigo is the Press Secretary, Raila Odinga Presidential Campaign; [email protected]