Odinga as winner
‘Baba the 5th’/ 5th time lucky/ 5th times a charm
Third time lucky is not always enough. Sometimes you must try again and again.
Such has been the case political bridesmaid Raila Odinga – next president of the Republic of Kenya? – surely
His first attempt on the top job dates back 25 years to 1997.
He came close 2007 and 2017. Now Odinga can finally claim victory – surely.
Raila’s own vote-counters and strategists were happy to claim Azimio’s presidential victory by midday on Wednesday the 10th – the day after the election.
Twitter and other social media sites showed him finishing over 700,000 votes clear of his nearest opponent, William Ruto.
Signs have been pointing to an Odinga victory – in part because Ruto’s team could not present the similar claims, all-be they speculative.
But Kenyans and international observers alike have been extremely wary of disinformation.
So a major celebration has been held off until the IEBC release the official result.
That in itself has been painstakingly tense, with the two front-runners neck and neck right up to the finish post.
For this election voter turnout is below average for a country that usually hovers around 80%.
We saw it for ourselves at polling stations we visited around Kilifi North.
Enthusiasm was predicted to be low. But turnout was lower than expected. All four candidates failed to mobilise the youth, a demographic that makes up the majority the Kenyan population.
Assuming Uhuru Kenyatta’s mantle, Raila Odinga will face considerable challenges.
Among them high youth unemployment.
He must also wrestle with a tough economic climate and bring an end to corruption.
But has the so-called ‘old man’ got the fight left in him for these challenges?
Raila’s manifesto is built on 10 key points. These are the key elements.
He wants a Kenya which overcomes poverty, ignorance and disease.
He wants to put manufacturing at the heart of Kenya’s economic strategy.
He claims he’ll support micro, small to medium sized enterprises (MSMEs).
He promises to invest heavily in agriculture.
And he’s offering a $60/month basic income for the country’s poorest.
The plans are ambitious from a 77-year-old political veteran.
But a cost-of-living crisis in part caused by external factors may scupper any progressive growth and redistribution.
Kenya is also said to be teetering on the edge of a debt and borrowing crises which Odinga has promised to address.
With Odinga a winner the next few days will be defining.
If there’s violence, Kenya could be plunged deeper into crisis.
But if the country remains calm we may see a nation more progressive, less corrupt, richer and more cohesive during the coming term. Many Kenyans I’ve met are hopeful of the latter.