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  • Writer's pictureStephen Osieyo


Updated: Apr 5, 2021

This is a continuation from a previous post. We are into a tight race after 2 rounds with Raila leading Jaramogi but just.


Which of the Odingas has left an indelible legacy. Who was concerned with tomorrow more than the here and now. So in in terms of Legacy, who has left Odinga-lets sprinkled all over.

One afternoon on the 5th July 1969, the first President of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta was having an afternoon siesta. Jomo had suffered a massive heart attack and was recuperating. This means who ever wanted Tom Mboya out was not Njonjo and was not anybody in the Kenyatta family or the outcast Kikuyus past mount Kenya. This assassination is a Kiambu affair. And not all Kiambu. Just a few ambitious rivals in frontlines. But that is another subject for another day. Actually after this it appeared Jomo cared less about the government. His years were telling on his big un-Kikuyu girth.

Legend has it that he was woken up that Tom Mboya, his key minister in the government had been shot. And word was that Mboya was dying. Like any criminologist will tell you Jomo first words were very important. Like Moi’s words decades later (you have killed Ouko, what will I tell the world?), Jomo words apparently cleared him of the assassination. After his recent heart scare, power jockeying was rife. But more importantly the Jomo Kenyatta as legend has it said the following first sentence, “what have my Kiambu people done now?”

And Jomo never suspected Jaramogi orchestrating a reprisal or badmouthing him. Even at the funeral traditional Luo wake he seemed to point out at a clique and not Jomo. Six months later in a public spat like children in a playground and angry with Jaramogi, Jomo said in anger, “Jaramogi if you were not my friend, I would have locked you.”

It appears that in Jomo eyes, Jaramogi was not really a trouble maker. He cared about Kenya and could take personal loss than jeopardise future generation.

A good point was when Luo youths were busy organising a vigilante to avenge the murder of Ofafa ja Kalkada. It’s Jaramogi who rushed to Nairobi overnight to calm things down and averted a typical Kwazulu flare up.

Another example of the legacy he wanted to leave behind is his rejection of being installed as the president. For reasons that have never been explained Jaramogi startled the whole nation and colonists and insisted on Jomo release. Speaking to a veteran Kikuyu politician of pre independence Kenya, Jaramogi action angered even Kikuyus who could not understand why Jomo was being fast tracked. But looking at countries who have been faced with such a challenges took the easier option we now see what Jaramogi saw. In Jaramogi foresight a Rwanda lay ahead. It appears he did not want to see such a legacy before his name

In pre independence, even though many areas of Kikuyu land took an armed loyalist stand, in the cold of the new Kenya nobody remembers that. However, if Jaramogi had been president the Kikuyu in the forest would have not seen the difference between the colonial government and the new Kenya governments. You know how my Kikuyus are gullible and do not take a different view kindly. Like in Rwanda this chasm would have opened widely. The poverty in Kikuyu land would be seen as a Luo perpetual neo-colonialism. Jaramogi saw 100 years later.

Even if we forget his decision to work with Nyayo in later years, Jaramogi non-violent stand speaks volumes of his natural pull to a future Kenya. He was spoilt for choice with countries that would give him destabilising resources in China and Russia. And no amount of arrests and detentions pushed him to that path. Several coups were hatched but the nearest he was associated was the 1971 coup where the plotters merely wrote him off that Jaramogi will be released but no further role.

Even Nyayo one time sensing a trap to kill Jaramogi, placed him under house arrest. And Jaramogi freely travelled to Zanzibar on secret rendezvous but nothing so as vindictive against his own Kenya.

If you add this to scholarships, and communal business ventures then Jaramogi thought about the community after he is gone.

And evidently he surrounded himself with younger Turks like Orengo to take over. Earlier he even stepped down from Ker of Luo because he acknowledged that a popular politician is too corrupt to be a Luo Ker. A Ker cannot womanise, drink and allow sloth to taint his name. Even though Jaramogi was strait laced, he never wanted a Luo semi religious leadership to be assumed by popular politicians in the future. Sad that we these days call any Dick and Harry politician a Ker

The Odingas are now a self-made a royalty even. Jaramogi spoilt us for choice several princesses reigning from Nairobi to Harare.

Raila for all his traditional beliefs prepared to leave us Fidel who unfortunately departed at such a poetic age. However, those who know him claim he was more a business wheeler dealer than a populist. Junior is every bit of a politician but I think the queen is holding him down (No maas!). And I understand why Mama Ida is putting a stop to all these. She has given everything for Kenya. Let somebody else be the torch bearer.

Raila on the other hand has not seen as far but has shown statesmanship of his own way.

The high point for Raila was the 2007/8 election hiatus. And even if it is much maligned, the hiatus of 2017 was even bigger. Kenya was grounding to a halt. His party controlled Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu. In provinces he had 5 of the 8 provinces in his back pocket and they were ready to take the worst pain an illegal occupant in the state house could dish. Kenya was ungovernable.

Then the handshake startled everyone. He turned his back on elections and thought about the legacy he wants to leave for the future generations. Not as far reaching as Jaramogi but truly dramatic.

Raila major undoing has been in terms of future preparedness. Who are the disciples? Jaramogi had disciple churning machine. Who are Raila’s clear disciples who can carry his voice. Joho, Rasanga, Otiende Amolo. If it starts to pour, which tree do his mass following shade with Fidel out. Winnie? Junior? Mama Ida? Definitely not Oburu because Oburu himself is sheltering even right now. He needs to install front runners like Jaramogi bequeathed front runners.

How about Raila’s answer to community investment or public employer like Spectre, Lolwe, Luo Thrift? Raila still has time on his side to answer Jaramogi.

And how about human resource empowerment of Jaramogi? Personal scholarships to China, Russia and East Europe in general. Again he has time on his side to answer Jaramogi


I will score Jaramogi higher than Raila but will change my mind if the comments say otherwise.


I look at Jaramogi lifestyle. Was he a representative of his followers? Travelling by train from Kisumu. Living in Salem Nairobi (Jerusalem East lands). Like Mwalimu Nyerere preferring mahanya to upscale meals at Luo funerals. Dressed in regular Kinyasa at functions. In other words, Jaramogi was at ease washing his disciples’ feet like Jesus did.

I was once told by a lecturer that a leader can change the conscious of nation without a single law being passed. So in all these Jaramogi was simply with his followers that “I am with you and like you. It is okay to wear Akala, poverty is no crime. Or there is no shame in living in east lands. Or travelling by train is cool. Don’t steal to travel by car”. In other words, living in East lands or eating a humble meal at a funeral is ok

If my lecturer was right, Jaramogi lived by what he preached.

Raila? Truly Aguambo is a lover of his people. Any other politician would have sold out in the morning. Despite what is on offer he will not let his stand dissuade him. A good example is his position on gays and lesbians. He has not hidden from the firing line knowing very well that his stand will deny him international influence. And it is not far-fetched that his troubles have emanated from that stance. But he knows the heart of Kenyans that whether one is gay or not is irrelevant with what is at hand. Nobody is persecuting gays in Kenya and there are far more pressing issues so why make it a debate. He has listened to the pulse of his people.

Then there is the democratic live and let live. When his papa acquiesced being Luo Ker. I am sure Jaramogi would not take kindly to being referred as Ker. That is another role but runs against his very important as a political god. I am not sure Raila is quite in the same wave length.

Does Raila live by what he preaches like his papa? Close but not quite close enough. There is room for improvement.


I score Jaramogi ahead by a point after 9 rounds. What about you?

My full score card after 9 rounds:

J: 10 +10 + 08 + 08 +10 + 07 +10 +10 +10 + 00 = 83 points

R:10 + 07 +10 + 10 + 08 + 10 +10 +09 +08 +00 = 82 points




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