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  • Writer's pictureStephen Osieyo


This is the last of the series comparing the track record of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and his youngest son Raila Amolo Odinga. We are into a tight race after 3 rounds with Raila leading Jaramogi but only just. The basis is to award 1-10 points for every theme examined. After each round the total points earned is aggregated. Unfortunately, the finest arguments challenging my grading has been in Facebook commentaries so you will not get much response on the blog.

For this last segment, first I thought of comparing the Father and son based on the parallel story in the Godfather of Don Corleone in the epic movie and book, the Godfather which is based on a true story. This is because the book is reputably used as an anecdote in reputable US Colleges of higher learning in units on strategic management or public services management. In college my professor’s anecdotes in Public Services Management course was best illustrated using novelist Mario Puzzo book, The Godfather. The analysis in units such as new government, strategic management, tendering, consultancy was well illustrated using similar manoeuvres in the Godfather. The challenges facing the mafioso family for not having planned for new 10 year battles made strategic planning a much easier unit.

I thought this basis would have been a great comparison in the way the main character Godfather’s empire is restored. What with so much similarities like the death of Sonny (Agola/Asewe), the exile of Michael to Sicily (Raila’s flight to through Dar to West Germany); Michael marrying out of Italian (Raila to Ida). After all the Godfather was merely providing public service where the government failed. Simply filling a gap. However, after much review I thought the better of it as that would mean I have to compare the older black sheep Freddo who turned out to be useless womaniser, drunkard and betraying errand boy to Michael. A real family failure with failed marriage living in the shadows of his kid brother. That would not be fair to elder brother Oburu who is very much unlike Freddo even if living in the shadows of a younger sibling. Oburu is a straight laced family man with key public office responsibilities. But most importantly, not everybody has watched the movie and read the book like my generation. I would have been very foreign to more than half of my readers. So I had to drop the fedora (hat) signature dressing code family. Still the coincidences were too many and too tempting even in the casting with tall Kay (Ida) towering over Michael (Raila) an an ending where the son of elder Sonny (Oburu) taking over as head of the family. Ohh Well. Another day, another blog post.

I then considered a backdrop comparison between African American heavyweights Martin Luther King Junior (Jaramogi) and Malcolm X (Raila) but and the juxtaposition of Non- Violence versus militancy of Malcolm X’s By-any-means-necessary as a backdrop to comparing the young Odinga and Odinga the son. The polygamous life of Jaramogi (Martin Luther King) versus the faith based family loyalty of Raila (Malcolm X). Again that would be unfair on some personalities and would indicate an unlikely exit for the two sets. Besides Jaramogi led a fruitful life to the end

10. Christian-like communism

I therefore opted to use Christian-like communism yard stick to compare the performance of the two. Here communism reverts to the ancient meaning as “the state of being of or for community”. And using the teachings of a dominant religion became a more resolving comparison. I settled on one parable and actually my favourite parable that is relevant to popular and public service as it was then and as it is now and forever will. In my own personal opinion all that Jesus Christ required of us in public service is consolidated in this parable.

The Master and three slaves

In Mathews Chapter 25 verse 14-30 I found best the parable most apt in comparing the popular public services management of Odinga father and son. It is not biased for any one. In this verse Jesus tells the story in Mathews chapter 25 of 3 slaves or comrades. Or better still 3 types of people slaving in life of popular public services management. As a Christ like person or a follower of Jesus Christ I find favour in the 3rd type of person or the 3rd slave. In fact, I believe this is the human side of popular public service that Jesus wanted or desired of us in this parable.

As told by Jesus Christ himself, this 3rd slave in this parable interests me. And I believe Jesus was telling us that this is the ideal person. Jesus demands of us to be like the 3rd slave as we all slave in our lives. That is why Jesus spends so many words describing events around the 3rd slave.

Of course the 1st and 2nd slave had a different approach to what was available to them. And I don’t find any words condemning them for their choice of action which is also self-preservation unlike the 3rd slave of kind of person who chooses to confront justice issues at great costs to himself. He showed a lot of selflessness and sacrifice.

Jesus tells us the action of my favourite slaves as follows:

First he is most disadvantaged because he is given the least share compared to the other two but he shows deeper understanding of economic paradigms. He had the courage to speak the truth and exposes the real economic system that makes them disadvantaged.

The third kind of person or slave acts in a way that is contrary to the conventional way of cooperation with an "underperforming or unjust system in the world”, then and today. The third slave seizes the opportunity.

He responds as follows: “I know you,

I know you,

I know you. I know You are a hard task master.

I know you,

I know you,

You reap where you do not sow.”

Then he puts it in a nice language.

“I know you and I was afraid

I know you lest I make a mistake and lose your money you will be displeased.

And in facing up to the master, the moment of truth is revealed. The master himself or the system is forced to admit the hard truth and says,

Yes, you know me.

That I reap where I have not sowed

And now the systems declare, to those who have more shall be added and to those who don’t have even the little will be taken away”

And he was thrown into jail and the majority did not even stand by the third slave as they walked away.

As much as the verse teaches us to take advantage of the opportunity, there is another teaching. That the rewards of taking advantage of opportunity extends way beyond the coming back of the master or the term of office. That is the nature of good deeds. They live on beyond the lives of the doer. They are etched in history to judge like we are now hallowing the good deeds of Odinga and son.

The Odingas as 3 slaves

The Odinga have made use of the little talents they had. Jaramogi was a teacher at Maseno High school and Raila a lecturer at Nairobi University and a son of a well do founding father. Yes, they all started of teachers but did not stop there. As was seen earlier Jaramogi entered the foray of private sector. He tried his has hands at various business projects and least of all a transport company, Lolwe Bus Service (Lake Victoria). He even ventured into Kisumu public transport that the named after ancestor Podho Bus service. And he did not stop there, in many ways he went about mass reorganisation of the Luo community into modern day economics and either relocated them in settlements or educated them on turning two fishes and bread to feed the multitudes.

Raila track record in exploiting his talents need not belabouring. It has been recounted in the previous parts and cannot be recounted again any better.

In so far as the slave 1 and slave 2 comparison, the son and the father have ranked well. I might waver towards placing Jaramogi as slave number 2. But that would be too granular. The father and son have made good use of their talents as in the parable.

Slave number 3.

My favourite slave and the one most talked about by Jesus in this parable is slave no 3. And he becomes my standard of measure as who best lives to be the slave that Jesus Christ most loves. Slave number 3 in my opinion lives as longer chapters written after him. Greater songs and poems are composed for slave number 3. Poems and statues are written for slave number 3

Denying the master/system

The third slave denies the master and the system the opportunity to entrench himself the way Jaramogi rejected British advances to take over the presidency (Kenyatta is black man’s God). Again after Independence, Jaramogi like the third slave denies President Jomo Kenyatta the role of rubber stamping his policies when he puts down the 8 vice presidents proposals at his own expense.

How about Raila? Does he deny the master a comfortable throne? Raila could have easily served his bit in the comfortable life. Apart from his career, Raila comfortably turned his back in President Moi transition government, Kibaki government and twice in Uhuru government just to underscore that he will not support the system.

“I know you” confrontation

Just like in the parable both Jaramogi and Raila, did confront the system. First Jaramogi confronted Britain’s Gulag, then Tom Mboya (plus the USA) and finally Moi regime. In terms of the ability to confront the system and speak for those who are not able to speak for themselves Jaramogi acquits himself very well.

Raila on the other hand confronts Moi on bad governance and misrule directed at the Kikuyu and the rest of Kenya. He then confronted President Kibaki and the misrule directed at Kenyans with a not fit for purpose constitution.

The master accepts/ The system is exposed

The concerted push at the British empire drove the British empire and the Lancaster conference was called. Jaramogi further insisted that the British buy back the farms. Back in Kenya, Jaramogi forced the Kenyatta back on land issues and hence his jettison from the government. And when Moi tried to lure him back Jaramogi underscored land issue. And the system was exposed and Jaramogi was exposed again. Jaramogi further exposed the misrule in section 2A of the constitution and Moi relented.

Raila after the conquest of section 2A joined Moi in a coalition and later exposed the misrule

First he spoke for the Kikuyu under the thumb of Moi; then Raila spoke against the bad constitution and was jettisoned from the government by the bad constitution. Finally, he exposed a wicked centralised government that after being exposed agreed to a devolve government resources.

Speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves

In many instances, the parables of Jesus Christ extolled us on the communism virtues of speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. Nowhere is this illustrated than when the 3rd slave speaks to the master. I know you because you are a hard task master. You reap where you do not sow. Fighting corrupt practices was a common theme of the Odingas and a speciality of Raila. Protecting the wealth and rights of Kenyans who cannot speak for themselves. And for this he was an enemy of the ruling system.

Dungeon: to those who don’t have even little will be taken away.

And for the troubles for the 3rd slave protests of resisting the system and exposing the exploitative and corrupt system, he was thrown in just like Jaramogi and Raila.

And where Raila beats himself in emulating the 3rd slave is that 3 times he came to confront and expose the system and in the process facing several dungeons and his little life taken away in detentions, exile and stolen elections.

That he was persistent in exposing the master/system would make Raila a blue eyed boy in the parable of the master and the 3 slaves.

Conclusion- Verse 30

Of course the parable still remains my measure of being Christian-like and specifically the choices of the third slave best speaks of who Jesus Christ favoured. To stay away from unjust people or systems; to confront unfair not just for the sake of confrontation but to confront it until the system acknowledges the exploitative ways; and finally to put yourself in harm’s way at the risk of losing everything just for others.

The Odingas did this several times but Raila kept on doing it not only more times than Jaramogi but he did it until the systems crossed over and changed. Because Raila chose willingly and accepted the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (verse 30) several times, I rank him higher than Jaramogi. That is why Raila wins this round 10 by 3 points.


I score Raila ahead by 2 points at this final stage. And this makes Raila the son the overall winner.

My Score card for the 10 rounds.

J: 10 +10 + 08 + 08 +10 + 07 +10 +10 +10 + 07 = 90 points

R:10 + 07 +10 + 10 + 08 + 10 +10 +09 +08 +10 = 92 points


READ ALSO: Odinga v Odinga III , Odinga v Odinga II , Odinga v Odinga I


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