The Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party presidential candidate Raila Odinga will be giving his fifth and presumably the last realistic attempt at the presidency.
Raila first vied for the country’s top seat in the 1997 General Election where he finished thirds after late Presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki.
The 77-year-old will be facing off with Deputy President William Ruto in the August 9, elections due 39 days in what many believe that it is Raila’s last kick.
However, from serving as the longest opposition leader to working with the government, Kivumbi.co.ke has today Thursday, June 30, looked at 11 moments in Raila’s political career.
1. Appointed Kenya Bureau of Standard
The 2022 presidential front runner was appointed the Group Standards Manager at Kenya Bureau of Standard in 1974 and promoted to the position of Deputy Director in 1978 until 1982 when he was detained for six years without trial.
2. Political detainee
In June 1982, Raila Amollo Odinga was arrested and charged with treason alongside other politicians and civil society activists following the failed coup on Kenya’s second president Daniel Moi’s regime.
Raila’s detention lasted almost six years, he was again arrested and detained in 1989 and 1991 as detailed in his autobiography.
3. Went into exile.
Around June 1991, Raila escaped Kenya through Uganda and fled to Norway where he lived in exile.
Raila narrates that he had received credible information the late Daniel Moi’s government was planning to assassinate him due to his anti-government actions and pronouncements.
4. First time in elective politics
In 1992, Raila join the Forum for Restoration of Democratic-Kenya (Ford-Kenya) and successfully vied for the Lang’ata parliamentary seat.
This ushered the son of Kenya’s first vice president Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, into elective politics.
It was about the same time when Kenya adopted multi-party democracy, having gone through a single-party political regime since 1982.
5. First attempt at the presidency
In 1997, Raila Odinga made his first stab at the presidency on the National Development Party (NDP). He went against the late Mwai Kibaki, then president Daniel Arap Moi and Charity Ngilu.
He emerged third in an election that many losers believed had been rigged by late president Daniel Moi.
6. Joined late President Daniel Mois’ government
As they say, if you cannot beat them, join them. Raila Odinga joined his former oppressor late president Daniel Moi with his NDP party.
That was between 1997-2002 when he was even appointed Secretary-General of the then ruling party Kenya African National Union (KANU) party.
The then-president even appointed Energy Minister in the final regime of Moi before he later broke away after current president Uhuru was appointed the preferred next president of Kenya as Moi retired after a 24-year rule.
7. Mwai Kibaki Tosha- 2002 General Election
As Kenya ushered in a. new era following the retirement of late President Daniel Moi, Raila played an instrumental role in declaring late President Kibaki as the best person to take Kenya forward.
He pulled all the stops, brought onboard all politicians to support Kibaki against then youthful President Uhuru Kenyatta who was vying for the presidency on a KANU ticket.
8. Kenya first referundum
Immediately after the 2002 presidential election in which late President Kibaki was declared president, trouble began.
Raila fell out with Kibaki after the late president made a u-turn to support constitutional amendments which proposed a presidential system of governance whereas Raila wanted a parliamentary system of government.
Raila led then opposition leader Uhuru Kenyatta and other politicians including William Ruto among others to reject the famous 2005 referendum in which late president Mwai Kibaki’s government heavily campaigned for.
9. Second presidential attempt
In the run-up to 2007, Raila broke ranks with late president Mwa Kibaki and contested for the country’s top seat on an ODM ticket where he lost in a highly contested election.
His rejection of presidential election results led to widespread post-election violence where slightly over 1,000 Kenyans lost their lives and hundreds left homes and/or displaced.
10. Kenya’s second prime minister
In April 2008, Raila was sworn into the newly created post of prime minister under Kibaki’s presidency following peace talks that were led by the late Koffi Annan.
With a power-sharing cabinet after a disputed 2007/08 presidential outcome, Raila found himself again working with his political enemy who they fell out in the run-up to the 2005 referendum.
11. Champion Kenya’s 2010 constitution
Like the 2002 General Election where Raila was instrumental in ushering a new done following the 24-year-rule of KANU, Raila yet again was at the center of championing the 2010 constitution which Kenyans enjoy now.
It is considered one of the most progressive constitutions in the World.
12. Third and fourth presidential attempts
In the 2013 General Election, the first one under a new constitution, Raila once again unsuccessfully vied for the country’s top seat where he lost to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In 2017, Raila vied for the presidency in what many believed was his last attempt. He however lost to the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and after the nullification of the polls; Raila boycotted the repeat of presidential elections which were held in November.
In 2018, the former Lang’ata MP shook hands with President Uhuru Kenyatta in a truce that is expected to see the outgoing Head of State rally behind Raila’s fifth presidential attempt.
It was the third time Raila was coming to work with his political enemy. It remains to be seen if Raila will leverage his relationship with President Uhuru to finally win the elusive presidential seat.