Azimio La Umoja’s flag-bearer, Raila Odinga, is adept at betrayal and despondency, and has always emerged stronger from losing elections. Former Orange Democratic Movement political affairs and strategy director Wafula Buke says.
Buke spoke in response to Raila’s allies, who have since defected to President-elect William Ruto’s camp, after Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati declared him the winner of the 2022 general election.
In 2013 and 2017, the former prime minister was also rejected and betrayed by his close allies after losing the polls, according to Buke.
His office in Capital Hill, Nairobi, which has always been a hive of activity, has not had a visitor for a long time.
Wafula Buke, former Director of Political Affairs of ODM, addresses the press.
According to Buke, no one wanted to associate with Raila after he lost the 2013 presidential election to President Uhuru Kenyatta. Even though Raila’s party won the majority of seats in all elected offices, his confidants deserted him.
“When Raila didn’t get the presidency in 2013, he read more, thought more in his office, but also felt lonely. Once he went to reception and asked: ‘You mean there’s nobody who wants to see me?'” Buke, standing next to Raila, remembered.
Buke further claimed that Raila once traveled to Kilifi, but Governor Amason Kingi reportedly never received him.
After losing again to Uhuru in 2017, the former prime minister reportedly sank into yet another series of denials. Buke claimed his allies wanted him to retire and go home.
In fact, most of the elected leaders in his stronghold left him and wanted him to hang his boots so they could get salaries. He told me that was one of the reasons he had to change his tact,” Buke said.
From the left; Prof. Makau Mutua and Azimio Deputy Presidential Candidate Martha Karua and Azimio Flag Bearer Raila Odinga submitted their petition to the Supreme Court on August 22, 2022
On camera, Raila was joined by an army of loyal supporters, but behind the scenes he rode alone.
According to Buke, shaking hands with President Uhuru helped him deal with the betrayal and the lonely moments. Ronny Raburu, a seasoned tourism industry expert, also took Raila on a short vacation in Tanzania.
“Mzee stood there for about an hour and a half, reading some German writing on the wall of a museum. I got tired of standing next to him, so I sat down while he read on,” Buke recalled.
When Raila was being driven around Tanzania, his driver was flagged for violating traffic rules, but the police stopped the violation when they noticed Raila.
Buke believes Raila still has political muscle to sway the electorate. He thus warned his allies, who were beginning to change allegiance, not to underestimate the former prime minister.
Among the leaders who aligned with Ruto’s camp were United Democratic Movement (UDM) party leader Ali Roba and outgoing Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana.