Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU-K) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli observes that former President Mwai Kibaki is the only Kenyan who has – so far – successfully managed to “deflate” NASA leader Raila Odinga’s influence and political charge.
Speaking on Citizen TV’s Jeff Koinange Live on Wednesday, February 21, Mr Atwoli said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s handling of Mr Odinga has only elevated Mr Odinga’s already-high political stature.
Though, he did not directly reveal how Mr Kibaki managed to rein in on Mr Odinga, Mr Atwoli inferred that Mr Kibaki’s silent treatment toward Mr Odinga’s political jibes, when the latter was Kenya’s Premier and Mr Kibaki as President, went a long way in ensuring that he (Kibaki) remained in charge, with Mr Odinga playing second fiddle.
“You cannot rein in on someone who ventured into politics when he was 14-years-old (Raila) by answering him back and trying to use force against him and his supporters, it does not work. It only elevates his stature; it makes him a hero,” said Mr Atwoli, adding: “The only person who managed to tame Raila was Kibaki.”
Mr Atwoli gave examples of Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and banished opposition politician Miguna Miguna as political figures, who the Jubilee government, according to him, elevated their stature due to constant harassment.
“The government has made Miguna Miguna very popular in Nairobi; the same thing it did with Joho, when it was constantly hunting for him in the run-up to August 8, 2017 general election,” he said.
Mr Atwoli urged President Kenyatta to reach out to Mr Odinga and dialogue over Kenya’s state of integration.