Why Odinga’s Easter message has drawn unprecedented online reactions

Twenty four thousand reactions, 14, 000 comments and over 935 shares in nine hours of its posting: Those were the statistics which Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s Easter message to Kenyans drew following a cheerless bid to rescue drama-scarred Miguna Miguna from being deported.

“Happy Easter to all Kenyans from all walks of life from my family to yours, I wish you the Lord’s blessings”. That was Mr Odinga’s undamaging message to Kenyans on March 30. Mr Odinga, who enjoys a Facebook following of 1.23 million, has not, in recent past, received as much engagement on his timeline as he did on March 30. Many a times, he receives hundreds of comments, few thousands of reactions and hundreds of shares. On March 30, that series was broken.

And this comes barely two days after Mr Miguna was ejected from Kenya after he reportedly refused to “regularize” his citizenship.

Mr Miguna was deported to Dubai on Wednesday night aboard an Emirates flight, despite court orders for his unconditional production in court the next day [Thursday, March 29]. Attempts by Mr Miguna’s lawyers, James Orengo and Nelson Havi, to serve the orders on Immigration officials at the JKIA were violently forestalled by police.

And on Friday, Mr Odinga’s Facebook timeline turned into a sphere of “disapproval dissemination” after he, according to a section of his supporters, failed to secure Mr Miguna’s readmission into Kenya, even after the highly-hyped handshake between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Relatively few online users responded to Mr Odinga’s Easter message, with a majority taking issue with his unusual silence following Mr Miguna’s deportation.

Brian Omare said: “Sir, we want Miguna Miguna back to his birthplace. I am your diehard supporter, but if you cannot stand up and defend those who can die supporting you, then we feel abandoned.”

Oliver Osir wrote: “Kindly secure Miguna’s return, then come back and wish Kenyans a Happy Easter.”

An online user by the name Ixaque Wwyne said: “I am disappointed with the kind of mistreatment our general is going through.”

Marcus Garvey said: “This Easter message is ill-timed with Miguna still suffering in some far away land in the hands of despots. Do something, baba. Your supporters are not happy. It is difficult to pretend.”

Bradox Mboya commented: “Speak on general Miguna’s issue, then you can wish us a Happy Easter later.”

However, not all believed that Mr Odinga did nothing to rescue Mr Miguna from deportation.

Elphie Harisons Kung’ah said: “Happy Easter Agwambo. I saw you running after Miguna and I felt bad! Your intentions were genuine.”

Clinton Owino said: “People should respect Raila. Being Raila is not easy; carrying the hope of millions. On the matter of Miguna, it is an issue of respecting the rule of law. There was nothing more which Raila could do at the JKIA than he has already done.”


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