As a teenager and into my mid 30’s I distanced myself from politics due to the bad memories I had from my father’s experience when he was contesting for MP seats back in the late 80’s.
My father was very popular and much loved. He was rigged out of his wins twice in front of our eyes. We lost everything both times…..This part of this story will be continued at a later date…..
Moving fast forward my interest in politics was re-birthed when Barack Obama was elected the 1st black president in USA and to make things even more exciting he was Kenyan and to make things deeper, he was a Luo.
I followed his journey keenly whilst keeping up to date with world politics. I still wasn’t interested in Kenyan politics until 2013. I knew Raila Amolo Odinga was going to be president, just like we knew my father was going to be an MP. HE had it all in the bag, HE did. Who can deny it?
This picture right here was taken in 2013 in London when HE came to meet Kenyans to reassure them that all was well. I had a very busy schedule on this day, I didn’t hesitate cancelling two engagements because I wanted to meet this man people called the Luo leader. I was expecting to be in a room full of Luos for the first time in London but to my surprise, it was full of Kikuyus and just a handful of other tribes. Now, if my father was to read this especially these lines where I have identified tribes, he would give me a slap that wouldn’t even match that of my former headmistress. In our home you do not discuss tribal matters, for goodness sake we grew up in Mombasa, Homa Bay, Nyeri, Kisumu, Kehancha, Kakamega and all over the place. We were nomads as dad was a county clerk equivalent to what is now governor, we integrated so for us tribalism is alien.
Therefore, if you are reading this and thinking ooooh she is tribal, then you got the wrong end of the stick.
What I’m trying to say is, I was shocked to see HIM embraced by all tribes but what touched me more was HE embraced these people with so much human love.
I was totally confused. I was looking for that man they said was a Luo tribal leader. I just didn’t see HIM. As HE lay his hand gently on my shoulder, I looked him in the eye and saw the pain I saw in my father’s eyes when he lost elections through rigging and lost all his wealth. My first silent thought without uttering a word was…”You have lost everything Baba”, that was the day I started calling Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga ….Baba….
As if HE was inside my mind, HE said to me…”My daughter, do not worry Kenya will be fine. I will make sure of that. We must live harmoniously regardless of the outcome. We must foster peace, love and unity.” Many of you call HIM baba, what is your reason?
This is my personal story. Please do not mutilate it. I’m Kenyan too, my feelings are valid, my voice is valid. I’m yet to recover from my father’s rigging. If you have any personal or public hatred for baba please take it directly to him. Allow me to enjoy my story in my own space please. Baba taught me to spread peace and unity. You are welcome to take a seat with me on my African mat as I narrate this story and yours is just to nod as you cannot change my story. I welcome you too to share your story of why you call HIM baba…Thank you.
I would like to encourage you too to break your silence about Baba Hon. Raila Odinga
By Dr. Pauline Long