By Benard Ochanda
Odinga’s wealth is currently worth over 50 billion. He owns the Kisumu Molasses, East African Spectre, and a splash of shares in numerous other firms.
He owns thousands of acres in Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu, and the expansive Opoda firm, not to mention palatial homes spread along the railway line from Mombasa.
He controls the multimillion worth ODM party, political machinery that has access to MPs, governors, MCA, and state contributions. An internally displaced zombie resembling the bewildered monkey in the photo, stranded in a city slum and unable to pay his overdue rent because of Covid, and whose upcountry home is marooned by floods has the audacity to term my incisive post a crap!
This wealth shocked Moi in 1996 when Raila Odinga became the highest bidder with an offer of 576 million for Kisumu Molasses. This was at the time when a dollar was worth 30 shillings.
For a man who had spent most of his productive life in prison and only 4 years in Parliament, it was only reasonable to attribute this largesse to his “peasant” 3-year vice president father who had fought for independence, resigned from the government of land grabbers and profiteers and became anti-government.
Needless to say that some of Jaramogi’s sons’ expansive land inheritance was acquired in the 1950s when everyone was busy in the forest fighting the colonialists! From then on, Moi took him [Odinga] seriously.
While Oginga Odinga only served three years as Veep, he had built a powerful network around State House that assured him security, the business monopoly in gas cylinder supply all over East Africa and land.
His man in State House was Mbiyu Koinange. This was the Cardinal Richelieu of the Jomo era. The executioner and the right-hand man of the sage nationalist President who himself abhorred political murder.
It’s Odinga who fished Koinange from a clerical job in Accra and against the British and Mboya’s opposition, made him the AEMO chief advisor in Lancaster talks, at the time Kenyatta was a nondescript prisoner.
Trained in Columbia, St John’s Cambridge and London institute, the son of a senior chief was also Kenyatta’s brother in Law. The rest became history. Odinga’s wealth was made in the 70s, not 80s!
It explained why he was spared the killer manacles of Mbiyu at a time when assassinations were rife. It explained why he still choreographed the election of all MPs in Luo Nyanza in the 70s. [It explains why Raila still choreographs Luo Nyanza elections to date.]
It explained why Raila was able to establish the Kenya Bureau of Standards. And must I explain how Raila became a lecturer at the only Kenyan University [at the time] with an inferior degree from Magdeburg institute?