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RAILA ODINGA: Veteran Kenyan oppositionist vies again

FILE: Odinga campaigns recently. He is having a final go at the presidency. PHOTO

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Raila Odinga, Kenya’s veteran opposition leader and one-time prime minister, is taking his fourth tilt at the presidency in next week’s election.

The 72-year-old has been a mainstay of Kenyan politics since the 1980s but has never achieved his presidential ambition.

His career emulates that of his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, who led the opposition for three decades but never the country.

This time Odinga is heading a coalition called the National Super Alliance (NASA) which hopes to overcome traditional opposition divisions to defeat incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, and his ruling Jubilee Party in the August 8 poll.

The Kenyatta vs. Odinga battle is set to be the last in a dynastic political rivalry between the two families that began when Jaramogi Odinga lost out to Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first post-independence leader: Kenyatta is only allowed to serve one more term while Odinga is seen as too old to make a fresh bid for the presidency in five years’ time.

– Lifelong presidential ambition –

Born into political royalty, a member of Kenya’s western Luo tribe, Odinga entered parliament in 1992 during the rule of president Daniel arap Moi and after spending much of the previous decade jailed or in exile during the struggle for democracy.

He vied for the presidency in 1997, 2007 and 2013, claiming to have been cheated in the last two votes.

Many observers agree with Odinga’s view that the 2007 election was stolen from him.

The result triggered widespread politically-motivated tribal violence which left more than 1,100 dead.

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