By Beauttah Omanga
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has scored a political first by being the high-ranking member of Government to visit the home of former Nyandarua MP Josiah Mwangi Kariuki, popularly known as JM.
Raila also visited the country’s independence hero Dedan Kimathi’s widow Mukami Kimathi in Njabini. The PM visited the region as he took his presidential campaigns a notch higher in what many say was aimed at connecting with Mt Kenya region.
The PM carried forward his reform message. In visiting the two fallen leaders’ rural homes, Raila revisited the narrative of battles that have defined and continue to define Kenya.
He presented himself as custodian of the ideals the earlier freedom fighters stood for.
It was clear also that the premier sought to send the message that he knows where Kenya deviated and can steer it back to the right path. “JM was a poor people’s champion. He stood for the poor and I am convinced he died because of his determination to right the wrongs against the poor. He was against a culture of having a few rich against poor millions,” said Raila.
He said the late leader’s spirit was still living “because there are many JM’s in this country who want to see his dream of a just leadership to all”.
Since the unresolved mysterious murder of the then Nyandarua North MP 37 years on, no State official has ever set foot in the home tucked away in Nyandarua County. “We are simply elated and happy that of all State officials, you have visited us today,” the JM’s widow Nyambura said as she received the PM.
Raila held the hands of Nyambura and her co-wife Terry as they walked around the compound to JM’s grave where he paid his respects.
Raila’s visit was described by veteran politician Mark Mwithaga as historic and politically significant.
“For many years, Government officials have kept away from this home. We as Central Kenya people are happy that you have taken your time to visit the home of JM,” Mwithaga told Raila.
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