By Eliud Owalo
Among those who have declared interest in running for president, Prime Minister Raila Odinga is not only the people’s choice for the post, but also stands out above the rest as a man of the people whose name is well known in almost every homestead and household.
His widely recognised fame and popularity is essentially founded on his solid personal achievements especially through the sacrifices he has made over the years in fighting for democracy, the rule of law, equitable development, and distribution of resources, social justice, and human rights.
Other major sacrifices include his long stints in detention without trial, his denial of employment in the public service and deprivation of source of livelihood due to his criticism of previous governments for their failures and malpractices; including blatant disregard to human rights.
Besides, Raila is an active and pragmatic political operator who is known for tangible performance in public and private sectors as evidenced by his illustrious stints within the academia, public service, and the Nation Assembly.
He has the pre-requisite skills and technical capacity required for efficient management of public affairs. In social and political life, he is an interactive and sociable personality.
The PM finds it easy to mingle with the ordinary people at social events such as soccer games, funerals, peace advocacy gatherings, political rallies, weddings, and religious prayer meetings. In political rallies, his presence normally attracts thousands of supporters including those who may not be affiliated to his political party. Raila’s contributions in the fight for democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights is well known locally and abroad.
He is highly regarded by local and international democratic institutions and human rights bodies in this regard. The PM is the leader of a political party that, indeed, has a national outlook in terms of membership, leadership, support and structure.
His countrywide network of support is formidable and enviable as manifested through the Friends of Raila lobby group that has active branches all over the country; including Chapters abroad. In respect of popularity rating among Presidential contenders, Raila has been leading ever since the advent of national Opinion Poll surveys in the country and there is no doubt that he is a key media attraction in this regard.
Raila has widely and extensively toured and visited every corner of this country and is fully aware of their problems, issues and development priorities. In pursuit of his quest for the presidency, he has a clear plan on how to initiate and/or enhance socio-economic development in the interest of every community as well as in the whole country.
His development agenda is anchored on enabling environment characterised by prudent policies, sound legal framework, efficient management of public resources and fast service delivery to the people. On the international stage, Raila is well known and highly regarded.