By Mangoa Mosota
An author has discounted views that President Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Oginga had personal differences.
Rather, he said, the two disagreed on ideologies.
"Jaramogi wanted the Kenyatta Government to fulfil promises made to Kenyans at the dawn of independence. Their political differences were clear during their clash at Russia Hospital (renamed Nyanza Provincial Hospital)," says Odinge Odera.
During the clash at opening of the facility, 41 years ago, 11 people were shot dead by security guards.
Odera’s book, My Journey with Jaramogi…Memoirs of a Close Confidant, was published in January this year and officially launched in April by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The book gives details about one of the prominent local political leaders, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
When the author, 76, spoke last weekend at a symposium in Kisumu, he mesmerised the audience with his strong oratory skills.
"African leaders have failed their populace. What was espoused at independence has not come to fruition," said Odera at Great Lakes University of Kisumu on Saturday.
The symposium of African leadership focused on the leadership of the late Jaramogi, who passed on 16 years ago.
Other speakers were Prof Egara Kabaji, a literary scholar who is also a university lecturer, and Beryl Achieng Odinga, one of Jaramogi’s daughters.
Odera says African leadership and especially Kenya are entanled in corruption. He urged the younger generation to embrace integrity.
"African leaders who took over from colonial masters have only been interested in amassing personal wealth at the expense of their countrymen," he argues.
The author reveals that he took two years to research on the book, and eight months to write it.
"Just like other writers, I would sometimes write at night. The undertaking was quite involving," he adds.
Odera trained in journalism at South Dakota University, US, in the 1960s. He says he was inspired to write about Jaramogi out of admiration for the principles he stood for.
Odera says his closeness to Jaramogi made him feel he owed Kenyans an insight into the political life of the founder of Kenya Peoples’ Union, a political party that was banned in 1969.
"I felt that I know quite a lot about him (Jaramogi) and since no one had written a book about him, my book would be handy," he said.