Thousands expected at Oginga Odinga and Fidel Odinga memorial

Raila Odinga(left) and the late Fidel Odinga's wife Lwam Bekele during a memorial preparation to be held tomorrow for both Fidel and his grandfather Jaramogi Oginga in Bondo.PHOTO BY ISAIAH GWENGI

Thousands of family, friends and supporters are expected at the joint Jaramogi Oginga and Fidel Odinga memorial in Bondo today.

The annual event, which takes place in January is expected to attract prominent persons from not only Kenya, but also across Africa as friends of Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader Raila Odinga join him and his family in commemorating the 22nd anniversary of his late father Jaramogi. Fidel died in January last year. There were high expectations that Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli would attend, but latest reports from Odinga family circles indicate he will not be coming.

Silas Jakakimba, a close Odinga family friend and special political affairs advisor to the CORD leader, confirmed that the Tanzanian Head of State will not be attending because he will be held up in the African Union (AU) Summit.

“Whereas H E Magufuli recently indicated he would be at Kang’o ka Jaramogi as the chief guest at the memorial, pressing continental engagements at the AU Heads of States summit in Addis Ababa could not allow his diary to accommodate a detour to Bondo on the same day,” said Jakakimba.

Kisumu Governor Ruth Odinga, who has been hospitalised in London for weeks, is also back in the country and will be attending the memorial. Ms Odinga who left a meeting with other deputy governors in Naivasha, said she could not miss the function.

The function is bound to raise political temperatures as nearly all leaders from Nyanza are expected.

The memorial started yesterday with morning prayer at Jaramogi’s home and later a public lecture at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology.

This attracted scholars, leaders, students and the general public who thronged the institution.

Dr Oburu Odinga, the eldest son of Jaramogi said the two-day event is expected to attract visitors from outside the country as well.