Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi: Why I can’t support Raila Odinga

Lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi at the Mombasa High Court on July 16, 2014 representing the then-Lamu Governor Issa Timamy. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi says Raila Odinga’s “lack of a tangible track record during his days in government” has made him oppose the ODM boss’s presidential bid.

Speaking on Spice FM on Tuesday, January 18, Abdullahi described Odinga as a schemer who knows how to strategically position himself when election outcomes don’t go his way.

“Many people judge Raila Odinga based on his past [contribution to democracy], that’s a mistake. He has been in government in one way or another for close to 20 years, and we should be judging him based on that [20-year] record,” he said.

The lawyer claims Odinga changes tack selfishly when he doesn’t win elections at the ballot box.

“[After being defeated], he usually has a way of ending up in the same government that the voters fenced him from. That, [in essence], invalidates the will of the people,” said Abdullahi.

Asked whether Deputy President William Ruto, who is Odinga’s key challenger in the August 9 presidential polls, was his preferred candidate, Abdullahi said: “I haven’t [categorically] declared that I support the deputy president [in his quest to succeed Uhuru Kenyatta].”

According to the lawyer, he is yet to make up his mind on who to support in the presidential contest, though he is “impressed” by the DP’s ideology and manifesto.

“I won’t support Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja. What he presents [as his key must-do areas] aren’t impressive.”

Abdullahi’s claim – that he is yet to know who to support in the upcoming polls – was challenged by financial expert Mohamed Wehliye, who said it’s an open secret that the senior counsel is inclined more towards Ruto than any other presidential aspirant.

“Let you not be fooled by the semantics. Ahmed[nassir] supports UDA, Ahmed supports the deputy president, Ahmed supports what they stand for,” Wehliye, who was a co-guest on Spice FM, said on Tuesday.

Wehliye currently works as the Senior Advisor to the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).

Raila Odinga is on the record refuting claims that he has rocked the current and previous governments while he is in or outside the administrations.

Political scientist Amukowa Anangwe told The Standard in August 2021 that it was difficult to prove Raila Odinga’s direct involvement in government operations, especially when he’s on the opposing side.

“The mere fact that Raila benefitted [after the March 9, 2018 handshake] does not make him part of the government. Raila did not make any pledges. Raila is a beneficiary of circumstance,” said Anangwe.