Is this another of Raila's calculated comebacks?

He aimed his guns at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and succeeded in instigating the departure of all commissioners at the time.

That is exactly what is happening now, as both sides of the political divide haggle over the reconstitution of the current commission that has been crippled by retirement and resignations.

He has, since 1997, put successive governments under immense pressure and somehow managed to gain political capital since his now-defunct National Development Party (NDP) merged with President Daniel Moi's Kanu at the time.

Jubilee deal

More recently, he again came back to the country from foreign trips and pushed the Jubilee government into agreeing to work with him through his heralded handshake with President Kenyatta in 2018.

But as he raises the storm over claims by an alleged whistleblower that he won the elections, President William Ruto has maintained that all he is after, is another handshake which he will not accede to.

The ODM leader has however dismissed talk that he wants to join the government.

What is he therefore up to in this latest assault against Ruto and his government?

Prof Gitile Naituli of Multi-Media University argues that he is fired up because he believes the information provided by an alleged whistle-blower that he won the 2022 elections can assist him to push for IEBC reforms.

"He together with Azimio will want to be involved in creating a commission that will be non-partisan in 2027 so that they can stop the alleged rigging claims," says Naituli. Raila's intention is to make sure controls are put in to stop rigging and to ensure the new commissioners do not come in with political patronage and protection to mess up elections.

ODM leader Raila Odinga speaks at Mombasa ACK Memorial Cathedral during a past event. [File, Standard]

He however adds that it does make him stay relevant because he will go around the country and spew a lot of politics that can create tension.

Remaining relevant

Andati adds that Raila will try to raise stakes and temperatures but given the astronomical cost of living and other challenges Kenyans are going through, people will not care much about politics.

"What is critical to him is remaining relevant because he will become the talking point for some time and it also helps him hold on to his followers to continue having some false hope," says Andati.

The meetings also give other Azimio leaders like Kalonzo Musyoka, Martha Karua and Jeremiah Kioni the platform to address supporters because they do not have the impetus that Raila has.

He however disagrees with President Ruto's assertion that cartels are behind the funding of Raila's rallies.

"Raila does not need funding to hold rallies because he has a fanatical following and only requires his troops like MPs George Aladwa and Babu Owino to mobilise them," says Andati.

He does not see how Gachagua can counter Raila because he does not have the capacity to do so.

That is because it will require him to either organise parallel rallies or demonstrations, yet he cannot mobilise the kind of crowds that Raila pulls.

But more worrying to Prof Amukoa Anangwe is the possibility of Raila rallying together and regrouping all politicians who were with him in Azimio to, if possible, declare him President.