By Mbugua Ngunjiri
Kenyans have not heard the last of Raila Odinga if his new book is anything to go by.
Titled The Flame of Freedom, the book, written in the first person, takes an indepth look at the former Prime Minister, right from his childhood, his life journey, family, and most importantly, his political struggles that landed him at the pinnacle of Kenya’s leadership.
This book, published by Mountain Top Publishers, is likely to dominate discussions in the country for the next couple of weeks.
What this latest release means is that Raila, however his critics might wish him away, is never far from the pulse of the nation.
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Our sources told us that the book covers only up to campaign time for the March 2013 elections, which will be a bit of a disappointment for readers looking to know what Raila thinks about the elections, which he contested at the Supreme Court.
Raila and his supporters maintain, to this day, that the 2013 presidential election was stolen from him. He however dwells in detail on the 2007 election, which he again disputed and whose acrimonious outcome led to the post-election violence.
It is the post-election violence that currently has President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in The Hague answering to charges of crimes against humanity.
Readers will be interested in knowing what Raila has to say about The Hague process, the ensuing investigations and former prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, given that supporters of Uhuru and Ruto allege that he had a hand in taking the two to The Hague.
Analysts also believe the Uhuruto duo played The Hague card to their advantage, which in effect means that this is the single most contributor to Raila’s loss at the last elections.
Also likely to make an interesting read is Raila’s version of events during his time as Kibaki’s co-principal in the coalition government. There are people who believe that Raila was a mere figurehead in that government in spite of the fact that he was supposed to be an equal partner with Kibaki.
Another controversial aspect of Raila’s life is the sensitive topic of the failed 1982 coup against former President Moi’s government.
It was first brought to the limelight after Nigerian scholar Babafemi Badejo wrote Raila’s biography titled Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan Politics, which was released just prior to the 2007 polls.
This book placed Raila at the thick of things regarding the coup. It will therefore be interesting to know what, Raila, in his own words, has to say about this dark period in Kenya’s political history.
The Flame of Freedom, is written with the help of former journalist Sarah Elderkin.
Elderkin penned a series of articles, defending Raila, in the Daily Nation following the serialisation of former Raila adviser Miguna Miguna’s book Peeling Back the Mask, which took an unflattering look at the current leader of CORD.
It will not escape observers that this book could be offering a rebuttal to the damage, if any, Miguna’s book did to Raila’s image.
The Nairobian has learnt that a number of local publishers had positioned themselves to get publishing rights for the book but it ended up with Mountain Top, whose CEO, Lawrence Njagi, is the current chairman of Kenya Publishers Association.
The very act of publishing Raila’s memoirs will most likely raise the profile of Mountain Top, which specialises in the publication of early childhood books.