It’s never the wish of any parent to encounter and grapple with the death of his/her children in their lifetime. In fact, parents hope that it will always be the other way round. Of ageing as they watch their sons and daughters walk through the many stages of life, successfully. Parents being alive to meet their grandchildren is to them, unfathomable joy. Their hearts dance blissfully. In our African culture, it’s considered one of the greatest blessings.
It’s in this context, that I register my deepest and heartfelt condolences to the Odinga family and the entire nation at large. I sympathise with Hon. Raila Odinga and Mama Ida, I understand the excruciating shock, disbelief and grief, they are going through at this difficult time. Fidel’s death was hard, unapologetic and sudden. Akin to that of Hon Tom Mboya , Mutula Kilonzo and Otieno Kajwang.
I can attest Fidel’s passing away, is the single worst blow to the Odingas’ dynasty, after Oginga Odinga’s death on January 20th, 1994. Fidel would be instrumental during the detention of of his father, Raila Odinga for six years after he was linked with orchestrating the infamous 1982 coup, during the Moi regime. He was the scion and pillar of the Odinga’s when Raila was languishing in the dark and tall rooms of Nyayo House. Mama Ida was closely monitored by the Intelligence; hence Fidel would take the key role of taking care of his younger siblings.
That Fidel loved the fine things life had to offer is an open secret, from the big and sumptuous cars, tasty bourgeoisie wines, winsome women and elitist venues. With his six foot height, and hailing from an opulent and famous family, you would be forgiven to imagine, he was the most aloof personality on planet earth. I’ve stumbled on kids from rich families, and I know their deluxe personalities, and they’ll look you like you owe them an apology for being alive. But this was far from the truth for Fidel, he was none of those. In fact in sharp contrast, he was accommodative, empathetic and very protective of his close relatives. At least this is what I have gathered from reliable sources.
To the laymen, Fidel was a harmless fly, who had an endearment for parting just like any typical rich kid. Actually, when he was arrested late last year for drunk driving, many were not ‘surprised’ like the gossip tabloids. In their minds, they were like; “That’s Fidel for you.” Fidel from the onset, when he was born on 4th January 1973 had big shoes to fit in. His grandfather was actively involved in fighting for Kenya’s independence. In fact, in the wisdom of Oginga, he vowed Kenya would not move on and gain independence if Jomo Kenyatta was not released. That was remarkable. Exit Oginga, enter Raila. He is the former Prime Minister of Kenya, described by many as an enigma in Kenya politics. He has made tremendous contribution in fighting for democratic space in this country for decades. With that, you can understand the pressure Fidel struggled with, from an early age. He represented the face of the entire Odingas’ posterity. He was being gloomed to be the captain of the ship.
Was Fidel ready for politics? To close friends, he had a split personality. On one side, he was aggressive, and the other seemingly laidback. However in the recent times, he had come of age. With a now ‘stable’ immediate family and a son, 2017 was his for the taking. He had made friends from both his father’s antagonist camp and CORD family. He was playing it safe. He knew the art of not making unnecessary foes. He was popular in both the populous Kibera and native Kisumu. He was ready for the mantle.
But this was cut short, rather hard and mysterious. It was sudden and unapologetic. Am told he complained of stomach ache, late in the day. I tweeted on last Sunday morning, that whatever would be the cause of Fidel’s death, may the Lord rest his soul in eternal peace. Who are we to correct God? Fare thee well comrade. Till we meet again. Your mark in our generation was indelible. Peace.