Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has always been known for his bullish riddles and one-liners that quickly become widely accepted aphorisms in society.
Top 10 Raila quotes for 2019
Did you hear Baba say this?
In 2019, the special AU envoy did not disappoint having now popularized “bedroom” as the new catch phrase referring to his political strongholds.
Here are 10 of Baba’s best quotes for 2019.
On November 4, during the final major rally for Mr Odinga’s ODM party in Kibra, Nairobi County, the former PM popularized the term “bedroom” as a reference to his political stronghold.
“Wale wengine wanabweka, wanasema eti ‘oooh, Raila ameita watu kwa bedroom yake’. Kuna ubaya gani nikiita watu kwa bedroom yangu? Kuna makosa? Si ni marafiki unawaita kwa bedroom? Wale ni wapumbavu, hawajui siasa.
“(There are those criticizing me for inviting these leaders here saying ‘Raila has invited foreigners to his bedroom’. Is there a problem if I invite anyone to my bedroom? Is it wrong? Don’t we all call our friends to our bedrooms? Those criticizing me are fools, they don’t understand politics.),” he stated.
The Hair Riddle
During the same election campaign, the former premier tickled his listeners with a riddle about hair.
“Kitendawili? Anaishi katika mwili wa binadamu lakini ana tabia za kinyonga...jibu ni nywele. Kuna nywele zingine ukitaka kunyoa unapeleka kwa kinyozi, lakini kuna zingine ukitaka kunyoa unaelekea kwa choo
“(Riddle me this, what is found on the human body but acts like a chameleon? The answer is hair. When it is on your head it’s hair, as you move lower it is called eyebrows, eyelashes, moustache, beard and so forth. But there are some hairs that are shaved by the barber and others you have to go to the bathroom to shave...),” he stated, urging the voters to embarrass ODM’s opponents.
As faithful as a Kamba
On November 3, Baba made a slightly provocative comment when he addressed a forum of Kamba voters in Kibra.
“Tangu nianze kupiga siasa mwaka wa 1992 hadi nilipowacha Wakamba wote wamekuwa wakinipigia mimi kura. Wakamba ni waaminifu, na wao ni kama akina mama, wakisema watakupatia, watakupatia…
“(Since I vied for Lang’ata MP in 1992 until the day I stopped vying for a parliamentary post, Kambas have always voted for me. Kambas are very faithful and they are also like women. When a Kamba says they’ll give it to you then they will no doubt give it to you…” Raila stated to the amusement of his listeners.
A Song for Fools
Mr Odinga is well known for using Zilizopendwa songs to pass his messages. On November 3 he also used one of the songs to send a message.
“Tumeambia wananchi, wale wakileta pesa chukueni, ni yenu lakini hakuna kusema asante. Waambieni kesho tena walete zingine. Tuliwaimbia ‘Waeekeeni wajinga na werevu hawana. Ukiona wakilewa usidhani ni tajiri, hiyo ni mali ya uma wameiba toka kwetu jameni. Wape wape hiyo pombe yao, wakilewa wakitapika ni shauri yao’.
“(If they give you money, take it because it is your taxes that they have embezzled. Take the money and ask them to return the following day with more. We sang for them the song for fools),” the handshake partner advised Kibra voters.
Crocodiles in the Jordan
While in Turkana on August 16, the former PM explained to the people that his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta was necessary for the famous journey to Canaan he had popularized during the 2017 General Election.
“Tulikuwa tumeahidi watu wetu kuwa tutawafikisha Canaan, na hiyo ziara ya Canaan lazima twende. Lakini tulipofika kule mto Jordan tulipata kuna mamba tukarudi nyuma, sasa tumesema tutajenga madaraja tuingie hiyo Canaan.
“(I told Uhuru that we had promised our people that we would take them to Canan and that promise has to be fulfilled. We had already arrived at the Jordan but there were crocodiles in the water and we were forced to retreat. We have now agreed that we will build bridges into Canaan),” he stated referring to the Building Bridges Initiative.
Who chased Nanok out of ODM?
“Gavana wa Turkana ni rafiki yangu, yeye anasema alifukuzwa [ODM] lakini ni yeye alisema amevuka mto akaenda pande hiyo nyingine, alisema pande hii kisima kimekauka. Kwa hivo yeye mwenyewe ndiye alijiondoa, na akitaka kurudi, mlango uko wazi
“(Turkana Governor is a good friend of mine and he said that he was chased out of ODM. Isn’t he the one who told us that the well had run dry in ODM? He is the one who left ODM and if he wishes to return then the door is always open),” the ODM party leader explained.
Turkana County is considered one of ODM’s “bedrooms”. When the Orange party opted to remove Governor Josphat Nanok from the vice chair position it was seen as demotion.
Kisii people are very fertile
During a tour of Kisii County on February 21, Baba stated: “Most of Kisii is highlands and it is very fertile land, a lot of rain falls here and as the land is fertile, the people are also very fertile and they work very hard at night, evidence is there for everybody to see. So we have over the years transformed this beautiful land into a rural slum.”
Nigerian Minister Joke
On January 25, Mr Odinga addressed the National Anti-Corruption Conference where he narrated a memorable anecdote using a corrupt Nigerian Minister.
Read all about it here.
Raila becomes Bishop of the Catholic Church
During the installation of Catholic Archdiocese of Kisumu Bishop Philip Anyolo on January 12, Raila recounted an incident where the former PM was forced to pretend to be a Bishop.
Bishop Anyolo’s predecessor Archbishop (Rtd) Zacchaeus Okoth gave Raila a collar and placed him in a caravan of religious leaders during the crackdown on anti-Government politicians in the 1980s and early 1990s.
“You know I am Anglican but I have a special relationship with the Catholic Church. I have said it before and at the pains of repetition I’ll say it again. I was in a lot of distress...and in the process I became a Bishop, they gave me the name Bishop Augustine from Machakos and gave me full priestly robes to transport me from Nairobi and safely to Kisumu…,” Raila narrated.
Awkward Birthday Moment for Raila
In 2019 Mr odinga celebrated his birthday in the company of President Kenyatta, his family and ODM politicians in Mombasa County.
He also got an opportunity to address residents of Mombasa and made a somewhat insensitive remark that resulted in awkwardness among his listeners.
“Mombasa ndio mlango wa Kenya...Mombasa ikiwa na ugonjwa, inaambukiza bara yote ya Kenya. Ndio maana tunasema hatutaki Mombasa iambukizwe Ukimwi…
“(Mombasa is the gateway into Kenya...if Mombasa sneezes, all of inland Kenya will catch a cold. This is why we wouldn’t like Mombasa to get HIV/AIDS…)” Baba stated.
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