This man Raila Odinga : Ngugi Wa Thiongo Narrates…
Raila had refused to eat. He was on hunger strike. He grew thin and pale. His right palm had gone dark, the arm had pimples and boils as well. His left arm was twisted already. He was receiving extraordinary punishment. He stood for his words. Dictators had to go.
I had been initially jailed for a year by the Kenyatta’s regime. For criticising the government acts on my book,, “l will marry when I want”. I had set up a revolutionary theatre, this provoked the dictatorial regime.
Odingas’s was involving. Seven years already in jail. He stood firm. Kenya needed a fresh air. He was willing to pay the price. I felt touched by his story. When I came to see him, he was denied a chance to talk to me. However he wisely did it in a writing. “Tell lda to ask the doctor to prescribe me these drugs, am slowly dying “.
Soon his mother died. His other relatives including his aunt followed. He would never be allowed to attend any of the burrials. It was painful.
He remained in detention without trial. The government would not allow it. Soon he was transfred to Kamiti maximum prison. He was taken the torture corner. The isolation block. The detention camp. A prison within a prison. Here he was daily served with half cooked ugali with vegetable water with a few limp leaves floating around. And for the first time in two weeks, he was served with food.
The blows to his head dazed him. He fell on the floor and lay there. Rono, a GSU officer, jumped from his head to his genitals. His left leg twisted and confirmed broken. He was either going to speak or become a dead meat. He waited for the end, but it did not come. But still Odinga refused to give in.
He was dramatically detained. All these time without trial. In February 1988, he was dramatically released by president Moi.
When he was released from detention. Raila refused to go home. He felt insecure. They could still be coming for him. He came straight to my home.
He asked me to join him in quietly engaging in activities that was designed to educate and mobilize the people towards bringing the necessary changes in the society. Not through violence but through the popular mass action. It’s through this that we achieved a multy party state, jubiliations and celebrations went through the entire country.
Stop. Stand up. Keep calm. He is back. Odinga is back….
~ NGUG’I WA THIONG’O