By Lizzy Favor Yogo
“It is probably the most revolutionary thing Raila said last night, but the media and ordinary mortals won’t notice. So it is my duty to tell you of a different setting where it had been said before the debate.
On Sunday, we went for a rally at Masinde Grounds in Mathare Constituency. As with all Baba’s rallies, there was no mobilization. Crowds just followed him, and by the time we entered the grounds, it was a sea of humanity descending on the dusty grounds in wild celebratory mood. Musalia spoke first, hyping the crowd with his characteristic “Nasa Hao” chant. He then invited Premier Raila.
Raila delivered his campaign message. He also reprimanded a young man who was pushing a young lady near the dais, and asked young men to learn to treat women with dignity. Then he switched to a serious parental tone and said something that no previous campaign has ever discussed.
Raila turned to the young girls in the rally (upto this point, we hadn’t noticed just how many they were, they were in their thousands!) and told them that he was concerned that society had neglected the young jobless mothers, many with no education, many in informal settlements, many barely out of their teens, who struggled alone with children. He said from September, he would change this, and give single mothers a new lease of life, a life of dignity.
Raila said some of the young mothers got children when so young, and with no support, that life had become hopeless, yet this was a very huge portion of the population. As he spoke, there was deathly silence. Even vijana wa mabango had somehow put down their mabango and gone quiet. When he finished, the applause was electric, and emotional too. The young single mothers in the crowd went into a frenzy. You should have been there to see it!
Until debate night, not many people knew this has been one of Baba’s mainstream issues on this campaign. It is also an issue that no previous politician or campaign has ever raised. It reminded me of something I have quoted here countless times, made famous by Wafula Buke, but attributed to JM Kariuki’s daughter, Rosemary; Raila is truly the last of our caring fathers.
It takes a Lion to see some of these things and seek to change them. It takes Raila Odinga to understand the struggles of every demographic. And it’s not just because of votes. That’s simply who he is.
08.08.2017. Don’t blink.
Change is coming.