, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 7- Prime Minister Raila Odinga turned 66 on Friday with a promise to remain firm in ensuring reforms in the country.
Mr Odinga who spoke on Capital FM’s The Fuse Show with Italia and Kui, said he remained determined to see the country fully implement the new Constitution. He also thanked Kenyans for their well wishes.
“I thank all the Kenyans for even praying for me last year, so that I was able to get through the operation and live to celebrate this birthday. I would like to tell them that we have a big challenge this year but I am confident that we are equal to the task and we shall deliver as Kenyans,” he said.
The Premier was speaking after he celebrated his birthday at a small surprise party hosted by staff from at his office.
“Thank you, thank you very much, I am delighted that you are able to think of me of all the people,” Mr Odinga said in acknowledging birthday wishes from Capital FM listeners.
The birthday ceremony at his office was attended by his wife Ida Odinga and other family members along with Cooperatives Development Minister Joseph Nyagah, Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Alfred Khangati, MPs Dan Mwazo (Voi),and Ababu Namwamba (Budalangi).
The day started well for the AU Mediator to the Ivory Coast crisis with his granddaughter Winnie, leading the rest of the family in singing him a happy birthday song.
“Now my staff have just given me a big birthday cake, flowers and they have also sang for me,”
“I miss one person, which is the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende, who we not only share a birthday, but we were born in the same hospital, same ward, same day of the year except different years and almost the same time,” he added.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga underwent a minor surgery last year after he checked into the Nairobi Hospital after complaining of intermittent headache.
Dr David Livingstone Oluoch-Olunya, one of Kenya’s top neurosurgeons, found he was suffering from a brain condition called ‘subdural haematoma’, and quickly arranged to drill the left side of his head to ease the pressure on his brain.
Addressing family, staff and friends at his office, Mr Odinga scoffed at some politicians in the country for flaunting youth as a measure of their ability to lead this country, saying youth cannot be a yardstick for leadership.
He said generational change in itself was not a panacea for the ills plaguing the Kenyan leadership, adding what the country needs most were progressive ideas regardless of the age of the person generating such ideas.
“Age is nothing but a number; you can be very young in age and very old in ideas,” said Mr Odinga.
The PM recalled that not long time ago him and other Kenyan leaders then known as ‘Young Turks’ blended very well with leaders from the old generation who had progressive ideas that eventually led to the second liberation of this country.
Mr Odinga cautioned Kenyans against falling victims of the propaganda for a generational change in the country’s leadership,
“This country will be liberated by people with progressive ideas, not people flaunting their age, that I am young,” the Premier said. “That kind of change can be retrogressive you actually could easily be jumping from the frying pan to the fire.”
Mr Odinga who is still hopes to lead Kenya is expected to face a challenge in next year’s election from youthful contestant such Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Kalonzo Musyoka and Eugene Wamalwa who have vowed to forge an alliance to bring a generational change to the country’s leadership.