NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8 – Old Kibera Primary School where NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga had come to cast his vote was temporarily turned into what could be described as a charged mini-political rally.
Chants of Baba, Joshua and Nasa hao filled the air as Odinga walked into the polling station accompanied by his wife Ida Odinga.
As he drove in, some of his supporters who had lined up abandoned their spaces as they chanted “Joshua” – the moniker which the NASA leader has adopted for the 2017 elections.
There was a near stampede in room 9 where he was voting when journalists battled to get a glimpse of him. There was confusion, jostling, fighting and shouting as all the photographers who had filled the room fought to get the best shot of the man who is angling to be the fifth President of Kenya.
So bad was the situation that ballot boxes were almost displaced by some journalists who had climbed on top of the desks where they (ballot boxes) were placed to get a better shot or clip of him.
It forced IEBC officials to beef up security to contain the crowd in the room mostly made up of journalists, observer, agents and IEBC officials.
Those who could not get a glimpse of him and were barred from accessing the room climbed onto the windows chanting Baba as they recorded him voting with their mobile phones.
When he was done, he had to be urgently whisked away under a tight security as the crowd grew wilder demanding that he address them.
Some Odinga supporters acted as security where they formed a ring as they escorted him to his car that was parked outside the polling room.
As his convoy made its way out of the polling station, the voting grounds could have been confused with a charged political rally as ecstatic supporters went wild while following his convoy.
Speaking to a local media house, he said that he was ready for the elections and downplayed a question of whether he was nervous or not.
“I will take it easy and I will be in my campaign headquarters waiting to see how the process is progressing. And then at the end of it, we will wait for tallying,” he said.
“Our tallying centre is ready to go and I’m sure they are looking for it to storm it again like they did last time but it will be an exercise in futility because we have so many backups,” he added.
Odinga is the son of Kenya’s first Vice-President, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and he will be vying for the presidency for the fourth time in what pundits have termed his last bid.
From championing multi party democracy to being described by author Babafemi Badejo as the enigma of Kenya’s politics, Odinga has remained an enigma in Kenya’s politics.
Trained as a medical engineer in former East Germany, his struggle against one-party dictatorship saw him detained twice (from 1982 to 1988 and 1989 to 1991) making him Kenya’s longest-serving detainee.