Thousands of Kenyan were bitterly disappointed last night when Raila Odinga failed to show up for a live NTV On the Spot show with Julie Gichuru. Instead he sent Gachoka legislator Joe Nyagah with some lame excuse.
What many did not realize was the fact that this was a strategic move on the side of the now highly alert team of advisors handling Raila Odinga’s campaign. And these gentlemen (and possibly ladies) do not miss a trick.
It appears that Raila Odinga’s bid for State House has now moved to another level. And this is where the candidate has to look as presidential as possible. President Kibaki does not appear on these shows and my bet is that Raila will now only appear on a show where President Kibaki also shows up (a presidential debate would be great, but that’s impossible because Kibaki can’t handle such an event after his stroke in 2003). Incidentally the President has always shunned TV interviews even in the days when he was as fit as a fiddle complete with a razor sharp mind.
Any keen observer will notice that Raila’s interviews on TV have changed a great deal and so have his statements.