In his recently published book, “Why Baba is Not The 5th,” Saitabao Ole Kanchory, Raila Odinga’s chief agent in the 2022 General Election, discusses the disarray and internal disputes that he believes cost Odinga his bid for the Kenyan presidency. Kanchory, who served as a key figure in the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition leader’s campaign, describes the election outcome as a “tragicomedy” for the Azimio party.
According to Kanchory, Odinga, 78, lost the race for Kenya’s highest office for the fifth time due to a lack of proper strategy and organization among his campaign team, which included staff at a command center and poll agents. Odinga ran alongside Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua, 65, as his running mate.
During a Wednesday night interview with KTN News, Kanchory said, “Elections in Kenya are won nor lost; they’re taken. Baba gave it away. He won, yes, but he gave it away. Presidential elections are there for those who are prepared to take it. There has never been an election in Kenya in the last nearly 20 years that has been won, all of them have been taken.”
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared Dr. William Ruto the winner of the presidential election on August 15, having received 7,176,141 votes (50.49% of the total votes cast). Odinga finished second with 6,942,930 votes (48.85% of the total votes cast). Although Odinga challenged Ruto’s victory in the Supreme Court, his petition was dismissed due to insufficient evidence, leading to Ruto’s inauguration on September 13.
Kanchory alleges that the Azimio campaign assumed they would effortlessly win the election and faults Odinga and Karua for not engaging with their campaign team in greater detail. According to Kanchory, they rarely participated in discussions or showed interest in the campaign’s progress.
In his book, Kanchory holds several individuals accountable for Odinga’s loss, including former ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, former Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Karanja Kibicho, and former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s brother, Muhoho Kenyatta. While acknowledging the ample resources allocated to the command center, Kanchory claims it was “hijacked” and plagued by internal disputes, resulting in a failure to effectively utilize resources.
Kanchory partially accepts responsibility for the campaign’s shortcomings but maintains that his role was limited. He asserts that had he been granted more freedom as chief agent, he could have led Odinga to victory.
“I cannot extricate myself entirely from blame. However, I was not the candidate,” he told KTN News. “If I had been given a bit of a free hand in terms of being allowed to carry my roles as the chief agent, I would have delivered Baba to State House.”