Raila assigned State security, motorcade
Published on March 4, 2008, 12:00 am
By Standard Team
ODM leader Raila Odinga is now set to enjoy the trappings of power, including lavish government housing, plush offices complete with 24-hour State security.
By last evening, Raila — who is widely believed to become the second Prime Minister in independent Kenya following the historic power-sharing deal with President Kibaki — had already been assigned an official motorcade with outriders.
The founding father of the nation, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, was the first PM between 1963 and 1964.
Raila’s official motorcade is part of preparations for the implementation of the agreement signed between him and President Kibaki last Thursday.
ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga (right), with former Norwegian Prime Minister, Mr Kjell Magne Bondevik, after a press conference at Pentagon House, Nairobi, on Monday. Picture by Boniface Okendo
Officers from General Service Unit’s Recce squad have also been seconded to Raila’s homes in Nairobi and Bondo to boost his security.
Another team of officers from the same squad will be trailing him wherever he goes.
Sources at his Nairobi home last night were already beefing up security.
“We are erecting a temporal tent to accommodate the officers who are coming. Another team is on the way to Bondo,” said a source at Raila’s house in Nairobi.
The development came after a meeting of senior government officials at the Office of the President for the better part of Monday morning.
At least four limousines have been identified to be assigned to the Lang’ata MP, even as the concerned officers sourced for more vehicles, a source told The Standard.
The security personnel will also take over the security of Raila’s family.
Officers from Recce Company — an elite squad specially trained to protect VIPs — are usually seconded to supplement the security of the President, Vice-President and their families.
After providing State security to Raila, senior government operatives who would soon have the Lang’ata MP as their boss were busy trying to sort out their next headache — his official residence and where his offices will be stationed.
A senior government official told The Standard that the matter was a “high priority” issue already under discussion.
“We are consulting over his residence and offices,” said the official who promised to get back to us with further details.
Under the newly structured pecking order in the country, Raila becomes the second most powerful leader after President Kibaki, and the State must quickly identify another secure palace, outside of State House, to house the PM.
There were unconfirmed reports that the government was thinking of completing the stalled Sh60 million-palace in Karen that was being constructed for the country’s Vice-Presidents.
Kenyans were asking several other questions concerning Raila’s new status.
They were wondering whether Raila would be the man the President would delegate State power whenever he travels outside the country.
During the presidency of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, the statesman made history when he delegated his powers to political rival, Kwazulu Natal Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, when he travelled overseas.
On the issue of offices, Kenyans were also wondering whether Raila and Kibaki would share offices at Harambee House.
Besides the two senior-most leaders, Kenyans will also be watching what image Mrs Ida Odinga will cut for herself compared to that of First Lady Lucy Kibaki who is an ambassador of goodwill.
During the campaigns ahead of the December 27 elections, Ida had hoped that her husband would be the next occupant of State House and publicly challenged Lucy to welcome and show her (Ida) around the seat of power.
But the new power-sharing deal now leaves the two as the most powerful women in the land.
Whereas Lucy remains the First Lady, Kenyans will have to find a new and respectful reference for Ida.