HOW RAILA NARROWLY SLIPPED OFF MOI’S WRATH. ESCAPE TO UGANDA AS A FAKE PRIEST.
The Rt Hon. Raila Odinga had to dress like a woman to evade arrest during the clampdown on those Kanu regime labelled dissidents in the early 1990s!
Raila, who was variously detained for nine years, had to change his name three times to evade the then dreaded Special Branch officers pursuing him as he escaped from Nairobi under the cover of darkness.
Catholic Archbishop Zacheaus Okoth planned his evacuation from Nairobi after an attempt to seek refuge at the AMERICAN EMBASSY backfired.
The Archbishop assisted Raila at the time of need. Raila was holed up in a house in Nairobi where colleagues i.e Mr James Orengo and Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o had hidden him. Time was running out and the police were closing up on them!
The plan to sneak Raila Odinga out of Nairobi and into Uganda through Lake Victoria, was hatched after police foiled an attempt to sneak him into the US Embassy in Nairobi.
The clock ticked and police combed Nairobi and other towns, Catholic Church officials in Nairobi, working under Archbishop Okoth’s instructions, hatched an escape plan. They brought in a saloon car and assembled a team comprising a priest and two nuns to execute the plan.
Raila narrates that “It was a delicate operation but we had to do it. I sat sandwiched between the two nuns on the backseat. I wore dark glasses and pretended to be reading a newspaper. Fr Kwanga was driving,”
Raila said there were several roadblocks between Nairobi and Kisumu and every time they were stopped, the police would peep at the passengers and wave them on!
At Ukweli Catholic Pastoral centre, Raila booked into a guest house as ‘Father’ Augustine from Machakos. The toughest moment came at the time for prayers. Raila did not know how to use the church’s traditional signs of the cross while praying but quickly copied Father Mac Opiyo.
The second leg of the tricky journey was to take Raila to Kampala through Lake Victoria. “We reached the lakeshore at dusk and set on the long and treacherous trip.