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The Jaramogi - Matiba 'comedy' in parliament

Curtis Otieno
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Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. [Photo/MamboZuri.com]

After the collapse of opposition’s Forum for Restoration and Democracy (FORD) party before the 1992 general elections, the nation was treated to one of the most memorable fiercest political fights in history.

The party broke into two, one renaming itself Ford Asili under the leadership of departed liberation icon Kenneth Matiba and the Ford-Kenya fragment led by veteran politician and first Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

Ford Asili would later beat Jaramogi’s party in the elections, garnering 32 parliamentary seats against Ford-Kenya’s 30, to become the second largest party in the nation and the official opposition to President Daniel Moi’s Kenya African National Union (KANU) which won the election.

Soon after, KANU embarked on a raid on the two parties, leading to significant defections as leaders trooped to the independence party. 

By 1994, Ford Asili had remained with only 23 parliamentarians, losing its opposition tittle to Ford Kenya which had also lost 7 members to Moi’s side.

 A rift later ensued on whether or not Ford Asili should retain the position, an idea that was met with rejection from the other side.

This led to a comedy-like scramble for the seat of the official leader of majority in parliament, as the first one who occupied the seat would carry the day, a scramble that on most occasion included physical racing between Jaramogi and Matiba.

Since Jaramogi was not fit for such races due to old age, his younger lieutenants like Gitobu Imanyara, Paul Muite or Kijana Wamalwa would rush for the seat and reserve it for him as he slowly strolled in.

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