The swearing-in this week of veteran Zambian opposition Hakainde Hichilema as president of the southern African country has undoubtedly opened a new chapter in African politics.
His election raised hopes of other seasoned opposition leaders across the continent, proving that nothing is impossible in politics and that they can still overcome the obstacles to gaining power.
Hichilema’s trip to the top was not a walk in the park. Nonetheless, he was remarkably successful in his sixth attempt to become president, after suffering all manner of political persecution in the process. He was assaulted, insulted, tear gas, detained and declared an enemy of the state in Zambia.
Symbolically, various opposition leaders with similar experiences in other African countries were in Lusaka to testify that the 59-year-old eventually became Zambia’s seventh president.
Raila and Hichilema fight
Popular political terms that emerged after Uhuru’s re-election in 2017
But none fit the occasion better than Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, 76, who shares so much in common with Hichilema.
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Raila, a second liberation hero active in Kenyan politics since the 1980s, is preparing to run for president for the fifth time in 2022 and will enter the race driven by the Zambian scenario. He proved that failure in politics is never final.
Another stubborn fact will also inspire Raila; no elected president in Kenyan history has ever ascended to the highest office on his first attempt. The former prime minister has the advantage over his rivals if we look at this diagram.
The ODM leader came third in the 1997 election, selflessly catapulted Mwai Kibaki to the State House in 2002 before coming close to second in hotly contested elections in 2007, 2013 and 2017.
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Raila has an unmatched ‘never give up’ attitude and each loss seems to energize him more for the next bid.
Raila’s moment is near
Fortune is said to favor the bold, and this time around Fortuna, the goddess of chance and luck, seems to smile at Baba and signal him that it is time for him to take the presidency.
But while Hichilema’s victory reflects a wind of change blowing from southern Africa to east Africa, his victory was not served on a silver platter, and Raila should not be rest on its laurels.
He should learn vital lessons from Zambia to strengthen his own chances. Jakom shares with Hichilema that he has long been a driving force among young people, with whom he connects well. As a crowd attraction, it is not a difficult task for him to capture the hearts and minds of young people.
But he must be extremely aware of the digital age we are in and make full use of it to better connect with them.
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Hichilema takes advantage of the internet
The Zambian president has taken advantage of his ability to connect with young voters, including through social media, which provides a platform for a convergence of diverse viewpoints. The strategy has worked wonders.
Raila should insist here, given that many young voters are millennials whose intuitive knowledge of technology has made their lifestyles revolve around Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube videos, among other trendy sites.
These young people may well be part of a staggering population of 9.3 million people who, according to the 2019 census, were not eligible or did not vote in 2017, but are now qualified to participate in the elections. next general election.
Although a majority of them are not keen on voting and politics, Raila needs to involve those seemingly indifferent groups of young people who are essential to the vote count.
Add more young voters to its base of political support, and making their votes count will be invaluable to Raila.
Raila Odinga congratulates Zambian Hakainde Hichilema on presidential victory after six attempts
Moreover, after trying and failing several times, the ODM leader has demonstrated his flexibility and adaptability in politics. By strategizing and redefining while crafting comprehensive and salable strategies, he managed to garner the support of nearly half of the voters in the August 2017 election.
Mount Kenya Postman
Raila’s base of support across the country remains strong and intact, and political experts have argued that even 30% of the Mount Kenya region could secure Raila the presidency.
This is an exciting projection for a man who enjoys the backing of President Uhuru Kenyatta, the linchpin of Mount Kenya, who strives to leave a unified and stable Kenya to a successor he trusts.
Raila is widely regarded as a safe person when it comes to exercising democratic people-centered governance, as well as fixing the country’s systems, politics and economy, thanks to his personality and ideologies.
Hichilema’s victory is a big blow in the arm for Raila. This allowed Kenyans to psychologically prepare for a Raila victory in the next election. He illustrated that setbacks can prepare for a bigger comeback.
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The author is Selina Chiteri, communication consultant and graduate student in corporate communication.
The opinions expressed in this opinion piece are his own and in no way represent the position of TUKO Media Ltd.
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Source: Tuko Breaking News