The Rt Hon Raila Odinga was on Monday a surprise guest at Kisii University where he joined the student body and faculty in attending a public lecture delivered by internationally reknown writer and literary genius Prof Ngugi wa Thiong’o.
On hand to receive the ODM Party Leader upon his arrival in Kisii Sports Club was the County Assembly Speaker Hon Kerosi Ondieki alongside Kisii University Vice Chancellor Prof Akama.
Prof Thiong’o’s uncensored political message of his 1977 play Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want) provoked the then Kenyan Vice-President Daniel arap Moi to order his arrest.
While detained in the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, Ngũgĩ wrote the first modern novel in Gikuyu, “Caitaani mũtharaba-Inĩ” (Devil on the Cross), on prison-issued toilet paper.
After his release, he was not reinstated to his job as professor at Nairobi University, and his family was harassed.
Due to his writing about the injustices of the dictatorial government at the time, Ngugi and his family were forced to live in exile.
Only after Arap Moi was voted out of office, 22 years later, was it safe for them to return.
The Rt Hon Raila Odinga, himself a Nyayo detainee following his agitation for human rights and democracy, was on hand to welcome Prof Thiong’o back home.
They have remained close friends through this shared bond of history.