Raila Odinga is one renown Kenyan who escaped several assassination attempts by a whisker during the Moi regime.
In his post on social media Raila Odinga introduced the man who sneaked him to Uganda in a boat as he was on his way to exile in Norway.
“The journey to a new Kenya has been rough. I am looking forward to meeting Robert Njura shortly, a then 19-year old form three student at Makunda Secondary school in Budalangi who steered me in a rickety boat across Lake Victoria to Uganda as I fled to exile in Norway in 1991.” Raila wrote
This, he wrote as he recounted the strides Kenya has made since the promulgation of the new constitution.
And true to his word, the Former prime minister, Raila Odinga shared photos of a meeting he had with Robert Njura who played a vital role in sneaking him to exile out of an eminent danger.
The plan for an escape started with a series of cat-and-mouse games with the police, who were looking for Mr Odinga in Nairobi.
“Very humbling to meet Robert Njura who steered me in a boat across to safety in Uganda on my way to exile in Norway. Njura is testimony of what the energy, focus and dedication of the youth can accomplish. God bless him and our youth on this tenth anniversary of our constitution.” Odinga Stated
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Traveling under different names, sometimes dressed as a priest in Legio Maria attires and other times as a Sheikh, Raila staged a dramatic escape from Kenya by boat at night, through Lake Victoria to Uganda then to Norway, to avoid arrest just before a 1991 Forum for Restoration of Democracy rally at Kamukunji, Nairobi. That day, Raila was introduced to Kisumu and Ugenya as Father Augustine from Machakos, complete with a priest’s robe. He arrived in Uganda under the name of Joseph Ojiwa Wadeya.
By the time he was leaving Uganda for Norway, his name had changed to Haji Omar, going to Mecca on pilgrimage, complete with a kanzu and a fez. The then Lang’ata MP would probably be dead today had he not made this dramatic exit. Raila remembers in his biography that as the Ford Young Turks and the six elderly men were mobilising for the Kamukunji rally, a US Embassy official, Alan Eastham, told him they had intelligence that the Government was panicking and blaming Raila for all the tension that had gripped the country then.
At the time, Mr Njura was a Form three student and, having been raised close to the lake, it was a common for boys his age to engage in fishing during their free time and when schools closed for holidays. He was born in Mukunda village of Budalang’i, Busia County, and attended Mukunda Secondary School.