Kenya's Raila Odinga shares an amazing amount of political similarity with Ghana's president

The veteran politicians are cut from the same political cloth

On August 8 Kenyans will go to the poll in what experts say will be the closest election in the history of the East African country.

Incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee Party have to hold off the challenge of veteran politician Raila Odinga and his National Super Alliance (NASA) in 47 counties.

The stakes are high for the candidates,both from storied political legacies but it is Raila’s and the uncanny similarities between himself and another veteran politician not even involved in the election that is the focus of this article.

Ghana and Kenya have enjoyed a long history of friendship going all the way back to their independence struggle and the men who led it, Jomo Kenyatta for Kenya and Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana.

Kenyatta’s independence struggle would see him become president with Jaramogi Odinga, Raila’s father as his vice president. Nkrumah’s path was supported by members of the famous “Big Six” of Ghanaian politics ,including Edward Akufo-Addo, father of Ghana’s current president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Raila is  72 years old and  facing his last chance at running for president. Going into Ghana’s election in 2016, Akufo-Addo was 72 as well and facing pretty much the same set of circumstances.

Tuesday’s election will be Raila’s third shot after running in 2007 and 2013. Akuffo-Addo finally triumphed on his third attempt after making runs in 2008,2012 and 2016.

Both men also served in government at a point in their careers.Raila rising to the position of Prime Minister while Akufo-Addo served as Ghana's Foreign Affairs Minister.

In 2013,Akufo-Addo took a momentous step in the political history of Ghana when he filed an election petition at the Supreme Court of Ghana,contesting the results of the 2012 elections,citing several irregularities in the electoral system and how it contributed to the win of John Dramani Mahama. Even though he lost,the ruling set the background for several election reforms that improved the electoral system. Raila Odinga took a similar step after his loss in 2013,challenging the flaws in the electoral process at the Supreme Court of Kenya. The result  has seen several modifications made to the electoral process to ensure fairness and credibility by the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission of Kenya.(IEBC).

Co-incidentally both Odinga and Akufo-Addo could have pursued a career in football in their youth.Odinga even turning out for Gor Mahia while Akufo-Addo played with some of the biggest names during his youth.

Both missed the inauguration ceremonies of their rivals in protest.Odinga flew to South Africa during Uhuru’s swearing in while Akufo-Addo stayed home.

That is a lot of coincidence.


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