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Easy-going Fidel said little, had a big heart

Sunday January 4 2015

Fidel Odinga in this picture taken on on May 25, 2011. Fidel, son of Cord leader Raila Odinga, was on January 4, 2015 found dead. PHOTO | WILLIAM OERI |

Fidel Odinga in this picture taken on on May 25, 2011. Fidel, son of Cord leader Raila Odinga, was on January 4, 2015 found dead. PHOTO | WILLIAM OERI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Fidel Castro Odinga, who was named after the Cuban revolutionary leader, is no more.

I knew Fidel years back when I was a young journalist at KBC. I had been assigned to cover a Kanu-NDP merger conference at Kasarani. He was young, sharp and flamboyant. He had accompanied his father, Mr Raila Odinga, then the Lang’ata MP and NDP leader, to the conference.

He was a man of few words always laughing off any criticism levelled against him. He was a fast learner of the game that is politics. He had a big heart.

The Fidel I knew was one man who loved and respected his parents. He could not speak when his father was speaking.

The friendship between Fidel and his father was unique. The two walked together and even drove together to political meetings.

He was passionate about Gor Mahia and news of a K’ogalo’s loss in a match always devastated him.

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He loved jokes and always made fun of his friends. Last year, when he was elected chairman of the Kisumu Rugby Union, I met him at the Carnivore Restaurant and congratulated him for the successful Dala Sevens tournament. He smiled boldly and told me: “My brother, hii ilikuwa kionjo tu, next year (2015) itakuwa moto sana.” His parting shot was that Kakamega should also host a sevens tournament.

Fidel’s death came as a shocker to me and all his friends. He was a strong man who had a dream. He never interfered with matters ODM but always encouraged those in the party to remain steadfast and focused. He wished to see a strong, united and victorious ODM.

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