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Kenyan veteran opposition leader Odinga out of hospital

Kenya’s veteran opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga said on Sunday he had been discharged from hospital where he was being treated for Covid-19.

Raila Odinga is a popular politician despite losing four presidential challenges
Raila Odinga is a popular politician despite losing four presidential challenges (Picture by AFP)

Odinga, 76, a mainstay of Kenyan politics since the 1980s, checked into hospital last week with fatigue and his doctor said he had tested positive for coronavirus.

“I’m glad to be back at home,” Odinga’s message said on Twitter, with a video showing him wearing a baseball cap and mask and exercising outside.

“Wonderful. It feels so nice to be back home,” he said.

Kenya is experiencing a third wave of Covid-19 infections, and on Wednesday 12 people died, the highest number in one day this year.

Kenya has recorded more than 110,000 Covid cases and nearly 2,000 deaths, and began vaccinating against the virus earlier this month.

Odinga remains hugely popular despite losing four shots at the presidency.

His loss in 2017 elections, which he claimed were rigged, led to political unrest which left more than 90 people dead.

The Supreme Court shocked the nation by ordering a rerun due to irregularities, which Odinga boycotted and President Uhuru Kenyatta won, deepening a political crisis.

But in early 2018 Kenyatta and Odinga shook hands and pledged unity, joining forces and effectively leaving Kenya without an opposition.

The pair have criss-crossed the country holding massive rallies — despite Covid restrictions — pushing for a referendum on constitutional reforms, notably to bring back the position of prime minister before 2022 polls.

Kenyatta and Odinga say the measures will ease election-related political violence in the country.

However suspicions are high that Odinga is being lined up as successor to Kenyatta, who cannot seek a third term. AFP