The Orange Democratic Movement party is preparing for a possible Sunday return of its leader, Raila Odinga, who underwent surgery at a Dubai hospital.
Party deputy leader Hassan Joho and director of elections Junet Mohamed left the country yesterday for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) aboard a luxury Constellation Aviation Airline Private Jet Airbus A318-112 (CJ) Elite A6-CAS, MS4211. Also accompanying the duo was Mombasa County Assembly Speaker Aharub Ebrahim Khatri.
Mr Khatri on Thursday confirmed that together with Governor Joho, they will meet Mr Odinga after his successful surgery at the Saudi German Hospital Dubai.
“Off to Dubai with Governor Hassan Joho to see Baba,” Mr Mohamed tweeted yesterday.
The 10-year-old UAE-registered aircraft, which seats 19 passengers, landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Thursday at 11.23am, according to flight tracking site FlightRadar24, from Lusaka in Zambia. It then took off for Dubai at 12.45pm. It had previously flown to South Africa, Tanzania, Angola and Ghana in the past one week.
Oozing opulence, the Airbus A318 private jet boasts a mahogany interior, an entourage lounge, VIP dining and lounge area, a private office and a VIP bedroom “designed to make our clients feel right at home during long flights”, the operator said of the aircraft on its website.
The smallest airliner in the Airbus A320 family, the A318, carries up to 132 passengers for most commercial airlines that use it, but this one has been customised for less than 20 passengers.
Constellation Aviation Airline, the aircraft’s operator, which offers “premium VIP private jet charter service” is based in the United Arab Emirates and operates a modern, a state-of-the-art medium and long-range fleet of privately owned aircraft.
On Thursday, a source within the party told the Nation that as at last Sunday, Mr Odinga had been given a clean bill of health by the medics in Dubai and was ready “for a grand return”.
“He was advised by the family to take another week before travelling back to the country. He is likely to return this weekend or early next week,” the source revealed.
After being discharged, the ODM leader promised a quick return to the political scene.
Speaking in a video clip posted on Twitter by his daughter Winnie on July 1, he said he felt “very strong and rejuvenated”.
OUT OF HOSPITAL
“I feel really great to be out of hospital and I’ll be doing my usual jigs very soon,” he added.
Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta are expected to receive the final report of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and embark on its implementation.
The ODM leader had asked Kenyans to brace themselves for a referendum as the way to ensure full implementation of the recommendations of the report.
Mr Odinga’s hospitalisation was first confirmed by his elder brother, Dr Oburu Oginga, ending days of speculation on his whereabouts last month.
“Jakom (Raila) is out of the country for a minor surgical operation on his back. It is not a serious health issue, but just a minor one. So, he’s okay,” Dr Oginga said.
The East African Legislative Assembly member revealed that Mr Odinga, 75, had been admitted to a German hospital in Dubai.
Without disclosing the name of the facility, Dr Oginga said: “The Germans have a good hospital facility in the Arabian country where he’s being monitored.”
Later, Mr Joho also revealed that he had spoken to Mr Odinga and that he was progressing well after the procedure.
“…So far as a people, and more importantly the fraternity of the Orange Democratic Movement, we continue to pray for him as our leader. I have no doubt that within the shortest time possible Baba will be back in Kenya,” the Mombasa governor said.
The International Patient Relations Supervisor at the Saudi German Hospital Dubai, Ms Semira Dikbas did not, however, reveal when the surgery was conducted on Mr Odinga or when he was discharged from hospital.
“Due to high confidentiality, we cannot give any reply to this,” Ms Dikbas told the Nation.