The return of opposition leader Raila Odinga, is perhaps one of the most hyped-up political events in recent months.

To judge by the excitement that this has generated, you would think that Raila has been in exile for decades, and that his return marks the opening up of political space and a return to democracy.

The truth is that he has been on a lecture tour of the US, sponsored by a well-established programme for African statesmen, based at Boston University and not much has changed while he was away.

Still, the excitement among his many supporters has been rising by the day, and will no doubt reach a
peak by the time his plane lands.

All this happens at a time when Kenya is under attack from the al-Shabaab terrorist group, who
would like nothing better than to stage a murderous disruption of a large public event, preferably one
covered by live TV.

It is in acknowledgment of this, that it is now routine for those attending national celebrations to be
comprehensively frisked, and any bags carried in, searched in the greatest detail.

And it is out of fear of just such attacks, that tourists– in their thousands – have been canceling their earlier-booked trips to Kenya.

If Raila’s proposed public rally at Uhuru park, and the subsequent Madaraka Day celebration at Nyayo
Stadium, take place without incident, then it will send a clear message that Kenya is winning the war
against the terrorists.

On the other hand, any disruption of either event, whether caused by hired hooligans or by grenades
tossed into the crowds, will serve to reinforce the existing impression that Kenya is just not a very safe
place to be right now.

More than anything else, as Kenyans go into this long weekend, it is vital that it should be a peaceful

Happy Madaraka Day to all our readers and Kenyans of good will!

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