ODM Party leader Raila Odinga has been trending today – and not for something a bit weird. A photo of him in a youthful attire – which includes a blue jeans pair of trouser, white top and matching jacket as well as special sports shoes – has been the talk of town.
Raila, known politically as ‘Baba’, has over the past year been looking frail in what is believed to be the effects of age and the bout of Covid-19 that hit him in March this year. So Kenyans were understandably excited to see him take a pious look with a youthful stance.
Later in the day, focus zeroed in on the shoes, precisely the cost of the sky-blue Nike sneakers. According to online research by city lawyer senior counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, the pair of shoes may have cost the ODM presidential candidate nearly half a million Kenyan shillings.
“My day was good…ALHAMDULILAH,” Ahmednasir wrote on Twitter, appearing to mock the cost of the shoes. “…But baba beat me 10: ZERO…at Ksh419,467…even that is kidogo (a little) above my budget!”
Raila had stepped out with a spring to meet hundreds Kenyan youths from Mount Kenya Region at the University of Nairobi. He explained that the pair of shoes was donated to him by two Kenyan young men identified only as Ali and Hillary. “Baba’s house will have many rooms; I have reserved the biggest one for our youth,” Raila said.
The pair of shoes is understood to be the Nike X Off-white Air Jordan 1. According to Farfetch, which is retailing the shoe online, this is the third edition of the monumental Off-White X Air Jordan 1, Virgil Abloh focused on the “UNC” colourway of Michael Jordan’s first signature shoe. “The high-top pair features the iconic white and Carolina blue leather upper inspired by the University of North Carolina,” the website says. “The colours are complemented by Abloh’s deconstructed aesthetic and signature details such as a red zip tie.”
Some Kenyans responded to the price tag with a satirical touch. Mohamed Welihye said: “Baba never buys. The children do. An overexcited conspicuous consumer kid bought Baba this ostentatious goods! That could be @DonaldBKipkorir.
And @kipkiruibernard notes: And Baba is promising unemployed youths 6K each month? Wait, 419,467.05 ÷ 6,000 = 69 months; kiatu pekee ni (the shoe only is) salary for an unemployed youth for roughly 6 years. Baba will have finished his first term [email protected]
Another Twitter use calling himself Id Amini Ruto did more research and came with a lower price version of the shoes. He explained that the Raila Odinga’s shoe is the “low cut” and not the Hightown that was shared by Ahmednasir.
With the exact specifications of the shoe Raila was wearing unavailable, it is hard to verify the price. Various Kenyans shared similar versions of the shoe with different prices, an indication of differences in quality.
Nonetheless, that price-tag has drawn interest from a cross section of Kenyans and is bound to remain a topic of discussion and fun-poking for sometime as the different political divides use it to score points or settle scores. It may hurt Raila that he is wearing such an expensive pair of shoe while campaigning on a platform of fighting poverty among youth and unemployed households.