This Man Raila…

Raila: The man to beat in 2012 Presidential election in Kenya

Last weekend I was a camp follower on Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s tour of Kiambu & Muranga. My decision to do this was based on a desire to hear for myself what he has to say about perceptions, stereotypes and narratives that members of my community (Kikuyus) hold against him. I was especially keen to see whether he would talk about the Post Election Violence of 2008, what he thinks about the Kikuyu as a community, and his opinion on the ICC. He did.

He started by giving a summarized lecture of the history of political change in Kenya, starting from the fight for independence and the role of the Mau Mau, to resistance efforts against Moi’s authoritarian rule, to the struggle for multi-party democracy, and KANU’s defeat in 2002. He talked about the failed constitutional review process of 2005 and related it to an elite group around Kibaki who sabotaged the Bomas process because they believed we did not need to change the constitution now that Moi was gone. An interesting observation was that his father as part of a political minority agitating for Jomo Kenyatta’s release in the ‘60’s faced stiff opposition from other politicians including several prominent Kikuyus.

One of the prominent narratives in Central province is that Raila cannot stand people from the Kikuyu community. Raila addressed this by asking what Kikuyus thought they have done to him that they would be afraid that he would want to revenge. I learnt that as far as he is concerned the average Kikuyu has nothing to fear from him because they have never fallen out at any point. I learnt that as far as Raila is concerned his differences are strictly with the political establishment from the region, and that he is aware that the average person from any community suffers the effects of bad leadership, even if the bad leaders are from their community.

I also learnt that Raila’s differences with the Kikuyu political elite stem from their abhorrence of his people-based politics, so it is about issues not ethnicity. An interesting illustration was that even Jaramogi worked well with Kaggia, whilst Kenyatta worked well with Mboya, which goes to show that it was never about tribe even then. On the issue about whether he has a problem with their entrepreneur spirit he explained that he is also a businessman and understands their role in building the nation, and would thus never attack anyone for creating wealth. His final comments on this were that the fact that he had worked with Moi even after 9 years of hard detention proved he did not keep grudges even with the political elite.

Another narrative he addressed was that he cannot work with Kikuyus. He argued that such propaganda was false because in the past he had worked with Kikuyu leaders like Muite, Matiba and Rubia. He also reminded us that when Kibaki was involved in an accident at a critical point of the Presidency he is the one who took personal responsibility of Kibaki’s Campaign and took the lead in campaigning for him to be President. He said his later fall-out with Kibaki was because of the political elite around Kibaki, who reneged on political agreements put in place prior to their victory. He explained that despite that betrayal he had still worked in Kibaki’s government as Minister until the parting of ways because of the constitution.

Kriegler, Waki Commissions, ICC and Raila
On the issue of whether ODM was formed to fight Kikuyus I learnt that ODM was a response to efforts by the political elite around Kibaki (again) who had taken advantage of Kibaki’s illness to sabotage the Bomas process. I learnt that the result of this was a constitution that was unacceptable to many Kenyans, including the leader of the Official Opposition at the time, who is the current Deputy Prime Minister, Uhuru Kenyatta. This forced a large section of the Kibaki’s government, including Raila & Kalonzo, to break ranks with the government position and campaign against the proposed constitution in 2005. It was interesting to note that this means they actually joined Uhuru Kenyatta’s camp, who was then leader of the Opposition against Kibaki. Once the proposed constitution was defeated the rebels in government were fired and they then formed the Orange Democratic Movement (was Uhuru the de facto Boss of ODM at any point?)

This argument is then that ODM could not have had a policy against Kikuyus as a community since some of its key founders included prominent Kikuyus. I was shocked to learn that Uhuru was actually associated with ODM at senior level up until four months to the general elections of 2007! Somehow the story of the first opposition leader in the world to defect to the incumbent’s side keeps slipping our minds. The question I hope Uhuru will answer is whether he knew what ODM’s 2007 plans were? Were they planning to attack Kikuyus? Why didn’t he publicly denounce them?

Then there is the Post Election Violence. In Central Kenya the actual question is whether he was involved in the massacre of Kikuyus in Rift Valley province. An interesting rebuttal was that if this were the case there would have been similar incidences in Nyanza. Then the question as to whether the calls for Mass Protests were a subtle message for violence, and the response is that mass protest is a constitutional right available to anyone who feels a political process is not fair. It seems its turning to violence was based on anger when ODM members realized that the existing judicial system would not deliver justice to their grievances. I guess what would be interesting to hear from Raila is whether he thinks there were elements within ODM that found an opportunity in this confusion, to violently settle issues that were not related to the elections. I guess we will learn this from the ICC process.

Then the Big One! Is the Prime Minister behind the name that Ocampo came up with as suspects in the ICC cases on the Post Election Violence. (Okay, even I find this a silly idea but hey …)

The PM reminded us that when the international community stepped in, he and Kibaki agreed to negotiate and formed the 8-pax committee that came up with Agenda 4 items. Two of the outcomes of this process were the Kreigler and Waki Commissions, where the Kreigler Commission confirmed that the 2007 elections were so flawed that we would never know who won the elections. He reminded us that Waki Commission went round the country collecting information, holding public hearings, and receiving submissions from various organizations on the PEV. This Commission also stated that those guilty must be punished if Kenya is to avoid a re-occurrence and suggested that this should be done either through a Special Tribunal locally, or at the International Criminal Court at the Hague. They also came up with a list of people they felt held the highest responsibility and needed to be investigated further: the famous Waki Envelope. The Waki Commission findings were handed over to the President and to Kofi Annan in his position as head of the Eminent Panel that had mid-wifed the Coalition government Raila also reminded us how he and President Kibaki aggressively lobbied Parliament for the local option, but lost against the concerted efforts of parliamentarians who argued that the local option was easy to manipulate and would not bring about the desired justice. This left the ICC option and Ocampo sought and got permission to investigate the PEV, and came up with information that pointed to 6 people. He reminded us that it was only after the names were mentioned that all hell broke loose and the MPs initially behind the Hague option then decided to blame him for their friends being at the Hague.

I am not sure how much impact his tour had in the wider scope of Central Kenya politics but I am really glad he went, and that he tried to address what the perceptions and stereotypes we have about him, as people of Central Kenya. I say this because one of the challenges of having a political conversation in Central Kenya about the weaknesses and strengths of Raila is that we never seem to be able to tell the chaff from the wheat.

I also hope we will see more of such forays by all national leaders into those regions where ethnic stereotypes and perceptions about them contribute to inter-ethnic tension. Maybe we can still slay the ogre of ethnic demonization by 2012 such that we will be vetting our next leaders on what they have done, are doing, and continue to do, rather than on where they come from, whose son/daughter they are, or their tribe or race. Even God, in the book of Kings in the Bible judged politicians by their deeds, not their words or motives.

Ngunjiri

The writer is a member of “Kikuyus fo Change”

18 comments

  • Well-stated Ngunjiri. The Kikuyu should understand that their perceived grudge with the Luo is a historical figment created by the Kikuyu elite.

  • Kenyans and Kikuyu community should appreciate the Luo community because without the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga from Luo Community to stand for Kikuyus in Independence strugle no Kikuyu person could lead Kenya. That is the truth of the matter. All Kikuyus were under curfew because of Mau Mau. Odinga convinced Kenyans to let Kenyatta to start to lead because of what he was going through. Was he not a Luo man fighting for a Kikuyu man? What are the Kikuyus people trying to tell us to know in Kenyan Politics? Let Raila lead now if you are normal in your minds.

  • I am an African in Stockholm who feels that Raila is presidential enough to lead Kenya. As a pan-Africanist, he has had a clear position on issues concerning democracy and governance in Africa, unlike other leaders who operate under the umbrella of the toothless African Union to enhance dictatorship. I admire the bravery of this man Raila, who dares where other cowardly politicians cannot. Raila Odinga for President in 2012!

  • Raila for president 2012…..the campaign will start soon in Scandinavia now that Kenyans in diaspora can vote….it will be a none tribal campaign where Kikuyus,Luos,Luhyas,Kambas and many more Kenyan tribes willl participate in sailing Raila through 2012. Clay Onyango.

  • Any occasion to attend and listen to tales about the life and times of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga is always a cherished moment, more so if speakers include celebrated Luo scholars like Prof. Bethwell Ogot, Okoth Ogendo, story-teller Grace Ogot and his family members like Raila Odinga who knew him intimately.

    As a child, growing up in the ’60s soon after independence, my great heroes of the time were Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Tom Mboya, Argwings Kodhek and many more of Luo legends of the time like Onyango Ayodo, Wasonga Sijeyo, Omollo Agar, Odero Jowi and Achieng Oneko. However when it came to our real idols, none of them could match Jaramogi and TJ Mboya.

    I remember the heated debates we always had in our class as young debaters in Awasi Mission School and Kisumu Day that later included Odhiambo Lawi, Odhiambo Small, Otieno Washington, Otieno Flint, Ombwa Loadstone, Aketch Nyataya, Oyier Lumbwi, Obure Indosi, Odiero Omumbo, Obora Ja Kajulu, Achiando Koyote and Oluoch Mzee.

    Young as we were, we were so passionate in articulating the virtues of our heroes that the class was always split into the Odinga and Mboya camps at break time with Odiero Omumbo, our young tycoon supplying us with such delicacies like mala, yogart, mandazis or queen cakes depending on his mood and pocket. In return, for the few of us that were more politically aware, it fell upon us to justify our consumption of Odiero’s delicacies by delivering the most convincing reasons why Jaramogi was a better leader than Mboya or Jomo Kenyatta or vice versa.

    But the more intriguing tales about Jaramogi, Mboya and Kenyatta, albeit, mythical tales about them, have never been recorded elsewhere in any folklore that I know of.

    The name Jaramogi reminds me of my village childhood when we used to be told of strange and incomprehensible things he could do when cornered by his adversaries, the colonial Mzungu who had conspired to eliminate him. The story goes that as they sat in a Lancaster House waiting to start a meeting to negotiate Kenya’s independence, the colonial masters who had gone to London with them conspired to poison Jaramogi, Mboya and Kenyatta. So, the story goes that as the delegates prepared to have tea break, specific white waiters had been detailed to lace their cups with poison so that after drinking their tea, they would eventually collapse in an hour or two to make their deaths look natural. The conspirators had arranged that there would be no investigation and no post mortems once these stubborn hard headed trouble makers were eliminated.

    Somehow Jaramogi’s sixth sense told him that something was a miss. So, at the appointed time, he told Kenyatta and Mboya that they should stick together during tea break as tea was served. As waiters approached them with cups, they switched their cups and handed them over to the white delegates standing next to them! On realising the reluctance of the white boys to drink from the same cups, Jaramogi asked them why they did not want to drink from the very cups. On sensing that their plot had been unearthed, they walked away in shame.

    The other myth tells of an incident when the colonialists had tried everything possible to eliminate the three while in London and having failed, decided to charter an aircraft for them on their return home. The plan was to plant a bomb in the aircraft, equip the pilot with a parachute so that by the time he crossed the Mediterranean Sea, he would bolt from the aircraft and ignite the bomb so that the plane explodes in mid air so that their remains would not be found.

    Again Jaramogi’s sixth sense told him that something was wrong. He could not trust their lives to a single white man to fly them back to Kenya. He insisted that they must fly a commercial flight with many other passengers. On realising this, the conspirators planted poisoned needles underneath their seats so that as soon as they boarded the plane, the three victims would be pricked and slowly die in their seats.

    As usual, Jaramogi suspected that there was something amiss. This time he convinced Kenyatta and Mboya that they should not use British planes at all but to take a Russian flight to Moscow first before flying back to Nairobi from Moscow! That is how they survived attempts on their lives until independence day.

    Beyond the many myths about Double O, Jaramogi’s real life situation was as dramatic as it possibly could be. He was controversial, stubborn and very decisive on key things that were dear to his life. He was the kind of person who either believed in you totally or not at all. More than that he was loyal to his faithful friends, their level of education or station in life not withstanding. Another thing, he was a very grassroots person who got involved in the lives of ordinary rural folk, spoke their language, and a master of idiomatic expressions and proverbs. He spoke his broken Kiswahili with the confidence of a truly liberated man He unabashedly spoke Luo-English in Parliament that always made the headlines in local newspapers. For example, to drive home the point that Kenya belonged to black Kenyans, he would tell white legislators in parliament to understand that “Kenya was marwa,” meaning that Kenya was ours!

    Three characters make me as a child, remember Jaramogi most vividly. In the campaign of 1963, two politicians from Nyando, for reasons we didn’t understand, were against Jaramogi’s politics. They were the late Nyamolo Okal of present day Nyakach constituency and Mariwa Gek of present day Nyando Constituency. I remember that in the first multiparty elections, Mariwa Gek and Nyamolo Okal campaigned as independent candidates because they were not Jaramogi supporters and neither did they belong to KANU or KADU, the two parties that dominated the politics of the time.

    Nyamolo Okal was vying for a seat in parliament while Mariwa Gek was gunning for the same as independents. Meanwhile Henry Agimba was running as an independent for the regional Assembly against another Odinga supporter, Ondiek Chilo. Meanwhile Oruko MakAsembo from West Kano was running for the Senate seat under Jaramogi Odinga’s KANU.

    In this battle of the giants, Okuto Bala was Jaramogi’s point man as the parliamentary candidate for Nyando Constituency. However, there was another Odinga sidekick called Ombok Thim, commonly called Ombok the forest that scared the white men just as Mariwa Gek was Mariwa the hi-cup that continued to irritated white men!

    In those days, like now, nick names were very popular with Luo leaders to the extent that such leaders also adopted them permanently. Even Jaramogi was also fondly referred to as “Wuod Alogo A lot Kibul” – meaning son of Alogo, the green vegetable that cannot be roasted on fire!

    As the campaign heated for the first elections, popular folklore was spreading like wild fire in Luoland about Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s magical powers. Some likened him to Gor Mahia Makogalo while others thought his powers were beyond magic and human understanding. This mystery around him was strengthened by his unorthodox way of dressing; akala shoes, Luo traditional skin cloth, some times Chinese attire, his beaded headgear and fly whisk. To cap the mystery, he was rumoured to have been born with one arm shorter than the other, a sure proof that the man was no ordinary creature.

    One day, Jaramogi went to address a rally in Nyakach, the home turf of his rival Nyamolo Okal to drum up support for KANU and his candidates Okuto Bala and Ondiek Chilo. As the crowd gathered to listen to Jaramogi, little did he know that Nyamolo Okal had arranged for youths to disrupt the rally! The thing happened so fast that Jaramogi did not know what to do! As people ran helter-skelter in all directions, Jaramogi found himself in a millet plantation, surrounded by his supporters. When he finally emerged, he is said to have warned Nyamolo that he would never see the inside of parliament as long as Jaramogi was still alive, punishment for unleashing violence on his rally.

    Folklore insists that he pointed in the direction of Nyamolo with his left hand, the shorter one, to seal Nyamolo’s political fate. True to the myth, Nyamolo died twenty years later without winning a seat in parliament despite many attempts, even after Jaramogi was out of government!

    By Jerry Okungu, via email

  • mencocic ruzcic

    kikuyu are greedy ruthless killers of lowo tribes .
    oginga cannot speak kinkuyu language .
    kiknkyu wants money and their tribe language.
    odinga is president of jaluwo
    odinga very big man in jaluwo.
    odinga for president and not kikyu tribe.

  • Kenya: Ominous Oaths
    Friday, Aug. 15, 1969

    When a black Kenyan these days says, “I’m going to Gatundu for a cup of tea,” his friends know that it may be a cover-up for something else. Gatundu is the residence of Kenya’s President Jomo Kenyatta, and “tea drinking” is really oath swearing. Unlike the tribesmen who swore secret oaths to join the Mau Mau rebellion against foreigners in the 1950s, Kikuyu by the thousands are swearing oaths against fellow Kenyans in the President’s backyard.

    This ominous new outbreak of tribal tension was set off by last month’s assassination of Tom Mboya, who was the Minister of Economic Planning and Development in the predominantly Kikuyu government. Mboya was a member of the Luo tribe, a rival of the Kikuyu. The arrested suspect is a Kikuyu. In addition to reacting to possible trouble with the Luo, the Kikuyu are also closing ranks in preparation for a national election within the next eight months.

    Vast Scale. The Kikuyu, according to one participant, strip naked, then hold hands in a circle around a darkened hut and chant an oath before entering it. Inside the hut they eat soil and swear to follow the oath. “The government of Kenya is under Kikuyu leadership, and this must be maintained,” goes the pledge. “If any tribe tries to set itself up against the Kikuyu, we must fight them in the same way that we died fighting the British settlers. No uncircumcised leaders [for example, the Luo] will be allowed to compete with the Kikuyu. You shall not vote for any party not led by the Kikuyu. If you reveal this oath, may this oath kill you.”

    The vast scale of the Kikuyu activity got into the headlines in Kenya last week with the accidental crash of three trucks. All were jampacked with Kikuyu, and survivors said that they were traveling to or from Kenyatta’s home. Thirteen passengers were killed, 105 injured. The presence of so many Kikuyu on the road to the President’s house raised suspicions that the tribe was engaged in a clandestine operation. In Parliament, members of Leader Oginga Odinga’s opposition party charged that the Kikuyu were engaged in oath taking on the grounds of the President’s residence. When a government spokesman denied such ceremonies, claiming that they were simple expressions of loyalty to Kenyatta, there were cries of “Shame! Shame!”

    The Kikuyu, so the story went, had asked Kenyatta, who is a member of the tribe, to allow mass oath taking. Outsiders do not know Kenyatta’s response, but there is no doubt that his yard has become the scene of mass oath ceremonies. Many non-Kikuyu citizens fear that Kenyatta, the founder of the country, has been pressured into allowing tribal factionalism at the expense of national unity and his own policy of pulling the tribes together.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,901233,00.html

  • I was born in the 1980s and thanks to the story posted under comment #7 I have learnt more about the hatred planted by Kenyatta in the Kikuyu minds that Luos are not worthy of ruling Kenya. The older I grow, the more I understand how useless Kenyatta was. Why was he behind the assasinations of TJ Mboya, JM Kariuki and scores of other prominent Kenyan patriots whose only anger with him was his change from a promising Statesman to the ‘Big Man of Africa’ type of leader? Why did he have to banish Jaramogi Odinga into political wilderness just because he opposed his dictatorial and tribal tendencies? I cannot imagine why Kenyatta turned against the Luo who were merely questioning Mobya’s death under very suspicious circumstances. Then again look at the roots of the political term “uncircumcised” used perennially to bar the Luo from Kenya’s presidency – it was born right inside Kenyatta’s home at Gatundu. We, the younger generation Kenyans, need to wake up from tribal slumber and unite to make Kenya a better place.

  • This man Raila is tosha to be Prezzo! Uhuru and Ruto will be Hague members by September 2011.

  • Political daggers have been ignited by a declaration by some political leaders to support Uhuru Kenyatta for presidency come 2012. Narc Kenya candidate Martha Karua now wants Kenyans to reject Uhuru and William Ruto’s presidential bid until they are cleared by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Her sentiments are bound to stir political waters as her rivals seek to consolidate their merger. Karua who retorted to Friday’s attack by her counterparts during a burial ceremony wishes that Uhuru and Ruto muzzle up and behave like Hague bound suspects and not political stars. But the Hague suspects brushed this off with Ruto engaging in a vote hunting mission in Eldama Ravine to drum support for his presidential bid claiming his is not just mere rhetoric. Similarly Uhuru Kenyatta pitched tent in Naivasha, bonding with the people of the Rift Valley Province in a bid to consolidate his support for the 2012 statehouse race. And as it may seem these tactical moves are rubbing political rivals the wrong side. Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth who has also made known his presidential ambitions said it was surprising to hear some politicians say they will vie for the top seat yet they cannot manage a constituency. Kenneth noted that what Kenyans require are leaders with a vision and the interest of development at heart adding that it is this mission he wants to see accomplished come the 2012 polls. He said Kenyans know the qualities to check in a leader since they had learnt a lot from the members of the 10th parliament; some of whom have hardly delivered what they had promised during the 2007 campaigns. With these sentiments, the stage is now set for a battle of titans as 2012 fast approaches.

  • Raila is the only presidential aspirant who can boast of a credible support team assembled without much strain.There are many local and overseas well wishers that will boost his war chest Uhuru and Ruto secretly wonders if they really should in view of an unfortunately ominous possibility that would snuff out their political future. Musyoka is staring into the uncertain fluid situation watching erstwhile close confidants back pedaling. His financial as well as organizational set up is far from healthy. Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth are serious politicians in their own right but I feel they are running to prove a point: Uhuru, by virtue of being the son of Jomo is not necessarily the anointed one as he pretends to be, but is just one of the ambitious Kikuyu politicians aspiring to ascend to the presidency. Wamalwa is a new entrant and it appears that someone is using him as a counterweight to Mudavadi’s clout in the Western Province where Rails has a sizable following. Let’s assume there is more chance for a re-run than for a straight win by any candidate. There are some really stringent constitutional hurdles these aspirants have to jump over.

    The month of Sept, 2011 will see if Uhuru and Ruto can be in the race, and if they are not, who they will endorse to face off Raila. Musyoka is really counting on Uhuru and Ruto missing the train to take advantage of the anticipated endorsement. Wamalwa, though a green horn, looks forward to the same situation. That leaves Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth. Karua is not going to benefit by Uhuru’s absence or gain by his presence; neither will Peter Kenneth. The two, I suppose, may throw their weight behind Raila in a run-off. Irrespective of who it’s going to be, Raila will be the one to beat, as things stand now.

  • Kababeie ka mom

    Raila wants AG job advertised, bids for women Monday, 01 August 2011 00:01 BY ISAAC ONGIRI

    NO SHORTCUTS: PM Raila demands that the position of AG be advertised. Photo/File

    A standoff has erupted over the anticipated appointment of the Attorney General with Prime Minister Raila Odinga demanding that the position be advertised. It is feared fresh divisions over the appointment could delay the unveiling of Amos Wako’s successor expected in 25 days. The demand scuttled the expected naming of Wako’s successor which was to be done before the end of last week.

    The new AG will be the government’s advisor on legal matters and will be a member of the cabinet. Under the coalition government, the new AG will sit in the cabinet as from August 28 a day after Wako’s official exit. Raila’s demand is said to have angered President Kibaki who is arguing that the position is political and the appointment is similar to that of cabinet secretaries and therefore should not be advertised.

    But Raila is said to be demanding that the position be reserved for a woman as a way of striking gender balance in the composition of constitutional offices.

    Already, the two principles have appointed a male Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecution, a move that has left the judiciary under the dominance of male leadership. “The PM is of the view that given that the other positions have been taken over by males, this one should go to a woman,” said a source at Prime Minister’s office.

    Raila wants seriously qualified Kenyan women sensitised to develop interest in the seat by applying before the best candidate can be picked by a team of technical officers from the Public Service Commission, his Office and the President’s office.

    So far the only woman known to be interested in the position is lawyer Betty Murungi while the rest are males and they include Prof. Githu Muigai, Fred Ojiambo, Philip Murgor, and Otiende Amolo among others.

    Yesterday Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo said that advertising the position would be a show of transparency and would allow public participation in the process. “It is important that they follow the cue that has already been set in the public appointments so far. They should give the public and opportunity to participate,”Kilonzo said. The President, a source said has been pushing for the nomination of Prof.Muigai as the new AG a move previously seconded by the PM.

  • Police probe PM Odinga house help death

    Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his wife Ida Odinga at their Karen home. Photo/FILE

    Posted Tuesday, August 2 2011 at 09:50

    Share This Story

    Share Police are currently investigating the death of a house help at Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Karen home that occurred last night.

    The house help was found by a colleague in her room at 7am when she failed to report for duty. The deceased had thrown-up in her room.

    The Police are treating the incident as a case of sudden death.

    Mrs Ida Odinga will address the press on the matter.

    More follows.

  • The Story Of Five ODM Rebels Without A Cause Tuesday, 02 August 2011 00:05 BY MIGUNA MIGUNA

    BACK to square one. That’s where Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Dujis MP Aden Duale, Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny, Belgut MP Charles Keter and Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto are today. They are in a real quandary. Legally and politically, the five ODM rebels are between a rock and a hard place. There’s no wiggle room.

    The constitutional application by ODM members Mpuri Aburi and Kepher Odongo to have the five deemed to have resigned from ODM and to have forfeited their parliamentary seats has sent the five rebels-without-a-cause into a tailspin. The prospect of by-elections is sending icy chills down their spines.

    The two Rutos and Keter are blowing hot air, pretending to be ready for anything. But Duale and Kutuny have started crumbling. These two dare not go there.

    The cracks in the team were inevitable. None of them is as strong as the political wind they are blowing. All five opposed the new Constitution during the referendum and Kutuny and Duale suffered devastating losses in their respective constituencies, which have become increasingly hostile. Word on the ground indicates that both would lose badly if by-elections were held today. Duale has been lamely protesting that he never left ODM.

    Even William Ruto is not that safe, and he knows it. The margin between the ‘no’ and ‘yes’ votes in Eldoret North was negligible. There is a real risk Ruto might lose in a by-election. That’s causing him sleepless nights.

    Eldoret North is cosmopolitan. Nearly half the residents there are Luhya and Luo, while the other half are Kalenjin. Although about two-thirds of the Kalenjin voters support Ruto, a significant number oppose him. The constituency is still solidly ODM. Ruto’s political survival isn’t guaranteed. He might be living in la-la land.

    Keter and Isaac are no better off. Their political fortunes are 50-50. They have formidable opponents waiting to cash in on the fallout. Campaigns have begun in earnest in both constituencies.

    For William Ruto, losing one of his rebels would be humiliating. Losing two or more would be an unmitigated disaster. Moreover, ODM would still remain the largest party even if Ruto and all his rebels were successful.

    By persistently opposing ODM policies in and outside parliament, openly ganging up with opponents of the party, refusing to pay their subscription fees and organising rallies to hurl abuse at the party and its leadership, the five have shown their ‘presence’ in ODM to be more of a weakness than a strength.

    Most of them have publicly stated they have ‘left’ ODM for UDM, and Ruto has declared on numerous occasions that he has taken over the UDM leadership. Unfortunately for him, a court has declared otherwise and stopped the ‘national recruitment’ exercise Ruto had announced.

    For Ruto and his gang, UDM might be a chimera. Already, ODM has taken all the seats in the Baringo county council elections, something that was given little prominence in the media but which was highly significant. Ultimately, this fight promises to be a bruising one for all five rebels.

    I’m sure Ruto never expected anyone to take him to court for his bad behaviour and numerous breaches to the Political Parties Act. That’s what impunity does: it makes one feel invincible. If one accumulates a staggering Sh35 billion or so in less than 20 years without gainful employment and gets unfettered access to State House, perhaps anyone could develop Ruto’s chutzpah.

    Following the filing of the application, Ruto initially cried ‘dictatorship’ and claimed that he was being ‘pushed out’ – before contradicting himself by stating that he had left ODM a long time ago and was ready for by-elections. After a few days, Ruto asserted that he would not ‘defend’ himself against the application or send lawyers to appear for him in court.

    The dilemma for Ruto is this: if he opposes the application, he must not just declare that he remains loyal to ODM and Raila Odinga but he would then be required to start behaving as such. That would undermine all those vitriolic public utterances that have characterised and defined his political career.

    And without a bogeyman, Ruto’s politics would be exposed and deflated. There’s nothing else there. His incendiary rhetoric, with no content, no substance, and no direction, would be exposed for what it is.

    He would also have to dissociate himself from the KKK, G7 or whatever other convenient political amalgams he has dreamed up. He would have to face the repercussions of lying to his ‘constituents’ that he had genuine disagreements with Raila and ODM, and that he was serious about running for president in 2012. Can he risk this?

    The alternative for Ruto is to file a response stating that he agrees with the litigants. There would be no hearing if he did this. The court would issue an order on consent of all the parties and by-elections would follow a few months later. That is the only logical and decent outcome.

    And then it really would be back to square one for Ruto. So far, he has ridden to parliament and prominence on ODM and Raila Odinga’s coattails. Now he is out of ODM but he has no party he can call home. UDM and PNU have their owners. So does Kanu. ODM-K is being rebranded for Kalonzo Musyoka. As we speed towards the next general election, Ruto is party-less.

    Perhaps the only option now is for him to form and develop his own party from the ground up. Only then, perhaps, will he start appreciating exactly what it takes to build a formidable political machine. Kenyans are watching!

    The writer is the Prime Minister’s advisor on coalition affairs. The views expressed here are his own.

    By commenting on this story, you agree with

  • Mr.Miguna, you have a point there. ‘Rapid fire’ Duale’s fall in a by-election is as certain as that of Rutto. Kutuny will not survive if the opponent is a known local and experienced.I understand a former Agriculure Minister is grooming himself to recapture the seat. Ruto and Keter might scrape through with luck , but the myth of their invincibility will be for ever shattered.

    The UDM grab won’t work because Koech and co. know for sure they will be out in the cold soon after Rto’s entry, like the Arab who let the camel into his tent. That leaves Biwott’s New Vision Party, but the Total Man’s hatred for Ruto is legendary. He’ll have nothing to do with the erstwhile Jirongo group that he nurtured in their formative years but who turned out to be ungrateful. Indications on ground are that the other small time rebel ODM MPs are revising the fence mending and survival plans guide.

    Ruto imagines he has the Kalenjin votes securely locked up. But the sands have shifted and are still shifting. Especially the educated lot among the Kalenjin are no more blind followers of Ruto. A silent rethinking among the Kalenjin is ongoing and new players being groomed.

    It’s hypocritical for Ruto to claim he fought Raila’s wars because now we know it’s his own war he’s fighting. It’s even more pretentious on Ruto’s part to conclude that Raila left him at the mercy of the ICC by colluding with Okampo to include him in the list of the most responsible for the PEV. Raila had no leverage with Waki or the ICC to include or exclude anyone from the famous envelope or Okambo’s files.

    Perhaps the most baffling for the Ruto loyalists is his on and off collaboration with Uhuru and Musyoka. The praise singers on the other side are also at a loss to see the logic in and viability of KKK/G7 alliance which is going to be dead as a dodo.

    Ruto had, on several occasions, gone public he and his band of rebel MPs had already left ODM for all practical purposes and just stopped short of writing to the Speaker. It being a requirement to satisfy the Speaker to declare the seats vacant, they would hold on while they go on dismantling ODM from within until the last moment. This strategy has fallen flat on its face as is evident from the recent developments.

    There is a saying, misfortunes come in battalions. Ruto is entangled in a labyrinth of them. For example, the next AG might think of appealing the ruling of Magistrate Mutembi who let Ruto off the hook unprocedurally, as observed by the CJ while interviewing him for the post of a HC judge. PLO may plan to require him to explain how he amassed all the immense wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income since the time he started working as a teacher in a village secondary school. But the mother of all nightmares is to disprove allegations by Okambo.

    There is nothing personal I have against Samoe, but I respectfully desist from wishing him good luck.

    Mohan Mathew

  • Moi says he is ready to dialogue withRaila

    Updated 16 hr(s) 15 min(s) ago
    By Augustine Oduor

    Former President Moi said he is ready for dialogue with Prime Minister Raila Odinga despite their long running political differences.

    Mr Moi said, “Even if I have different views it does not matter. We should not differ at all. We can sit around the table and even eat because we are guided by love,”

    Moi, who seemed to be offering an olive branch to the premier, said even if people differ on principles, they should sit together and share a meal.

    The retired President was speaking during the wedding of Raila’s third-born son, Raila Junior Odinga, in Nairobi on Saturday.

    Raila said unity among Kenyans is paramount and noted that tribalism is dead.

    “This animal called tribalism is dying. Tribes only exist in people’s imaginations. We can make a great Kenya if we shun divisions,” he said.

    The premier said he has roots among the Luhya, noting that tribalism must not be a deterrent to people’s goals. Raila Junior married Yvonne Wambui Kibukosya, the great-grand daughter to Peter Kibukosya, a patriotic Kenyan who helped write the national anthem.

    Moi’s former aide Joshua Kulei, Attorney General Githu Muigai, Central Bank Governor Njuguna Ndungu, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, several Cabinet ministers, and MPs attended the wedding.

    Moi said Kenya has come a long way and grown up to what we see today and stressed the importance of love and unity for the prosperity.

    “What is key is the future. We should unite even amid the difficult times that we are facing as a country,” he said.

    Moi added that Kenyans are well educated and cautioned against advice from outsiders who want to help interpret the Constitution.

    “The Constitution is so complicated and people should not take it simply.

    I would not like people from outside to tell us what to do,” he said.

  • “Wonderful 24 hours with Kenyan people. Started the trip by meeting students and young business leaders, sharing ideas at Convergence Africa. Was asked a question about corruption and urged the press and the people to keep their governments honest. Mentioned that I felt the Prime Minister of Kenya, from everything I’ve heard, is an exceptional person and has the possibilities of becoming the new Nelson Mandela of Africa.”

    Richard Branson, CEO Virgin Group

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