It is said if a dog bites a man, that’s not news but if a man bites a dog, that’s news. That Raila has supporters in the Rift Valley is not news but these supporters coming out strongly and publicly declaring that they intend to “regain lost control” in the Rift Valley is not only good news for Raila and ODM but this also great news for the country for several reasons:
First, the MPs declaration could not have come at a better time.
Everyone except those who directly or significantly benefit from the three vices that have been the breeding ground for our country’s ills for decades, namely, corruption, impunity and tribalism, agrees that we must rid our nation of these vices, if we are to progress at all.
Success for the Rift Valley MPs led by Hon. Franklin Bett in regaining ground for ODM support in the Rift Valley will deliver a devastating, if not a fetal blow to all three of these vices and thus the reason why we all must applaud and support these efforts by Bett & Co.
Indeed, even as Bett & Co are getting set to regain ODM’s ground in Rift Valley politics, which has been has been in a spin since Ruto decided to jump ship from ODM for undoubtedly selfish reasons, key PNU “leaders” are busy trying to figure the best combination of tribal groupings they can muster that to mount a tribalism based challenge to Raila or at least “block” him from being elected president.
So far, this so-called G7 group or whatever of its reincarnation that emerges has not succeeded because there are certain things you just cannot easily shake that plague the group and that is a complete and total distrust between and among them in deciding who they can front as a candidate and a total lack of assurance that their respective communities will collectively and blindly vote en masse for whoever they front.
This is a quagmire this group is in that must be a godsend from God to thwart their conniving ways to perpetuate their selfish interests and purposes on the one end while Bett and Co and everyone else are picking up speed to put an end to their quest.
I cannot but smell victory for ODM emanating from the immediately foregoing for that’s the side that must prevail, if the country has any hope to completely break away from the old way of doing things to the new.
Second, to paraphrase what Hon. Bett said, it does not mean that ODM regaining lost ground in the Rift means that everyone in the province must belong to the party in order for these stepped up efforts to be deemed a success; rather, Bett & Co simply want ODM to continue in its journey to deliver on the mandate upon which its leader and members were elected in sweeping victories across the country in 2007; a journey which was interrupted as we all know by the events of election day and the aftermath.
Other parties are free to come up with their own agenda and compete with ODM’s and as long as the competition is decided on issues and not tribal grouping, then it does not matter which party or its members gets to claim victory, including the presidency.
So far, ODM is clearly the party with support across the country because of its reform agenda and whatever manufactured and natural set-backs the party has had to suffer, these are not insurmountable see-backs to regain its positions of dominance in areas where the party may have lost ground due to malignant lies and distortions.
Again, as Hon. Bett put it and as some of have been singing for months since Ruto not too surprisingly disembarked from ODM for unquestionably selfish reasons, there is nothing that has changed about ODM or Raila since the party swept the nation in 2007 in as far as its reform agenda is concerned; nothing that is, other than the fact Raila rose above party politics to seek a compromise with Kibaki in lieu of insisting that he be sworn as president, having won, as he and most of everybody else believed, a majority of the votes cast, including those stuffed or otherwise inaccurately reported for the benefit of his opponent.
One of the moments during the crisis that will forever remain ingratiated in this writer’s mind, is the Hon. James Orengo and even Ruto trying in vein to have Kivuitu answer why the numbers reported from a number of polling stations, including Molo were different from the actual numbers reported and signed off by the Returning officer and ODM agents.
No answer was given or could be given or could be given so Kivuitu heaved himself off stage and the rest is history.
But that was then and we have moved past it and this writer is on record stating Kibaki has done a lot to redeem his legacy, notwithstanding events of 2007 and 2008.
Unfortunately, however, always scheming as he has been, Ruto saw an opening with Raila not being sworn as president to continue pursuing his own presidential ambitions by almost immediately starting whining upon passage of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act of 2008 that Raila had not rewarded the Kalenjin community with enough cabinet appointments for his (Ruto)’s “efforts” in “delivering” the Rift Valley to ODM.
As he would later readily admit himself during the Waki investigation, Ruto did not, in fact, “deliver” the Rift Valley to ODM; the Rift was ready to vote en masse for whoever was to oust Kibaki from office at the time for reasons well known that I need not get into here.
Yet, Ruto nonetheless saw the forced coalition government as an ideal opportunity to take advantage of in his selfish efforts to curb or undermine Raila’s power and influence.
For example, when Raila spearheaded efforts to save the Mau forest, with complete approval and support from the cabinet, Ruto saw yet another opportunity to deliver a blow upon Raila’s body by initiating and continuing to spread perhaps the biggest and boldest of lies by a politician ever in our country in his false claim which he harped on for months that Raila was responsible for evicting squatters and others from the Mau forest.
Everyone other than the evictees and those affected with the Mau policy decision knew what Ruto was shamelessly propagating was a bold, naked lie.
With Litole’s confirmation yesterday of the truth about Mau, everyone now knows the same truth, especially the good people from the Rift Valley who Ruto pulled wool over their eyes—innocent, or otherwise, in his efforts to cast Raila and ODM in bad light.
The confirmation and revelation to all at last by Litole is a good thing; a very good thing indeed for truth and justice for the country.
Third, there is no question all manner of pressure has been brought to bear against all ODM MPs in the Rift Valley by Ruto and his partners in crime and cohorts to abandon ODM and by extension, Raila.
However, exemplified by Litole who refused to join Ruto in smearing Raila with lies and distortions about the Mau forest because he knew firsthand these were, in fact, lies, having sat at a meeting with the president and Ruto in which Ruto expressed support for the evictions, let alone the cabinet’s approval, these MPs have stood their ground on principle and refused to budge an inch or give in to Ruto’s attempts to woo or threaten them into his disastrous and trapped position he finds himself and a few other MPs still trying to bring down the giant in the room in ODM and Raila.
Again, all this is good for ODM and, indeed the country as a whole because success for these brave MPs will be a clear indication we are finally moving further away from the politics of tribalism and negative ethnicity, and a repudiation of Ruto’s politics of shameless peddling of lies to mislead a whole community into at least withdrawing their support for Raila for the selfish reasons of pursuing his own residential ambitions.
On the other hand, ODM and Raila’s victory come next year will be confirmation of the repudiation of tribe and ethnic based politics as well as an opening salvo against the serious war against corruption and impunity which must be seriously engaged and finally won in the letter and spirit of the new Constitution.
That’s a good and much desirable end no matter how difficult the journey has been to get there and the outcome will also mark the beginning of a real and true new Kenya of peace and prosperity.
Those ODM MPs sitting on the fence or wavering in the Rift Valley or elsewhere must take note and do the right thing.
Ditto for all those others who may be hoodwinked and connived into believing “blocking” Raila is a good thing when it’ll be a good thing only for those doing the hoodwinking and conniving at the expense of the country.
Hat’s off to these courageous Rift Valley ODM MPs who have shown there is hope in our country, if we all step back and look at things objectively and not from the prism of tribalism, negative ethnicity and selfishness.
Peace, Love and Unity.
Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.