The following is my response to someone who keeps repeating the same discredited smear of Raila about his efforts to save the Mau forest and other ill-informed sentiments by the blogger regarding Raila and his efforts to strengthen ODM, especially in the Rift Valley.
I don’t put you in the category of Raila haters because that’s a special class I distinguish you from for a number of reasons but my concern for you and others I observe saying the same things you do, is you are equally mistaken and have refused to accept the reality and truth about Raila and ODM no matter what, even to the point of ignoring basic, proven facts.
That’s just a disturbing fact, even as we engage in debating leadership and development issues about our beloved country.
For example, you cannot find two thoughtful, laid-back-yet-quick-to-move-when-necessary, best-readers-of-the-walls and therefore effective politicians in Rift Valley more than you have in Dr. Sally Kosgey and Henry Kosgey
The two have weighed Ruto and his antics on one hand and Raila’s prospects as the next president of Kenya on the other hand viz their own political interests and the interests of the Rift Valley as a whole and have concluded Raila and ODM is the better way to go for them and the Rift Valley, compared to going with Ruto and others.
Yet, you and others are trashing these savvy politicians and leaders as “inconsequential” and other characterizations I address below rather than accepting their moves as politically significant for the obvious reasons they spell doom for Ruto & Co and make it easier for Raila to be re-elected as president.
I don’t know what you said when Sally openly parted company with Raila and joined the Ruto bandwagon to nowhere or what you said when Henry Kosgey publicly distanced himself from Raila but I doubt very seriously whether you said or even thought both actions, singly or collectively as being “inconsequential.”
You probably celebrated and rooted for “en masse” defections from the party by other ODM MPs which was to follow as promised by Ruto.
There is a reason the promised “en masse” defections never happened and why the unrelated Kosgeys are now returning to ODM and that is, these leaders have smarted from Ruto’s antics, which they thought meant one thing but has turned out to be something altogether different.
When it’s all said and done, however, the Kosgeys and like minded politicians in the Rift Valley will be thanked by the good people of the Rift Valley for putting the breaks on a train clearly headed to a fall off a political cliff, while loudly warning the passengers in the train of the impending fall and having them board a train headed in the opposite direction to destination full of hope and promise, a destination the train is all but certain to reach to the joy and jubilation of those aboard.
This notwithstanding, you and other like minded are saying, “no; let’s just continue our journey in the train headed to a certain fall off this political cliff because we don’t “trust” the captain of the other train headed in the direction of hope and promise.”
Your lack of “trust” for the captain of the other train is, unfortunately, ill-informed and I and others will continue to point this out to the day we come to rescue you from your crashed train and beyond.
Let me use your own words to show why your lack of trust in the Captain of this train, which is headed in the direction of hope and promise, is ill-informed:
You say, “I was [RAO’s] number supporter in 2007 but after sometime he proved to me that he is unreliable, untrustworthy and heartless fellow.” This is a lofty and heavily loaded statement to make but a case is not made or unmade by the assertion or proclamation of lofty and profound statements or crafty use of words; rather, to be credible, those words must be matched with reality as evinced by facts.
Thus, to an impartial observer or judge, you will have to spell out in any appreciable detail how Raila has been “unreliable,’ how he has been “untrustworthy,” or how he is a “heartless fellow.”
You will then have to show whether Raila has been, or is all or any of these things in his capacity as RAO the person or as RAO the Prime Minister for the two are not necessarily one and the same, even though your “heartless” charge is clearly intended to impugn Raila the person.
In other words, you will have to show whether this is a rant based on a personal vendetta with RAO or is policy based, right or wrong as it may be.
If you make a persuasive case to this point, then you next have to reconcile and make the case why millions of Kenyans don’t see any of these character traits in Raila, including prominent leaders and elders from your own backyard, who have known him for decades and even before you were born and are firmly behind him and fully support his quest for the presidency.
Do you know something they don’t know?
Please do not even as suggest Kenyans are so dumb as to have you and the less than a small fraction of your like-minded Raila bashers as the only ones capable of knowing the truth about who Raila is, let alone whether he is “unreliable, untrustworthy and [a] a heartless fellow” as you wrongly claim.
Disagree and criticize Raila all you can but I urge you not to insult the intelligence of Kenyans as a whole in trying to make this incredible case that Raila is all these things he clearly is not; he is, in fact, the opposite and that’s why he remains the favorite among all serious candidates running for president, and is accordingly the the man to beat to be elected as our next president.
As I and others see it, making the case why Raila is what he clearly is not as you wrongly claim, must in the end fail as a matter of both logic and practical reality; you just can’t convince, let alone make the case to the majority of Kenyans who have and continue to support RAO and believe in him and his reform agenda, that he is this evil man you make him out to be when he clearly is not, in the assessed view of the majority of those who elected him in 2007 and will do so again in 2012.
Ruto tried to make this false case against Raila being this evil man he is not but he has rightly miserably failed in his efforts to do so and so will you or anyone still clinging to this fundamentally flawed position that the way to beat Raila, is to paint him as other than who he is.
Kenyans are more informed now and are know better than be fooled with cheap antics and propaganda such as those being employed by anti-Railaists and those running for president but are unable to match him, or even come close to matching him on the issues:
Who among the pack of those running for president has a proven record of fighting for reforms and therefore is better positioned to end corruption and impunity?
Who among the pack has a proven record of bringing development in the country and is therefore better positioned to do the same and more upon being elected?
Who among the pack has a proven record of tackling difficult local and national problems strictly as a matter of national interest and therefore is better positioned to do the same and more upon being elected president?
Who among the pack has a proven record of uniting a majority of people across the country for a common cause and is therefore better positioned to do the same, especially in uniting the country after the much we have gone through in the recent past?
Who among the pack looks beyond aligning groupings of tribes and ethnic groups as a means to get to State House and is therefore better positioned to bring an end to tribalism and negative ethnicity as a factor in electing leaders, especially at the presidential level?
Who among the pack has a proven record of goodwill among regional and international leaders and is therefore better positioned to unlock the support from those leaders as we embark on putting Kenya on the world map consistent with our Vision 2030?
Who among the pack, simply put, has what it takes to be a transformative leader the country so much needs at this stage in our history, more than everyone else running for president and therefore should be elected as our next president other than Raila?
These are the questions you’ll be better served by answering in making your case why whoever you support for president can be a better president than RAO or at least give people reasons to vote for someone else other than Raila based on your answers to these important questions; you just can’t rant and rail against Raila and rest your case there. No, no, no; Kenyans are way past that.
In any case, the few “issues” you and others have been ranting and railing against Raila have been previously rebutted point by point to show how they are, in fact, non-issues, by I and others but let me re-visit them for the sake of those who have not followed their genesis closely:
You say, “You have to visit Mau to know what I know and to understand what I am saying.” No amount of visits to Mau forest will have someone coming out of it saying, RAO is “unreliable, untrustworthy and heartless fellow.”
Not one visit, not 1o,ooo visits, not a million visits.
This is because no number of visits to any location can result in confirming an untruth.
Although your beef with RAO and the Mau forest is so ill-informed I am quite you and others continue to cling to it even after leading MPs from the Rift Valley finally put this fake issue to rest in their recent confirmation that Ruto manufactured and ratcheted this phony issue for selfish political gain.
Indeed, these MPs confirmed what I and others have been saying for months.
For example, in My Response To Concerns, False Claims and Accusations Agains Raila III, I said the following:
“The Mau issue is yet another one of those false issues Ruto cleverly but wrongly manufactured along the way in his crusade against Raila that not only is hypocritical and pathetic but perhaps the single most important evidence of Ruto’s character flaw. To exploit an issue of such environmental and national significance for shortsighted political gain is abominable.”
I also added, “Again, this is one of those issues I can spend a whole day analyzing, edifying and otherwise showing how Raila has been all right about it and Ruto and a few others completely culpably wrong but no need to; most people who know better than follow lies and distortions know the truth but if you care to fully understand why Raila has taken the stance he has in the national interest, just Google it and learn.”
The Mau issue having now been completely exposed by the Rift Valley MPs with firsthand information and knowledge that this was a concoction and made-up lie by Ruto, let me add by suggesting language for an historic marker to be placed at the entrance of Mau forest and would even have it commissioned myself:
“Mau Forest. Thanks to efforts led by the Rt. Honorable Raila Amolo Odinga, then Prime Minister and now President of the Republic of Kenya, total destruction of this forest by illegal-squatters and other unlawful land grabbers, was prevented and, as a result, Kenyans continue to enjoy this forest’s life sustaining benefits, particularly as the source for many lakes and rivers in the region which would have otherwise dried up, leading to major water shortage and deaths but for the Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s intervention. P.S. Mr. William Samoei Ruto, the then Member of Parliament from far away Eldoret area was once a supporter of the PM and his efforts to save this forest but decided to oppose, undermine and malign the PM against his efforts because it was in his selfish political interest to do so. He now regrets having done so and is forgiven.”
The question therefore is not whether the Mau forest should have been saved or whether Raila did the right thing to lead the efforts in saving the forest, everyone including you must agree that was absolutely the right thing to do and we are all the better the Cabinet acted accordingly in authorizing the evictions.
To be sure, as any good leader, RAO knew and still knows preventing total destruction of the forest is one thing, resettling those who for years illegally settled in the forest is quite another problem but he already proposed a solution which has been fought tooth and nail by the likes of Ruto and other illegal land-grabbers in the forest and surrounding areas because it’s in their narrow, selfish interests to do so.
Indeed, I am at a complete loss to understand why anyone cannot see through this simple scheme by Ruto & Co. and instead continue buying wholly into the discredited scheme and is unabashed as they continue to blame Raila for doing what’s absolutely the right thing that needed to be done, if the Mau forest were to be saved for our country’s welfare as it has been.
I am even more confounded by your assertion, “Whether eviction was a cabinet decision or not is irrelevant.”
Are you really serious about this assertion? If so, I take it your preferred form of government is where all government institutions are ignored and decisions carried or not carried at the whim of an individual? Do you hear what you are saying?
This is precisely what we have been fighting to get away from, namely, getting away from government by fiat–which you will obviously prefer, if cabinet decisions are to be ignored, to government of the people by the people through their elected and appointed representatives, which cabinet decisions as the one about saving the Mau forest represents.
I must give you the benefit of doubt, however, and assume you literally do not mean that cabinet decisions are irrelevant in resolving national issues; rather, you are so determined to ascribe wrong doing upon Raila no matter what and glaring cabinet decisions contrary to your dug-in position notwithstanding thus, in this sense, it’s indeed irrelevant what the Cabinet, Parliament, the President, Ruto himself (before he was against for selfish reasons) and others have said and maintained their positions, which are identical and squarely in support of Raila and his efforts to save the Mau forest.
Refusing to see truth while embracing and even advancing falsehoods about the Mau forest issue is, indeed, a sad situation and I am afraid there is not much to be done for anyone so dug-in in refusing to accept truth other than hope they’ll some day dig themselves out and accept the sunshine of truth and reality.
You say, “The person who came out vocally against the Ogiek of Mau was RAO. He even went to part of Mau to plant trees.The shame and heartlessly of it all is that he went on to invite Kibaki to plant trees with him oblivious of the history of the people who had just been evicted.”
Raila provided and continues to provide leadership in saving the environment in general and the Mau forest in particular. That’s what leaders do; they take a difficult problem and solve it, even in the face of stiff opposition from misguided individuals with selfish interests such as Ruto & Co.
Your grandchildren and generations of Kenyans to come reading the historic marker above will agree and that’s really all that matters in the end for we owe them the duty to preserve and pass on to them that which God has given us and more, not destroy and leave them with nothing to even sustain their lives as those opposed to saving the Mau forest would prefer.
You say, “Now, your idol RAO thinks that the people of Mau are criminals who deserve nothing but death in cold air?
This is a reckless and perhaps not well thought out statement before it was put in print that does not deserve a response other than to simply say as a fellow Kenyan, please refrain from the use of highly charged rhetoric such as this.
Put another way, one can engage in orbital intellectual gymnastics and show how so wrong you are in this assertion but, sometimes the wrongness of a statement is evident in the statement itself requiring no more.
In other words, it’s good to remove oneself from the facts, known or unknown, to see the logic or flaw in one’s argument.
Thus, purely as a matter of logic, your argument is this:
People illegally settled in the Mau forest.
It is unlawful in Kenya for people to settle in national forests
Raila therefore thinks all people who settled in the Mau forest are criminals who deserve to die.
I am sure you can see clearly the conclusion in your argument does not follow your premises at all and that’s why you are so wrong in your assertion.
You are also wrong as a matter of fact because (1) Raila has never said that the “people of Mau are criminals” and neither has he (2) said they “deserve death in cold air,” whatever that means.
That does not mean there are no criminals in the Mau forest any more than saying there are no criminals in public service.
Let me not go there in trying to show other reasons why your assertion is wrong.
You say, “If Rao is a hero let him pursue Triton, Anglo-Leasing and FRE embezzlements.”
I don’t portend to know everything that has been said about Raila but all I know he does not go around carrying himself as a hero, even though he is.
Raila’s heroism in relentless pursuit of reform in Kenya is well known and documented. It is one of the many reasons many respect him as a leader locally, regionally and internationally.
Put another way, Raila’s heroism is already established and part of the new political dispensation in Kenya owes part to his heroism and that of others who have been relentless in pursuing reforms in the country.
Neither Raila nor any of those who have been in the front-line in agitating against corruption and impunity and and fighting to end to oppression of the people by the most powerful need to engage in further acts of heroism anymore; heroism is but a means to an end and not an end itself.
That we have in place a new Constitution which Raila himself was instrumental in getting passed, is more so the reason no further heroism and individual sacrifice is necessary for the country to reap its true benefits of independence.
The dual vice of corruption and impunity must be taken head on in the new judiciary that’s being reformed even as we debate today and the appointment of Dr. Willy Mutunga and his new team at the Supreme Court will hopefully take care of what is needed to herald the new reforms to take on corruption and impunity so much so those who have heretofore been the beneficiaries of these dual vices are on notice.
It is therefore misplaced to say “if Rao is a hero let him pursue Triton, Anglo-Leasing and FRE embezzlements.”
This is the sole responsibility of the new DPP and reformed judiciary; Raila or whoever is the next president merely need not get in the way and from what’s known of the current serious presidential contenders, only RAO we can be assured will not get in the way of any such prosecutions.
Put another way, there cannot be a better reformer and proponent of going after corruption and impunity among the presidential contenders than RAO.
You say, “If he wants to regain lost ground [Raila] should address Mau saga and reach out to Ruto…”
As stated above, (1) Raila has and continues to address the Mau forest issue to the extent he is able to and despite concerted efforts to prevent him from completely succeeding by the likes of Ruto who see the issue strictly from their personal gain and not as an issue of national interest and importance it is and (2) Raila need not reach out to Ruto, given the selfish nature of his pursuits but is, as any leader would, happily have him back in the fold as ODM member.
Raila has, instead, been active in reaching out and strengthening his support in the Rift through leaders other than Ruto his ultimate success will be determined at the ballot box and not your condemnation of those he is working with as “fake Kalenjin elders” who are “unknown, unaccepted and with a lot of baggage from the former government.”
BTW, do you see the irony and contradiction your advice for RAO not to reach out to leaders like Sally Kosgey because you claim they have a “lot of baggage from the former government” but instead advise him to reach out to Ruto? Which former government are you referring to? The first Kibaki government? the Moi government? Kenyatta government? Regardless of which one, are you saying Ruto has no baggage from any of these governments or just that he has less baggage? What difference does that make if Raila’s objective is to unite the country, not based on who has served in what administration but who is ready to move the country forward in bringing about economic prosperity by ending corruption and impunity?
Raila has made the call for unity and is going about identifying leaders across the country who have the same vision he does about unifying the country and finally leading us to economic and social prosperity.
Some of these leaders are those he has been in the trenches with before who, for reasons now clear to them were wrong, seek to return to his camp.
Some may have prematurely believed in a shifting ground that never shifted; just a minor tremor without even any after-effects.
Some seek to be associated with Raila and ODM purely for their own political calculations and survival.
Some as a matter of abhorrent dislike of the dish being served by the other camp.
Some as a matter of abhorrent dislike of the leaders in the other camps.
Some just can’t stand the other camps and what they stand for, period.
Some simply because they wish to end tribalism and negative ethnicity as a major factor in deciding whom to elect as president.
Whatever their motivation, Raila has made the call of unity and his task is to make sure those heeding his call also preach o others to do the same and the end result of such efforts will be victory not just for Raila and ODM but the country as a whole for in unity, we shall forever remain strong and ready to face any challenges that lie ahead.
Peace, Love and Unity.
Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.