The following is my response to a netter regarding an issue I have heard in various fora and circles I have decided to address it here on my blog:
As is often the case in these fora, sometimes my self-declared and sworn enemies find courage to admit the truth and agree with me, sometimes I end up disagreeing with people I have otherwise agreed or supported their viewpoints in the past and neither is necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it’s a good thing.
I say this because I believe I have in the past agreed with you but I disagree with most of what you have said here for several reasons:
First, you have collapsed three distinct concepts into one false premise and made a sweeping conclusion that does not follow when you say Kenya owes Raila a lot and not the other way around, namely, that Raila does not owe Kenyans and from this obviously false premise, you have drawn the conclusion Raila therefore will have no incentive to be a good president because he will take it for granted.
The three concepts you have collapsed into one false premise are (1) one sacrificing for his nation and pursuing causes that are ideal and just for a country (2) a recognition and reward for such sacrifices and (3) a demand for such recognition as a matter of right.
These are two distinct concepts.
These are related distinct concepts but by collapsing them into one, you have created one false premise upon which you cannot base a true conclusion as a both a matter of logic and in reality.
It is true Raila has sacrificed for the nation and has pursued and continues to pursue causes that are ideal and just for our country. It is also true people who have sacrificed as he has and continue to fight for the causes he is deserve recognition and are often rewarded for it. It is however, not true and therefore it does not follow that such recognition or reward must be a given in a vacuum or is automatic notwithstanding whatever other circumstances exist that may did dictate otherwise or regardless of whatever else the person has to offer or not.
Let me give you an example: In the US, serving in the military is a time honored tradition and starting from George Washington himself, many of the US presidents who have been elected as such, have served in the military in various ranks from top to bottom.
In other words, there is a strong correlation between having served in the military in the US and being elected president but it does not follow if you have served in the military and are running for president, that you will be automatically elected as president.
Two candidates have come to intimately and painfully know this fact in recent American history and these are John Kerry and John McCain who both served with distinction in Vietnam and McCain even was a prisoner of war for many years in at the infamous “Honoi Hotel.”
In the African context, all leaders in the struggle for independence were recognized for their efforts and struggles by being elevated to leaders of their respective countries and took that as a right you could not take away from them till death does them apart.
If that’s what you meant in your assertion about RAO being owed and taking the presidency for granted if elected, I would have agreed with you in the analogy but point out there is a difference as between day and night in today’s climate compared to those days, not the least of which is our new constitution that mandates (a) that one actually be elected by a true majority of Kenyans across the country and (b) puts effective checks and balances on the presidency such that the president would actually have to perform as CEO or be booted.
Indeed, the very fact that one has to garner 50%+1 of the vote and at least 25% of the vote in each of at least 24 of the counties in the country is reason enough to dismiss your argument that Raila can be elected merely on account of being owed the presidency because there is a good section of the country that does not believe so!
Second, contrary to what you believe that the country owes Raila, I have never heard Raila say the country owes him anything and if you watch how he addresses the issue of his experience during the struggles for reform, including his own suffering, he is very circumspect and guarded because he believes in the larger cause of which those sacrifices are an historic part of.
He is also always cognizant of the fact many others have equally fought for reforms and even lost their lives along the way and therefore it can’t be the case that each must be president.
However, if the question is, of those running now for president, does the fact Raila has been in the forefront of reform and has personally paid dearly for it a factor to be considered in evaluating and separating him from the pack, the clearly the answer is yes and that’s not saying the country owes him the presidency; it is merely an acknowledgment of the fact such sacrifices by anyone is a quality of leadership that ought to be taken into consideration even weighted more than others for it speaks volumes what type of a president he will be, unlike the rest of the field that has none and by that I mean have not sacrificed for the country in any way.
Third, I am glad you recognize your comparing Raila to Kivuitu is “harsh,” to use your own word. Not only is it harsh, there is actually nothing to compare between the two, other than the fact that before Kivuitu flipped for reasons everyone believes had to do with monetary pay-off, he was a highly respected and valued Kenyan as is Raila.
It’s a shame he gave all that up for what even he must be very remorseful and regrets what it caused.
Fourth, your analogy to the Nobel prize in science is confusing at best. First, you say it is rare for the prize to be won twice by any scientist. True; only four individuals in the prize’s 110+ years history have been awarded the price twice in science and a couple of organizations have been awarded twice for peace.
You then go on to say, “The presidency would be analogous to a Kenyan Nobel prize to Raila, possibly making him feel that he has achieved and therefore rest on his Laurels.”
Your analogy and reasoning would be accurate only if the Nobel prize winners have never won again because they went on to “rest on their laurels” and did nothing further in their respective fields of expertise.
That’s obviously not true; in fact, the prize brings shine and focus to their careers and endeavors such that the opposite is true, namely, they must keep up with excellence in their work and that’s partially the reason they are so recognized.
You say, “When a person views a position as an end,it means they would not perform”
I am not sure I understand this statement; are you saying Raila sees being elected president as an end itself or something else?
It is obviously not true and neither can anyone argue that a person running for president other than, perhaps, everyone else running for president sees the presidency as an end but Raila has made it clear, he wants to be president because he has a vision to take our country in the direction we should have been since independence, and that is one of greater peace and prosperity without regression.
In other words, Raila wants to be president as a means to accomplish something good and unparalleled for our country.
You say, “I am not implying that he wouldn’t perform, but he has nothing left to prove,he owes no one and we owe him.”
You are obviously wrong here for the foregoing reasons.
Raila’s fight for reforms, his personal sacrifice along the way is only but a part of why he should be elected as our next president; a big part, yes but there is even a greater reason why and that is, he is the only person among those running for the office who has the leadership ability and experience to take our country from where we are to the next, higher level of peace and prosperity.
If anyone disagrees, let him or her come forth and tell us why and the people will decide.
Your position on getting a break from another Kikuyu presidency is in line with what I and others, including a number of my Kikuyu friends have been saying and will continue to do so and believe very few disagree.
Finally, but not least, you say, “Indeed, i probably will vote for Change, whoever espouses it articulately, with clear strategy of how to take kenya forward and who will feel that he owes it to Kenyans to deliver shall have it. I am still looking at the skies for that light at the end of the tunnel. A shooting star just streaked across the sky,and i have made a wish.”
Your wish will come true and ditto for a majority of, if not all Kenyans.
Peace, Love and Unity