This blog has been migrated from one of my other blogs here for archiving purposes…
The following is my response to someone who posted a number of accusations against Raila and from those accusations the writer attempts to create the impression Raila is not electable as president. I have previously responded to similar but somewhat different accusations elsewhere on my blog but have done so her again as they seem to be in a continuum.
My response to the accuser:
First, allow me the pleasure of quoting you about something you have said in response to someone else on this forum that is apt as applied to your own posting below and that is, as you said, “Now brother, did you ever hear of a fellow who was asked to provide evidence for the Resurrection of Christ and he tabled thirteen pieces of serious evidence, only to be told: Apart from these thirteen, do you have any other?”
I like what your point in this quote, namely, some people you just can’t convince no matter what evidence you put before them on an issue and this is precisely my point in my blog Some People You Just Can’t Satisfy No Matter How Good A Leader You Are. For example, in the US, where “birthers,” more recently led by their chief birther, Donald the Dump Trump have been demanding for a long time that President Barrack Obama produce his “long form” birth certificate to prove that he was born in the United States. When he finally did so recently before ending the life of Osama Bin Laden, a survey conducted after he produced the legal document proving he was born in Hawaii, the 50th state of the United States, 14% still believed he was not born in the US!
So, let me not try to put forth the evidence here as to Raila’s accomplishments as a student, engineer, lecturer, businessman, party leader, nationalist, reformer, uniter, MP for Langata, Minister, Prime Minister, and Peace Maker for there are those who may still want me to table some more in order to accept the fact he is presidential material but I don’t have the time to and neither is it necessary.
I am nonetheless sure most of those reading this here now know what that evidence is but as in all campaigns, I am also sure Raila will serve himself well by informing those who don’t know what that evidence is is, while reminding those who have forgotten what it is and otherwise making the case why his record clearly shows he is the more qualified and prepared candidate to be elected president among all those who seek that office last time and this time around.
Having said that, let me try and respond to some of your concerns, accusations and charges:
You say, “He [Raila] has failed in all his terms of being in government to bring any visible or meaningful change in the lives of the people he claims to represent, viz, the Kibera people. The development in Kibera and the efforts to bring change there are largely the work of NGOs.“
I will not insult your intelligence to say Raila is not an MP for Kibera but an MP for Langata, of which Kibera is a part of. Both the rich and poor of Langata Constituency have elected and re-elected him ever since he first sought to represent them.
As to tabling evidence of this, please note what I have said above. You may also want to read a blog I have posted about An Online Comment By A Kenyan Regarding Raila and Kibera which is a comment from a fellow Kenyan addressing a similar accusation against Raila.
You say, “Raila seriously failed to unite the country at the most difficult time in our history when he had the power to[sic]. We are looking at the P.E.V of 2007-2008. Instead he was calling for mass action.”
I have to believe you say this in all sincerity and not just lobbing a baseless charge against Raila. I am also surprised you have either fallen victim of lies, distortions, misinformation and propaganda or you have refused to accept truth as reality. Just so this is absolutely clear for those who have been equally confused and led to believe otherwise, ODM’s call for mass action in the face of flagrantly stolen elections in early January 2008 was not a call for violence; never was and never would it have been. Rather, Raila and ODM initially planned but ultimately did not call for peaceful demonstrations across the country intended to jolt Kibaki and company to reality akin to what we have seen recently in Tunisia and Morocco where the citizenry said enough is enough for being exploited and abused by a government that had no respect or regard for them.
As an aside note, I have often told my friends the story how on one of the days a peaceful demonstration was to take place in early January 08 in Nairobi, a Maasai friend of mine and I went downtown ready to demonstrate, parked our car at Serena, walked across to a sea of GSU along Uhuru Highway and I remember my friend confronting a number of them and questioning why they were even there; I mean one by one down a line but none would say a thing.
My friend and I concluded two things from this brief peaceful encounter: One, having looked at them close face as we did–fearless I may add; I less than my Maasai friend:-)–we noticed even in their riot gear these were young boys and girls, not the hardened soldiers we had expected. Two, you could sense many of them did not want to be there to begin with, something that gave us heart.
But I digress. My point is, Raila only intended to call for mass action for peace. The violence that ensued had nothing to do with his desire to have the nation tell Kibaki he could not deny the will of the people at will.
You say, “I have a letter I wrote pleading that the two of them, he and Kibaki, tour the country and hold peace rallies, but it did not happen when it was most needed. Thus, I was convinced he did not have the will nor the ability to do so.”
I commend you for writing a letter asking the two leaders to hold peace rallies during that difficult time. Although it is not clear whether that letter was sent or that it ever reached either of them, Raila was already calling for peaceful demonstrations from day 1 so it is not true that “he did not have the will nor the ability to do so.”
The sum of this tragic stain in our history is this my brother, but for Raila’s quest for peaceful resolution of the crisis and ultimately his willingness to compromise far more than Kibaki ever did, we would not be talking about the same Kenya today; we probably still be at war that’s why we ought to be ever so grateful for how things turned out and let’s not be foolish again as we head into the next elections for history does have the uncanny ability to repeat itself.
Let’s hope and pray not; above all, let’s just be smart about this and conduct our affairs in a peaceful, orderly manner and may the best candidate be elected and sworn as president this time and for all future elections.
You say “We have been testing several leaders on the aspect of nepotism/tribalism. Raila is literally worshiped by his community and we need evidence that he has been free from nepotism in his government departments.“
Two things I can say about this: (1) I think you meant to say Raila is greatly admired and liked in his community; this is, in fact, a good thing and one indicator the person is likeable as a leader (2) if your criteria for electing our next president is one free of nepotism, I am afraid we may have to amend our Constitution to allow foreigners to run for president for there is not a single Kenyan holding any office with responsibility to hire can be free of this charge or prove otherwise in the case he or she has hired someone simply because of merit and the person happens to be from his or her village.
This is not to say we should not strife to end nepotism as a vice; we should and must do so. As in many of the problems we need to fix, including corruption, Raila is the better qualified candidate to fix these problems.
You say, [Raila’s] comments on the Ngilu scandles [sic] have left many of us appalled. I wish he came out strongly on the issues of graaft as to demonstrate he is against them [totally].
Raila’s record for fighting against corruption and graft is clear and most Kenyans know and support him on his efforts and that’s all I really need to say about this.
You say, “[the] way he approached a serious document of our nation such as the Constitution was wanting. He did not operate within a democratic position. His remarks during that period were extremely partisan.
I actually need to post a full blog on this but let me not and just say this: you are wrong. Both Raila and Kibaki get major kudos for working beautifully and effectively together to pass the new Constitution and so does the resiliency of our people.
I remember attending one of the rallies held at Afraha Stadium just before the big vote and being simply happy to see the two principals there like old friends notwithstanding what happened in 07/08 and since. It was to me a refreshing reminder even in dire straits, there is hope.
After the Constitution passed and I returned to Nairobi on August 27, 2010 for its promulgation, a bit of the same sense of nationalism and euphoria we experienced in 2002 returned with me as well.
Unlike you, I am grateful for Raila and Kibaki having prevailed in getting the new constitution passed into law and I am confident we can surpass the euphoria of 2002 and the 2010 promulgation in the coming elections but only if people can pause and reflect what a beautiful and desirable occasion that is than its alternative.
You say, “No wonder the document remains difficult to implement.“
Difficulties in implementing the Constitution have nothing to do with Raila but everything to do with those who never wanted the new constitution passed to begin with but the news for them is this: they had better wake up and smell the coffee. The train left the station a long time ago and is headed to its destination nothing will stop it; not them not anything else for the resolve and will of the people is monumental and unbreakable to overcome now and for generations to come.
You say, “[Raila] does not operate on principles but power games. His track record in moving from one party to another when his way did not go, is worrying.“
Please worry no more; Raila’s party affiliations like any politician is to advance his political objectives but unlike most if not all of these politicians, his party affiliation or affiliations has always been and continues to be national in scope and nature which is just fine and acceptable by all.
You say, “I could go on, but I need to go back to my books.”
I hope one of those books is, Raila: An Enigma In Kenyan Politics by Oseloka Obaze. You might learn one or two new things about the man in the book.
Peace, Love and Unity.
Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.