My response to yet another netter attempting to make the untenable argument that Raila should not be elected president because of his record as MP of Lang’ata.
To the netter:
I agree with you the record of all those vying for the presidency must be thoroughly examined, including their performance as MPs, if they are one and, in this regard, I am sure Raila will as everyone of them defend his record as MP as well as our PM.
Three things I can note as an observer and analyst, however and in response to your piece, which I have read every word but not found anything new in it:
First, if one examines the records of these individuals running for president who are also MPs and their performance as MPs, Raila still comes far ahead of all the rest in every measure.
Second, even if one were to somehow come up with a convincing case there is one or more MPs vying for the presidency who has a better record than Raila as MP, they will still fall short in comparison to Raila when evaluated against all other factors to consider in electing our next president, including those I have proposed in The Minimum Qualities, Attributes and Skills Our Next President In Kenya Must Have.
Third, the key to electing our next president and ensuring we have a united Kenya behind him or her, is to be step back and not be influenced by negative energy from the past. It is in this spirit I urged Kenyans to Shout Out If My Wish List Is Similar To Yours in as far as 2012 is concerned and the election of our leaders in the letter and spirit of the new constitution.
Beyond that, the two blogs below I have previously penned on this topic can provide you with some additional information and perhaps help you re-evaluate your position about Raila.
I also understand Raila cannot convince everyone to support him and neither is possible for any politician to do that so I assume no matter what information is out there about any of these presidential candidates, there are some people who would still not support them because Some People You Just Can’t Satisfy No Matter How Good A Leader You Are.
My Advise To A Raila Basher and Why Raila’s Record As Langata MP Is A Non-Issue
An Online Comment By A Kenyan Regarding Raila And Kibera
As I conclude in one of the blogs above, the campaigns are ahead: Raila will make his case for his accomplishments and why he is the best qualified to lead our country forward, and if his opposition will join you in listing his “wrongs” as their ticket to State House, please do so.
BTW, did you know that if you showed up at Treasury and asked UK to drive you to his constituency, he’ll be unable to do so and wouldn’t even recognize it, if you dropped him off somewhere within the constituency beyond where he is accustomed to stopping by and sipping some ahh, tea? LOL.
My point being, Raila will put up his record as MP against anyone, let alone as PM which no one comes even close to having anything to compare; not even the Minister for Finance who can’t account for billions still disappearing from Treasury, while Raila has been vigilant and dogged in his continued fight against corruption.
This is what elections are all about.
This is what elections should be all about and that is, analyzing and comparing people’s records to determine whether they deserve election, re-election or promotion to the highest elective office of the land.
The campaigns have not even started but I would be more confident being in Raila’s shoes than in his opponents’ for the writing is on the wall he will floor each one of them or even collectively should they succeed in banding themselves into a tribalism driven quest to “stop” Raila as they are desperately trying to do because Kenyans are much smarter and enlightened this time around than any time before in our history.
As I have said before, Raila’s victory will be a defeat of tribalism and success of any tribalism driven campaign to stop him would be victory for tribalism the latter might as well adopt as their campaign slogan, “Tribalism Here Today, Tribalism Here Forever!”
Raila and ODM should merely retort with one, “Ukabila Ishindwe!”
P.S. I notice most of the information you have included in your article is directly cut and pasted without accreditation from Kibera UK, a charity based in Wilmslow UK. My question to you is, did you research and prepare the information yourself? If not, you are engaged in classic plagiarism for using the information without crediting the organization.
That aside, the irony here is, you have used information by this organization which, going by what I can ascertain thus far, is one of the few legitimate NGOs around and not vehicles for self-aggrandizement for those who own or run them–anyway, you have used this information meant to solicit money and other resources to help deal with the Kibera slum issue, to slam Raila!
In my series on Raila, I will more comprehensively examine Raila’s record as MP, among others and will point out there how many initiatives he started after Toshaing Kibaki, which were scuttled by Kibaki himself after Raila succeeded in defeating passage of the then flawed 2005 draft constitution.
The netter’s response:
In these fora I neither invoke academia per se nor delve into archives of scholarly phenomena. Such writing formats should be reserved for corridors of intellectual acrobats. It’s the reason I am under no obligation to cite the source of my objectivity. However, intellectual honesty is the hallmark of political discourse. If you must be honest in the evaluation of Raila Odinga’s work in Langata, and how much his performance would help us prognose a Raila Presidency, we must refer to Langata.
The reality on the ground in Langata exposes Raila as an MP whose job performance in the slums is below average. For instance, Kibera needs tenancy rights, housing, water, electricity, clinics, hospitals, education, social amenities, employment, and security. When people lack basic necessities of life such as water, medicine and housing, that isn’t a measure of positive development. That’s mostly the case for Langata and especially in Kibera slums.
The role of an MP is to formulate developmental policies to better the life of his constituents. This doesn’t exonerate Mr. Raila Odinga’s role in Langata. If the PM’s leadership in Langata didn’t benefits his constituents need for tenancy rights, education, hospitals or roads, it wouldn’t be for the best interest of Kenyans to entrust the Langata CEO with all the 290 constituencies of Kenya. Raila Odinga’s charity can only begin in Kibera.
Yet evaluation of Raila’s work isn’t a comparative experiment with his competitors. He’s in my spotlight because from his prior experience and track record, we’ll be able to discuss the likely outcome of his Presidency. The idea that you think Kenya’s alternative Presidential candidates “measure below bar” compared to Raila, doesn’t make him a developmental enygma. In fact, I don’t care whether or not, Raila comes out as the best among those running for President in 2012. I’m concerned with his record as MP and whether he will make a good President.
There’s been a concerted effort to support the cliche that Raila’s developmental initiatives have been scuttled by President Kibaki. Kibaki became President 2002. Raila had been Langata MP for 10 years (since 1992). Matter-of-fact, Kibera was better in 1992 than it’s in 2011. Yet it’s not clear how Mr. Kibaki, then MP for Othaya, was/is responsible for the failures of his Langata counterpart. Here’s where Mr. Omwenga portrays himself as intellectually dishonest.
Mr. Omwenga, some declarations you make are interestingly subjective. For instance you claim that when Odinga becomes President, tribalism will instantly end. Let’s know how this will occur.
In your Minimum Qualities, Attributes and Skills our next President should Possess, you have referred to 1. Religious Conviction 2. Honesty, Truthfulness and Integrity 3. Firm Educational Foundation and Wisdom 4. Inspiration, Vision and Selfconfidence. Samuel, you’ve decided to ascribe these qualities to Raila Odinga. You’ve a right to your opinion. But if Raila had these qualities in his 20-year reign as the Langata helmsman, they didn’t positively benefit his constituents.
Value judgment and ascription of leadership qualities shouldn’t blind us to the real issues. Tell us how Raila’s leadership made it possible for the people of Kibera to meet their needs as in tenancy rights, housing, water, electricity, health clinics, education, employment, and security. You’d have defined his ability to lead.
Let’s debate issues, leaving out tour-guide polemics blown up to the size of evaluation criteria for our next President. Kenyans can only benefit from a President whose track record isn’t defined by ascribed wisdom and blaming his ineptitude on others. But accurate developmental initiatives quantifiable by quality housing, clean water, land rights, better and affordable healthcare, lessened corruption, better basic infrastructure, lower unemployment and an education system more relevant to the needs of the people.
For 20 years, Raila Odinga does not seem to have done much as MP. Until different evidence surfaces, the son of the Jaramogi doesn’t qualify to be Kenya’s President. His exit from Langata will be a burdensome yoke removed from the necks of the people of Langata and especially Kibera.
You have spoken well and and have basically confirmed something I suspected when I first read your post and this is, I do not believe there is anything I, Raila or anyone else can say to change your mind about the position you have taken about Raila and I cite two reasons why I have concluded this:
First, you say, “In fact, I don’t care whether or not, Raila comes out as the best among those running for President in 2012. I’m concerned with his record as MP and whether he will make a good President.”
By this standard, only an MP with an excellent record such that everyone in his or her constituency has unencumbered tenancy rights, is housed, has sufficient water and electricity, access to free or affordable healthcare, education, social amenities, security and employment. If any of the basic necessities of life you cite to be water, medicine and housing are lacking in the MP’s constituency, then they are not “qualified” to be elected president. I suppose you did not think about food and clothing as a basic necessity, but let’s add those as well to make the group complete.
According your criteria, an MP is “disqualified” to run for president if any of its constituents is lacking in any of these basic necessities in addition to, ostensibly, the other items you listed, namely, electricity, healthcare, education, employment, recreation and security.
However, to simplify my analysis, let me just take you to mean none of the MP’s constituents lack in the basic necessities you cited and I added food and clothing to make it complete as we understand basic necessities to be.
Given that downward adjusted expectation, there is no room for anyone in the constituency of the presidential candidate MP you are evaluating to lack any of these basic necessities according to your criteria because if that were to be the case, then you will have to “disqualify” that MP and go to the next and so on until you find the one in whose constituency no one lacks any of these basic necessities.
To do otherwise, namely, accept less than no one lacking in any of these basics necessities of life, you’ll have to then accept the MP whose constituents proportionally have more of these basics necessities than other constituencies, which by definition means you’ll have to engage in a comparative analysis that you say in a not acceptable in your criteria.
You have therefore by that criteria eliminated all past, sitting, and future MPs from running for president for none ever has or ever will ensure that everyone of their constituent lacks none of these basics and essentials.
I need not tell you that that is an extreme and unacceptable criteria to elect our next president or ever.
You add the rest of the items I have excluded in the above analysis in the mix, namely, electricity, access to free or affordable healthcare, education, social amenities, security and employment and your criteria becomes even more extremely absurd.
BTW, I put “qualified” in parenthesis because that term does have a specific legal meaning in the constitution against which one can be evaluated to determine whether he or she is qualified to run for president and be sworn as one, which is different from what I assume you mean and that is, not suitable to be elected as president, even though qualified as a matter of having satisfied the constitutional requirements.
A more reasonable criteria of measuring one’s performance as an MP or representative and one applied in every country across the globe with a representative form of government, is by comparing the performance of the particular MP or representative with other MPs or representatives in their performance relative to services provided for their constituents, including bringing or preserving economic and social development in those areas but not in a vacuum, rather, as measured by an objective criteria which takes into account a number of factors reflecting the idiosyncrasies of the respective representative or MPs and that score becomes but one factor to consider in overall evaluation of the person to determine whether or not they deserve to be re-elected or elevated to a higher office, including the highest office of the land.
You are free to advocate for your extreme criteria but I doubt you are going to go far with it; in fact, I’ll be surprised if you have support beyond 5 or 10 people in the whole country who think such a criteria is reasonable.
You say, “But accurate developmental initiatives quantifiable by quality housing, clean water, land rights, better and affordable healthcare, lessened corruption, better basic infrastructure, lower unemployment and an education system more relevant to the needs of the people.” [sic].
I am not sure what you meant by the phrase as it is simply a predicate but I assume you mean how one provides these things to his constituents if an MP, is a measure of whether or not they should be elected as president.
In other words, you are stating the obvious, namely, all those MPs running must make their case as to how they have done in these areas, unless, again, you wish to apply your extreme criteria of only looking at one MP, no comparison to others, and no evaluation of any other factors, which is absurd, extreme and counterintuitive.
You then conclude, using this absurd criteria, that “For 20 years, Raila Odinga does not seem to have done much as MP. Until different evidence surfaces, the son of the Jaramogi doesn’t qualify to be Kenya’s President.”
I am sure Raila will put forth and defend his record in due time.
However, as I noted above, you have confirmed already that you are not interested in that for the reasons I have offered above and, if there is any lingering doubt is anyone’s mind, you have removed it by your assertion that “His exit from Langata will be a burdensome yoke removed from the necks of the people of Langata and especially Kibera.“
Those same people will beg to differ and so would most Kenyans who are likely to re-elect him as our next president.
Peace, Unity and Progress