The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), is a movement.
In political parlance, a movement is large informal grouping of individuals or organizations which focus on specific or social issues with the primary objective of bringing about social and political change.
Movements often morph into political parties as was the case with ODM.
Prior to ODM coming into being, the only other time we had anything akin to a movement was pre-independence days but gaining independence was more a product of a revolution than a movement.
A revolution is different from a movement only in scale and tactics, and especially the absence or presence of use of force or violence which is common in a revolution but not in a movement.
In between these two periods of time, namely, between independence and formation of ODM, we had the agitating for reforms in the 90s rightly classified as the Second Revolution by those who led it like Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Whether a revolution or movement, there is a common denominator that weaves through both and regardless of time and that is people’s passion and excited anticipation which must be present for either to succeed.
The oddity in Kenyan politics is even though we had a sounding rejection of the Moi Project in 2002 and a routing of him and his regime with nearly to a man and woman everyone saying enough is enough of Moi, it cannot be said that the routing of Moi was a revolution or the product of a movement.
But clearly there was passion and idealism present whatever it was.
No soon had Kibaki settled as president in 2002, however, the passion and excitement disappeared and dissolution stepped in, especially due to the foot dragging initially and later efforts to force down our throats a diluted constitution that we were better off without.
Raila read the country’s mood right and led in efforts to defeat the efforts to give us the diluted constitution, which in turn led to his ejection from government and on to history as we are witnessing it now.
If Kenyans were despaired and became disillusioned with Kibaki after his election in 2002, Raila and ODM rejuvenated and reactivated their excitement and passions in 2007 when ODM swept the country in victories, bringing down many a political giants such as Kibaki, Nyachae and the rest of the then incumbents, powerful or otherwise they may have been.
The excitement and passions would be short-lived, however.
Following the bungled elections of 2007 and PEV, the country’s hopes and aspirations as represented by ODM’s promise and vision was crushed and she quickly returned to a state of depression and psychological slumber in which she still finds herself.
The passage and finally promulgation of a new constitution brought about by efforts of Raila and to some appreciable extent, Kibaki, once again rejuvenated the country but that rejuvenation and excitement was short-lived as well.
The continued wrangles between the coalition partners became more apparent and defined but the ICC process now sits in the middle of the room as the ugly giant it is to some, but a Godsent to others.
Given this pattern, it is obvious the country is due another rejuvenation and creation of an atmosphere of anticipated excitement.
Rejuvenation and excitement can be for good or for evil.
We are talking about rejuvenation and excitement for good, not for evil as clearly the latter is the case in the so-called “prayer rallies” which are nothing but cesspools of divisive and hate filled tribal speeches.
Rather, what Kenyans need is a rejuvenation and excitement inspired by a desire to once again and hopefully finally collectively move forward as a nation united in our basic common ideals, hopes and aspirations which at the end of the day are the same for all of us, yet many refuse to see or accept preferring instead to cling or blindly follow those we have nothing in common other than what invidiously divides us all and that is tribalism.
This is an ideal opportunity for Raila and ODM to once again step in and help bring about the rejuvenation and excitement along this line of thought.
Granted, it would not be as easy as in the past, given the intervening circumstances we all know but, it is doable.
It is doable because many of the promises made in 2007 by Raila and the party that so rejuvenated and excited the masses have not been fulfilled but not by either’s fault; to some extent, yes, but largely due to circumstances beyond its control.
Again, it’s a difficult case to make, especially more so given the fact it must be made in an environment full of vicious lies and distortions intended to inflict maximum damage to Raila and ODM but with a bit of ingenuity and a dose of goodwill among the reasonable, it is doable.
It is a much better case to make than one why we have an ugly elephant sitting in the middle of the room and about to wreak havoc.
I mentioned above passion and anticipated excitement being a common denominator in all of this phases of evolution we have gone through as a country.
The other common denominator is the name Odinga.
Jaramogi was there at the beginning, his son has been there at each succeeding crossroad we have had to decide which direction to go as a country and now faces the last one of his political life.
Which direction will he lead to this time?
It all depends on the other common denominator that if history teaches us anything, it is that he is quite capable of vurugaring the country to the same rejuvenation and anticipated excitement.
This time it shall and ought to be long-lasting, if not everlasting.
Let him just do it and Yes, he can.