For the last one year or so, all serious and not so serious presidential aspirants have had at least one thing in common and that is a crack at falling one mugumo tree in the middle of the field of presidential candidates.
Each one of them has also had one other thing in common with each other and that is inability to fall the mugumo tree despite their individual best effort to do so.
A closer examination of the tree, however, reveals that even though still standing strong, the tree has taken a beating.
The mugumo tree is none other than one Raila Amolo Odinga; a man who seems to always withstand even the most torturous assaults when anyone else in the same shoes would simply buckle and collapse for good without any fighting spirit left to fight on.
Not Raila who in some odd and inexplicable manner seems to strive best under these extreme of circumstances.
When William Samoei Ruto saw an opening early on during the coalition government to bring down Raila by way of spreading lies about the PM in his efforts to save the Mau forest, he went with it full gusto and even some doubters thought he might succeed.
He did not.
That was just a warm-up for Ruto who later would be joined by other ICC suspects in singing the refrain, “let’s not be vague, let’s go to the Hague!”
Except there was one minor problem: unbeknownst to Ruto and company, the Hague was coming after them faster than they could say ICC and thus change in tactic was necessary to now blame Raila for their being sent to the Hague.
Few people took Uhuru and Ruto seriously in their shameless peddling of the lie that Raila was responsible for their being at the Hague when clearly Raila had nothing to do with it and, in fact, they are on record begging to go to the Hague because they at the time taught the Hague was some process in space that would never reach them during their life-times.
They were, of course, wrong.
With a gullible and sycophantic following ready and willing to accept anything Uhuru and Ruto told them, this tactic appeared to work for some time but, given its Raila we are talking about, many of the same followers and the public at large just got tired of the lies, distortions and innuendo to the point it’s now laughable for anyone to try and blame Raila for the duo being tried at the Hague for the serious charges of crimes against humanity.
In other words, the larger public and specifically those who believe in a new Kenya are fatigued by the lies, distortions and innuendo against Raila and are now demanding that these presidential candidates do better.
To be sure, many of these politicians opposed to Raila are counting on the ignorance, illiteracy and tribalism of a segment of the population to still deny Raila the key to State House but a better reading of the public mood is while there may be such voters out there, the vast majority are not and these are the ones to make a difference come election time.
These are the voters who are tired of the lies and being used and for the first time are demanding and want answers to the very basic question those seeking votes all over the world must answer and that is, why should I vote for you and why are you any better than the next candidate.
One can sing all day long and all night long for weeks and eons how bad the other candidate is but the smarter voter would read through that and still demand to know why they should vote for them.
This is the nightmare that Uhuru and Ruto face because neither has really ever articulated, and it’s doubtful they ever will articulate any reason why either is better than Raila when it comes to presidential leadership.
There is, of course, the other nightmare of ICC which between the two one has to toss a coin to determine which is worse, but that’s neither here nor there for now as no decision has been made whether to allow or ban the two from vying for the presidency because of the serious charges of crimes against humanity they face before the ICC.
Meanwhile, having survived the onslaught against him over the recent months and years, Raila appears to have settled on simply preaching a message of peace and unity as well as ending ukabila as the cornerstone of his presidential run.
It’s a smart move that may reward him with the ultimate prize he seeks.