In an article appearing in the Standard yesterday titled “Why I Am Wary of Raila,” its author, one Peter Ngilu attempts to offer reasons that flatly fail on any level of analysis in making the case this Peter was trying to make.
As any objective reader will conclude after analyzing this piece of political hack job by someone I have no doubt is a TNA/URP/UDF fan—and there is nothing wrong with that except the hacking, there is nothing, in fact, to be wary about Raila or his presidency.
Rather, we have in Raila a president in waiting all Kenyans except the naysayers will be happy and proud to have at the helm.
Here we go:
Peter says, “Our Prime Minister is a very likable person, a very respectable and of course extremely excellent nationalist with a very workaholic persona. He is a reformist who has fought tooth and nail for our constitution and we do appreciate that from the bottom of our hearts as a nation.”
This is at the core of who Raila is; had Peter left it right there, he would have made the case he actually believes as does everyone one else, which is, Raila is the best qualified among those vying precisely because of this and more.
He says Raila has “also fought for human rights, equal opportunities and freedom of speech and has been imprisoned for that cause. We know that the Prime Minister may soon be our president if we go by current opinion polls.”
Again, right on.
Indeed, combined, what Peter has said here is at the core of who Raila is; had he left it there, he would have made the case he actually must believe as does everyone and that is, Raila is the best qualified among those vying for the presidency precisely because of what this Peter has said and more.
But he did not leave it there; he instead chose to pursue a line of thinking and argument or “raising concerns” as he calls it that fail in making whatever case he was trying to make when subjected to scrutiny.
Never mind he prefaces his attack with these accolades and even shows his “respect” by noting, “However, with all my respects to my honorable respectable Prime Minister,” because his is nothing but an attack piece that I address to him in rebuttal as follows.
You say, “The Prime Minister is very inconsistent. Today he will say this and that, only to refute it the following day and say that he never said it. He will say he was misquoted.”
There is no one among those vying for the presidency that has been more consistent in what he or she does than Raila.
Instead of making this sweeping allegation without any factual foundation, you would have been better off–and this is, in fact, required in making any convincing case–to cite specific examples where Raila has been inconsistent, shown why that’s relevant or important in the context of his overall leadership ability and, more importantly, you would have had to compare and contrast that with all others seriously vying for the presidency and then make the case why anyone should be more wary of Raila than all the others on this account, namely, inconsistency.
You did not therefore this assertion must be dismissed as nothing but an effort to merely say things for the sake of attacking Raila.
You say, “Previously, [Raila] has denied many press reports that he said in public.”
First of all, which politician doesn’t do this rightly or wrongly and, secondly, and as noted above, by not citing any example, you again leave us with the impression you are merely saying or repeating things you have heard or read without more.
Had you cited any example, we could then analyze that example or examples to determine whether (a) the thing was said and (b) whether the denial is accurate.
If it turned out that (a) the thing was said and (b) the denial was not accurate or intellectually dishonest, then to complete the analysis, we would have to compare and contrast with the other presidential contenders to determine whether (a) they have said something they later denied having said and (b) if they have and the denial is not accurate or intellectually dishonest, then your point will be pointless to the extent it doesn’t raise anything new to distinguish one politician from another in as far as leadership ability is concerned, which is, in fact the case, namely, a politician saying something and later denying it is not a good measure of their leadership ability, taken in isolation.
You say, “This has made him earn the title of ‘Kigeugeu’ which means that he keeps changing like a chameleon.”
Here, you are simply payukaring or simply don’t know much about Kenyan politics.
Raila has never earned the title “Kigeugeu” and neither has he been referred to as such even by his enemies because he’s not and thus the reason I say you’re payukaring.
You say, “This has also made him lose many friends, honourable members and support and earn a lot of foe in the political arena.”
Because it’s false that Raila is or has been a Kigeugeu, it follows therefore that he has not lost any friends or support on account that he is a “Kigeugeu” he is not.
You say, “A leader must be calm, resilient, credible and patient.”
You say, “And just as US Democrat president Obama said of his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, Raila seems to shoot first and then aim later.”
Again, examples can help your case or whatever point you’re trying to make; when has Raila shot first and aimed later? How important was that and more importantly, how does that compare to others vying for the presidency to make you more wary of Raila on this account than the rest?
You say, “We all know of Kibaki’s out-of-hands rule, he will be the last to comment in any situation however critical it is. While this is not a requirement for any national leader, it outlines how strong and resilient he is in taking his time to respond to issues of national interest.”
You are collapsing so many issues into one let me unbundle them for you:
First, you are comparing apples to oranges.
Kibaki is serving his last term in office while Raila is trying to succeed him, which means by definition Raila must and has to say more than Kibaki does or should.
Second, while I would agree with you there are times Raila has said things he shouldn’t or in a way should not, those are rare and taking everything into consideration, they take nothing away from his overall strong leadership abilities and certainly not when compared to those vying for the presidency.
Third, Kibaki’s silence when shouting from the top of the mountains was appropriate has not been good for the country.
For example, earlier this year when Uhuru and Ruto went around the country in the so-called “prayer rallies” which were anything but, Kibaki sat quietly as these two sowed seeds of discord and it took the intervention of the ICC warning the two they risked being arrested if they did not stop the reckless conduct and thankfully they heeded the warning and stopped the nonsense.
That silence by Kibaki was telling and there are others I can cite but need not as you get the point trying to put forth Kibaki’s ubiquitous silence as virtue and occasional Raila misspeak as a vice doesn’t wash factually and analytically speaking.
You say, “In any national issue, Raila is the first to comment and Kibaki is the last to conclude.”
I’ll rather have a leader who thinks on his feet than one who must be told what to say; in other words, the issue is not that Raila comments on every national issue—he must as a leader but it’s what he says that matter.
When I say there are things Raila probably shouldn’t comment about I am not talking about “national issues” which, again, he should and must comment lest he becomes like Kibaki whose silence is often mistakenly read to be he doesn’t care—true in some cases but not in all cases.
You say, “This makes the difference of a national leader; that he must go slow and hold his piece and think carefully what he is going to speak before he opens his mouth.”
No argument there but only to point out Raila does, in most cases, do just that.
He certainly does just that in all cases that are of national importance or significance.
2. Association with criminal outlawed groups
You say, “The Prime Minister has been seen campaigning with the leader of the outlawed criminal group Mungiki and these scenes only remind us of how grizzly the criminal sect murdered innocent civilians.”
I have previously said I intend to pen a comprehensive blog addressing the question of Maina Njenga and his support for Raila and specifically to address the question of religious conversion and what that means in the context of seeking forgiveness and redemption.
Put differently, the question to be asked and answered is can someone like Njenga see light and put his past behind him and become an agent of positive change in the country and my preliminary answer is yes and this was even before I recently met and briefly chatted with Njenga, and especially in light of something he told me that I would note in the blog and that has to do with unity of the country.
You say, “Mungiki murdered hundreds of people in cold blood especially in Central Kenya. By associating with this sect, the Prime Minister is simply telling us that he is so desperate for votes that he does not care which group he associates with, however bloody it is.”
You are mixing things that are actually separate.
While it’s true that Mungiki murdered hundreds of people in cold blood especially in the former Central province, it doesn’t follow that Raila is associating with the sect.
There is no Mungiki sect in the country anymore so Raila cannot associate with something that doesn’t exist.
What he does not realize is that he is simply reminding us of the horrible accounts of how our relatives were murdered by Mungiki.
Would Raila seek the votes of the former members of this defunct sect, most of who were and actually are nothing but hungry and poverty stricken youth and not the murderers some as were some in the sect, Yes!
Is seeking votes from the defunct sect a sign of desperation?
These are Kenyans who more than anyone other than fellow impoverished youth need a leader in the country who can finally address their plight and there is no one better suited for that than Raila among all those vying for the presidency!
You say, “Additionally media reports tell us that Raila has also sought dialogue with another outlawed group: Mombasa Republican Council (MRC). MRC is a group that advocates for secession. This is a criminal outfit that has no place in our country at all; for Kenya is one country in, peace, love and unity.”
You clearly have no understanding or knowledge about what you are talking about here; in other words, you’re payukaring again.
First, MRC is not an “outlawed” group, so get your facts straight.
Second, while some in MRC are still advocating for secession in violation of a court order that lifted the organization’s ban, shunning them or responding to their calls with force is not the solution.
Third, and needless to say, MRC is not a “criminal outfit” as you falsely claim.
Because MRC is none of these things, and because it’s far more easy to divide than unite, there is nothing wrong for Raila to reach out to MRC and try and have their issues addressed in lieu of the alternative of doing nothing and allowing a controllable situation get even worse.
Indeed, it’s a sign of strong leadership ability when a leader like Raila takes on and tackles difficult issues such as those raised by MRC instead of ducking as all other presidential candidates.
You say, “Any leader associating with such groups does not love our country at all.”
Your premise is false therefore your conclusion is equally false and please educate yourself before you start saying things like Raila doesn’t love our country; what are you also a rabid follower of the birthers and haters of President Obama in the US who have been screaming to hoarseness that Obama hates America but are miserable because nobody but their kind believes or buys the nonsense?
You can attack Raila all you wish but leave some room between nonsense and the attacks and to even suggest that Raila doesn’t love the country is not only nonsensical, it’s laughable.
3. Coup involvement
You say, “It is no secret that the Prime Minister himself once confessed, with his own mouth, that he was involved in 1982 coup in which hundreds of people were murdered in an attempt to overturn the government.”
What’s your point?
You say, “Whether the government was bad or not is not our concern. And it is not an issue at the moment. But the coup itself was a treason act in the strictest sense of the word. Make no mistake; two wrongs never make a right. As the African proverb says, ‘a snake still has the venom, even if you remove its teeth.”
You are clearly desperate if you’re going back 30 years to bring up the 1982 attempted coup as something to attack Raila with; this is actually shameful and not worth even a rebuttal other than to say the reasons you have advanced as to why it makes you wary are nonsensical, misplaced and ill-informed so I won’t say much more than this about this.
You say, “Former Agriculture Minister, Mr. Honourable William Ruto, the VP Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka, former Tourism Minister Mr. Balala and current Prime Minister Mr. Musalia Mudavadi, among others, have all complained of dictatorship inflicted in their midst by the Prime Minister Raila Odinga.”
You are here again demonstrating your lack of understanding of Kenyan politics and rather than spending time edifying you, let me just tell you this much:
Early on in the Kibaki Succession Game (KSG), which started soon after the coalition government was formed, it was decided that Ruto will be used as the vehicle to destroy Raila so he and the schemers decided it would fit their plans to try and depict Raila as a “dangerous” man who cannot be trusted.
Ruto then embarked on his mission of lies upon lies against Raila for months on end but to their surprise, Raila withstood all the lies and attacks so it was on to plan B.
Plan B was to try and depict Raila as a “dictator” who would take Kenya back to Moi and Kenyatta days—if you can believe that– because they know gullible Kenyans like you would fall for such nonsense and antics.
You then started hearing shameless mumblings about Raila’s “dictatorship” by the likes of Mudavadi that got louder and louder until Mudavadi left ODM on the false claim that the party was prone to Raila’s “dictatorship” when that’s obviously a lie for Mudavadi has gone on to do exactly what he falsely decried with Raila, namely, carrying himself as the presumptive presidential nominee of UDF.
The point is, Raila is no more a dictator than any of the presidential candidates and anyone who says or believes otherwise is either lying or is hopelessly in denial.
In fact, Raila is the more accommodating and far less dictatorial of all those vying for the presidency and more so the reason he should and will be reelected as our president.
You say, “They have all indicated that Raila rules with an iron hand and does not accept competition that is required in a democracy.”
This is first of all false and, more importantly, every single one of those saying so will do exactly what Raila does in maintaining party discipline and loyalty the only difference is, none of them can do so as effectively as Raila does.
Conversely, leadership is not for the weak and timid like Mudavadi who has demonstrated he is a very weak and indecisive politician.
You say, “Indeed, that is why some of these have left his party.”
Each one of the politician who has left ODM has left for reasons that have everything to do with seeing greener pastures elsewhere in as far as their personal gains politically are concerned than anything to do with democracy or Raila’s leadership of ODM.
Mudavadi, for example, is a certified Kibaki project to succeed him and if you think for a minute Mudavadi left ODM for anything other than this reason, then besides being gullible, you have a lot to learn about Kenyan politics.
You ask, “Is this what Raila calls democracy? Is this not dictatorship? Can all these people be wrong?”
The answers are irrelevant question, no, and yes, respectfully.
You say, “We are also told in the media of the extravagant nature of the PM’s trips abroad. The Prime Minister is known to spent [sic] nights in very expensive hotels in United States. One night of his trip in New York can pay for several of the striking teachers, doctors and lectures.”
You are here repeating a worn-out attack on Raila that has no basis in fact.
Raila, like all other world leaders, travels and stays in a manner and style you would expect any of those leaders to and certainly his travels are no more extravagant than any of the leaders undertake.
To argue that the travels are extravagant merely because the money could be used to pay striking teachers, doctors and lecturers goes to show you neither understand why Raila travels as much as he does and, more importantly, you certainly don’t understand or appreciate the benefits to the country from such travels that are far much more than merely paying the striking teachers, doctors and lecturers.
You ask, “Does this explain why the PM has never responded at all to the striking teachers? “
You are obviously ill-informed or are unaware of the many things the PM does daily to address and resolve all manner of problems in the country but let me at least assure you from publicly available information the PM intervened in the teachers’ strike and, as a result, a deal was reached ending the strike.
You say, “Let us all Kenyans use our votes wisely in the coming elections and elect leaders of credibility. The choice is yours. Use your vote wisely.”
Excellent message I join in making the same call.