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Ndhiwa By-Elections; A Win Win For Raila and ODM Regardless of Who Wins and That’s Good Everyone

Although all indications are that ODM candidate Augustino Oyugi Neto will be elected as MP for Ndhiwa beating his close rival KANU’s Tom Alila by a comfortable margin, let me reiterate what I stated at the conclusion of the ODM nomination process that Alila’s election would also be a good thing because both candidates have demonstrated they have the requisite leadership qualities to be effective representatives of this otherwise muted constituency.

The only downside with Alila’s victory would be what others may view as victory of clanism over substance but Alila can easily rise above this were he to be the one elected and chat a path toward nationalism by working with his party boss and others to make sure Raila is reelected but this time sworn as our fourth president.

Now, I have a great satire I initially wanted to pen about this to put in perspective pre-outcome what a Neto loss would mean or more precisely why it would have happened (in hindsight satirically speaking) but I have opted not to rather let me stick with that which I know is the more likely and that is, Neto’s victory come Monday.

We do not elect parties to parliament; we elect individuals who represent the party, it therefore doesn’t follow if a KANU candidate is elected in Ndiwa, he cannot work with Raila and ODM to bring about the transformational changes Raila and the party intend to bring for the benefit of all in the country.

Having said this, and given the PM has said he will not seek the presidency if Neto is not elected, I would urge all Ndhiwa residents and, indeed, everyone else to get used to saying or hearing the words Hon. Augustino Oyugi Neto for it’s as good as done if the master politician and palm reader of politics on the ground has all but said so in those words.

Good luck to all the candidates and may all the by-elections on Monday held in a manner as desirable as we anticipate in the upcoming general elections, namely, open, transparent and peaceful.

Update:

Since posting this blog, I have learned from an impeccable source Raila did not mean to say ““Ka ok umiya Neto kaka jaod bura maru to kata an ok abichung ekom maduong cha(If you do not give me Neto as your MP, then I will not vie for the top seat),” as reported by the Standard Online, rather, he meant to say if Ndhiwa does not elect Neto, he may as well not vie for the presidency which was merely another way of expressing his confidence Neto will win as opposed to making it an either or proposition as the Standard reporting suggests.

The same source tells me the PM recognizes Neto has challenges that may make it possible for the KANU candidate Alila to win, a prospect as I said which is not bad either because Alila is a formidable candidate in his own right and in the new political dispensation, we want and must commend and appreciate strong candidates who win on account of their leadership ability and not necessarily merely because they belong to one party or another or because they are supported by influential people.

In other words, individual character and leadership ability is what should matter the most when choosing our leaders and not tribalism or ethnicity or being “toshad” as has been the case in the past.

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Posted by on September 15, 2012 in Politics

 

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Happy Birthday Retired President Daniel Arap Moi

I doubt there is anyone more hated or resented in Kenya than our former president Daniel Arap Moi and not without reason. The man literally run our country to the ground and we are fortunate people woke up in 2002 and permanently rejected him and his politics.

There are those who were baying for his blood after the Kibaki government was sworn in following the 2002 elections but anyone who knows anything about these things knew then as now there was nothing to be done of any serious measure to hold Moi accountable for his sins, mismanagement and abuse of the country.

In a recent but historic case, Moi was ordered by the court to surrender land he grabbed in Rongai constituency while serving as president.

This is just but a tip of the iceberg.

Assuming a president who is determined to end corruption and impunity is elected in 2013, and further assuming we continue in the progress we are making in judicial reforms, one can anticipate there will be future legal actions to at least try and have some accountability for some of these illegalities we were subjected to as a country during the Moi regime–at least to the extent legally possible.

No one is suggesting and I am certainly not suggesting that Moi should be locked up or held to account for every sin he may have committed as president; just an effort to return to the public some of the loot as we witnessed the other day in the court order regarding the grabbed land in Rongai.

His continued good health is therefore something we all should wish for him so that he may cooperate fully and, on a very sincere and strictly as a fellow human being and mzee we all should and must respect no matter their sins for the Bible tells us we have all fallen short in one way or another, I wish him a happy birthday, long life and good health.

That being said, I would want to believe were Moi to do it all over, he would do it differently and doubt he’ll be as brutal and without compassion for the suffering of our people as he was.

If I were Moi or advising him, I would await the new administration to take office, call up the new president along with the new AG and strike a deal in which he agrees to surrender some of the loot in exchange for being left to enjoy the rest of his retirement and life without being dragged to court to answer to some of these things as he likely would or should–unless lovers and beneficiaries of status quo and impunity grab or maintain power.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Politics

 

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MPs Unpopularity A Dilemma for Presidential Hopefuls But Only For Some, Not All

According to the Standard Online story below, presidential hopefuls are in a dilemma over associating with MPs who face credible opposition from popular aspirants, which could doom their prospects for election.

The paper notes that a recent poll suggests 63% of Kenyans would not re-elect their current MPs, which the paper notes is adding to the pressure for these presidential candidates to shun the unpopular MPs.

Although there is truth in this analysis, it is more so true for PNU or whatever it morphs into in 2012 than ODM, which continues to enjoy nationwide support despite its earlier problems wrought by Ruto’s departure.

Led by Raila’s strategic moves to re-popularize the party and specifically his successfully fending off Ruto’s onslaughts, all that is left is for the party to maintain its dominance in Kenyan politics is to hold open and transparent elections of its top officials and ditto for nomination of its contenders for the various elective offices and the train to victory shall be difficult, if not impossible to stop.

PNU, G7, G47 or whatever tribal outfit emerges to challenge ODM will likely see dust simply because none of these entities or more specifically none their leaders can make any compelling case beyond tribalism why they are or can be a better team than ODM, and more so for the high office.

That’s not to say many within their ranks cannot be elected to the various elective offices in their own right, which they shall, but any objective analyst must conclude not at the presidential level where none matches Raila in terms of leadership qualities and broad appeal across the nation.

In other words, the only reason Raila gets defeated, is if tribalism prevails.

His opponents hope so, the rest of us hope not.

Peace, Unity and Truth

Omwenga

And now the story…

Presidential hopefuls are in a dilemma over association with MPs who face credible opposition from popular aspirants, which could unsettle their campaigns for high office.

The frontrunners to succeed President Kibaki have the tricky task to embrace allies in Parliament without being seen as an endorsement by their rivals who also back their presidential candidatures. A recent opinion poll suggesting 63 per cent of Kenyans would not re-elect their current MPs piles up pressure on presidential aspirants to shun unpopular leaders, hanging onto their coattails to shore up their support.

The conflict involving sitting MPs, former legislators and new political players will escalate in the forthcoming General Election since many more posts are up for grabs, including governor, Senator, MP, representatives to county assemblies.

Presidential hopefuls have tricky task ahead [Graphic/Standard]

Feuds between sitting MPs and aspirants have dire political consequences like in 2007 when Narc-Kenya imploded, leading to the late cobbling of PNU as President Kibaki’s re-election vehicle.

Eventually the parties fielded competing parliamentary candidates that resulted in PNU having fewer MPs than ODM, which was among the grounds to dispute President Kibaki’s victory.

Fourth president

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Planning Assistant Minister Peter Kenneth, Gichugu MP Martha Karua are competing to become the country’s fourth president.

Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale cautions presidential aspirants to accord equal treatment to MPs and their opponents because favouring incumbents is politically suicidal.

“Presidential aspirants should know they are operating in an environment where over 70 per cent of MPs lose their seats. Pegging their hopes on such unpopular MPs is dangerous. They should treat MPs and aspirants equally,” Khalwale told The Standard On Sunday.

Gwassi MP John Mbadi says presidential aspirants will not be in a dilemma if they embrace internal party democracy.

“Let them and their parties conduct credible party nominations rather than attempting to impose unpopular candidates on voters. We should not hang onto coattails of presidential aspirants or seek out favours for nomination,” Mbadi added.

Political foes are keen to exploit their proximity to presidential contenders to curry favour with their supporters and influence party nominations for mileage at the polls.

Such intrigues played out last year at a public rally in Nyeri following Uhuru’s return from an appearance at the International Criminal Court. The rally at Ruring’u Stadium turned into a showdown between local MPs and aspirants, including former Mathira MP Nderitu Gachagua and former Cabinet minister Mutahi Kagwe, who protested at attempts to sideline them.

Area MPs who rarely pull together attended the meeting, which highlighted the scramble for the Gatundu South MP, whose popularity has soared. Uhuru avoided appearing to endorse either sitting MPs or their rivals, instead assuring that the PNU Alliance would hold fair nominations.

Juja MP William Kabogo of Kiambu County had been picked as the master of ceremonies for the event, apparently to diffuse tension among Nyeri County leaders.

Kabogo would later pick a quarrel with Maragwa MP Elias Mbau, which would escalate to a physical scuffle around Parliament Buildings, days later.

The tiff was linked to the supremacy battle between Uhuru and Kenneth in Murang’a County. Kenneth, who wants to run for president on a Kenya National Congress ticket, has had meetings with MPs and new political players eyeing gubernatorial posts.

Ruto has dozens of MPs tagging along to his new United Republican Party of Kenya. They have to elbow for space with former MPs and newcomers who also hope to ride on Ruto’s back to unseat them.

Both groups believe their election will be assured if Ruto sanctions their nomination or at least endorses their candidacy.

For instance in Trans Nzoia County, Joshua Kuttuny, Ruto’s ally, has to contend with former Kenya Seed Company managing director Nathaniel Tum, who is eyeing the seat.

Ruto’s allies are facing off like in Bomet County where Chepalungu MP Isaac Rutto and his Konoin counterpart Julius Kones are battling for the governor’s seat.

Party leadership

Before abandoning UDM, Ruto had been forced to intervene in feuds by rival factions in Ainamoi and Belgut represented by his allies Benjamin Langat and Charles Keter.

It’s no different in ODM where party leader Raila has had to steer clear of party leadership feud in Nairobi between City Mayor George Aladwa and Starehe, MP Margaret Wanjiru.

The recent ODM grassroots elections saw new comers lock veterans out of the party leadership at constituencies, with Cabinet minister Fred Gumo (MP, Westlands) losing to city councillor Elias Okumu.

In Western Province Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito was swept away. The same fate befell his Bomachoge counterpart Simon Ogari, who lost to city lawyer Joash Maangi.

Kalonzo has said nominations for his Wiper Democratic Party will be free and fair and that he will not interfere with the process.

In Ukambani MPs and aspirants are banking either on Kalonzo or Water Minister Charity Ngilu.

As a pointer to the shifting loyalties, Kitui West MP Charles Nyamai, who was elected on Ngilu’s Narc ticket in 2007, when ODM-Kenya wave swept the region, has since decamped to the VP’s camp.

Nyamai is facing off with former Environment minister Francis Nyenze, who he dislodged in 2007 after Ngilu handed Nyamai the ticket. Nyenze has since warmed up to Ngilu and is serving in one of the water boards, as is former Machakos Town MP Daudi Mwanzia.

In Murang’a County, Kenneth is seen to enjoy close ties with MPs Elias Mbau (Maragua), Kiharu’s Muturi Mwangi, Maina Kamau (Kandara) and Clement Wambugu (Mathioya).

Environment minister John Michuki (Kangema) and Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau are in Uhuru’s camp. During last year’s civic polls Kenneth’s group upset the Uhuru camp in the region. Mercy Kimwe was elected Murang’a’s first woman mayor. She ousted Joseph Njoroge, who’s allied to Uhuru and Michuki.

In neighbouring Maragua, Cyrus Ruru ousted Charles Thuo, who is allied to Uhuru.

Ongoing party polls have been tricky for party chiefs given the inevitable clash between MPs and aspirants.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Politics

 

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My Response To Another Blogger Regarding Raila’s Electability in 2012

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.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2011 in Politics

 

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Prof. Makau Mutua Is Wrong In Saying Raila Should Not Accept Moi’s Support

In an article appearing in the Sunday Daily Nation Online, Prof. Makau Mutua argues that Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga’s rapprochement with former president, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi is a “very bad idea.”

I disagree with the good professor for the reasons that follow, in addition to those I laid out in my Open Letter to H.E. Retd. President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, C.G.H.

Makau rhetorically posits the question why is Raila “dancing” with former President Daniel arap Moi and offers a number of reasons he says make his “gut and brains” tell him it’s a “very bad idea.”

The good professor is wrong off the gate; Raila is not asking Moi to dance with him; he merely needs Moi in the same dancing hall!

The hall surely must have enough partners to dance with to ensure Raila dances all the way to State House; it’ll be foolhardy for him to leave miffed or otherwise unhappy dancers outside the hall who may as well block his way to State House!

If this is not good reason enough why Raila must continue with the rapprochement with Moi and why this is a good idea, there is more.

Before getting to those, let me address a couple of preliminary points I also disagree with Makau related to politics in general.

Makau says, “politics is neither rational, nor emotional” and that politics is instead about “expediency” which therefore necessitates doing away with principles and thus the reason “moral and political “purists” never get into the “mud of politics.”

The professor is wrong that politics is neither rational nor emotional for if that were the case, we’ll have madmen and women elected to office and all these emotional and near childlike reactions to Raila’s popularity would not be, were it not expressly not because people often react with emotion and not reason but are irrational at times, even as they are trying to be rational.

I can go into details why I say so but that’s beyond the scope of this piece so let me address the rest of Makau’s thoughts in the above quoted assertion.

Makau says politics is about expediency, true. I agree with that statement completely but disagree with the professor that the expediency is at the expense of rationality and/or emotion.

All three go together, otherwise, you’ll have nothing but chaos and indirection in politics and/or the absence of compassion in whatever leadership manages to eke itself out in such an environment.

Again, expounding on this counter-points is beyond the scope of this article so let me just move on and address the balance of Mutua’s piece I disagree with.

It is true as Mutua argues that “in a democracy, the top priority of politicians is to win elections. That’s why every vote — especially in the opponent’s turf — must be wooed.”

The only question is whether Raila’s wooing Moi is appropriate or not.

Mutua says the mere thought of Raila lying in bed with Moi, “revolts” him and goes on to offer reasons “why—and why not—the PM would be unwise to dine with Mr. Moi.”

Not to split hairs too much, and with all due respect to my friend Prof Mutua, just as going to bed is different from dining with someone in real life, so it is figuratively speaking in the political arena.

I have noted above that Raila need not dance with Moi at all; rather, he just needs Moi in the dancing Hall, rather than outside the hall with others trying to block him from dancing all the way to State House.

Just as much as he doesn’t need to dance with Moi, Raila too need not go to bed with him; rather, having him at the dining table and breaking bread, is good enough so long as the duo are on the same page as to Raila’s pathway to State House.

In other words, there is more Moi can do for Raila’s presidential ambitions strategically speaking short of going to bed or dancing with Raila.

Of course, there is even more Moi could do and, indeed, it would be desirable that he actually does do the ultimate and that is, to simply go to bed with Raila.

As I point out below, I disagree with Mutua and others who argue that Moi is spent force; he is not, and those who think otherwise are mistaken for the reasons I elaborate below.

In his analysis, Mutua first presents the case why Raila should “coddle” with Moi and then offers  in his second part of the analysis, why Raila should not do so.

In offering reasons why Raila should “coddle” Moi, Mutua posits that “Mr Odinga has been outmanoeuvred [sic] by Eldoret North MP William Ruto among the Kalenjin.”

This is at best an unproven assertion.

While it’s true Ruto and others using him lied to Kalenjins about Raila and to some degree succeeded in confusing and misleading the Kalenjin community about Raila and his relations with the communit in efforts to topple Raila as heir apparent to Kibaki, it is clear these efforts have failed because Raila not only remains the man to beat, going by the most recent polling data showing him leading his closet rival Uhuru Kenyatta by more than 22 points, he has in more recent times started to regain the support he lost in RV due to Ruto’s mischief as rationality and reality starts to sink in among many who have hitherto been seating on the sidelines, while emotional overreaction to lies and distortions dissipates.

(For reasons why the Ruto failed to topple Raila, read my blog Who Is William Ruto Part VI and Why The Scheme To Topple Raila Has Failed)

I would therefore not say it’s the case that Ruto has “out-maneuvered Raila in Kaleland; quite the contrary, Raila has outmaneuvered Ruto and will likely continue to do so to the end when he emerges victorious, despite Ruto’s and others’ best efforts to stop him.

Notwithstanding the professor’s false premise that Ruto has outmaneuvered Raila in Kaleland, the professor is also wrong in his other premise that the destiny of Kaleland is in the hands of Ruto and that therefore courting Moi to gain this votes is a bad idea.

Ditto for Mutua’s converse argument predicated on another false premise that Raila can only have a prayer in Kaleland if the ICC charges against Ruto are confirmed in which case, according to Mutua, “coddling” Moi would be a good idea.

To his credit, however, Mutua recognizes that the Kalenjin are not a mindless monolith acting only at the direction of Ruto, or anyone for that matter and therein lies the opening for Raila or anyone else.

Raila has to and must continue to make the case in Kaleland as he is and has to in all parts of the country that he is the better qualified of all candidates who have expressed interest in the presidency, or those who actually run.

In other words, Raila has to, and all indication are he will have a 47-County campaign strategy and his motto must be “let’s not leave anyone behind except the most adamant to so remain but must join us ahead, anyway.”

It is therefore baffling why, singling the dynamics in Kaleland, Mutua says of Raila, “Mr Odinga is a “splitist” who is playing on “internal” Kalenjin differences to win a large chunk of their vote.”

This argument is counter-intuitive, even given the professor’s own admission above that the Kalenjins are not a “mindless monolithic’ group which ostensibly therefore should not vote en masse for one or another candidate.

The opposite of not being monolithic and voting en masse, is to have a split vote.

Any politician who seeks to harvest votes in the area must therefore by definition be a “splitist” and thus the reason I am baffled why Mutua is singling out Raila as somehow the only one doing this, which he by implication is arguing, is an aspect of “divide and rule” strategy when it obviously is not by his own analysis.

Mutua argues that Raila wants to “split” the Kalenjin “along the Ruto-Moi rift” and that Raila “believes Mr Moi will work with him to “kill” Mr Ruto’s stranglehold over the Kalenjin.”

This is an argument that is obviously wrong based on my own analysis above.

The Kalenjin are either going to vote as a block or they are not.

As I have been arguing forever, the Kikuyus and Kalenjin must lead in ending tribalism in Kenya and obviously, one way of doing so, is ending this habit of voting as a block by both of these communities, as well as the rest plagued with the disease.

By ending voting as a block, the Kalenjin and all communities for that matter must look for other reasons to vote for a presidential candidate other than that their own or closely related is running.

Which means all communities must by this measure have split votes and it doesn’t matter one bit for me, the basis for that splitting of votes.

If the Kalenjin split their votes along the Moi-Ruto axis, which really does not exist, given one is a mere boy, another a seasoned old giant, loath him or not, then so be it.

I’d rather have that than the entire community voting for Ruto just because they can’t bring themselves to vote for someone else.

Professor poses the question whether “the Kalenjin be put asunder along this divide (Moi-Ruto) and postulates that the “chances are only good if Mr Ruto is bound for trial at The Hague.”

Raila cannot bank on Ruto being bound for trial at the Hague or use that as a basis for his strategy to regain lost ground in the Rift Valley; rather, he has and must continue to engage in those endeavors as if the Hague does not exist.

Mutua argues that “it will be easier to lure away Mr Ruto’s supporters if he’s “sequestered” at The Hague. Mr Moi can then — with Mr Odinga’s charisma — recapture his place as the Kalenjin kingpin.”

This is too simplistic an approach I am surprised Mutua is even suggesting it.

Again, Raila has and must continue to regain lost ground in the Rift Valley as though the ICC does not exist.

This is, obviously, an analytic proposition that has nothing to do with the merits of the ICC case against Ruto, just in case someone mistakes my stating so.

Professor argues that, in the case Ruto is “sequestered,” then Raila has an opening in RV “because there is no other Kalenjin who can take Mr Ruto’s place,” adding that therefore the Kalenjin “might figure that Mr Odinga — who they christened arap Mibei when they were solidly in ODM — is better than the devil they don’t know.”

Mutua is on a very wrong track on this one and is going even further, he should stop and come back to where Raila is and must continue to be, and that is, to continue in his efforts to regain lost ground in RV as though ICC does not exist.

Indeed, even though Ocampo has charged Ruto for essentially hijacking ODM’s grievance with Kibaki based on the belief he stole the presidency from Raila, analytically, Ruto’s position is no different from that of the government and its part of the Ocampo Six, even though Ocampo appears to have more in the form of evidence against the latter 3 but is unlikely to overcome evidentiary and legal hurdles to secure a victory at trial as against the former 3, a case can be made about Ruto and ODM, “we are on your side.” Footing his legal fees, for example, is one way of expressing that sentiment.

This is why banking on confirmation of charges against Ruto as a net-advantage for Raila does not make sense to me.

Mutua then argues that this “plot” will turn out to be a fool’s errand if Mr Ruto beats the confirmation charges at The Hague.

The “plot” Mutua is referring to, is Kalenjins voting for Raila than “the devil they don’t know,” if charges against Ruto are confirmed.

Needless to say, this is not a “plot,” unless the professor is ascribing a new meaning to this word.

Assuming the professor means “strategy” or something less sinister, I have already noted above whether the ICC charges against Ruto are confirmed or not, Raila must continue doing what he is doing to regain lost ground in the Rift Valley and so far, so good, given recent developments there showing progress.

The person who really should be plotting now, is Ruto, on how he gets back to Raila’s fold, especially if things go in the direction they are likely to after confirmation of the ICC charges against him.

Professor argues another reason why Raila should reach out to Moi is “it would be foolhardy for Mr Odinga to sit by idly and concede one of the largest troves of votes. He wants to be the president of all Kenyans.”

This goes without saying, of course, and I totally agree.

Mutua then posits that “you can bet that Mr Odinga knows that Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka wants Mr Moi and the Kalenjin in his column,” adding that “that’s why Mr Odinga has snatched Mr Moi to deny Mr Musyoka a crucial ally.”

There are several things analytically wrong with this assertion from the professor as well as his conclusion that “you can bet that the man from Tseikuru — Mr Moi’s political pupil — will fight hard to get “daddy” back. My take is that Mr Moi will go with the winner,” but let me not get into each other than to say, unlike his opponents, Raila’s strategy from what we can tell, is based on building relationships, not destroying them. Kalonzo, Ruto and others specialize on the latter but not the former so, if I were Raila, I would not be terribly concerned about them and the little games and shenanigans they are playing alongside a moving train headed to victory down the road.

Another reason Mutua offers for why it’s wise for Raila to work with Moi, is “the  Kalenjin elite” are not used to being out of power as evidenced in their “troubled” behavior during President Mwai Kibaki’s reign.

Mutua explains that this is why the Kalenjins supported Mr Odinga and ODM in 2007, namely, because they believed that “Mr Kibaki’s regime had victimised [sic] them, and that Mr Odinga would bring them out of the political cold.”

According to Mutua, “Mr Ruto turned the Kalenjin against Mr Odinga” but the Kalenjin “may calculate that Mr Odinga could emerge the winner in 2012.”

Mutua concludes that therefore “this could be their chance to partner with Mr Odinga in the inner sanctum of power,” which the professor adds is “a likely scenario if Mr Ruto and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are at The Hague.”

I agree in some of the professors conclusions, but disagree with some of his premises.

For one, and as I have argued above, the Hague is and cannot be a major consideration in Raila’s effort to regain lost ground in the Rift Valley but those who have had no reason to abandon Raila since 2007, joined by those who are now or will be convinced that Raila is the likely president, come 2012, will likely combine to give Raila sufficient support in RV and therefore help propel him into the presidency, independent and regardless of what happens at the Hague.

I therefore disagree with Mutua that this scenario (of increased support for Raila in RV) is only likely, if Ruto and UK are at the Hague.

I also disagree with the Professor’s argument that the “Kalenjin elite” are not used to being out of power, only because it’s somewhat misleading.

No community, social group, or party is ever used to being out of power.

Everyone wants to be in power and this is the problem of democracies.

Everyone cannot be in power at the same time.

Each of the major tribes in Kenya, has fielded a presidential candidate.

Why? Because each community wants one of their own to be president.

But there can only be one president at a time and therefore, only one community at a time and more so the reason we must have a president who cares and caters to all communities, equally.

Raila is presenting himself as such a candidate and is, in fact alone at the top as one such candidate.

In his second part of his analysis, Mutua raises a number of reasons why Raila should not “woo” Moi.

The first reason he offers, is that “Mr Moi is passé. He’s not the future.”

Moi may not be the future, but he is certainly the past and present.

When the professor asks the rhetorical question, “why, then, would Mr Odinga, a man who wears the mantle of reformer, reach back to resuscitate Kenya’s last dictator?” the answer I can offer him is, Raila wants Moi to help in ending tribalism.

There are many other answers I can give, but let Raila himself provide those in the course of his campaign and let the people, especially those from the Rift decide whether those are good enough reasons to reward him with a vote, in addition to whatever additional support he gets from reaching out to Moi, to begin with.

When Mutua rhetorically poses, “Should reformers worry that an Odinga administration will be more status quo, and less reformist?” the answer is, “no” based on reasons the very reformers know.

When Mutua rhetorically poses, “shuld we worry that Mr Odinga will be captured by ancient regime elements?” the answer is , “no” and when Mutua wonders, “If so, should reformers leave his side and launch their bid for the State House?” the answer, again, is “no” because those with Raila remain with him and will continue to be with him, because they understand precisely what he is doing, those who may have left him, are having second thoughts and returning and who already left him in the guise of “disagreeing” with him on his reform agenda, have done so for less than honest but opportunistic reasons unrelated to reform and therefore don’t count.

When the good professor poses the question, “If we want to transform Kenya — and break up tribal voting patterns — how can we do so if folks like Mr Odinga strategise along tribal lines?”

The good professor has this upside down; it is not Raila who is strategizing along tribal lines, rather, it is his opponents to the man and woman.

As noted above, Raila has a 47-County campaign strategy, meaning, he’ll court votes in every county of the Republic therefore his is not a strategy “along tribal lines,” not at all.

Finally, when professor asks, “Shouldn’t Mr Odinga reject the tribal calculus and turn the 2012 elections into a contest of issues?” I am sure the answer he would give as he has in as many times he has spoken on this, is yes, he would prefer candidates focus on discussion of national issues but that does not necessarily mean that he, as a reformer, must agree with Moi on any of them.

Agreeing on one, namely, helping in ending tribalism would be good enough.

And that also, is good enough reason Raila should continue with his rapprochement with Moi and thus why Professor Mutua is wrong in his view to the contrary.

FN1: Note the good professor did not give us a single reason why he is “revolted” by the mere thought of Raila reconciling with Moi and certainly all the reasons he did here could not possibly rise to that level of revolt

FN2 Note also by declaring the battle for RV is between who follows Moi or who follows Ruto, Mutua is saying Prof. Ole Kiyiapi or those not firmly behind or associated with either are irrelevant.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2011 in Politics

 

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