East Africa

Raila Odinga unable to be president of Kenya?


According to a major media house in Kenya, Raila Odinga cannot lead Kenya.  Below was their take on it.


Some time back when I was a little boy, probably six or seven years old during a public holiday, President Moi was giving one of his famed ad libs. In the course of his address, he mentioned something to the effect, ‘Raiya wananichokoza.’

Right in the heart of rural Kenya in my village, my mother stopped what she was doing, froze and frantically cranked up the volume to hear why the big man was so pissed. And probably listen to what would happen next.

During this period, I remember my grandma wondering whether the government had been toppled every time the radio went silent. The above and a few other instances were the full extent of my encounter with the totalitarian regime that ruled Kenya at the time.

I can only read in history books and imagine what happened to those who had the gumption to challenge the state at all during that dark period. I am prone to making one-off political statements which would probably have put me in trouble with the authorities.  Now that I can air my views freely, I am eternally grateful to those who took the gauntlet and fought for our rights to express ourselves.

The efforts of the reforms brigade culminated with the new progressive constitution that we gave ourselves in 2010. As a result of having this supreme law, the needs of the country have changed.

In my assessment, the late eighties and early nineties were the era where our greatest need was political reforms. In pining for this change, the country was responding to the great pan-Africanists formula, ‘seek ye first the political kingdom.’ Once the new constitution was passed, the political need of the country shifted from reforming institutions to building the ones that had already been formed under the constitution.

The politicians who seek the country’s top leadership display different inclinations as far as their priorities as concerned. Among them, is, of course, the most enduring, Raila Odinga. In my opinion, this gentleman would have nothing to offer the country as president in the current age.

For whatever reason, his political clock seems to have stopped in the early 90s. His continued quest for ‘reforms’ beats logic. This is because in this day and age, the country’s real need, is for the institutions established by the new constitution to be strengthened so as to make them the strong pillars they were intended to be for the country.

Raila’s attack on the IEBC proves his propensity to demolish everything and his inability to build anything. It is true that as an aggrieved Kenyan, he has the right to air his views concerning his dissatisfaction with the composition, conduct or any other aspect of the IEBC.

However, as a person deserving of office, it is imperative for his approach to be consistent with the current needs of the country. The insistence that he cannot take his petition against IEBC through parliament betrays the mindset that is not in tandem with the trend of our national growth. His reference to IPPG on April 29 as ‘the way we need to go as a country,’ shows a thinking that is clearly backward.

Unfortunately, undermining our national institutions and casting aspersions on Kenyans’ ability to run key institutions in the country has long been a feature in Raila’s conduct of politics. He is on record calling for the recruitment of a foreign IG of police, Chief Justice, Electoral Commission and just about every other important office in this country except, of course, that of the president which he wants for himself.

While Raila’s rhetoric casts him as a champion in the war against corruption, the truth is, he is a disappointment on this issue where the rubber meets the road. If past conduct does anything to predict future action, then Kenyans can expect President Raila to do a worse job-fighting corruption than any other leader the country has had.

Many of the other leading politicians wink at corruption and war mongering when conducted by their underlings. Also Raila defends his lieutenants with a rare gusto allegedly using extra-legal means.

Recently, Nairobi branch ODM chairman George Aladwa was caught on camera advocating for violence. This was in order for Raila to clinch the presidency. Raila then organized a group of individuals to storm the police station where he was being held. There are many other instances, on public record on this type of conduct that is completely inconsistent with a man who would lead the country anywhere but to stagnation at best and destruction at worst.

Odinga’s history of fighting to demolish an oppressive system is well documented, as his daughter helpfully pointed out the other day. As a Kenyan, I am grateful to him for what he did.

However, as Bill Richardson commented about Senator John McCain when he was running for president in the US in 2008, we don’t have to make all those who make sacrifices for the sake of the country president.

There are thousands of Kenyans who have made far greater sacrifices to build the country we live in today. Many of them, such as our gallant soldiers and police officers have died in the line of duty. Others lost the ability to walk around and rabble rouse the way Raila does today.

We must only give the presidency to one who has the temperament and inclination to lead the country towards achieving the goals that are important at this time. Raila’s ability to demolish what is not good for us is not balanced out by the ability to build what we need. He demolishes endlessly and as such he is unsuitable for the presidency at this time or any other time in our future.

Standard Media.

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