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Friday, June 09, 2006

Is ODM Finished? Is Raila Odinga Finished?

The last two weeks have been a terrible nightmare for ODM light Raila Odinga and his "baby" ODM (Orange Democratic Movement). While the future in the United Kingdom cell phone industry still looks like it will be orange, the future on the Kenyan political landscape now looks like it will certainly not be orange.

++++++STOP PRESS+++++++++
Armenian Brothers arrested in the early hours of this morning

A total of about 7 people were arrested a few hours ago, including the controversial Armenian brothers (Artur Margaryan and Artur Sargasyan) who are said to have earlier refused their bags to be searched by customs officials at JKIA airport as they returned to the country from an indisclosed destination. In the raid, the gate to their plush Runda residence was pulled down with the help of a lorry when the Armenians ignored a police order to open it. Government car number plates, military uniforms and hoods were amongst the items recovered by police from the scene. About 50 police officers were involved in the raid led by Gigiri police OCS Patrick Lumumba. The raid took place at about 1 am Kenyan time.

++++++STOP PRESS+++++++

It started with what appeared to be a small and unrelated incident, about a month ago. Retired President Moi came back into mainstream active politics rather quietly with a visit to the northern frontier remote part of Kenya of Marsabit and the environs. The meet the people tour which in retrospect can now be seen as a meticulously calculated political move by the self-proclaimed professor of politics had politicians panicking. Most wondered what all the fuss was about an old man former president visiting some remote almost-forgotten part of the country.

Hate them, like them, underestimate them, even ignore them, but you will not change the facts on the ground. The facts are that this is the new team to beat. This blogger thinks that all things remaining the same, they will be impossible to defeat in 2007





A week or two later, Kanu chairman (handpicked, anointed and installed personally by Moi himself) Uhuru Kenyatta, announced firstly through a trusted aide then personally that he was pulling out of ODM. It still didn't look like a big deal until Kanu, the largest single political party in the country officially announced after a stormy meeting that the party was pulling out of ODM.

Whichever angle you look at things from, the cause of ODM’s troubles is former President Daniel Arap Moi. Judging even from the comments in this blog, many people have not been taking citizen Moi seriously. The assumption is that without the power of the presidency, he is harmless. It is absolutely fascinating that Moi has made a brilliant career out of being underestimated.

Western powers underestimated out of the belief they have always had at the back of the mind that if somebody can’t speak flawless fluent English, then they are not intelligent. Moi run circles around them for 24 years without their ever knowing what hit them.

Meeting At State House After President Kenyatta’s Death

It is said that shortly after President Kenyatta’s death while in office in 1978, a secret meeting took place in State house where the Kenyatta’s kitchen cabinet plotted on how they were going to take over power. Everybody in the meeting branded the quiet, not-very-bright-looking Moi as a passing cloud. Only one man, the late Paul Ngei warned the group not to underestimate Moi and that once he ascended to the presidency for even one day, it would be impossible to remove him. Ngei was ignored by the powerful kitchen cabinet members that included the likes of Njoroge Mungai and Charles Njonjo and yet his warning and prediction was bang on target.

With the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1992, everybody was sure that Moi was finished. The opposition underestimated the man and Moi remained one step ahead of everybody until his retirement in 2002.

An emotional reader of this blog recently posted the words; “You are wrong, Raila will be President.” Personally I think Raila Odinga would make a great Prsident and I am as alarmed as other Kenyans at the way things have suddenly gone with the ODM. But in politics it is very important to make a clear distinction between emotions and wishful thinking and the reality on the ground.

Raila Odinga is a rebel who has helped Kenyans achieve a lot. But what is the fate of rebels? Do they ever get to rule? Read history and answer that question for yourself.

The rebellion that led to the murder of Julius Caesar was led by the likes of Brutus. But it was Mark Anthony with that classic I-have-come-to-bury-Caesar-not-to-praise-him-speech at the funeral who worked up the crowd and ascended to power.

As we head towards the general election I can see nothing but a Kibaki re-election win. Remember how George Bush won re-election? I think the Kenyan electorate will be split exactly like that with those for Kibaki and those for the opposition. I also believe that in spite of everything that is currently happening, President Kibaki will face one major opponent from a fairly unified opposition.

That is the reality. What is in my heart is really irrelevant but let me just say it.

The only thing that can save Kenya right now is the election of a young Kenyan (under the age of 45) who has never been in politics before but understands the country well enough and has a vision of what needs to be done. That is the only way Kenyans can get the new beginning that they so strongly desire.

I will be the first to admit that this is quite a long shot because most Kenyans under the age of 45 do not understand politics, let alone the Kenyan situation. They make intelligent philosophical statements based on American politics in the city and assume that the ordinary Kenyan voter thinks exactly like them.

Is it going to be Raila Brutus or Raila Mark Anthony?



They have never for instance visited Turukana a place where it is difficult to believe that one is still in Kenya. And where dead dogs (accidentally crashed on the road by one of the rare vehicles seen in the area or killed by wild animals) roasted over a fire are a rare delicacy and probably the only time these Kenyans get to see meat.

To answer the question I posed in this articles’ headline at the beginning. This is what history says about the matter. ODM will re-group and re-organize but Raila Odinga and ODM will never again enjoy the power they previously did during the referendum and from now on, it will all be downhill. This is very bad news for Kenyans and I apologize that I am the one who has to deliver it.

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What is Happening in this blog on July 5th 2006?

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17 comments:

kritik said...

ODM was and still is an amorphous idea conceived by a few power-hungry individuals hell-bent on perpetuating a culture of corruption.
RAila as president??
very far-fetched...
the guy lacks the credibility and respectability that the office of the presidency requires..
Kalonzo, Uhuru, Mudavadi, Saitoti etc..
are all presidential material

chris said...

Uhuru (Land-grabbing-father) Kenyatta and George (Goldenberg) Saitoti better Presidential material than Raila (scandal-free) Odinga? Excuse me sir, what criteria are you using to make your assessment?

chris said...

However I agree with you on your assessment of the ODM. Kenyans were taken for a ride. Or you can look at it from another angle. ODM helped us reject a bad constitution now we don't need them anymore. That's life...

Anonymous said...

It is diasppointing that lopsided thinking has found legitimacy and been entrenched in national conversation among Kenyans. Lopsided is accepting and deploying the view that political competition is about individuals and not about objective issues such as distributive justice, level political playing fields free of individual characterization and ethnic stereotyping. Lopsided is the accepting and deploying the false notion that ethnic alliances for short-term political advantage for individuals (obfuscated with communities and ethnicities)rather than socio-economic progress and comprehensive visions for Kenya in the 21st century as the basis for judging political events.
The net result is political commentary by Kenyans about Kenya becomes hostage to the "winner-takes-it-all mentality" characteristic of the criminal political culture taking root in our society. Criminal individuals reinvent themselves as legitimate crusaders for the national good and objective competent analysis is sacrificed at the alter of punditry pandering toward accepting confused conventional wisdom that are becoming peculiarly Kenya's favorite analytical cuisine.
Kenya's political affairs cannot be reduced to individuals in competition. I am sure Kenyans are capable of making the judgment that the long-term interests of the nation are more important than individuals. So it is not about which individuals are finished or which ones will carry the day in 2007. This perspective reduces intelligent political conversation to village banter.

Anonymous said...

It is diasppointing that lopsided thinking has found legitimacy and been entrenched in national conversation among Kenyans. Lopsided is accepting and deploying the view that political competition is about individuals and not about objective issues such as distributive justice, level political playing fields free of individual characterization and ethnic stereotyping. Lopsided is the accepting and deploying the false notion that ethnic alliances for short-term political advantage for individuals (obfuscated with communities and ethnicities)rather than socio-economic progress and comprehensive visions for Kenya in the 21st century as the basis for judging political events.
The net result is political commentary by Kenyans about Kenya becomes hostage to the "winner-takes-it-all mentality" characteristic of the criminal political culture taking root in our society. Criminal individuals reinvent themselves as legitimate crusaders for the national good and objective competent analysis is sacrificed at the alter of punditry pandering toward accepting confused conventional wisdom that are becoming peculiarly Kenya's favorite analytical cuisine.
Kenya's political affairs cannot be reduced to individuals in competition. I am sure Kenyans are capable of making the judgment that the long-term interests of the nation are more important than individuals. So it is not about which individuals are finished or which ones will carry the day in 2007. This perspective reduces intelligent political conversation to village banter.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that, in Kenya, people involved in any political formation challenging an existing order can only be power hungry notwithstanding that all Kenyans enjoy the outcomes of such movements' actions. By the "power hungry" arguments, those already occupying positions of leadership are well-intentioned and their actions cannot be associated with the pursuit/preservation of power. At another level, it appears that Kenya's political order is about "power" and not about accountable leadership. Looked at in this way,it seems that Kenya's leadership becomes a prize, an exclusive enclave ordinary Kenyans can only pay homage to (by voting, expending their ethnic-driven loyalty, often in exchange for nothing).How can a progressive society function in this manner?

Anonymous said...

ODM was the apex of railas power once you reach to top theres is nowhere but down to go. unfortunately for ODM and Raila there victory was based on the alienation of certain tribes - that sealed rails fate in my opinion

Princess said...

In as much as i laud Raila's efforts in fighting for some level of democratic space in Kenya, I feel that he is better suited as an activist than a president. He has this uncanny ability of justifying for his own selfish agendas under the guise of some pulic crisis 9minimum reforms, artur brothers, threats on his life, etc.). Granted, this sometimes leads to public good but can you imagine what he would be like as a president? I shudder to even imagine. It would be a true dictatorship. I pray every day that he never gets anywhere close to the presidency

Anonymous said...

It's one thing that a cross section of kenyans refuse to accept but as said earlier by somebody,that politics is not about wishes and emotions but the reality on the ground,i think Raila's quest for power aka presidency is bound to fail.history repeat itself,Raila is going the same path as the father.I've issues with Agwambo,and i totally agree with princess' blog.Raila has impoverised the Luo community by the type of politics he has nurtured in Luo-Nyanza for his personal gain-and that's politics of sycophancy as opposed to that of development.The Molasses plant,he used Luo to acquire it in the pretence that it's the Luo community and now it belongs to who?And didn't many Luos spend money that they buying shares?How can Raila ensure Kenya's development when he can't do the same to a smaller area as Luo-Nyanza?due to the type of politics Raila has nurtured in Luo-Nyanza,the area's education starndard is pathetic,poverty,HIV/AIDS etc.Charity begins at home!Am scared of Raila as president.

Anonymous said...

To say Raila is responsible for the levels of poverty in Luo Nyanza is utter bulshit. Raila is the MP for Lang'ata and not Nyanza. As a matter of fact you should be appointing your accusations at the Government for neglecting the community. Anyone saying he is responsible for Luo Nyanza's economic woes is simply intellectually challenged, or just retarded. Print this. I feel sorry for wasting my time reading so much garbage on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Saitoti and Uhuru better presidential materials than Raila? Some people just need to go back to primary school. Please ladies and gentlemen, when you want to objectively analyze presidential candidates' leadership credentials, just remember to cast aside your emotions and tribal inclinations lest you make a complete fool out of yourself. When Raila campaigned for Kibaki in 2002, he was good, now that he is Kibaki's number one threat, he is bad. C'mon people, millions of Kenyans know the ills of Kibaki's leadership. He talks of economic growth which I and so many others are not feeling. Be real with yourself and be real with conventional wisdom before you post a comment to be read by others. Otherwise just keep off the keyboard. That Raila will be president come January 2008, is a straight FACT. If you hate him that much, just flee the country before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

"Granted, this sometimes leads to public good but can you imagine what he would be like as a president? I shudder to even imagine. It would be a true dictatorship. I pray every day that he never gets anywhere close to the presidency."

You call yourself princess, when you make comments like these. Style up. You pray for your enemies, you don't pray against them. Raila is not a dictator. That he is a dictator is just a figment of your skewed imagination.

Anonymous said...

Nothing whatsoever will stop an idea whose time has come. The idea is The Pentagon.

Anonymous said...

"C'mon people, millions of Kenyans know the ills of Kibaki's leadership. He talks of economic growth which I and so many others are not feeling"

it is you alone that is not feeling the economic growth simply because you refuse to work and are lazy. you think that anyone will end your poverty? wake up and work for yourself. stop waiting for raila or anyone else to make you rich. otherwise all kikuyus would be rich, but they are not....only the hard working ones.

kibaki has created an environment that allows for money when you work...thats what groeth means. raila promises wealth to everyone? cumon!!! thats a lazy person's thinking.

and by the way, did you expect kenya to become a superpower after only 5 years of kibaki? grow up and look around you, there is development. but you on the other hand have not developed am sorry to say.

chalice said...

a coup attempt? and you still want to hand it to him? sad:-(

Anonymous said...

kenya is growing and people are mixing even with a new breed of tribeless urban elite. this is the sure way to end tribalism. raila's aspiration for the presidency has been met with alot of tribal vibe going around which is not good for kenya.

Anonymous said...

definition: being tribal is supporting a fellow tribesman REGARDLESS of their stand.

supporting a fellow tribesman becaouse of their values, or what they believve in is not tribalism. a luo supporting raila for what the believe in is no necesarily tribalism. neither is a kikuyu supporting kibaki for his record and beliefs.

we are all kenyans. lets stop being FANATICS of one or the other. lets scrutinise the facts SOBERLY. remeber its 5 YEARS! THE NUMBER OF YEARS you are voting for someone to be in your life.

I won't tell you whom to vote for but am praying that God reveals the truth to us. honestly, i believe we should all work together for a common good.

kenyan.

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