It started off as a very colorful affair. Even our very own Phil briefly reported from Kisumu as the festivities were kicking off. And then suddenly it is like somebody switched the lights off. Everything went quiet. Even the usually brave KTN went silent over what really happened in Kisumu on Saturday. Although the group newspaper, The Standard tried to tell a little of the story.
Actually the shocking events that transpired in Kisumu were perhaps the most significant political development since December last year when Mwai Kibaki in the face of defeat made a decision to steal the elections.
For the first time in his long political career, Raila Amolo Odinga was jeered and there were even very audible boos from the charged crowd as he spoke. And all this was happening right in the heart of Kisumu. Analysts including this blogger watched in disbelief as Raila struggled through what should have been a comfortable victory homecoming speech. Many times he fell back into Dholuo in an effort to win back the charged crowd and sway them to his way of thinking.
Interestingly it had earlier been announced that the guest of honour at the ceremony would be President Kibaki. It was just as well that he did not turn up, because judging from the mood of the people, things would have been very nasty for him.
Many people spoke and it seemed that the more anti-Kibaki a speaker was, the more the crowd liked them. Charity Ngilu for instance received a rousing welcome when she stepped up to mikes to make her speech. In fact the cheers were wilder than what even Raila himself received when he stood up to speak. Agriculture minister and ODM kingpin William Ruto ran into problems during his brief remarks when he mentioned President Kibaki’s name. He was trying to talk about the partnership between Raila and Kibaki. The people shouted him down until he was forced to withdraw the president’s name from his utterances. At one point the razor sharp Ruto told the crowd jokingly; Munataka nifutwe (do you people want me to be sacked?)
When Raila Odinga stood up and also started talking about the partnership with President Kibaki and PNU he was for the first time, since he was born, shouted down by the massive crowd right in Kisumu, his own hometown where he is supposed to have near-fanatical support.
Raila was at pains again the next day in his Bondo home trying to explain why it was important to work with PNU.
This blogger has taken some time since Saturday to make contact with various sources on the ground and especially those who were at the meeting on Saturday. What they have told me has shocked me beyond belief.
They say that the people are very determined that Kisumu will have nothing to do with President Kibaki and PNU. In fact sources in Luo Nyanza went as far as bluntly saying that Raila may not have a political future if he continues supporting and defending PNU. They add that the people are very angered that Raila should speak to them as if nothing happened in Kisumu. As if hundreds of people did not lose their lives. In fact it is now emerging that apart from shooting protestors, people dressed in police uniform also drowned some protestors in the waters of
Interestingly in another incident President Kibaki himself was jeered by people from his own Kikuyu community at the Eldoret stadium during his joint visit to IDPs with Prime Minister Raila Odinga about 2 weeks ago.
Analysts are now saying that the most dangerous thing about the current coalition government is the fact that the two main leaders have angered their troops to such an extent that they can no longer count on full backing and support from their loyalists on the ground. That in itself is very scary indeed.
To make matters worse there is a looming crisis the country is about to face which will make matters a lot more uglier.
Impeccable sources have informed Kumekucha that most experts on the Kenyan economy concur that the economy will not recover from the post election troubles. Folks what we are about to see in our dear country is suffering on a scale that has never been witnessed before. More details of what to expect in
Already the danger signals are there. Inflation has officially hit the 26% mark (although experts say that in reality it is well over 30%.)
Actually it does not take a genius to realize that the country’s economic recovery is very unlikely indeed. The country’s breadbasket has literally disappeared and the IDP problem is rapidly escalating into a very serious crisis indeed. Meaning that it will take a long time to restore normal flow of food crops from the Rift Valley.
Tourism seems to be in even bigger problems. The world economy is slowly slipping into the kind of depression that is unprecedented and tourist number are likely to be very badly hit let alone traffic to a country that many still do not consider to be too safe.
Nobody can predict what the full political impact of all this will be, but Raila Odinga reception in Kisumu last Saturday was just another sign of things to come.
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