What does the future hold?
Now we have to wrap this up quickly because the weekend is over already.
We have said a lot of things about our Luo brothers. Many of the things I have taken courage to speak about, nobody has dared to utter in public before. The whole intention was for us to understand this community that I love so much better. When you understand something and especially its’ past, the future becomes clearer.
Why don’ we go back to that entertainment spot in Kisumu city before I summarize the political future of the Luo community?
The man seated next to me on the table was alone. I noticed that he had greeted several ladies and one had even stopped by at his table for a brief chat. Clearly he preferred his own company. But still it was easy to start chatting to him and I found that I could pop the question I had in mind much quicker than I had earlier anticipated.
“Do you think Raila Odinga has a political future?” I asked.
“I thought that was pretty obvious. This has to be the end for ODM and him,” he said after taking a long sip of his cold beer.
“Most people in this city will not agree with you.”
“I know. Let me tell you something. We Luos are very optimistic people. We will gladly look for possibilities in an impossible situation. The truth is that we do not have the discipline to plan and end up getting what we really want. You know I have just been transferred from Mombasa where I had two bosses a Kikuyu and a Luo. The Luo drove a big car and the Kikuyu drove one of those small Toyotas from Dubai. It even smoked and we used to laugh at him a lot from behind his back. There were many other differences. The Kikuyu man lived in Ganjoni in some dirty flats, and the Luo lived in up market Nyali. Now there was some restructuring recently and both of them lost their jobs. The Kikuyu stayed on and is doing very well with several plots in Mombasa and some small businesses. My fellow Luo is now in Nairobi and desperately looking for a job. One man was optimistic and did nothing to work towards his goals, the other was focused and didn’t care that people were laughing at him. Now look who is laughing? You see what I mean? Don’t get me wrong. Kikuyus have their weaknesses but the difference is that they have the discipline and we don’t. Pure and simple.”
I could not believe what I was hearing from this man and promised myself that his words would make it to my post (which they have).
So lets warp this up by looking into the future. In my humble view I think all indications are pointing towards the following future for the Luo community in Kenyan politics.
Firstly, like it or not, they will remain an important political influence in Kenya but will sadly continue to suffer from bad decisions made by leaders that the community follows blindly. The really sad thing here is that in my view our Luo brothers and sisters are amongst the most brilliant Kenyans. I know one or two specialist surgeons now based in the USA who are known the world over and hail from Kenya and the Luo community. (Interestingly the Luo always seem to do very well as far away from home as possible.)
The biggest weakness in the Luo community is the tendency for many of their leaders to make reckless decisions on the spur of the moment based on emotions more than anything else. You can be reckless but think things through. Sadly these leaders hardly ever think things through and it is not for lack of intellect. We have seen this in the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and more recently in Raila Odinga. Future Luo leaders will do well to make a huge effort to ignore their emotions and work towards being more calm, cold and calculating if they are to make major breakthroughs in politics.
It is important that the Odinga spell which has stradled and suffocated the community for so long, is broken. Many of my Luo friends agree that as difficult as this may seem, it is the only way forward for this community that possesses just too much untapped potential.
Sadly all indications at the moment are that in 2007 the community will find itself irrelevant and spectators in the unfolding of the new political order and the emergence of the third and last liberation. The only way that they will remain in the centre of things is if Raila Odinga survives to win the presidency. This is very unlikely and if you asked me to be blunt, out of question.
In my personal view Kenya will be fully healed the day a son of Luo Nyanza is elected to the presidency with votes from a large cross section of the country. For now it seems like a distant pipe dream but personally I see it happening much sooner than most people think. Possibly in the next 20 years or so. My hope hinges on an emerging new generation who are determined to make a clean break with the past.
A good beginning for the healing of Kenya is for the other Kenyan brothers across the country from the 41 other tribes to realize the great injustices that have been committed against these Kenyans and to publicly apologize to the community for them and open a new chapter.
Good job Chris my brother. You have had a long love affair with the Luo, you should have been one. But your work is all vanity. In the final analysis you lie, the Luo are beyond redemption.
I hope I have provided at least some answers to the big Luo political puzzle which you must have realized by now is a mystery that can hardly be solved by a few controversial posts one slow weekend.
As I pen off, let me take this opportunity to thank all you wonderful guys out there who kept me company through this weekend. I saw you all in my blog site stats right up to the long minutes you spent here and the links you clicked through to. I hope this was as enjoyable and enlightening for you as it was for me.