See also most recent article by Chris: Why Ruto will win the war against Raila
Some of the things Kumekucha is reading: Annonymous comment costs employee his job
By Guest Writer
In the height of post-election violence, William Ruto and Najib Balala were key ODM figures who fought the Raila’s mass action war of “stolen” presidency like their own personal fight and the TV images of the two fleeing in Nairobi streets from mean-looking GSU officers lobbing tear-gas at them are still fresh in my mind. The two men were ready to die for Raila. Remember Balala even shed tears when he stepped down for Raila during ODM presidential nomination at Kasarani. That’s as far as the marriage of convenience lasted.
The unfolding drama and imminent fall out in ODM was not unexpected but I could not imagine Raila falling out with Ruto and Balala. The fall out best explains how Kenya politics is fluid. Raila largely owes his position and the powers he enjoys to Ruto and Balala. Apart from vigorously campaigning for Raila in the 2007 General Elections, Ruto and Balala took charge of Raila’s mass action call and rallied ODM supporters and their affiliate tribes to civil disobedience to protest Kibaki’s controversial win. The fall out is a big lesson to other politicians and tribes – never fight another man’s war or kill in their name.
If Raila called for the mass action and only Luos heeded his call, Kenyans wouldn’t have been subjected to PEV or violence would have been minimal and of little consequence. But Ruto’s powerbase, the Rift Valley, was the main battle zone for PEV and the tragic and barbaric events in the province were what put Kenya on the international radar. Without Ruto and Balala and the Rift Valley primitive slaughter, Raila would have reluctantly settled for the humble position of the Official Opposition Leader. But thanks to the blood of innocent Kenyans, Raila landed on the prime post he is now using to flex his muscles against the foot soldiers and lieutenants who killed and uprooted innocent from their homes and businesses in his name.
Ruto and Balala are the equivalent of Martha Karua, who toppled the scale against Raila on the finishing line and ensured Kibaki got a controversial second term. Without Karua, Kibaki would have kissed goodbye to the presidency. The Krieger Report told us neither Kibaki nor Raila could stake a high moral ground and claim they legally won. ODM and PNU fiddled with election results in their strongholds. Kibaki and Raila loyalists can fume with that assertion but that’s the reality. For that, Raila and Kibaki equally share the blame in 2008 PEV.
The seeds of hatred were sowed by Kibaki when he refused to honour a pre-election MoU with Raila when he came to power in 2002. Kibaki added fuel to the fire when he started weeding out key Kalenjins from his new Administration. Kalenjins regarded the presidency to be synonymous to Moi and as if State House was their property. They were bitter loosing power to a Kikuyu. Ruto and Kalenjins would be consigned to the political dustbin were it not for Kibaki’s poor judgment in politics.
After the fall out with Kibaki over dishonoured MoU, Raila’s only option was to team up with Kibaki’s enemies and that’s how Kalenjins and leaders who had looted state coffers or had criminal records (some murderers for their roles in 1992 and 1997 tribal clashes), and killers likes of Ole Ntimama, got a new lifeline. Raila and his new-found allies saw the best way to fight Kibaki was to pour petrol to the fire of hatred, which he had lit with the dishonoured MoU. The birth of ODM after the 2005 referendum was based on pure hatred towards Mt Kenya folks and revenge against Kibaki. Thanks to Kibaki’s failures and fall out with Raila, Moi today looks like a saint despite his many dark evils in his 24-year rule.
ODM big guns and their supporters held divergent personal and political ideologies and their marriage was only for convenience but not driven by desire to bring genuine change and reforms in Kenya. These were strange bedfellows. ODM was meant to replace Kibaki’s eating club with new or re-packaged thieves and looters. But the revenge against Kibaki and by extent his tribe, the Kikuyus, was the temporary glue that brought political conmen, looters, murderers and graft lords together. The glue held up to the 2007 Presidential elections and Kenya went to elections in a charged and polluted environment. The ODM unity of purpose – to kick out Kibaki from State House – was what made Raila’s mass action call work. Sooner or later, party time and honeymoon was going to be over for Raila and his ODM.
Unknown to Ruto and Balala, Koffi Annan was pushing for ceasefire and a Grand Coalition Government without revealing his true intentions. He wanted to bring peace but ensure killers were punished. In fact, Raila and ODM were the ones who wanted Annan and the international to intervene claiming they had been robbed of the presidency by Kibaki. Kibaki and his allies were content after retaining the presidency and they didn’t want Annan to come in.
Raila and ODM got an upper hand and Kibaki conceded to share power. The man ODM saw as their saviour had a trick up his sleeve – unleashing the ICC and Ocampo after the PEV dust settled. Ruto and his ODM thought the PEV issue ended as soon as Kibaki and Raila signed a peace deal. How mistaken they were! To the disbelief of Ruto, Balala and others who suspect their names were in the Waki envelope, Raila backed trial of PEV suspects. This is after Raila had equated the PEV killers to freedom fighters! What a betrayal from the mass action general.
Raila looked at 2007 General Election as the end of the world – it was a do or die. He forgot he could loose and vie another day. His mass action call gave birth to mass murder and Kikuyus suffered the most. Raila realised the folly of his mass action call and warmed up to Kikuyus and to the larger Mt Kenya people after he invited Kibaki to his Bondo home. He now enjoys a good working relationship with Kibaki.
When relations improved, Kibaki cleverly pushed the explosive Mau eviction issue to Raila and the PM enthusiastically took it up hoping to win an image of a national and international leader. Raila has received a huge sarcastic backing from Mt Kenya folks on the Mau issue – but that will remain as far as Mau forest is concerned. In public, Mt Kenya folks displaying their “support” to Raila in regard to Mau, while in private laughing as Raila’s burns the bridges that propelled him to where he is today. Doubt this? Read comments on Daily Nation website everyday and guess who are cheering on Raila.
In evicting Kalenjins from Mau, Raila is stepping on the toes of murders, thieves, looters and land grabbers who had played a key role in his 2007 presidential campaign and what he is today. The current fall out was inevitable. Mt Kenya are arguing Raila is unknowingly revenging on them for what Kalenjins did to their Gema kinsmen in 2008. What a better way to get revenge for Kikuyus killed and uprooted from RV? By using their 2007 hero, Raila!
Those who wish away Kikuyus to play a major role in any election are doomed. Kikuyus have the numbers and they vote to preserve their selfish interests – to protect their wealth. In this regard, even if a Kikuyu doesn’t vie for the top seat in 2012 to avoid a repeat of the backlash of 2007, the community will play a big role in deciding Kenya’s next CEO. If no Kikuyu garners for the top seat, Raila’s campaign will be largely deflated as he will not have the ammunitions he had in 2007, rallying other tribes against Mt Kenya folks. Raila’s political future will be doomed.
Unlike Luos who openly express their anger and thoughts and you can easily read their mind and next move, Kikuyus are the opposite. Luos may have celebrated too early that they managed to drive a final nail in the coffin of the frosty relations between Kikuyus and Kalenjins – stemming from land in Rift Valley. Kikuyus in Rift Valley may never mend fences with Kalenjins. But Kikuyus in Central Province and elsewhere have nothing to loose in mending fences with Kalenjins as long as that will place them in leadership or the next Government. Furthermore, Kikuyus and Kalenjins have a lot at stake – land in Rift Valley. What have Luos to offer Kikuyus? Kikuyus can bury their past grudges as long as Kalenjins are willing to accommodate them in RV.
In this regard, Raila made the 2007 General Election look like a personal battle against Kikuyus and majority of Kikuyus believe they would not have fallen victims and suffered so much due to PEV were it not for Raila. Even before 2007, majority of Kikuyus openly said they couldn’t vote for a Luo, more so Raila. Raila’s tribal and hatred politics that led to PEV permanently burnt his political bridges with Mt Kenya folks. Raila may have toned down his hard politics on Kibaki to please Mt Kenya folks, but they are unlikely to ever forgive him for the PEV.
From the look of things, Ocampo is unlikely to go after Kibaki and Raila. Kibaki loses nothing since he is doing his last term. If Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta are both indicted by Ocampo over PEV and leave Raila, Kikuyus and Kalenjins will be united by a common purpose as happened in the recent Mau evictees fund-raising. The common enemy for the two tribes will be Raila and they will never forgive him for his mass action call that gave birth to PEV and took their sons to Hague.
In such a scenario, the person who will be smiling all the way to the bank and likely to reap is one Kalonzo Musyoka. He’ll tell Kikuyus: “I rushed to boost Kibaki from Raila on slot after the disputed polls and you retained the presidency.” He’ll turn to Kalenjins and tell them: ”I warned you about Raila. Look at what he has done with you with Mau and with Ruto.” The Mau eviction and PEV trials were the turning point of Raila and Kalenjins and only a divine intervention can save Raila from the imminent tsunami he faces in 20120 and beyond.
Raila mistakenly believes if Hague takes Uhuru and Ruto, his ambitions to rule Kenya are home and sealed. I bet Raila will die like his father before he rules Kenya. The best Raila and his father managed is a step away from the throne. It is very unlikely Kibaki will back Raila in 2012 and Kikuyus are very unlikely to vote for Raila come rain come sunshine – even with Kibaki’s backing.
Lacking a better strategy to tame the Ruto-Balala axis, Raila has resorted to laughable theatrics by challenging them to quit the Cabinet. That’s a very cowardly challenge. If you are an employer and your employee openly defies you, do you keep daring him to quit or you sack him? A rogue employee looses nothing clinging on and making trouble from within. Ruto and Balala have equally hit back and said they did not fear being sacked.
Raila’s frequent challenge to Ruto & Co to quit shows he has no moral courage to fire the group. He would be digging deeper his political grave. Raila is playing holistic politics. Didn’t the same Raila rock Kibaki’s Govt from within in Narc and after becoming PM? I believe Ruto and Balala have psychologically set their minds Hague is real. They must have decided even if they went to Hague, they’ll sink the political ambitions of the thankless general they fought for.
Raila is fast digging his political grave and if I was him, I would do all I can to win back the Ruto-Balala axis, to win their tribesmen and women. Due to his greed for power, Raila is fast digging his political grave while being cheered by his enemies and his blind supporters. Let’s wait and see if the powerful Kikuyu block with vote for him in 2012.
Kibaki in his first term evicted settlers from Mau forest. Raila ganged up with Ruto and his allies denouncing Kibaki and introducing hate and tribal politics. They used Mau evictions as ammunition against Kibaki in 2005 referendum. When campaigning 2007 presidential elections, Raila and allies perfected hate politics and again used Mau to settle scores with Kibaki and assured settlers they wouldn’t be evicted. Raila scored political mileage and won Kalenjin votes. Ruto and allies perfecting what their master taught them.
Kibaki has last laugh as Raila’s hate politics returns to haunt him. Kibaki is playing clever. He agreed to a truce with Raila and allows him to flex his muscle and exercise his perceived and illusionary powers (Kibaki retains all executive powers) as he sits back to enjoy his former enemies fighting each other and their general.
If Hague prunes Ruto and Uhuru from Kenya’s political map, I encourage doubting Thomases and Raila’s blind ardent follows to keep a copy of this story as a historical reference. I love this show. Who would have expected a fall out after all the chest-thumping in ODM in the run up to 2007.
P.S. And on the CoE constitution, I share Moi’s stand and concerns. Kenya should have one CEO, pure presidential and system. The CEO’s power should be drastically watered down and checked by strong judiciary and parliament. All appointments must be endorsed by Parliament to curb tribalism and nepotism. Two centres of power will put Kenya permanently on tension due to power struggle between president and PM, driving away investors and tourists. Two centres of power will spell doom for the future survival of Kenya. Raila and his like-minded shud should seek our mandate if they want to rule but not grab power through back door.
Kumekucha Weekend Special is back!! Don't miss the most controversial posts here in a long time this Saturday and Sunday. Topic; The Big Luo political kitendawili. Chris is truly BACK!!!