I found Makokha’s commentary on the Nation to be kind of sarcastic. Some people have taken his commentary as the truth and are using them as evidence of Raila’s nobility. I went over Makokha’s sarcasm and made it clearer for those who may have missed it.
Story by KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHA
Publication Date: 12/4/2006
On Saturday, Lang'ata MP Raila Odinga received the world-famous Africa Link Solidarity Award for Champions of Democracy alongside Ghanaian President John Kufuor. This award, which is so coveted, should silence all those people who have been spreading malicious falsehoods about Mr Odinga.
That Mr Odinga shared this award with the Ghanaian President only demonstrates that he is president material. Yet, people continue to spread lies about him. But the labels the detractors pin on him cannot stand scrutiny. Here are 10 common examples.
HE IS HUNGRY FOR POWER: Mr Odinga does not eat power. However hungry he might be, he has no use for power. He gave away power to Candidate Mwai Kibaki on a silver platter in 2002 when Kenyans were begging him to take the presidency himself. He campaigned tirelessly as if he was going to occupy State House, and then said, “Mwai. You are my friend. Take this thing because you have waited long enough for it.”
Raila Odinga did not give away power to Kibaki. If indeed Raila owned power and was the distributor of the same, today Raila would be our president. Raila has been trying to be president since 1980. It is a fact that in 2002 Raila was fixed by Moi when Moi opted to go with Uhuru instead of Raila. Raila’s options were:
- Remain in Kanu Make a solo bid for presidency
- Join the opposition unity where Kibaki was the top dog
- Join Simion Nyachae who did not have the tribal math correct
Raila is smart so he went for option 2. Using that option, he signed a MoU with Kibaki where Kibaki was to be president then change the constitution in 100 days to make him the PM. Kibaki failed to do this and the war began.
Hunger for power in politics is part of the game. It is not illegal for politicians to have ambitions for bigger things. In our various professions we strive to reach the highest possible position. Raila and his supporters should not pretend that Raila has no ambitions because we can all see them.
Raila’s mission in Kanu was not to destroy Kanu from within as he claims. He is simply twisting history to fit his ambitions. If we went back to the headline of the day, we will see that Raila totally fell for Moi’s trap. Raila believed that Moi was to first make him VP –a position that Moi left vacant after 1997 elections- then hand him Kanu flagship. When Raila-Moi relationship gained steam, Moi went ahead and appointed Saitoti VP instead of Raila. Saitoti-Raila wars began. Raila sponsored a vote of no confidence and sued Saitoti over the Goldenberg. These were moves to force Moi to sack Saitoti. He failed. Moi went on to promise Raila a bigger post – PM. A new MoU was made that would have guaranteed Raila a PM position. http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/25122000/News/News32.html
A "warm" hand-shake from Moi
Shortly before Moi made the KANU iko na wenyewe comment, Raila ran to the streets of Kisumu pleading with his followers to give moi a warm welcome because jaduong' en ema engi nyako mawadwaro (the oldman is the one with the girl we are courting)". http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/03082002/News/News103.html
That is how bad Raila Odinga wanted Moi to make him Kanu's presidential candidate.
Moi appointed Raila to the Parliamentary Select Committee. The PSC was an outfit that was crafted to stifle Wanjikus wishes in the constitution review. People allied to Ufungamano and Mageuzi were clobbered by Kanu-NDP goons. In one instance Raila issued a direct order for Mageuzi members to be stoned should they step in Luo Nyanza. Raila’s zeal in Kanu was not that of a man who was out to destroy Kanu from inside but of a man who expected to use Kanu as a vehicle to statehouse.
HE IS A TRIBALIST: Mr Odinga’s enemies like to paint him as a Luo leader to reduce his stature as nationalist. Yet, he has never sought to be a leader of Nyanza Province where he was born and where the Luo live. Since he first entered parliamentary politics in 1992, Mr Odinga has been elected time and time again in Lang’ata, a cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic Nairobi constituency occupied by the poorest of the poor. If the people in Nyanza believe he is a spirit and want to follow him, how can he be blamed for that?
Representing a cosmopolitan or rural constituency does not make one a tribalists. What makes tribalists is their actions. Yes Raila is an MP of a cosmopolitan constituency but his nationalism is questionable.
Raila knows what his power base is. That is why he said:
"I am not ready to contest and be defeated. If you do not register in large numbers I will not run for the top seat," Raila said in Kano, Kisumu.
"I want to go to war when I am sure I have a strong army. The army is you and the arsenals are voter and identification cards. And when I order you to fire, you cast the vote." Raila said during a funeral for Mzee Ernest Awuonda Ouya, a Luo Council of Elders official.
"We must vote better than our rivals next time. In Nyanza, the voter turnout was 56 per cent during the November referendum and in Central it was 63 per cent. How will I win if you fail to vote in large numbers?" he asked.
Whenever Raila celebrates any major accomplishments, he does not invite the people of Lang’ata. Raila travels more than 300 KM to celebrate with the people of Nyanza. A good example is when Moi elevated Raila to a cabinet position. Raila was escorted to Kisumu with a flock of government choppers in what is described as “coming home like a president.” http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/18062001/News/News35.html
Raila’s homecoming after the 2002 elections was in Bondo and not Langatta. It is the people of Nyanza who benefited from Raila’s bulls and maize bags in the celebration over referendum victory.
Raila is smatter than Ntimama and the rest of the tribal chiefs. Raila has errand boys who he uses to send his tribal messages. That is how you get one Ojodeh saying, “But I would like to ask Tuju (a sell out) to eat quietly from the enemies (the kikuyu) and leave Raila alone or else a political tsunami will sweep him along the way during the 2007 General Election.”
In the Mafia, the Capo de Capo does not have to involve himself in killings and money laundering. Raila's swingmen do all the work. In public, the Capo comes out as an innocent man who has never hut a fly. Raila has Kajwang, Ojodeh, Prof. Ayiecho Olweny and others. They do the trash talking while Raila avoid the topic but collects the political capital. http://www.timesnews.co.ke/02jan06/nwsstory/news3.html
Raila has always used the Ker (Luo Council of elders) to foster his political aspirations. In the recent times we have seen Raila use the Ker to meet with Kikuyu elders in the bid to unify the 2 tribes (as if these peoples are enemies). Raila has prides himself with consulting the Ker before making any moves http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/15052000/News/News27.html
Lang’ata MP Raila Odinga and Luo elder Riaga Ogallo
The use of Kerr as Raila’s personal property has been protested by a number of people. The Ker has always been on Raila’s side on every issue. The Council has also been partisan. One may think it is a NDP/LDP/Kanu and now ODM geriatric wing. It is strange because as an organ that represents Luos of different party affiliations it is supposed to be non partisan. Audi Ogada called on the dissolution of Ker saying, “The council should not be seen to be fronting for leaders of a particular political party but should encompass the whole community, irrespective of the parties they belong to.”
Raila believes that Kenyans should be balkanized into tribal fiefdoms for easy exploitation. Raila (a crowned Luo elder) is always present when other tribal elders are being crowned. The latest coronation was that of William Ruto –the latest Kalenjin elder on the block. Political tribal eldership is one thing that is hurting our nation. I don’t think any statesman should endorse this system. http://www.timesnews.co.ke/04jun06/nwsstory/news1.html
Above all Raila thinks that he owns Luo Nyanza MPs. He is known to force his cronies -like Otieno Kajwang' - down our throats. Raila is found of issuing statemements like: "These MPs of mine should be supported and not fought, if I have to win this war." This is a show that his interests in Nyanza (exploiting the masses for political survival) take prominace over development. It is for this reason why progressive voices like James Orengo, Shem Ochuodho, Raphael Tuju etc are fought using any available means.
HE HATES DEVELOPMENT: Mr Odinga’s detractors point to the poverty in Nyanza, the declining education standards, and then blame it all on him. This is a bit rich because those areas have their own leaders. His job is to represent the interests of Lang’ata people, and then Nairobi, and lastly Kenya. What more do his enemies want?
Raila does not hate development. Raila loves development when it concerns his family. Like Moi, Raila believes in the politics of Kaeni vile mlivyo. People who are poor and ignorant are the best voters. As a powerful MP and a former minister, Raila has nothing to show in terms of development. The flying toilets problem persists in Kibera persists even with the availability of the CDF. I have never seen or heard Raila advocate for his constituents. Raila is safe if his constituents continue languishing in poverty.
When the government wanted to improve the security situation in Kibera, Raila led a mob of goons who destroyed a police post. He said the people of Kibera did not need police protection. It was interesting to see Raila claim to champion security rights of the Mathare residents claiming the government was not deploying enough policemen. These are signs of a populist leader. Photo
HE DESTROYS PARTIES: Look, when the National Development Party was a paper organisation, who turned it into a roaring tractor? When Kanu had lost credibility, who is it that walked in to give it credibility? It was Mr Odinga championing the Kanu-NDP merger. When the Liberal Democratic Party was a briefcase outfit, who gave it a new lease of life?
Raila does not destroy parties. Raila is a party. In Kenya we don’t have parties but personalities. When there personalities defect from a party, it ends up dead.
HE IS DRIVEN BY REVENGE: Despite being detained for eight years, six of them in solitary confinement, Mr Odinga has never harboured feelings of revenge against Mr Daniel arap Moi. He was betrayed by Mr Moi after the NDP merger, but he has never exacted revenge. He was betrayed by Mr Kibaki over the prime minister’s job, but he has never wanted revenge.
Raila believes that if he cannot have things his own way then nobody else should. He will rather team up with his past enemies than let his recent enemy have a better deal. Back in the day when Raila was in Ford Kenya, he locked horns with Wamalwa over the leadership of the party. Raila was beaten in the elections. Since Raila does not believe in being led, he walked out and joined NDP.
Later on, Raila joined Kanu where he was promised the big seat. Moi helped him rig Kasarani I where he was selected to be the Kanu Secretary General. He hailed the undemocratic elections as being free and fair. When Moi used the same wembe in Kasarani II against Raila, Raila walked out and called Uhuru Moi’s proxy. Retribution for Kasarani II is what Raila claims drove him to Kibaki –his archenemy.
Raila was again driven by vengeance to walk out of Kibaki after the later refused to make him PM. Today Raila is back in bed with Kanu and Uhuru not because he loves them but because they have the means to help him payback to Kibaki. Raila and his supporters never fail to point out that they will teach Kibaki a lesson for refusing to make Raila a PM. The zeal driving Raila and his supporters is not from what Kibaki has or has not done but from the rubbished MoU. They call that MoU a document that was in the interest of all Kenyans. In their opinion that is a bigger sin than any other.
HE LIKES VIOLENCE: Mr Odinga has never thrown a stone in his life. People like Mbita MP Otieno Kajwang’ would sooner be involved in fisticuffs than Mr Odinga would get into a physical confrontation. In fact, in recent times, Mr Odinga has insisted on fighting entirely with his mouth, issuing withering invectives against his detractors.
That Raila has never thrown a stone doest not exonerate him from charges of violence. Why should he ruin his reputation by throwing stones when his attack dogs and vigilantes can handle the job? All Raila needs to do is issue an order and his henchmen will execute it. It is an open secret that Raila loves violence especially when it is targeting his political foes. The memories of Baghdad Boys are still alive. We saw Raila and his father extensively use this group as a security outfit and as an attack unit. http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/29112000/Features/News_Feature10.html
Brutal: Armed youths beat up an innocent bystander outside Parliament yesterday. The men circled are said to be aides of NDP leader Mr. Raila Odinga. (Pic: by REBECCA NDUKU AND GOVEDI ASUTSA)
In the past Raila has issued numerous threats of storming parliament, statehouse etc. He went as far as issuing a fatwa on the late Dr. Oki Ooko Ombaka, Sam Ochuodho, Orengo, etc. His orders have been carried to the letter.
Jame Orengo roughed upRaila once ordered violence on Mageuzi activists saying, “I am busy fighting at higher levels and you too should do your work down here! You know what to do if they try to hold this rally on the 23rd.” http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/19122000/News/News42.html
Those words say a lot about a man who loves peace and has never hurt a fly.
Raila rivals Fred Gumo when it comes to throwing punches in Bunge. Raila beat up Kimunya and Karua on 2 different occasions. They both got a beating because of remarks they made in the house. http://www.eastandard.net/archives/cl/print/news.php?articleid=30059
HE IS UNPATRIOTIC: So Hezekiah Ochuka claimed that he had worked with Mr Odinga on the failed 1982 coup attempt. But Mr Odinga has never joined the military, gone for military training in Uganda or Libya like some people in the present government. They accuse him of exposing Kenya’s weaknesses abroad, but he only does so because he hates the evil he sees more.
Raila came out with revelations that he was part of the coup attempt. He justified the coup attempt and even commissioned a book to serve as a PR tool on this issue. Raila’s role in the 82 coup is therefore not imagined.
I think Raila is patriotic but he needs to differentiate between his political enemies and Kenya. He has to be a leader and not an activist. He has to learn that his utterances affect the lives of millions of Kenyans. It is unfortunate when a president in waiting tells the world that the NSE –Africas 4th largest bourse – is a drug market. I wonder how he plans to erase this notion he has created when he becomes president.
HE IS A COMMUNIST: This is laughable. All communists are against the accumulation of individual wealth. Since when did anyone see Mr Odinga sharing his wealth – be it houses, cars or the family business? Has anyone seen him saying, "Look. We own East African Spectre Ltd. Now, let us give out one gas cylinder to every family in Kenya for free?" That would be communism.
Raila is a stunt communist who claims he favors a command economy when in reality he believes in capitalism. If you told Raila that he is a multi-millionaire he will quickly point out that he is not as rich as Mt. Kenya thieves. Raila is comfortable when the masses see him as a poor man who is trying to change this boogeyman we call government. Raila has for sure taken a cue from other populist leaders.
HE IS AN ACTIVIST: As a backhanded compliment calculated to hurt his chances of running for the presidency, Mr Odinga’s enemies insist that the only role he is suited for is mobilising people to riot.
We have different classes of leaders. Looking at Narc you can see that activists and populists never get to deliver. We have firebrands like Kibwana, Wamwere, etc who have shown that they are better of as opposition politicians than serving in the government. It is very different when activists are on the other side. Raila falls in the class of populist leaders. As a minister, he engaged more on popular politics than in policy. We saw him personally supervise the destruction of buildings and claim he was doing it in the interests of Wanjiku.
Did Raila leave any changes in terms of policy and legislation that will prevent future encroachment of public land? If as an architect I wanted to know the limits of road reserves, do I have an avenue to do it?
Raila never took responsibility for what was happening in his ministry. He instead blamed junior ministry officials. As a president, he will not take responsibility for his administration and will instead look for scapegoats in office messengers.
Raila’s record in parliament shows that he is more of an activist than a leader. Raila like other MPs does not believe in solving problems. That is why such leaders will make the loudest noise outside parliament but their contribution in Bunge’s basic role –law making – stinks. Show me one bill that Raila has presented to parliament and I will change my opinion.
As a president, he may start opposing the same policies that his administration puts in place. Raila is more interested in pleasing the masses than prescribing a bitter pill that will cure our problems.