Kenyan news media is today reporting that Opposition leader, Raila Odinga, who has made several failed attempts at the presidency, gave the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta 10 days to have dialogue with the opposition or face more deadly protests. Arrogant as that may sound, Odinga knows full well he has used all his aces and resorting to violent protest can only spell doom for a man who has etched on his father’s footsteps as the fermenter of trouble in Kenya. Odinga is using the country’s outstanding Electoral Commission as an excuse to instigate violence hoping he can intimidate the Kenyatta-Ruto presidency to budge into dialogue and accept his demands for a complete overhaul of the elections body.
Odinga’s desperation to be president seems to have no boundaries. On close circumspect, one can safely assume that Odinga ultimately wants a power sharing arrangement that will see him assume power once more, albeit not through electoral means, but by bullying the present government into accepting his demands. Odinga’s political trademark of late is to encorage violence and then blame his opponents for the resulting anarchy, as what transpired during the post elections violence in 2007
Raila Odinga has gotten away with so much because of the calm and respectful manner in which his reckless behaviour has been tolerated by the present regime. His father, Oginga Odinga, was not so lucky at the hands of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Arap Moi – he was incarcerated several times and placed under house arrest for the same type of behaviour the politics of Kenya is once more witnessing from his son.
Odinga believes he has been cheated from winning elections in Kenya and he is the rightful occupant of the presidency, despite world acclaimed free and fair elections observed by impeccably respectable organisations like the UN, AU, and the European Union. Raila always finds excuses to fault the system. He simply does not realise that resorting to unconventional means and threats can only make matters worse for his chances, if any, to become president one day. Even his own Luo tribesmen have become weary and are looking elsewhere for leadership as they have resigned from the prospects of an Odinga presidency. That will never happen in present day Kenya, not when Social Media defines the order of the day.
I am pretty sure Kenyatta and Ruto must have considered the option to invite Odinga into government but when his rather erratic behaviour was taken into consideration, it must have been thought safe to exclude him. As an outsider who is no expert in Odinga affairs, having relied mostly on what has been reported and sent to us by reporters on the ground, and feedbacks from my Kenyan born wife, the rather narrow understanding I have acquired about Odinga’s political life has been strong enough to raise suspicions in me about his true political motives.
Simply put, Odinga may not be the right man to handle the reins of power in Kenya. He doesn’t seem to possess the character to be a fine and fair leader, and might resort to violent methods of retaliation against the Kikuyu people as promises were made during the last election to his Luo tribesmen that he will take land from Kikuyus and hand them over to the Luos. This paints a nasty picture of civil strife and chaos in a country that has already witnessed violence which claimed hundreds if not thousands of lives on ethnic lines.
Kenya has been fortunate to see at the helm of power two vibrant youthful leaders who seem to possess the right temperament to move the country in the right direction and prepare it for success and economic empowerment in the years to come. Uhura Kenyatta and William Ruto have shown that they can steer the nation towards better ethnic integration and sound political leadership and I strongly believe Kenya is in good hands and Odinga should not be allowed to contaminate the amazing progress taking place in this beautiful and potentially great East African nation.
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