Nationalist leaders must embrace all Kenyans

Shares

NGUNJIRI WAMBUGU

Based on my experiences in discussions on ethnicity after the 2007 post-election violence and the lessons learnt, I am convinced that the most fundamental change in our new constitution is the ‘50% + 1’ requirement for one to become President.

In the old constitution the easier route to the presidency was to split Kenya into small pieces, and then seek the support of the largest ‘small piece(s)’. This is how President Moi could legally win an election with less than 32 percent of the entire presidential vote.

This ‘divide and rule’ principle over the years ultimately led to the 2007 post-election violence.

However under our new constitution the next presidents must work on the basis that Kenya is one large ‘piece’, and then seek the support of at least half of it, plus one.

Unfortunately not everyone has moved with the times as is clearly indicated by the operations of groups like the G7 Alliance. In comparison, Prime Minister Raila Odinga seems to have completely internalized this new principle of politics, which could be why he is leading in every poll.

The substance of his tour of Nyandarua last week is a case in point.

The Prime Minister started with a private visit to Mukami Kimathi’s home in recognition of the role her husband played as a nationalist, in Kenya’s fight for independence. He then drove across the county, with several stops at various points where he addressed several large crowds.

He then became the first ever senior government official in the 37 years since JM Kariuki died to officially visit the JM homestead and lay a wreath on JM’s grave. Finally, he proceeded to Ol Kalau where he officially opened Ol Kalau hospital, a hospital JM Kariuki helped build but which has never been officially opened, and also renamed it in JM’s honour.

The reason I use this tour as an example of why the Prime Minister has internalized the principle of Kenya being one piece is because going to Nyandarua was not a walk in the park for him. During his stops along the way at various towns he spoke to large crowds made up of people who ranged from the very warm, to the nearly hostile, to him.

However with each group he went out of his way and to great lengths, to explain his political ideology; his national agenda, and local government interventions he will pursuing to help area residents.

He also responded to stereotypes being used by his rivals to fight him politically, especially in the region. He explained why he holds the Kikuyu community in high regard and drew on his associations especially during the fight for multi-party democracy; he explained he cannot be behind Uhuru’s ICC tribulations as he and Kibaki were always in support of a local tribunal.

He also reminded each group that when he had said ‘Kibaki Tosha’ in 2002 it was with full knowledge that Kibaki was a Kikuyu; but in support of the fact that he was the best candidate to take over from Moi. This shows that he cannot be accused of being against Kikuyu leaders.

Unfortunately not a single MP from the region had the courtesy of accompanying the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya into their neighbourhood despite the fact that the heroes he had come to honour are all local men and women held in very high regard by large sections of the community; heroes these same leaders have done very little if anything, to honour themselves. Of course the most shameful absence would have to be that of the Ol’ Kalau MP whose only constituency hospital was elevated, re-named and better-equipped, to serve his own voters!

However what stood out for me was that despite this circumstances, and despite the fact that he could easily have done the same profile of a tour in any other part of the country, in a lot more comfort and with a lot more political support, the Prime Minister chose to take the tougher, more gruelling and certainly more humbling, route.

Clearly he leads the pack of presidential contenders because he is willing to work harder than his competition; it is also interesting to note President Kibaki’s recent comments that the next President will be the one who works harder than the others.

In conclusion, the pursuit of the presidency has never been easy in any part of the world; and in my opinion, should not be. In the Kenyan context, and with the 2007 experience, anyone who desires to be ‘Kenya One’ over the other 40 million of us must accept that the process of getting there will be uncomfortable, difficult, challenging, and humbling. Kenyans want them to go outside their comfort zone; to see the process break you and make you into a person in whom all Kenyans can see themselves. That is the only way we will trust you with our country’s leadership.

As the leading contender for the presidency Raila is setting the pace; now we need to see his rivals do the same. Maybe Uhuru Kenyatta could brave similar crowds in Nyanza as evidence that he understands that the Kenya he wants to lead also includes Nyanza?

Shares
  • Obviously, you are in love with PM! Thats however not important. You must understand that Kenyans know that these opinion polls are fake and only meant to prop up Raila. There is no way they could be real! That they are ignoring the law to find their way in selected media houses, says it all. And with all sincerity, there are very few luos indeed who wont even rate Raila’s popualirty at 90%! Thats a fact! You need to read the new law regulating opinion polls. Thats when you will realize that these guys are intent on duping Kenyans. In the last two polls, did they disclose who financed them? Whom they purportedly polled, their respective parties and in how many counties? The number of 11,000 people they purported to have polled is very huge. It requires enormous amount of resources and personel. I doubt whether merchant of deceit’s small outfit, in the name of infrotrak whatever, has the capacity to raise so many people.

    Raila simply went to visit late Kimathi’s wife, Mukami, simply to attempt to dispel Miguna Miguna’s accusation on his fake reform agenda. And do you need to scream on rooftops that you visited an old lady who happens to be a wife of a freedom fighter? Is that not wicked opportunism? There are very many things that can be genuinely done for our freedom fighters and their folks without waiting for election to show your pretentious love for them. How many times has he gone there since he became a prime minister? Why now? And does that seemingly opportunistic approach make him better than other guys? At least, other presidential candidates have not been ambushed by enormous scandals like him!

    Raila’s political career is pegged on false premise. Thats why he is always attempting to project himself as a far better candidate than others without corresponding ideas and deeds. A real serious leader cant be that pretentious. Havent you noticed that he is still attempting to play the protocol card? The implementation of new constitution is behind schedule courtsey of Raila’s machinations. But he has been pretty quick in calling others watermelons without any reasons for that whatsoever. As its, he still insists there were people opposed to the new law. The truth is that there was no such thing as opposistion to the document at all. Raila was perhaps too confused during referendum campaigns to amend it before or after passage. The constitution had been written by constitutional experts and consequently, released to the public for scrutiny. After several weeks of reading it, no single Kenyan said he/she didnt want it. They all agreed that only about 25% of it needed to be amended. We then went on to referendum to decide whether to amend it BEFORE or AFTER passage.

    Raila, in order to find bearing in the fast changing equation, had to do what he knew best without considering that it was totally out of place. He resorted to insults and name calling. When VP Kalonzo Musyoka told him to go slow on our religious leaders, after he called them non-reformers and pretenders, he simply yelled back “watermelon.” But as already stated, there was no basis for that neither was it necessary at all. Perhaps, this favorite leader of yours is wallowing in deep sea of confusion! Furthermore, when he was playing “mister good” in Nyandarua, Kenyans were still waiting for him to respond to serious credibilty issues raised in Miguna Miguna’s book! The accussations are so pointed and known that his pretended credentials have been stunningly exposed. Those simply deceptive activities of his, like visiting this old lady, can never be taken seriously at all. Kenyans are certainly not looking at him as the fake savior that he potrayed himself, but worse!

    • Boiyot

      Kwessi,
      As much as you sometimes write ‘good’ opinions, I think you’ve started sounding like a Raila hater. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you should be a little bit subjective, after all he’s the ‘only’ presidential contender who not running to stop Raila… As for having some baggage, point to any other who’s ‘clean’.
      They’re all politicians, and will come up with ways of trying to endear themselves to us every election time.
      In saying this, I am not his supporter or a supporter of any of the current bunch at the moment…

      • @Boiyot: You have it all wrong pal! Furthermore, why are you saying that?Telling the truth, criticiziing or pointing out someone’s pretentious ways has nothing to do with hatred. Perhaps, you are one of those good guys who have been overwhelmed by Raila’s malicious propaganda! You must weigh what you say pretty carefully. You certainly cant equate truth with hatred. This is a line which has been paraded by Raila’s supporters frustrated by criticism against him. That can never ever be the way forward. We need to learn that no one is indispensable.

        Raila’s political antics are increasingly becoming hopeless because of this “big man” approach to issues. His love for lies, malicious propaganda, character assassinations, etc, are becoming his waterloo. He needed to reform long long time ago before Kenyans woke up to his falsehoods. His political career, as captured by Miguna’s book, is a cocktail of deceit. He has used cheap lies and propaganda to con himself to the top. For instance, was there anyone at all opposed to the new constitution my friend? And if there wasnt, was it necessary to call people names? Was bad maize imported from South Africa? Was KEBS MD fired for finding them unfit for human consumption? Was a South African fellow not brought in the country to certify the Maize fit for consumption and who was behind all those treacherous schemes? Is that what you are calling “hate for your man?”

        There are alot of decent political players in the presidential race. VP Kalonzo, Hon. Peter Keneth, Hon. Tuju, Hon. Martha Karua, Hon. Mutava Musyimi, Hon. Wamalwa, Prof. Kiyipai, to name but a few, are playing pretty well. Brothers Ruto and Uhuru are also not prone to cooking up wicked lies to get their ways. But since they have been indicted by ICC, I have hesitated to mention them. Amongst the above people, how many of them have you heard insulting and calling others names? Why is PM Raila such a specialist in foul matters? Are Kenyans not supposed to know those who are ever ready to display conman traits or thats hate too?

        Raila with all pretences of leadership, has done more harm to this country than all the other presidential candidates combined. You just have to go back to 1982 tribal coup attempt, all the way to 2007/8 PEV. In a real ideal democratic situation, he would be ineligible to vie for any office at all. In all democracies, turncoats laden with treasonable offences are never ever allowed to vie for any post. Raila’s record can be effortlessly narrowed down to criminality. His decision to plunge the country in to chaos, while using piteous excuse of election theft, amounts to serious sabotage of our nation. Needless to say, when the killings started, he saw no reason of telling his supporters to stop the murderous acts. In BBC’s “Hardtalk” program, Raila clearly praised murderous gangs that burned refugees in the Eldoret church. Can that be disputed my friend? Would any decent human being, not even a leader, congratulate murderers and for murders committed in the house of God? Why would such heartless fellow want Kenyans to elect him their president? How would he protect them?

        • Muema Kirima

          Oooooops! Prant ranting frantically all over the world

          • @Muema Kirima: Please yourself Sir! But dont ever forget this empty fixation with nothing is our bane!

        • Boiyot

          Sad to say, but one person cannot fight! Someone fought back… And that is why it’s called a fight.
          Anyway, as I said previously, Raila is no saint, all those other candidates that you’re mentioning have been in goverment for a long time, and the said government has had issues that stink all the way to heaven…
          When all is said and done, in this current dispensation, be buck stops with President Kibaki… He might not be able to fire Raila, but when there’s corruption, all I can always remember is: ‘did he eat your goat?’
          I guess what I am trying to tell you is, if we’re to scrutinize our leaders, we should do so to all of them equally, otherwise you’re just another sycophant only opposing instead of defending.
          Quoting Miguna takes off marks in your otherwise moderate arguments.

          • @Boiyot: Miguna is an authority now whether you like it or not. Dismissing his works while not offering explanation to issues raised, doesnt add up at all. Its like pushing water uphill. The character issues raised by Miguna Miguna are very real and even known. Anyone attempting to declare him crazy is only living in the past. And if the PM of Republic of Kenya was being advised by sick illogical person, what does it say about that PM?

            Raila remains a cocktail of deceit. And thats why he has been unable to actualize his fake so called reform agenda. 5 long long years as the most powerful prime minister in Kenya is eternity pal! Its even astonishing that someone has the audacity to cook up excuses for his enormous failures. If the guy was anything serious, the country would by now be prematurely asking president Kibaki to give way to Raila for wonders performed in that period. But what do we have? Nothing! Just trying to say that he is number two in the government when the law is very clear on that. Just fighting for carpets, toilets and even sitting arrengements! Would a serious reformist guy be this narrow? Would a Mandela be this piteous?

            Miguna only laid bare what was just hidden under a very thin layer. The fact of the matter is that there was corruption, outright theft and even pretentious love for victims of those schemes. These are things that cant be challenged at all. Other leaders have not involved themselves in dramas that border on the insanity. They have carried themselves about with alot of dignity. They never pretend to be the best leaders on earth when there is utterly nothing to show for that.

    • ObieK

      Kwessi: You sound so bitter and overly critical. Criticizing even where there is nothing worthy to criticize. Thsi is the time for those who think that true leaders need to rise up and steer this great Nation in the right direction. Kwessi rise up and stop hiding behind the keyboard and bring about real change in the political arena.

      • @Obiek; Whats that not worthy criticizing? My friend I have been in to this for a while now. Even when there were no keyboards, I was there. I was actually supposed to be a candidate at Nyayo house torture chambers. But I think I have too much guts to fail to use Stalin’s weapon. However, I would rather die than flee in a lady’s outfits. Am a total man with total conviction! I guess, thats why you are reading bitterness where there is none.

        Serious people keep it “ironclad” baby! I remember my Mum asking me to change my name in order to avoid arrest. I politely told her noway. That was during my formative years in late 80’s and early 90’s. That was about the same time your idol disappointed me by fleeing the country through Busia clad in Buibui(veil)! I honestly would have opted to die instead of washing myself with an avalanche of cowardice. In struggle, there are depressing moments, but that doesnt mean you have to demean yourself. True leaders always opt for death instead of denouncing their convictions. Remember Sekou Tourre of Guinea, Nkrumah, Gadhi, Kenyatta and Mendela? Serious guys dont entertain any thought of chickening up pal.

        • ObieK

          Kwessi:
          I do not recall a “Kwessi Pratt” name during the struggles for political freedom in the Nyayo Era. As a potential candidate at the Nyayo house torture chambers were you a university student?
          I tried to search your name, but apparently the result returned only one Kwesi Pratt who originates from Ghana. Can you kindly un-mask your “ironclad” identity and be known?
          You claim your mum had wished you changed your name to avoid arrest, but the name you go by in the discussion has no roots in Kenyan soil. So who is the real you Kwessi?

          • Face the issues raised before opting for the pity! You think any serious person can allow the pugnacious torrents of hatred that abond amongst you guys to narrow down to him? I didnt say I wasnt using pseudo-name here. Am a businessman and luos wont deal with me once they realize that am not for their idol. Alot of people have paid dearly business-wise because of this twisted nature of some of these guys! They dont understand that competition of ideas and leadership has nothing to do with deslike or hatred. Am sure you have noticed that about all of them are accusing me of “hating” their man.

            Apparently, failure and criticism for their man is hate! As a businessman, you have to seperate yourself from your business. This is not naked cowardice but business interest that has to be protected. But of course, the real “me” will undoubtedly come on board at the right time! Perhaps, I will have to handover daily running of the business to my folks. I hold your idol responsible for all this wicked approach to national matters. His career has been oiled by empty incitement against perceived or imagined opponents. However, God is Great! That history of unending madness is swiftly coming to an abrupt end on March 4, 2013! Infact, I foresee my luo brothers raising up in arms against their time wickedly wasted by this unashamed selfish individual.

          • ObieK

            Kwessi:
            Thanks for stating that you are using a pseudo-name. I almost thought you had a real face my fellow Kenyan. I do not have an “idol” as you continue to purport/assume in your responses. I love Kenya and its diversity. This phobia and fear/hatred you have towards the Luo community is self created and has no foundation. You try to portray the community as being very “primitive” and backward, yet so many businessmen from the Agikuyu community have operated thriving enterprises in Nyanza without fear. They have never been intimidated. I must say the vice versa would be suicidal.

            Kenya is one big Nation for all, and is about time we the people, and especially the educated led the way in bringing about unity as opposed to preaching and propagating falsehoods against communities. We need to rise up to the occasion, shy away from ethnocentricity, and build a unified Nation. The struggle continues.

          • I do appreciate your comments. However, you veer off the mark once you talk of what you are calling fear/hatred for these guys. I certainly have no fear for them at all, just a business precaution. Perhaps, yourself being a “O”, dont want to face the hard truth! But thats not the point here. You must appreciate that a good lot of lous have no time for anyone who does not appreciate that Raila is suppposedly a super leader. Anybody who openly says the guy is no more than something close to a conman, has to face their coldness, if not more serious repercussions. May be you live in a “Kisumu Ndogo” where you hardly come across these glaring realities! By “Small Kisumu” I only mean where the guys are prevalent.

            Secondly, all Kenyans are my brothers and I sincerely love my motherland. I have stayed in Ugenya, the luo heartland, and the guys were pretty wonderful. My childhood friend, Mr. John Okoth, still remains my best friend. I have had to change his opinion about these wanton lies being fed on our folks. Obviously, Kenyans are the most wonderful people on earth before political poisoning. We therefore, can not hesitate to take on these poisonous lords pal! If one for strange reasons, feels offended by our approach, its only regretable. We have to change the way our people think pal.

            Tribe doesnt offer anything at all in the 21st century. Am sure those who wallowed in neck-deep blood of innocent Kenyans to become something, havent offered anything at all to their so called tribesmen. Even though the so called 1/2 loaf led our folks to celebrate in Kenyan lake city of Kisumu, their lives have never ever been affected by that much touted 1/2 loaf. Perhaps, today they would be bewildered if you asked them what happened about that infamous 1/2 stuff!

            Finally, Kenyans are free to do business wherever they please. Its not a privilege for Kikuyus to do business in any part of Kenya. This theory of claiming that our brothers from Nyanza or else where cant do
            business in central is just political poisoning. How many of them have ventured there and failed to reap rewards of their sweat? Were they not largely arrested by political meandering that perpetually keeps them poor? And is central region business climate not too competitive for beginners? You start business where there is no cut-throat competition pal!

            Guys in central Kenya, because of their proximity to Nairobi, are mostly in business. You can not therefore survive there business-wise with limited resources and even knowledge. Thats why a good lot of us have had to go to Kisumu or else where to try our luck. Nevertheless, once we start getting successful, folks in these areas start coming up with the kind of stories you are fronting. Get over it pal! Politicians, especially those with limited business acumen, are very good at selling mischief to their respective people. And merchants of deceit tops the list of propagandists hellbent on misleading. Yours is thus, the falsehoods against communities while hidding under what you pretentiously call unified nation!

  • I hope he is paying you enough in your new role because you will clearly need the money after March 4th 2012. He has been PM for the last four years, has he just woken up to realize JM and Kimathi family need recognition. The problem with those charged to publicize him like you and Prof Makau is that you don’t realize the average Kenyan is now enlightened. You are still stuck to the old ways of shaping opinion. Kenya has moved on.

    • @Lucid: The guys are reformers that never reform. Thats why they think a pretentious visit to a wife of a freedom fighter can make Kenyans view them favorably. They think Kenyans are too stupid to question weighty matters like theft of Kazi Kwa Vijana Funds, Maize theft and subsequent importation of cancerous maize, drunken confusion in major issues like constitutional amendments, mistaking same for opposition to the very constitution!, character assassinations, clueless approach to issues, vicious lies, malicious propaganda and God knows what else!

      A true reformer or a vehicle for change for that matter, can NEVER EVER be associated with above extremely wicked things. These are the kind of things that can only be attributed to conmen purporting to have hoisted Kenyan flag on the moon! People with genuine love for their fellow countrymen can NEVER EVER be involved in tearing out the same folks. They can NEVER EVER feed them with cancerous maize. True leaders are ever ready to die for their fellow countrymen. They can NEVER EVER run away leaving their supporters being harmed by riot police. They would ask the police to arrest them instead. They can never ever escape their motherland clad in veils like ladies. They opt to be arrested in order for their folks to enjoy freedom.

      True leaders dont EVER pretend to have stands when they have no problem changing their poistion on major issues with every coming second. They dont heap their failures on others. They go for solutions. They are not short of ideas, marked by empty name calling and insults. They come up with brilliant ideas that can inspire their respective countries. They dont declare themselves the only reformers in their respective countries. They offer genuine ideas that push forward the reform agenda. They dont attempt to put down other folks with empty reform songs that are never actualized. They dont pretend to be reformers while forever holding on pity things like football and parable antics that translate in to nothingness.

      Serious nationalists can NEVER EVER scream over little things like carpets and toilets, while their compatriots are barely scavenging to live. They sacrifice their comforts for their people. They never spent 601,000/= for a hotel room per night while masquerading as champions of the poor. They take it cheap to help their motherland. And of course, they cant spent years trying to be declared number two men in their respective countries. They remain ever humble like Mzee Nelson Mandela. The most celebrated Icon of our times, who would come out of 27 years in prison to declare himself a loyal ordinary member of his party. I guess, our fake fellows here would have told us to kneel before them and shout slogans in their favor!

  • Unfortunately, sorry fortunately, your article carries no message to Kenyan electorate todate 19/9/2012. It was on 17/9/2012 the waters were tested, and your popularized opinion polls were proven a big lie by the outcome of the Kangema, Kajiado, and Ndhiwa parliamentary by-election whereby your MOST law abiding 50+ 1 vote win president party won only one of the three and from his backyard. I think your man dreams of once upon a time he will be embraced by the Nyumba ya Mumbi, which is a good thing to dream of, but which chances are very slim especially if you are the ‘gang’ leader to deliver. Now that you hold a senior position in Railas campaign, Just review your way of thinking and start a fresh, you might succeed. Did you hear the ODM secretary General (18.9.2012) regretting why the party let go off Ole Sakuda?
    ……i hope the by election out come was more credible than the frequent opinion polls and shows a grey picture of what will happen come 4 march 2013

Hit enter to search or ESC to close