Raila Odinga is very good at playing to the gallery. On Friday, the “People’s President” proved this when – in his characteristic charisma – he came up with the story of a bat. The jury is still out on what exactly he was talking about in that story.
But I digress. The Right Honourable Prime Minister attended a promulgation thanksgiving prayer service in Kinoo on Sunday, where he took to the pulpit and registered his “disapproval” with the presence of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir in the country on Friday, despite the ICC noose hanging over his head.
Firstly, I would wish to remind any Martian who is reading this article that Mr Odinga is one of the two Principals at the head of the Government of the Republic of Kenya. Casually, this means that the PM is responsible for everything that happens within the borders of this country, and anything that the government commits to internationally.
After bringing the Martians up to speed, let me now remind all of us that the Cabinet of the grand coalition government made history last week, when it held two sittings in the same week. In fact, it met on two days in a row – Tuesday and Wednesday; Truly historic. Their second meeting was primarily to focus on the arrangements that had been put in place for Friday, August 27 when Kenya was to usher in a new Constitution.
One can only expect that one of the items on the agenda at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting was titled “VIP guests” in which the protocol officers at the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Cabinet Office should have prepared a proper brief for the 40 men and women present at the meeting.
Surely, the name Sudan must have appeared on the briefing papers, didn’t it? Alongside Uganda, Tanzania, Comoros, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and other member nations of IGAD, EAC, COMESA and such bodies where Kenya plays a critical role.
The emergent question would therefore be; did the Prime Minister, or indeed Prof Anyang Nyongo and James Orengo register it to the Cabinet that they did not want Khartoum to be included in the invitations list?
When these three gentlemen come out to the public complaining that Omar Hassan Al Bashir should not have come to Kenya, whose collective intelligence are they insulting, if not Kenyans?
It is my considered opinion that Raila, Nyongo and Orengo should explain to us why THEY invited Al Bashir to Kenya in the first place, before telling us that ODM was not aware of his visit. Who is ODM, and what does a political party have to do with State invitations?
Was ODM consulted about the particular artillery that the military was planning to display at Uhuru Park? I guess not.
Was ODM consulted about the jumbo flag that has now been hoisted at Uhuru Park as a commemoration of the birth of the Second Republic? I bet not.
Was ODM consulted about the off-tune group of musicians who “entertained” us at Uhuru Park? I guess not, or probably that is why they sang so badly. Lol!
Isn\’t it curious that it was none other than an ODM Cabinet Minister who was assigned to accompany Bashir to Uhuru Park?
Najib Balala strode majestically alongside the visitor to the dais. His PNU comrade Amos Kimunya escorted Yoweri Museveni.
These roles, I imagine, were assigned in Cabinet.
The point here is that the government (read Cabinet) invited Omar Al Bashir to Kenya knowing full well about the ICC arrest warrants, the AU resolution regarding his arrest, Kenya’s central role in the Sudan peace process and the forthcoming referendum on the independence of our immediate neighbour Southern Sudan.
The government has explained its position on this matter more than once. It is up to Kenyans and the international community to buy this reasoning.
However, somebody needs to remind our beloved Prime Minister (who looks most likely to become President, according to opinion polls) as well as other “ODM” leaders who sit on the Cabinet that Kenya is now different. The days of making one decision collectively behind closed doors and later coming out to play to the gallery are gone. They died when Kenyans voted on August 4, and were buried when the President appended his signature to the new Constitution.
Kenyans are mature. They will no longer entertain small time political games.
You sat in the Cabinet and approved the invitation of Omar al Bashir. Live with it. Kenyans will judge you collectively as the Cabinet, and not as ODM or PNU.