Raila Odinga is a genuine leader

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NGUNJIRI WAMBUGU

Two months ago I was on Kameme FM discussing issues around the ICC Kenyan situation when an interesting thing happened.

Uhuru Kenyatta called into the show and asked me 11 questions, especially as regards positions that I have held that have been contrary to his. However one of the more memorable comments he made was that I must be careful about my new friend, Raila Odinga.

He advised me that this man cannot be trusted and that I should be careful in putting too much faith in the man.

The Deputy Prime Minister was voicing something that has been voiced by even trusted friends around me who are concerned that I am leaning more towards Raila Odinga politically.

Issues that keep coming up include whether a Raila-led government would socio-economically disenfranchise certain regions from benefiting from his government; whether he was behind the ’41 vs 1′ philosophy that ODM is believed to have rolled out as its campaign strategy in 2007; whether he was involved in planning for the kikuyu-targeted post election violence, etc.

Uhuru Kenyatta touched on some of these fears in all the 11 questions he asked me.

I did not vote for Raila Odinga in 2007; in fact I spent a lot of effort circulating my thoughts about why I believed that Raila Odinga should not be President of Kenya. My primary fear of a Raila presidency was that the man was too powerful a force, and would be bad for Kenya’s democracy.

I also saw a man willing to do anything to win, and ready to sacrifice Kenya’s existence, rather than lose. My justification was that his entire campaign seemed to be driven by negative energy, revenge and hatred. I also argued that if he could cause so much trouble to an incumbent and his entire government machinery when only a mere MP (then); what could he do with the powers of a President, especially considering the constitution we had then.

My opinion of Raila Odinga has changed gradually since 2008, especially once I started getting involved in inter-ethnic discussion forums through KikuyusforChange. Unlike most of my fellow Kenyans from Central province I have had occasion to politically engage opinion leaders from the regions where the other four million Kenyans who voted for Raila in 2007 come from. In these interactions I have learnt many things, including how the leaders from amongst the four million of us who voted for Kibaki actually build Raila Odinga’s political career whenever they deal with him contemptuously.

In the close to four years since 2008 I have watched Raila work very hard to put the mistakes he might have made in 2007 behind him, especially that of being associated with a team that seemed to isolate one community from the others, and to incite those others against it for political gain.

I have understood how humbling it has been for him to accept what is essentially a powerless office, in a hostile government, and to understudy a president who was a bitter rival. I have seen a man who has realised that Kenyans are looking for a positive narrative; that any presidential candidate who hopes to win must speak to Kenyans as Kenyans; not in units of their religions, demographics, genders or tribes. I have seen a man who has accepted that Kenyans want someone who will sincerely seek to unite rather than divide Kenya, and who is striving to be this candidate.

What I have seen has impressed me and with the new constitution that makes it easy to manage any President, my vote has gone to Raila.

But I am worried I could be wrong.

The reports that Raila Odinga could be seeking ways to reconcile with William Ruto concern me because I belong to the group that agrees with Moreno Ocampo, that William Ruto bears substantial responsibility for what happened in Rift Valley in 2007. I also find Ruto extremely unapologetic about all the chaos, and his comments on this terrible time border on the absurd; from it looking like a movie, to gas cylinder bursts. This is what made me wonder how Uhuru Kenyatta ever agreed to work with him in any political alliance.

However of greater concern to me is the suggestion that Raila has offered to use his international networks to save William Ruto from the ICC process; the same way as he helped Henry Kosgey! The idea that someone can remove someone else from the ICC process suggests that it is possible for such a person to put someone else into such a process.

This is a dangerous implication when viewed in the context of suggestions from Uhuru Kenyatta’s allies that their leader is in the ICC because Raila put him there! If this were true I would feel very silly after all the work I have done in support of the ICC to-date.

It would also mean that what I have seen happening to Raila Odinga in the last four years was not genuine.

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  • JOM

    so what are you thinking?

  • scanfish

    Welcome to the real world. What you see is not necessarily what you get, whether with reference to Raila or the ICC.
    We have been telling you all this time that Raila is not who he and his supporters claim to be, the current NHIF scam now dominating discussion just being the latest scandal that seriously questions Raila’s integrity, and it is a pity it has taken you 4 years to realise that.

    In the same vein, we have been telling you the ICC is more of a western political tool and kangaroo court than an impartial world court that is blind to prejudice against anyone, more so against Africans. Well, it seems you have had an epiphany and now know better i.e the court can indeed be manipulated to achieve goals that conform with hegemonic and imperialistic western geo-political and economic interests, such as installing a willing and over-enthusiastically malleable puppet in Raila Odinga inside State House.

    Hope you will exercise better judgement next time, a more chastened and enlightened man.

    • Tiptip

      Your view on ICC court boggles mind.This reminds me of the cult like support dictators of yester years within Africa used to enjoy.When Idi Amin used to reign terror on Ugandan citizens ,kenyan and african leadership never bothered and silent collusion was evidenced.The same happened with Bukasa in the western african country.If there were ICC court then, lives could have been saved.The same applies to your case. Since you have an ethnic agenda to push, as a supporter of the accused, you don’t care about the victims.Your local dialect is more important than life of the PEV.

  • jo-c

    nice and truthful article…………..continue writing such factual, flowing, and well researched articles.

  • ndobolo

     I think Raila’s party has engineered theft of public money in NHIF for use in their election campaign,their credibility is now in big doubt.

  • Pratt

    Am amazed by your twisted and almost pretentious facts. Either you have failed to read your favorite idol correctly, or simply dont know whats agenuine good leader. First, a genuine leader must have the welfare of the people at heart. That cant be said of Raila at all. Remember only the other day, he spent mind-boggling KShs. 601,000/= for a hotel room. That was done while his compatriots were barely scavenging to live. And not only that, severally, Raila has taken off once the riot police checks in, leaving his supporters to face the music. A genuine leader would even opt to be arrested for the safety of  his poor supporters. After all, he is the once who assemled them against the police wishes, if not the law. A true genuine leader must have true loyalty to his country. He must be willing to sacrifice and even die for his country. Surely, same cant be said of your “genuine” idol. He doesnt help the needy or even contibute funds for projects/harambee. He is a mean character who feels or has created the impression that Kenyans owe him. He has repeatedly visited violence on Kenyans in no less than two occasions. Both in 1982 and 2007/8, the genesis of mayhem, destruction and death was his art at its finest! His words and actions have ended up creating problems for the country at her borders. A genuine leader pursues the truth and truth alone. Your purported genuine leader has no room for truth at all. He relies on falsehoods and extremely toxic malicious propaganda. Am sure you have read the stuff meant to question Hon. Mudavadi credentials. Instead of going by facts and facts alone, only Raila’s known deeds are twisted to mean Mudavadi’s! To suggest that those who have left Raila were behind his failures is to insult our intelligence to the extreme. Raila himself is on record declaring them his “students!” And here you are telling us the opposite! Whats the matter pal? Do you know even Raila’s famous declaration “Kibaki Tosha” was also a monumental deception? Hon. Simon Nyachae was then the favorite compromise candidate. But that in itself, threatened your “genuine leader’s” political career. Thus, the Kibaki tosha thing. Nyachae comes from Nyanza and Raila wont allow another alternative power in the area. Its so simple to discern pal! No good faith and no loyalty at all. Talk of killing two birds with one stone!

  • Guest

    Noone got Kosgey or Ali from Hague, their defence did, get right on this. I also don’t know what you mean by Genuine. Its subject to subjectivity, I’ve not yet seen any objective points to your changed view, I’ve just seen your initial and final state, the process conspicuously lacks.

  • This fellow down here called Pratt stinks of bitterness! Claiming that Raila has not sacrificed enough for his supporters sounds like the fellow was brought up in some isolated island! No current politician, including President Kibaki has fought for a just Kenya like Raila. The fellow has been arrested, molested and locked up by the powers that be! Get your facts right before bickering, the rest of the story is too long to be read!

    • Thats rich pal! I for one never dwell on generalities, I offer facts and facts alone. If thats what you are calling bitterness, then I have no idea whats bitterness. You need to offer specificity on those sacrifices by your idol pal. Raila was arrested in 1982 for his involvement in a failed tribal coup. Apparently, he had financed junior Airforce luo officers to stage a coup. That was clearly expounded on during his treason trial. Treason is a pure very serious criminal offence, but certainly not a “fight or sacrifice for us!” He was never arrested for any other issue at all. His treason trial was superseded by detention, which was very lawful then. As you might know, president had legal powers to detain inciters or troublesome fellows like Raila. Raila inspite of endless senseless songs of reform, has never mellowed with time. Its unfortune fictitious feats have been created out of pure criminal case! We have been repeatedly told that he “fought” for multipartyism, but thats also another fake feat. When we were fighting for multiparty, the creature was still fighting off treason charges or was in detention. And in any case, his late father was in the frontline. Politically, father and son cant stand toe to toe. The sons are always unknown. Therefore, unless Raila wants to pretend he was the father,  there is no way he could have “fought for us” even if he wanted! There was no space for him at all. Thats actually why  he started claiming, after his father’s death, that it was a “biological mistake” for him to have been born son of Jaramong! Even that act of talking of biological mistakes explains his very early opportunistic tendencies! Needless to say, attempting to disown your father, albiet mischieviously, is a curse pal. I guess thats why the fellow has had a history of blood letting. And dont ever forget, all indications are that the fellow is on a very steep descend! 

  • Curious

    I don’t know how old you are but I find your arguments extremely naive.

    If you read your own last three paragraphs about what RO has gone offering Ruto, then clearly it does not rhyme with the subject of your article. He is either lying to Ruto or he did actually spring an ICC suspect and put others in, whichever the case that is not my idea of a genuine person. 

    Clearly this is a man, in your own words, who would “sacrifice anything including Kenyas own existence” to get what he wants. There is the small matter of 1982 , I need not say more about it. We all saw on TV, national and international, what happened in December 2007/January 2008 ACROSS the country. The key word here is ACROSS THE COUNTRY. I am also sure I am not the only one that heard him boast, on TV again, how Kenya will become ungovernable like Ivory Coast.

    I suppose you may have got a personal apology from the man and the ODM party considering that he’s your new found pal, but all I have heard and seen is loud silence and smug satisfaction. 

    While still on the subject of absurd justifications, you clearly never heard Raila’s BBC Hardtalk interview in mid Jan 2008 justifying the events at Kiambaa church. I would advice you to search the BBC website for the clip before you go shouting from the rooftops.

  • MS

    Raila is a great, genuine and charismatic leader but your argument is, if anything, choreographed and lacks depth. He may have tried not to make the same mistakes he made in 2007 but you skillfully evaded mentioning the bigger miss-steps he made this time round. Fact remains that this was his election to lose and he sadly lost.

  • odhies

    raila is a backer whose hypocrisy in not definite to Kenyan he is after revenge mission he making every dry grass green to get to the seat and do what is called dictatorship. look president Museveni hates the whites with concrete reasons on their conspiracy to Africa he hates too raila what does that mean? raila aint a good man believe me wait an u will c. i voted for him but am regreting.he is using threats to force the government to dialogue with him for what benefit is he after

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