Raila is a true leader, not an opportunist


‘The Leader is back!’ – This was the text message I received from a friend when he saw the Prime Minister in Eastleigh on Thursday last week, speaking to Kenyans there. The PM had landed in the wee hours of the day from an international trip, then gone to Eastleigh in the afternoon to speak about the explosion that had blown up a ‘matatu’ and killed several people.

This incident had happened earlier in the week and no other senior member of government had seen the need to warn members of the public against what seemed to be simmering inter-community tensions that were threatening to burst into open conflict. The PM assured the residents that the government was concerned about what had happened and was doing something about it.

The day after, the Prime Minister was off to Garissa where he met security chiefs in the area, toured the hospital where victims of the shooting were admitted, and went to the site where a market had been burnt down. He then had a public meeting where he assured the residents of Garissa that the government was concerned about what had happened.

Again, despite the fact that the Garissa violence happened when he was away, no other senior government official, including all those others competing with him for the presidency, had seen the need to go and speak with the Kenyans living in Garissa after what seemed like State-sanctioned war against them.

This is not the first time this has happened.

When there was a fire in Embakasi, the Prime Minister was the first person on site; likewise when there was an explosion on Tom Mboya Street. When people went blind and some died in Kiambu he went there the next day. When there was violence in Tana River he flew there. In most cases where there has been a national situation, the Prime Minister will be the first to react.

I once raised this with a friend working in the camp of one of his presidential rivals, and asked why. The answer was that the Prime Minister is an opportunist who uses such incidences for cheap publicity. I was greatly amused.

Politics has been described by some as the art of snatching opportunity to help the public and/or identify themselves with them during a crisis, so that you can build rapport with them and they in return can elect you as their political representative. Jesus explained it best when he condemned those who refused to visit with the sick, those in prison or mourning, etc.

For those who think this is opportunism, be informed that this capacity by the PM to do the uncomfortable and inconvenient as a senior government officer is what earns him support from people like myself.


Last year I was part of a team that organised a public ‘vigil’ for victims of post election violence at Uhuru Park. This was during the weekend when Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were at the Hague with a team of 40 Members of Parliament as ‘cheerleaders’ and supporters of the two suspects had planned a mammoth ‘home-coming’ party as soon as the two landed after that first appearance, to show-case what was claimed as a victory over Moreno Ocampo.

Those of us who understood that the ICC is primarily about fairness for victims felt that such a party was a slap in the face for PEV victims. We believed ICC was about justice for victims, primarily because if there had been no victims there would have been no suspects. We needed to remind the Kenyan public why some Kenyans were at The Hague.

We partnered with several civil society organizations, international community, government agencies and the media to put up pictures from ‘Kenya Burning’; pictures of violent acts committed during the post election violence, and of the various political processes before, during and after. We set up at Uhuru Park for two days, had video stations and a photo exhibition, and invited the public to come ‘remember’ with us. Over 100,000 people came over the two days.

The effects of that small exercise were so profound that by the time the two suspects came back to Kenya no one could speak of the suspects and the Hague case; the narrative around the ICC had turned back to what it is supposed to be; the victims.

As we head into the next general elections I call upon members of the Civil Society to consider a similar exercise, especially as we go into the 5th anniversary of the last general elections.

Please remind us why four Kenyans have been confirmed as having cases to answer for crimes against humanity, at The Hague. Remind us why 1,133 Kenyans, including babies, are moulds of dust. Remind us why over 3,000 women suffer the stigma of rape.

Remind us why millions are carefully analyzing where in Kenya they want to be during the next general elections.

Civil Society, over to you.

(Wambugu is the Founder and Director of the Change Associates Trust).

7 Replies to “Raila is a true leader, not an opportunist”

  1. PM Raila is worse than opportunist! Thats simply because he is ever ready to harvest political capital out of worst scenarios. What even makes him more than opportunist is the fact that, all his so called reactions only check in during every election year. Infact, in all instances where his face sprang up, he was not even playing a leader but awkward opportunist attempting to out-do the president. Thats why for some time now, we have been saying that he is hellbent on basking in false glory! He does not get to accident scenes to offer leadership. But for sentimental purposes that hardly suit the situations. And where resources are required to rescue the situation, he quickly lapses to a mere spectator! You saw what happened in Garissa for yourself! He lied to our brothers there that government, which is already in financial crisis, was going to compansate those affected by recent security lapses in the area. Meanwhile, he had neither consulted nor evaluated consequences of such a huge financial engagement. Even more stunningly, he didnt seem to know that riotous situations are legally never any one’s responsibility!

    However, instances of PM attempting to cash on issues that he was a total stranger are dotted all over the place. You know all things that have made him to claim that he is a reformer can be effortlessly disapproved. Thats because their time of happening and his much hyped presence dont match up at all. When he was involved in a tribal failed coup, he purported to have resorted to recruiting his tribesmen in airforce on behalf Kenyans. That CANT be true given the trial records that actually pronounce the whole futile venture as pure family’s greed for power. That lie gave rise to another of supposed fight for multi-partyism. But if the guy was in remand prison or detention in the entire period we were fighting for pluralism, when did he become the engine for same? Needless to say, the moment he got fresh air outside prison gates, he took off in ladies! He would surface only when everything had happened and 1992 plural elections were at hand.

    Same same thing happened with constitution. After he told us that he didnt see how Hon. Mutula Kilonzo was going to give us same after Hon. Karua’s failure, he completely disappeared from the scene. He belatedly only surfaced when we were approaching referendum. First, he told us that PNU expected him not support the constituition. Then after calling religious leaders names, he turned to brother VP Kalonzo Musyoka, the actual driver of the whole thing. He baselessly called him a supposed watermelon after Kalonzo cautioned him against using funny names on the clergy. But he wont relent. He was however slowed down by suspect “illness,” that for all intent and purpose, had something to do with his foul pronouncements. He even faked “opposition” against the constitution! That was, as events later showed, to feign “owner” status of the document. If somebody had said time and again, that he was mostly on the sidelines, even doubted the driver’s capacity to produce results, would he at the same time claim to be the driver? These are the things that have made Raila’s empty political career! When looked closely, one would wonder how we havent noticed fraud chain in all this!!!!

    1. Dear Kwessi Pratt.. You perception of what Wambugu says is far from the truth. Wambugu has been candid and given samples. He has highlighted the design of what political leadership is. Hail to Wambugu for this clear vice that still hold the PM top amongst all the opinion polls 7years straight since 2005 after the referendum. That is not an easy fete to achieve for any politician. Not even Mandela was able to sustain popularity in the opinion polls throughout his presidency. Well Wambugu is right to say that Raila always comes out during those uncomfortable times and always the first to be a whistle blower. Many a times he has alerted us on the worst atrocities that other politicians shy away from telling. But its your choice to make judgement and have opinion. I think the fact remains.. track record is what matters. That is the true Kenyan politics

      1. @Lumash: You havent said a thing! You have only exhibited your rather awkward defence for your idol. Leadership is NOT political expediency! Its also not your ability to destroy evidence. Leadership comes from the heart. However, what we have seen in Raila CANT be called leadership. Its combination of pretentious lies and wicked opportunism. My friend, Mr. Wambugu, has all markings of an individual doing his duties for a pay. There is nothing wrong with that. Especially when we know that some character has been on overdrive to depict himself as laterday lover for Kikuyus! Forgeting that his political career is built on his hate for us! Again, thats not a big deal, given that Judas who betrayed Jesus Christ was also a jew!

        Actually your PM has been leading in fake opinion polls that are manufactured by himself and his hordes of tribal drunkards that never see anything beyond tribe. Retired president Nelson Mandela didnt lead continuously in fake opinion polls because he is not a cheat. If those polls were genuine, Raila would have slipped down to ground zero the moment collaterals (tribal kingpins), who had created semblace of popularity for him, walked away. Infact, since he lost 2007 election, he has lost too much ground. However, his worshippers either dont have the audacity to tell the truth, or their tribal wishful thinking wont permit them. They know without lies that are quickly taken in by the media, their man would be a waste by now.

        In any case, no single politician in the entire history of polling has maintained genuine lead for that long. And moreso, when supported by absolutely nothing! Even leaders who changed the face of the world (forget folks who have miserably failed to change their villages!) NEVER EVER led in polls for that long. Human beings normally get bored with the routine pretty quickly. Actually, thats why best popular leaders end up escaping assassination attempts or get killed. Thus, this purported lead by Raila CANT BE REAL at all. It has something to do with his ever unending desire to fake feats. And dont forget, he has already crowned himself best leader without any shred of a thing to support that!!!!

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