Crisis of failure to learn from history

Charles Tweheyo

What you need to know:

  • As son to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga - first post-independence Kenya’s Vice President, Raila believes he has an automatic right to be president. 

March 20 was widely publicised as Azimio’s Raila day to ‘liberate’ Kenyans from what he calls ‘bad regime’. He accuses Ruto’s regime for exploiting Kenyans and inability to control the high cost of living. This effort by Odinga to make Kenya “forget” the past, 16 years after the 2007 turmoil, will essentially cost him individually and Kenya collectively. Another blood is just a blink away from shed, subject to political egoism rooted in the sense of entitlement and belief that he has an automatic right to become president.

As a son to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga - first post-independence Kenya’s Vice President, Raila believes he has an automatic right to become president. This is a sense of entitlement as reflected in his presidential contestations where he isn’t seeking majority vote but simple endorsement. But like his father, Raila has been bypassed by people he doesn’t believe possess a better political history than his. The latest and most shocking being Ruto in 2022. Amidst a political junction of sense of entitlement and perceived historical injustice, Raila meets a curse in elections where he always dominates as the ‘Best Man’ while major actors assume Presidency. This traumatic experience is worsened by other factors outside his control but fundamentally affecting his perceived historical injustice and personal entitlement:
Old age. Having attempted to become president five times with none being successful, each time alleging electoral fraud, he is in the evening of his active political career. It is only natural that he is becoming weak which affects his energy to galvanise national appeal and support among the youth and his strongholds.

Failure to create a political successor. Raila, a kingmaker in the western counties around Lake Victoria, is a darling to his fellow Luo ethnic voters who affectionately refer to him as “Baba”- meaning Father. But this loyalty came into question after Ruto’s win. No question, this is diminishing political influence. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a successor to uphold his political interests, which threatens Raila’s political future. It’s seemingly true that the would-be possible successors like Musyoka doubt Raila’s reliability and dependability. Therefore, to save his face among his support-base, amidst the difficulty of admitting continuous losses, he continues to fan his support-base to keep the hope alive.
The William Ruto nightmare. Raila has evidently failed to accept the reality that he, the entitled son of Jaramogi, was defeated twice (in elections and Supreme Court) by a hitherto unknown son of a peasant. To make matters worse, in his inaugural speech, Ruto quashed the ‘handshake’ dream. ‘Handshake’ was vital in the creation of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) – formerly considered as a power-sharing agreement that was blocked by the Supreme Court in March 2022 in a ruling where Ruto was seen as the main winner against Raila who strongly championed BBI.

Hope to stir an apprising in Kenya. Raila, after the disappearance of hope to legally access the Presidency, resorts to a rather bitter hope. Hope that he can replicate the Arab Spring mob action in Kenya. Raila has decided to embark on a nation-destruction mission. Definitely, this must be one of his hardest, if not last, active political journeys. 
It is treasonous to attempt to “take” power through mass demonstrations from a constitutionally recognised president. There is failure to appreciate the lessons from history as reflected in this sense of superiority by leaders to behave like they are above the law.
All issues raised by Odinga are good enough to encourage a perceptive judgment to reach the pinnacle of success instead of adopting measures that are setting Kenya and East African economies to unnecessary senses of insecurity and vulnerability. I am not convinced this is the Kenya he & Kenyans love to identify with!

Authored by Charles Tweheyo 


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