And it came to pass, that for three days in the second week of the ninth month of the fourth year of the corrupt and tribal regime of the Jubilee government in Kenya, Mr. Raila Odinga was an out-shone, out-done, out-flanked and out-smarted man. Douglas Okwatch in a column in The Standard of September 11 2016 put this political upmanship better than I ever could:
For the very first time since 1982 Raila isn’t a key player in an event that has far-reaching political ramifications for the future of the country. The initiative, it would seem, has been wrested from him. Raila has been thrust into the unusual and unenviable position of playing catch up.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000215474/raila-must-repackage-himself-as-political-landscape-is-jolted
As Jubilee painted the town red (literally), buying anyone with a price and intimidating us that they are “serikali”, the out-shone Raila was down at the coast celebrating 10 years of ODM mediocrity: “nusu mkate“, “stolen” elections, perished pentagon, deserted allies, men-in-black, discord in CORD and a tired and uninspiring claim that he must occupy statehouse. Looking at Jubilee’s opulence and decadence through the fence, Raila was under siege from the hungry mongrels around him. The hounds in the ODM political elite are starting to seriously doubt whether he can lead them to the promised land of plenty of fillet and steak in government, not the hunger and barrenness of the land of opposition. Some are not just doubting him, they have already decamped to the land of plenty in Jubilee. He was not just an out-shone man, he was a besieged man. At such a time, he of the vitendawili fame needed some biblical inspiration more for himself than for his loss-weary supporters. And he did not disappoint. He declared that 2017 will be a David vs Goliath battle. He as David and Uhuru & Jubilee as Goliath. Like many things that he has got wrong in his career he was wrong on this one. Again!
In that biblical battle, David was the future and Goliath was the past. David would go on to have a glorious career as King of Israel. On this count alone, Raila is not David. One would have to stretch their imagination to ridiculous levels to imagine Raila as an embodiment of the country’s future.
Goliath vs David – The past vs the future
For the umpteenth time, could someone please tell Mr. Raila Odinga that since he started cooperating with KANU after the 1997 elections, sold NDP to KANU and acquired public property for private gain, he is a card-carrying member of the status quo. His membership was bargained for and paid for in full by none other than Daniel Arap Moi. He has entrenched himself in the politics of ethnicity, impunity and mediocrity siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi since he declared Kibaki Tosha in 2002, turned tribalism into the infamous 42 vs 1 formula of mobilizing for the presidency in 2007 and joined an equally corrupt blood-soaked “nusu-mkeka” coalition government in 2008. He is a beneficiary of the system, a stakeholder in the establishment and the architect of a tribal hegemony of Moi-orphans. When he declares a battle between David and Goliath, he is with Goliath!
To the chagrin of ODM/CORD supporters, I have argued consistently in this blog that there is no difference between CORD and Jubilee. They are part of the same political elite that has impoverished this country for the last 53 years. They only find themselves on opposite sides of the government looting orgy. Jubilee is on the inside and overeating, chewing loudly and voraciously with open mouths dripping with bolus, what my language calls “matanuko”. ODM and CORD are on the outside, hungry, angry and overshouting. When all of them were in the blood-soaked coalition government, corruption and looting was not a big deal because all of them were eating.
Raila vs David
To liken himself to David, Raila is appropriating an imagery that he cannot live up to. When a servant in Saul’s palace introduced David he described him thus:
Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skillful in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.” Sam 1: 16-18
David was young, innocent, anointed, skilled, gifted, with integrity (prudent in matters) carrying the hopes and dreams of a nation. He was on a nationalistic and altruistic mission. Not a blinding obsession to occupy the palace and become King. He was an outsider to Israel’s political and military establishment. A virtual nobody. Can Raila be said to have any of these attributes?
In his book “Peeling off the Mask” this is what Miguna Miguna a (disgruntled?) insider in the Raila Premiership has to say about him:
Raila was a disastrous negotiator, disorganized, often confused and unstructured. He was also apparently cowed by Kibaki. Raila was a different man when he was with us from the pitiful wretch he became around Kibaki…Was Odinga a true democrat and reformer as he had for decades claimed? In Peeling off the Mask, I expose him as a selfish, confused, hypocritical and deceptive leader whose greed for power and money makes him unfit for the presidency of the republic of Kenya.
These allegations were not denied. Miguna’s claims were dismissed as the rantings of a village drunkard. As far as I know, there’s no one more unhinged and more truthful in my village like the village drunkard. Contrast his description of Odinga with that of Saul’s servant description of David. Raila is no David.
Even his die-hard supporters are starting to wonder what skills he possesses to steer this country into modernity in a post-Jubilee world. He has no more wars to fight apart from the ones created for him by Jubilee excesses, corruption and hubris. His elections in ODM are ran by men-in-black whom those who are seeking nominations in ODM are wary of. He has been sending mixed signals to his supporters, one day saying that he will be in the ballot in 2017 and the next day saying he will support someone else. In the Mombasa fete all he and his supporters were shouting is that he has to enter statehouse in 2017. One would have expected him to articulate new, innovative and futuristic programmatic and policy positions that will modernize the country.
Besieged, confused, ageing, losing the confidence of his followers, his obsession with statehouse is almost pathological. His message, motivation and program for 2017 is statehouse, statehouse, state-house. Can he really compare himself with the skillful, valiant, confident, inspiring, mission-driven, patriotic, underrated, outsider David who fell Goliath? Even his supporters doubt.
The pre-1997 Raila and post-1997 Raila
I have written before that when Raila’s story is finally told, it will have to be a story of two Raila’s. The pre-1997 Raila and the post-1997 Raila. While the pre-1997 Raila could claim some virtues of David, the post-1997 Raila is a pale shadow of his former self. While the pre-1997 Raila had a course and a message, the post-1997 Raila and especially the post-2013 Raila has no message, no course and no leverage. Even he does not know what he stands for. He is a fading politician hopelessly cavorting with the same individuals that represented the reactionary forces that undermined his pre-1997 course in single party Moi Kenya. His co-principals in CORD were Moi’s protégés, one was his foreign affairs Minister and Raila’s biggest nemesis in the blood-soaked coalition government and the other was Moi’s lawyer and a PNU operative. Now he runs around with such characters hopelessly trying to put together a tribal coalition strong enough to defeat the Moi scions in Jubilee. While the pre-1997 Raila was a firebrand revolutionary who Moi could only silence through incarceration, the Mombasa-celebrations Raila is a battle weary wannabe with whom Moi found an ally and Moi scions have found a figure to cajole, slur and demean, derogatorily referring to him as “yule mtu ya vitendawili”. If he imagines himself as David, the Moi orphans in Jubilee can only laugh and dismiss him as “yule mtu anajifananisha na Daudi”.
David and Goliath: The real Kenyan story
The David and Goliath analogy, when applied correctly to the Kenyan situation and to the possibilities in 2017 is however apt. The current political class in CORD and jubilee, hopelessly tribal, arrogant, decadent, vision-less and tactless represent Goliath. The long-suffering people of Kenya, meek, powerless, but hopeful, God-fearing and inspired are David. The only thing they need is a stone and a sling, the instrument that will deal the death blow to the decadent Goliath. That instrument is a new non-ethnic political narrative that can rally the people around a new dispensation of patriotism, accountability and productivity.
I have advocated for this new non-ethnic political narrative to rescue this country from the stranglehold of the tribal overlords in the current political class in CORD and Jubilee, our present day Goliath. This will be a new narrative, probably backed by lowly, unknown, un-moneyed “common” Kenyans. They will have to rise up against the established political narrative and machinery spun out of the politics of ethnicity, impunity and mediocrity, siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi by both Raila & his accomplices in the political class in Jubilee and whatever CORD will have mutated into. (I doubt CORD will exist by the next elections. I could be wrong). The people of Kenya vs The tribal and corrupt political class would be a typical David vs Goliath battle if one ever existed. It is Napoleon Bonaparte who warned us:
The men who have changed the world have never gotten there by working on leaders but rather by moving the masses.
In the political class vs the people battle, you can bet your sweet patootie that I have all my stakes on the people of Kenya. As David’s victory was miraculous and improbable, I have been told that I am talking about non-existent and improbable miracles. I will stick to my story. We all know how it ended.
And it shall come to pass. That we the people of Kenya, tired of the tribalism and corruption of the political class in CORD and Jubilee will take the David and Goliath story, and run with it in 2017. For Mr. Raila, he is willing to do so too. The big difference is, he is no David. He plays in Goliath’s league.