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February 21, 2019

Migori's Mayhem Disqualifies Raila From Kenya's Presidency

President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing wananchi at Migori Primary school, Migori County. Photo/PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing wananchi at Migori Primary school, Migori County. Photo/PSCU

Migori is Raila’s political backyard and those who heckled President Uhuru and the governor of Migori were supporters of Raila and ODM. To the extent that the buck for the political misdeeds of ODM supporters stops at Raila’s political doorstep, they disqualify him from being the next president of Kenya. If political leaders don’t take responsibility for hooliganism of their supporters, political chaos will not cease.

Clearly, Migori mayhem was planned in a big scale, not spontaneous and unleashed by the same hired and transported men-in-black who disrupted ODM elections at Kasarani, and whom Raila never condemned.

Contrary to denials by some Nyanza MPs, the heckling and shoe-throwing was against President Uhuru, governor of Migori and freedom of expression, to the probable benefit of Raila Odinga.

Ordinarily, freedom of expression is denied by government but in the case of Migori, it was denied by opposition, making me wonder without condoning the losses of life involved, whether this is what happened in Kisumu in 1969 when heckling disrupted President Kenyatta’s speech and presidential bodyguards killed many people in the rowdy crowd.

Recently, we warned against re-enacting Saba Saba rallies to achieve individual political ends. Unheeded, it now looks like the Migori rally was also an attempt to re-enact the Kisumu massacre for political ends. Luckily both President Uhuru and police held their cool and nobody was hurt.

Because Raila was not physically present at the Migori rally, it seems the meeting was disrupted to embarrass the President and his local supporters, because he dared to have a meeting in Nyanza without Raila’s permission or presence.

Regarding consequences of police firing on the crowd to protect President Uhuru, I am forced to redefine Raila according to the gospel of his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga who had two Jomo Kenyattas. One, a freedom fighter and his hero whose picture he hung on the wall of his Kisumu house and the other, a President he fell out with and regarded a betrayer of independence.

Like Kenyatta, Raila has double political identity. Raila, the hero who suffered detention for 8 years fighting for second liberation, and Raila the reckless adventurist that will burn Kenya to get power.

Accordingly, two things seem wrong with Raila’s politics. He pursues power for self-gratification – not for public good – and in pursuit of that power, the end justifies the means, which includes armed struggle that should only be resorted to, to overthrow tyranny.

In rejecting political violence, it should never be forgotten how Adolf Hitler misused democracy and later German youths as goons to coerce German people into submission, attack and kill Jews in the Holocaust. Whenever I see youths behaving like goons, morons and automatons in rallies, I don’t see democracy. I see Nazi Youths, Hutu Interahamwe and Kanu Youth Wings.

The Migori mayhem seems to be part of a programme of terrorising Nyanza into political submission. Recently, men-in-black were unleashed at Kasarani to disrupt ODM party elections. Violence galore was also visited upon Professor Anyang Nyong’o and Mwandawiro Mghanga to stop SDP taking root in Nyanza. Recently, we saw Anyang’ Nyong’o stopped from holding a Constituency Development Board meeting by a group of goons acting with incredible impunity.

Truth of the matter is, whoever uses force to get power abandons democracy and ends up a dictator. But when fire burns too high, it loses meat.

Since Raila came back from America, he has exhibited an unsettling ambition for power. He started by demanding a national dialogue with the government. Then he called for a Saba Saba rally. At Uhuru Park, he launched a campaign for a referendum. Yet at Migori, Raila supporters disrupt a rally by those who would say no to a referendum. But a referendum is impossible without freedom of expression. Indeed, without free expression, ODM is calling for war, not referendum.

Raila’s means of reaching power also include negative ethnicity by pitting communities against one another. Fortunately, anybody who divides to rule loses the right to govern. Through negative ethnicity and goons whom the government seems unable to handle, Raila wants to terrorise Kenya as he has terrorised Nyanza. While MRC shouts Pwani si Kenya, ODM wants to shout Nyanza si Kenya.

Tragically, the genesis of the Migori mayhem was Kibaki’s acquiescence that he should not visit Nyanza without Raila.

At Migori, however, President Uhuru must have keenly felt that Raila was trying to put him into the Kibaki box by disrupting his meeting. That must have been the reason why Uhuru insisted that he would return to Migori again and again.

By going to Migori without Raila, Uhuru was challenging Raila to stop him going to Nyanza without him. And by disrupting Uhuru’s rally, Raila supporters were counterchallenging Uhuru to visit Nyanza again without Raila. Will Uhuru like Kibaki acquiesce or dare visit Nyanza again without Raila? When President Jomo Kenyatta visited Nyanza without the permission of Jaramogi, and presidential bodyguards killed people in Kisumu, Kenyatta died without going back to Luo Nyanza.

Yet a presidency that is barred from visiting any part of the country must either overcome its barrier or resign because it cannot protect the entire nation as it should.

Just like every Kenyan, Raila must be able to address meetings everywhere in the land and his supporters must retreat from challenging the President’s right to visit any part of Kenya without seeking anybody’s permission. Otherwise, Kenya will burn and disintegrate.


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