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January 22, 2019

Raila Is Trying To Be Riek Machar

CORD leader Raila Odinga. Photo/File
CORD leader Raila Odinga. Photo/File

WHEN opposition leader Raila Odinga first called his Cord supporters to the streets the official demand was for dialogue over how to replace the IEBC commissioners.

Five weeks later President Kenyatta has accepted the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee, and presented Jubilee’s team of 11 legislators. However, the President was quite clear on one thing: The joint committee will have only one exclusive mandate – the IEBC.

 But Cord has refused these conditions. They want to dialogue on corruption, insecurity and government appointments. They also do not want these discussions taken through Parliament, because democracy does not favour Cord in Parliament.

Finally, they also want a chance to discuss a booklet they are calling ‘The Kenya People Case Against the IEBC’. This publication comprises the ‘evidence’ that was not heard during the 2013 presidential petition at the Supreme Court.

Essentially they want to re-litigate the 2013 presidential election case, in the streets.

This is Cord's problem. They have never accepted that Jubilee has an exclusive mandate to govern Kenya without them. This is why they want to be part of this presidential administration, even if they are in the opposition. They want to have a say on what happens on security, corruption, government appointments, etc. Cord therefore wants to show Kenyans and the world that President Kenyatta is not in charge of the country, at least not all of it.

This is why Cord has always insisted that Raila represents the over five million voters who supported him in 2013, which subtly suggests that Uhuru is President only of the six million-plus who voted for him.

This is an utterly ridiculous claim that has actually never been challenged by Jubilee. What Raila is saying is that the runners-up at the 2013 elections, whether at gubernatorial, senate, parliamentary or MCA level, represent only the section of voters who voted for them in 2013, against the elected leaders in office who defeated them. It is a narrative that completely undermines the essence of democracy.

 Cord also needs to discredit Parliament. This is because Raila and Kalonzo, Cord’s main leaders, have absolutely no say in both the Houses of Parliament. So, in a stroke of genius, Cord has managed to convince Kenyans that Parliament cannot be trusted to make laws in Kenya fairly; at least not the important ones.

Raila demands that such laws, for instance on the IEBC, be made by committees that extend beyond Parliament, whatever our constitution might say on the matter. Would this be the case if Cord were the majority in Parliament?

 Raila’s endgame is quite simple. He is out to prove that Kenya has two political factions; one led by Uhuru and the other led by him. He is arguing Kenya’s national leadership as currently constructed represents only one faction, and that for Kenya to be governed effectively and have an administration that functions properly, both factions must be in government.

 It does not matter whether Jubilee caves in to all of Cord’s demands. Raila will continue to try and make Kenya ungovernable. He will do whatever is required to undermine Kenya’s constitution and independent institutions, and create chaos on the streets. He must instigate anarchy so that he proves that Kenya cannot be run by a government ‘from one side’.

 At this point, we will be told to forget democracy, shelve the constitution and accommodate him in government. Raila has borrowed from Riek Machar’s playbook.

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