A bully is a ‘blustering, browbeating person, —especially one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable’, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary. Bullying is ‘the use of force, threats, or coercion, to intimidate or aggressively dominate others” – Wikipedia.
We also learn that as much as there is no universal definition of bullying, it is widely agreed that bullying is characterised by hostile intent, imbalance of power and repetition over a period of time. Wikipedia sums it up by telling us that bullying is therefore repeated, aggressive behaviour intended to hurt others physically, mentally or emotionally.
If this definition is correct, then there is no doubt that Raila Odinga is a bully.
Raila is a blustering, browbeating person, habitually cruel, insulting and threatening to others whom he deems weaker, smaller or in some way vulnerable. He uses force, threats, violence and coercion to intimidate or aggressively dominate others. His operations are characterised by hostile intent, imbalance of power and repetition, over a period of time. He has repeatedly used aggressive behaviour to hurt others physically, mentally and emotionally.
This is what Kenyans — those of us who love stability, peace and the rule of law — are dealing with. A man who believes that he can use force, threats and intimidation to change anything he does not like, laws and constitutions be damned.
Ten years ago he hounded Samuel Kivuitu out of office. Last year he hounded Isaack Hassan out of office. Today this same man is working hard to ensure Ezra Chiloba leaves office. The only crime all these men committed is to be at the helm of an electoral commission that did not announce him President of Kenya.
Raila can stand in a public rally and threaten to cause a revolution. He can, in a press conference, call the President insane! He throws accusations of corruption, bias, unprofessionalism, nepotism or criminal culpability at whoever he wants without evidence. It is up to you to prove that you are not those things he has accused you of.
Raila went to court and won a presidential petition that led to the first-ever presidential election nullification in Africa, but that was not enough. He has taken one part of the ruling, the one nullifying the election, and owned it. The other part of the same ruling, the one ordering another election in 60 days, he has discarded. He has declared there will be no election unless certain things are done his way.
The saddest part is the shocking silence from those who should call him out. Religious organisations, the civil society, the business community and the international community are all quiet. I can just imagine the noise they would be making if it was President Uhuru Kenyatta making these demands! I guess the prevailing logic is that an opposition leader cannot undermine a country’s Constitution, break laws or operate like a dictator.
When I was growing up I was nearly always the smallest kid in class, so I have faced my share of bullies. Over the years I learnt that you deal with bullies by pushing back — hard — and defeating them at whatever it is, resoundingly.
This is how we must deal with Raila. The silent majority of Kenyans — and everyone else who believes in the rule of law anywhere in the world, especially amongst the non-state actors — must stand up and be counted. Raila must be stopped from bullying other Kenyans into submission, whether individuals or institutions. The best way to achieve this is to defeat him, resoundingly.
We must therefore ensure that there is an election on October 26, and that Raila is defeated so comprehensively, he will not even be able to petition.