COST OF COMPROMISE

Handshake a zero-sum game for ODM

Whatever Raila gained, he is now in check not just by the President but the people as well.

In Summary

• Whatever Raila gained, he is now in check not just by the President but the people as well

• He can’t be in bed with Jubilee and expect to win against government machinery

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga during the March 9 handshake
BURYING THE HATCHET: President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga during the March 9 handshake
Image: FILE

ODM seems to be losing ground if the just-concluded parliamentary by-elections are anything to go by. The party lost to Wiper in Embakasi South and to the little MDG in Ugenya.

This outcome can be attributed to the zero-sum game that ODM party leader Raila Odinga engaged in when he chose the handshake over standing for truth and fighting the ills of the current regime as the undisputed opposition leader.

A zero-sum game is a situation in which one person or group can win something only by causing another person or group to lose it. This is what has characterised Kenyan politics, where one wins by dispossessing, defrauding and making the other lose in totality.

And so Raila can’t be in bed with Jubilee, who have won him over, and expect to win against government machinery, for instance in the just concluded by-elections. This demonstrates how impossible it is to have something both ways, if those two ways conflict. Raila and ODM should expect more loses as long as they are under Jubilee.

What Kenya needs as envisaged in the 2010 Constitution is not a handshake but national and county governments with clear opposition in the National Assembly, Senate and county assemblies. It is the opposition charges in these Houses who should lead the general oversight role over the Executive as envisaged under Article 94.

How can NASA charges keep the Executive under check when their leader is already in check by the President in the name of the handshake?

Raila has forgone his role as the voice of the voiceless and the opposition leader who is supposed to be speaking for the people. No wonder the gods are now paying him back

Kenya needs leaders of principle, leaders with a vision, leaders who stand for something and will not be seeking to be bought and silenced by election winners.

Those we should respect are leaders who lose in free and fair elections and go back to the drawing board, strategise and come back even stronger in the next election. Not ones who put their interests ahead of the masses and are ready to sell themselves to the highest bidder.

The main reasons why we had ODM, or is it NASA, and Jubilee as major contenders in the last 2 general elections were ideological and governance approaches offered by their leaders.

So how is it that when Jubilee takes over power Uhuru and Raila shake hands as if all the duel was without cause? We should just have had one party or one alliance and used the huge amounts of money spent on conducting elections twice in 2017 to develop our country.

Unifying the nation doesn’t have to be done by silencing the opposition. Raila has become the number one defender of his brother Uhuru and can’t even question his indecision and inaction on corruption during the recent State of the Nation address.

Raila has forgone his role as the voice of the voiceless and the opposition leader who is supposed to be speaking for the people.

No wonder the gods are now paying him back—Jubilee allies are winning in his own backyard and in places where ODM has been the undisputed party of choice for many years.

Raila should have known he was engaging in a zero-sum game when he opted for the handshake. Whatever he gained, he is now in check not just by the President but the people as well.

Kenyans are fast learning that they are on their own and the sooner they devise ways of oversighting those in power post-handshake, the better for mwananchi.

National issues such as the governance and management of resources need to have a voice for the voiceless, a role that Raila has played over the years but has now abdicated. Our prayer is that God would raise a leader who will be fearless, principled and vocal on issues that concern Kenyans

Media and communications practitioner

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