SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FIRST

MUTUA NDONGA: Why Kikuyus should rethink their position on Raila presidency

He has over the years demonstrated his fidelity to the Constitution of Kenya

In Summary

•As the 2022 general election beckons, I have realized a good number of Kikuyus hated Raila.

•For me, these arguments are cheap and are part of propaganda being propagated by his well-known competitor and his allies.

ODM leader Raila Odinga.
ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Image: FILE

The students of history would agree with me that Kenya could have attained its independence earlier if Jaramogi Oginga Odinga agreed to follow the wish of the British colonial government, who wanted to hand the baton of power to him.

In 1963, he refused to become Prime Minister insisting that Kenya was not yet free because Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, one of the leading lights, was still in detention.

He coined the slogan “Uhuru na Kenyatta” and the colonial authorities were left with no option than to set him free.

He had been arrested and detained at the height of the Mau Mau uprising in 1952.

The Government of Her Majesty had just declared a state of emergency and resorted to the brute crackdown of members of the outfit he led which it had proscribed and branded ‘a terrorist organization’.

After his release, Jaramogi stood down for Kenyatta who eventually became the Prime Minister and later the President.

Ironically, the relationship between the two leaders did not last long. In 1966, Jaromogi resigned from his position as the vice-president in a huff and formed Kenya People Union.

This development came days after Kanu delegates’ conference held in Limuru passed a resolution for a rotational deputy party leader.

Obviously, this was a well-calculated plot to politically finish Jaramogi.

According to the Kanu constitution, the vice-president also doubled as deputy party leader.

Raila’s father would blame powerful men around Kenyatta for his woes.

He died in 1994 before realizing his dreams of becoming the President of Kenya.

Whenever the Odinga's family’s topic comes up, you would hear some people saying that at one time Jaramogi asked his political tormentors to give him just one hour to rule Kenya but this was in vain.

Given this background, I want to disagree with politicians who have lately been talking about resettling political debts.

They want Kenyans to pay the latter day’s debts. This is unfair and reeks of hypocrisy, self-centeredness and greed for raw power.

If we want this to become the main issue for deciding the next tenant of the house on the hill, then we should start by repaying the old debts.

ODM leader Raila Odinga, who fitted very well in his shoes, deserves to be considered first.

Putting aside his father’s big role in making Kenyatta presidency, he has also made similar strides.

In 2002, Raila’s declaration of ‘Kibaki Tosha’ was a game-changer.

Those who were eyeing the presidency had to swallow their pride and back his candidature.

As the captain of his team, he spearheaded a well-organized and rigorous campaign that catapulted Kibaki to power, ending President Moi’s 24 years of Kanu rule.

He was among the leaders who accompanied the newly elected President Kibaki to his Nyeri home turf for a thanksgiving ceremony and along the way Raila was wildly cheered by the Kikuyus calling him ‘Mutungoria Njamba.’

After doing his two terms, Kibaki left power before settling Raila’s debt.

This would not dampen Raila’s spirit.

In the aftermath of the 2017 repeat presidential election, he softened his hard-line position and agreed to support President Kenyatta’s legacy projects mainly the Big Four agenda and building of a cohesive and united Kenya.

This birthed the handshake which has enabled Uhuru to roll out flagship infrastructural projects and programmes geared to uplift the living standards of Kenyan people.

As the 2022 general election beckons, I have realized a good number of Kikuyus hated Raila.

When you ask them why they would say, “when we were growing up, our parents and guardians used to tell us that luos were bad people. Besides, Luos are militant, arrogant.”

For me, these arguments are cheap and are part of propaganda being propagated by his well-known competitor and his allies.

Raila has over the years demonstrated his fidelity to the Constitution of Kenya.

So, if he becomes the President, you would not expect him to allow luos to misbehave or violate the law.

It is not all the Kikuyus who hate him. I hope those who have fallen prey to tricks laid down will see the light.

Political analyst and blogger

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris