NEW PATH

Why Governor Waiguru’s remarks on Raila are historic

She has turned the tables on tribalism and planted a seed from which a new Kenya will bloom.

In Summary

• Anne Waiguru's comments set the stage for Raila’s critical return to Mt Kenya region, which, this time round,  will be markedly different for several reasons.

• In her words, Raila controls about one half of the country. So, for anyone who imagines that you can lead the country without his input or his supporters', they will be denying a fact.

Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru and ODM leader Raila Odinga during the devolution conference in Kakamega, Wednesday April 25, 2018
Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru and ODM leader Raila Odinga during the devolution conference in Kakamega, Wednesday April 25, 2018
Image: COURTESY

Speaking to the press recently, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru made remarks that will be remembered as a historic moment in Kenya’s history.

Historic because they make a compelling case why Raila Odinga should be finally sworn as President and lead this country.

Her comments also set the stage for Raila’s critical return to Mt Kenya region where, even though he previously made some inroads, especially ahead of the disputed 2013 elections, this time will be markedly different for several reasons.

 

First, Raila will be returning to the region at the invitation of Waiguru, who represents not just an influential wing of the Mt Kenya leadership but, more importantly, powerful forces who decide who gets the presidency and will continue to do so through at least for 2022.

Second, it will be at a time he and President Uhuru Kenyatta are enjoying the best relationship ever. The last time the ODM leader campaigned there, he was trying to yet again stop Uhuru from winning his reelection, and we know how that went. Presently, Uhuru is right on Raila’s side not to stop, but to help him finally ascend to power.

It is with this backdrop that one must see how what Governor Waiguru said is of historic significance for she made the case why Kenyans as a whole, and Mt Kenya leaders specifically, must come to grips with the reality Raila is here to stay. And this time around, we must have presidential elections that do not antagonise half of the country for the reasons the governor very eloquently stated. These are:

In her words, Raila controls about one half of the country. So, for anyone who imagines that you can lead the country without his input or his supporters', they will be denying a fact.

“We need to be realistic. Kenyans have said they want to see other tribes involved in the leadership of this country, not just exchanging between Kalenjins and Kikuyus," she said.

Governor Waiguru alluded to a proposal seeking to expand the Executive to add three new positions — a Prime Minister and two deputies. This, according to Waiguru, it will resolve the lack of inclusivity in government. She is right on about it.

The good governor said the most sensible thing to do to ensure national cohesion and representation of different regions where the leaders hold themselves accountable is expanding the Executive. She dismissed the false argument that adding these three positions would be costly, noting the cost will be negated by reducing the bloated Parliament.

Waiguru — and indeed, all of us progressives — urge Mt Kenya leaders to start thinking along the line that what we need in Kenya right now and in the future, is not to cling to what has divided us but what can unite us to ensure peace for all.

As the rising star in Kenyan politics aptly notes, she does not see Kenya “being at peace waking up to another Kikuyu or Kalenjin as President”, and so leaders and people from Mt Kenya must start thinking how we also must “accommodate our brothers and sisters who are part of this country.”

It is for this reason that she is welcoming Raila to Central Kenya.

Knowing there may be pockets of Raila and Luo haters in the region, the likely future President of the country reminded everyone to be “cautious not to preach division or hatred”, as these are the devil’s work that has bedevilled our beloved country.

The message couldn’t be more profound, and no doubt, marks a pivotal point in the new journey Kenya is on, soon to be settled in a referendum for a permanent path of peace and economic prosperity that has been elusive all these decades.

Put another way — it’s hard for many to accept — Waiguru has turned the tables on tribalism and planted a seed from which a new Kenya will bloom.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator