NTHUMBI: Raila must now accept his fate and retire

Should Raila be left to hold the country at ransom and get away with it for the sake of his own selfish quest?

In Summary

• Raila must now accept his fate that he will never be the president of Kenya and that his pursuit has come to an end. 

• He has the responsibility to either retire respectfully or in grand shame.

ODM Leader Raila Odinga during a rally
ODM Leader Raila Odinga during a rally

ODM leader Raila Odinga’s political journey reads like a war novel.

He stars as the villain who violently proposes to marry unwilling lady and thus devices ways to undermine her right to choice as long as he get his way. 

The bride’s desire to marry the love of her life and live happily ever after has as a result experienced moments of violent reprisals.

The lady is now in her 50s and she must fully get rid of the oppression or succumb to a sundowner marriage by the elderly man, who won’t do much for her. The lady here is the beautiful country Kenya.

Raila began his politics in the 70s. In 1982, he was arrested and detained for six years after being linked to the failed 1982 coup.

He went on to challenge the same government through extra constitutional means and he was be detained again in 1989 and 1991, when he went into exile in Norway. He returned to Kenya in 1992 in time for the General Election, where he represented Kibera constituency under Ford Kenya.

Within the party, he plotted an intra coup against Kijana Wamalwa. After his father’s death in 1994, he continued to fight for the control of the party, which he lost and in 1996, leading him to leave Ford Kenya for the National Development Party.

In 1997, Raila unsuccessfully challenged President Daniel Moi in his first stab at the presidency on the NDP party. He later forced his way into Kanu through a handshake and joined Moi’s Cabinet as Energy minister in 2001, as well as the ruling party’s secretary general.

In 2002 Moi declined to name Raila as his successor, instead picking Uhuru Kenyatta, then a political greenhorn, as his heir. Raila protested the decision, leading other luminaries in a walk out from Kanu to form the Rainbow Alliance caucus. This was seen as attempt to force Moi to pick him as his successor. This attempt failed miserably as Moi was firm that Uhuru was his choice. 

Raila shopped around and discovered Kibaki was going to be the next president as he had been agitating against Moi dictatorship for long — in the 1992 and 1997 elections— thus drawing massive following across the country. Raila ( Liberal Democratic Party shook hands with Kibaki (National Alliance Party of Kenya) to form the National Alliance of Rainbow Coalition — Narc.

In this deal, it would later emerge, Raila wanted the prime minister post created for him in the new government. When this didn’t happen, he led a rebellion within the Narc government, with his Orange movement successfully opposing the 2005 referendum. 

After the defeat, Kibaki reconstituted his Cabinet and dismissed Raila and his allies from government. Raila was in the Cabinet as the Roads minister.

In the following elections, Raila sought the presidency through ODM against Kibaki’s Party of National Unity.

He lost to Kibaki, and refused to accept results, citing rigging. Instead of petitioning the courts, Raila called for mass action, leading to the worst electoral violence in Kenya’s history. More that 1,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

After the Kofi Annan-led talks, the National Accord was reached leading to a handshake with Kibaki. He finally became Kenya’s Prime Minister, a post he had desired for close to a decade. He was now a “co-president” in the grand coalition “Nusu Mkate” government, even as he went on to cause trouble and division within it.

Ahead of the 2013 elections, Raila formed the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) with then outgoing Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), among others. The coalition lost against Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.

This time round, with the Supreme Court in place under the new Constitution, Raila challenged the presidential results at the apex court. He lost the petition and the UhuRuto win upheld.

In 2017 Raila formed NASA, with Musalia Mudavadi coming in as a principal with his ANC party.

Again, Raila lost to UhuRuto and although he successfully petitioned the Supreme Court, he refused to participate in the repeat election ordered by the David Maraga-led bench.

In January 2018 Raila released his version of the “real” results, which had him win with some 8.1 million votes against Uhuru’s 7.8 million. On these basis of his results, swore himself in as the “people’s president” on January 30, 2018, through an outlawed outfit called NRM.

The swearing in was preceded by violent protests, looting and killings. The undertaking was treasonous as none other but his ally TJ Kajwang was charged with treason for “swearing-in” Raila. Kajwang’ was acquitted.

Soon thereafter in March 2018 Raila managed to push through the handshake. Uhuru succumbed to the political demands, which would later be seen in the illegal and unconstitutional BBI process.

The move, which saw the alienation of Ruto from government’s decision-making drove the country away from development into a campaign mode to create positions.

In 2022 Raila lost again to Ruto and is now repeating the same pattern and the same script. 

The question is: Should Raila be left to hold the country at ransom and get away with it for the sake of his own selfish quest that has been democratically and constitutionally denied?

The answer is No. 

Raila must now accept his fate that he will never be the president of Kenya and that his pursuit has come to an end. 

He has the responsibility to either retire respectfully or in grand shame. 

Rev Dennis Nthumbi is a faith, political and security analyst


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