Raila a double winner, panache and aplomb in an epic contest…

I reproduce verbatim the words of Eric Ng’eno, posted on his Facebook page:
“Have you hung out with someone who just lost an election? Or worse still, have you ever lost an election? I do not mean those miniscule chama affairs; I want a real election with real stakes involved. A loser has the weight of expectations, the interests of his followers, the unacceptable, but inevitable reality confronting him. Sometimes, all these make conceding impossible. Sometimes, denial is an issue. Other times, other sad eventualities make moving on difficult. For these reasons, I have sympathetically watched Raila Odinga manage his supporters’ expectations and grievances with heroism and dexterity. How do you tell your fanatical followers-many of who believe that you are invincible, that its over? How do you tell people who had prepared resplendent getups, and scheduled themselves for a sure inauguration, that they are deluded and wasting their time? How do you tell your elected leaders, and election losers, many of who had differing but no less substantial expectations out of your presidency, lazima wajipange?
At best, the petition bought time for reality to sink in as the mechanisms of the Assumption of The Office of President Act hammered home the point. I know that the CORD lawyer saw how tenuous their case was, but understood its necessity and the need to put their best foot forward. The petition was a sophisticated form of mass trauma counselling. It worked. It had to work. Its outcome has produced winners and losers. I shall enumerate some of them.

1. Raila Odinga. The expectations of millions of Kenyans have rested on this man for over a decade. He has vindicated them valiantly. At the decisive moment, unfortunately, the tyranny of numbers checked him. His supporters risked disillusionment, despair and depression unless he found a way of managing those expectation, urging an acceptance of the reality and easing himself out from under the burden of expectations. The Supreme Court proved to be it. He has shown his supporters that he is a fighter up till the last minute. He demonstrated that he took their aspirations so seriously that he would not overlook any opportunit to pursue, canvas and realise them. In the course of so doing, he has shown people that there is a time to fight on, and a time to call it a day. His suporters may now move on in the knowledge that their leader and champion is no wuss. It is a very important message. You cannot fairly ask more of the man.

2. The Supreme Court. A unanimous decision. Kindly distinguish UNANIMOUS from MAJORITY.Some judges were declared CORD diehards and expected to lean accordingly. Justice Ojwang was hobbled by his name. Willy Mutunga was haunted by his past. Smokin Wanjala was under a pall of suspicion for being too independent. Njoki Ndung’u was seen as a reform activist in sheep’s skin. They decided unanimously. That is called INDEPENDENCE. Independence from the onerous burdens of tribe, association, friendship, ideology and so on.

3. Kenya. The Petition. The petition was decided on the issues presented. It provided an opportunity to affirm and certify the election, or to fault and invalidate it. In any event, it invited the parties and the Court to interrogate and scrutinise the election in all its institutional, operational and associated aspects and decide accordingly. The court just certified an electoral process. Where there is doubt or distrust, such certification is indispensable. In a situation immediately succeeding the roundly discredited 2007 election, this was especially needful.

4. The Jubilee Coalition. Their electoral mandate is now unshakable. Their Parliamentary and county dominance has translated into a clear, certified mandate. Better than Kibaki’s. Better than Moi’s. The best yet. The opportunity ahead is theirs, and theirs only, to squander.

5. The Constitution. We must remember two important things. Mwai Kibaki’s petitions in the High Court against president Moi’s election were still pending last year, and that was legal. The Constitution now gives a time frame for concluding a petition and dispenses with the stupid technicalities that made conclusion impossible. We have just seen our first real presidential petition concluded on its merits. Secondly, Kenneth Matiba’s petition was never heard because he could not peronally sign it. Other petitioners were loccked outside the gates of justice because presidential security made personal service of petitions impossible. The Constitution has resolved all those issues, and Iswear to God we now live in a civilised country.

6. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. Those guys have been arraigned, indicted, accused,scandalised, sued and petitioned more times than they care to remember. They contested a difficult election against the most difficult odds: integrity contestations, the ICC,etc. Then there is Raila Odinga; never kid yourself: Raila Odinga is the single most formidable political force those chaps faced. They overcame each hurdle one after the other. Each obstacle sharpened them and cautioned them to take nothing for granted. Jubilee’s campaign showed me that with preparation and focus, nothing is too difficult. Even the preparation for Supreme Court was a massive logistical and intellectual operation. They won. Let us all grant that much to them. Most importantly, their election is now certified by the Supreme Court. They are not hobbled by Kibaki’s post-2007 and Moi’s post-1988 legitimacy issues. They won. In English, such a performance earns description by a word like…….APLOMB.

7. George Oraro. The man must have accepted the brief reluctantly- too political, too weak for his liking. But he clothed it with such a formidable armour of apparent strength that not a few Jubilee supporters lost hope. He conducted himself with grace and dignity. His brilliant mind scintillated and dazzled the world, as usual. He, and only he, had the capability of making the CORD petition look credible. In that, he more than outdid himself. That is called panache.

8. Kethi Kilonzo. She did not pay too much mind to the strength or otherwise of her petition. It presented a singular and incontrovertible marketing opportunity and this she exploited with a cynical and skilful way. The petition will be associated with Kethi Kilonzo for the longest time. But not for legal reasons beyond the fact that she and her father are famous lawyers. If you think her banker minds that, you need to have your head checked.

9. Raila Odinga. Yes indeed, I am enjoying a nice whisky. But I know what I am doing. There is a good reason. Raila Odinga has his fingerprints at every locus in quo leading up to this present moment: agitation for political pluralism, political reforms, constitutional reforms, the new Constitution and, now, the Supreme Court decision. It is quite possible, and I submit quite strongly that somehing he did, or omitted gave the Jubilee Coalition victory as well.We must all remember him with gratitude at ll times, lest God smite us, and name a street in Nyeri and Eldoret after him.

10. Those CORD supporters who have been graceful in defeat and the Jubilee supporters who have been magnanimous in victory. Not just with drinks. With brotherly goodwill as well. With kind words. Those who have avoided hate speech. Those who have reached out and continue to reach out. God bless you, my brithers and sisters.

Those who have been wayward need to apologise quickly. Sincerely. Publicly if your transgressions were public. And buy drinks to atone properly. Let everyone win. Let everyone celebrate.

Blessings.

Remembering JM Kariuki

This post is reproduced verbatim from the blog Conversations from the Edge by Njonjo Mue, where it was republished on the 2nd of March 2013:

Note: Josiah Mwangi Kariuki (March 21, 1929–March 2, 1975) was a Kenyan socialist politician during the administration of the Jomo Kenyatta government. He held different government positions from 1963, when Kenya became an independent country, to 1975, when he was assassinated.
Today marks 38 years since Nyandarua North MP, JM Kariuki, was picked up from the Nairobi Hilton Hotel by senior police officers only for his badly mutilated body to be found a few days later in Ngong Forest. In 2008, I wrote this article which was published in The Standard newspaper. I share it again today as a tribute to a man who was assassinated when I was in Standard 2, but whom I grew to admire for what he lived and died for. 
 Had he lived a full life, Josiah Mwangi Kariuki (popularly known as JM) would have turned 79 last Friday.
But the late Member of Parliament for Nyandarua North was brutally murdered on March 2, 1975, three weeks short of his 46th birthday, robbing Kenya of one of the most dedicated champions of the rights of the poor and a vociferous critic of inequality.
His death, though largely acknowledged as a political assassination by people close to the Kenyatta government, has never been resolved.
With the euphoria surrounding the national power-sharing deal still in the air and talk of a new political order in the offing, it is an opportune time to reflect on what JM stood for, what difference he would have made to our body politic had he lived, and how to safeguard his legacy and ensure that the ideals he lived and died for are not lost to a new generation of actors on the social, political and economic stage.
In the wake of the crisis that has engulfed Kenya since the disputed election last December, which plunged the country into unprecedented chaos, it is common ground that the election results announced by Mr Samuel Kivuitu merely provided the spark that lit the fire that threatened to consume this nation; the fuel had been accumulating over a long time.
Tribalism, past injustices and unequal distribution of resources such as land as well as pervasive poverty and economic inequalities were a time-bomb ticking away and waiting to explode.
And yet we cannot say we did not see it coming, for had we listened to our prophets, such as JM, we would not have come to this sad place. From the onset of independence in 1963, JM constantly warned those that seemed to have acquired a new disease of ‘grabbing’ thousands of acres of land while the majority of Kenyans remained landless.
“This is greed,” he thundered in Parliament in March 1974, one year before he was assassinated.
“It is this greed that will put this country into chaos. Let me state here that this greedy attitude among the leaders is going to ruin this country.”
JM specifically warned privileged elites from Central Province who were taking advantage of their positions to buy up land cheaply from other communities.
“They have even gone as far as Maasailand, saying that they are doing an experiment whereas the whole Masailand has been taken by those greedy people.”
His insight into the creeping inequality in the country acquired a prophetic tone when he warned that if we were not careful, the Kenya would become a country on “ten millionaires and ten million beggars”.
A walk through the slums of Kibera, Mathare, Korogocho and Kawangware today clearly illustrates that this prophesy has sadly come true.
Surrounded by rogues
 JM foresaw the danger of ignoring the youth even before formal independence was granted to Kenya.
“If we forget these people (the youth)”, he told Parliament on November 14, 1963, “we will find ourselves surrounded by rogues who are rogues not because they want to become rogues but because they are hungry and this leads them into temptation. The Government should take action immediately before the situation goes from bad to worse.”
He called for a national assistance scheme for the widows and orphans of those who had been killed in the war of Independence and affirmative action for people living with disabilities. He condemned corruption and proposed that no minister or assistant minister should be allowed to sit on any board of a private company because this would lead to a conflict of interests.
On freedom, JM reminded us that political independence was not an end in itself.
“Political independence without economic independence is like having a wedding without a bride,” he told Parliament on March 21, 1974. He condemned dictatorship pointing out that emergent African leadership had perverted democracy to mean “Government by a few for a few on behalf of many, whether the many like it or not.”
Kenya is a country of forgetting and moving on. We ignore injustice after injustice until a crisis such as the one we are struggling to recover from catches up with us.
In these times of national reflection, one cannot help but wonder how far ahead we would be along the journey to true nationhood had we listened to prophets and statesmen like JM instead of killing them; had we taken care of our weak even as we celebrated our strong; had we understood the simple truth that there is enough to go around if it is shared equitably; had we resisted the urge to use our positions to take care of ‘our own’ because we understood that our own included all who call Kenya home.
Mercifully, it is not too late to build the Kenya that JM dreamed and spoke of. If we put our hearts and minds to it, we can be the generation that recovered the promise of a truly independent and democratic country where the individual and the state work together to build a just society.
Only then can we be able to enjoin ourselves to the hopeful vision of JM, proudly proclaimed in 1974, when he said: “In Kenya today, I can only see the dawn of a June morning rising majestically from the white oblivion into the serenity of life.”

Feasting on our own vomit!

I remember a time when anybody who opposed any government position whatsoever, or was even just imagined not to be adequately loyal to the powers of the day, was labelled with terms like ‘puppets of foreign masters’ , ‘enemies of development’ , ‘self-seekers’ , ‘disgruntled elements’ , ‘traitors’, ‘dissidents’ and other choice terminologies.

This included persons that protested institutionalised corruption and the rampant theft and mismanagement of public resources, people that advocated for political pluralism, people that challenged tribalism and cronyism in government, people that protested police brutality and justice-for-sale, and people that dared suggest that Kenya deserved better. It was the era of Mkulima No. 1, and Mwalimu No. 1 and everything else No.1 – an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent leader that knew everything and did everything, and brooked no alternative viewpoint.

It was the era of ‘transparent’ queue voting when shorter queues actually won elections, and anybody who scored a certain percentage of the votes at nomination in the single-party primaries was declared elected ‘unopposed’. It was the era when those that dared suggest there could be political opinions other than  those of the single party were recommended to seek psychiatric care. It was the era when to read, write or think in any way other than that defined by the power barons was an offence punishable by the loss of employment, business, limb and even life.

It was the era when a nondescript old man called Mbaraki Karanja was arrested by security agents, and disappeared without trace – even as tens of graves were opened up to find his body after he was allegedly shot dead by police while attempting to escape from ‘lawful custody’. It was an era when you could be arrested because you happened to use a toilet where state agents had planted ‘seditious’ publications. It was the era of the Nyayo Professors – loyal scholars and academicians who for their boot-licking sycophancy were rewarded with lucrative jobs and opportunities for grand corruption – while the likes of Maina Kinyatti, Mukaru Ng’ang’a, Willy Mutunga, Edward Oyugi, Micere Mugo and Ngugi wa Thiong’o were either forced into exile, detained without trial or jailed on trumped-up charges.

It was the era when the theft of public land was not considered theft, when Prof Wangari Maathai was beaten to a pulp by hired goons younger than her own children because she dared go water seedlings at Karura Forest. It was the era of overnight millionaires and billionaires, wet-nosed young yuppies who had never held a job in their lives but were generously rewarded for their loyalty to the party and their betrayal of the most fundamental ideals that distinguish us from beasts. It was the era of ‘Youth for KANU’.

It was the era when semi-literate elderly buffoons dominated different parts of the country with the power of absolute monarchs in the service of the president, men whose intellect was barely above ‘cretin’ but whose cunning and callousness had no limits. It was the era of Mulu Mutisya, Shariff Nassir, Ezekiel Barng’etuny, Wilson Leitich, Kariuki Chotara, Okiki Amayo, Kuria Kanyingi – names that struck terror in the hearts of Kenyans.

It was the era when the mainstream media were cowed into compliance and cover-up, when only publications like ‘Society’ run by Pius Nyamora, and ‘Finance’ run by Njehu Gatabaki, and ‘Nairobi Law Monthly’ run by Gitobu Imanyara and ‘Beyond’ run by the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) dared tell the truth as it was. It was the era when Maendeleo ya Wanawake and even the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) were swallowed by Kanu, and similar suggestions were made for the Law Society of Kenya and even the NCCK! It was an era when there was only one right opinion, and everything else was heresy. It was an era when if you dared disagree with ‘the Government’, you suffered untold pains and sufferings – as did your spouse, your children, other family members, and even your business associates who did not move fast enough to disassociate themselves with your traitorous acts. It was the era when those that dared to speak were brought broken and bleeding before spineless judges and magistrates in the dark of the night or at weekends, and when lawyers who dared represent them faced a similar fate.

It was an era when we spoke in whispers, when children were evicted before any ‘serious’ conversation lest they repeat ‘dangerous’ things in the wrong places. It was an era when we all lived in fear – lest we incur the wrath of some well-connected politico or security agent, who literally wielded the power of life and death. It was an era when ‘rights’ existed only in the dictionary and in the sick minds of political trouble-makers serving the interests of their foreign masters.

But not all were cowed! There were those that had the personal conviction, the strength of character, and courage of spirit to take on the single party dictatorship – despite all the atrocities it was capable of and willing to commit to preserve itself. There were clergymen who were true shepherds of the flock – Alexander Muge, Henry Okullu,Timothy Njoya, Ndingi Mwana’Nzeki, Manasses Kuria, Mutava Musyimi, and many others. We had political figures like Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, George Anyona, Mashengu wa Mwachofi, Chibule wa Tsuma, Abuya Abuya, James Orengo, Chelagat Mutai, Koigi wa Wamwere, Mukhisa Kituyi, Raila Odinga, Wanyiri Kihoro and many others – including former establishment figures like Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia. We had intrepid lawyers like Gibson Kamau Kuria, Paul Muite, Kivutha Kibwana, Martha Njoka (nee Karua), Beatrice Nduta, John Khaminwa, Oki Ooko Ombaka and many others; we had university student leaders like Mwandawiro Mganga, Wafule Buke, Hassan Omar, and Titus Adungosi and many others; we had the aforementioned scholars and the aforementioned media people. And we had countless, nameless, faceless citizens who attended ‘illegal’ demonstrations and rallies that were one and all put down with extreme brutality by the police.

And we had activists from civil society, those that we now blithely call ‘evil society’; they documented the perversions and depredations of the police state against the people; they let the world know what our local media were too scared or compromised to report; they provided a channel for resources from friends overseas for both material and moral sustenance of a people bent double under the weight of relentless tyranny; and they worked tirelessly for a change of laws and a unified coherent opposition against the Police State. Organisations like CLARION, and Kituo Cha Sheria, and Transparency International, and the International Commission of Jurists, and the Medico-Legal Unit, and the Kenya Human Rights Commission were friends of the people when friends were few and far apart. The Greenbelt Movement and Operation Firimbi were dwarfs that took own the Goliath of the one-party state on our behalf, winning remarkable victories.

But those days are long gone. Those that lived through them barely recall them, while a huge percentage of the population were oblivious children when these things happened. In fact, the average Kenyan only knows second-hand what was won, and what could be lost. That is why we have no qualms about vilifying those that fought for what we now enjoy; that is why we blithely condemn those that would insist that the provisions of the Constitution and other laws must be observed; that is why we would without a second thought use the very terminology that the Oppressor of the past used against those that fought so hard and sacrificed so much to loosen the evil grip around the nation’s neck. That is why we would see no evil in a media that would voluntarily gag itself at a time when all must speak honestly and objectively to preserve the gains made. That is why we would remain silent and even advance the mission of persons hell-bent on destroying institutions that we so desperately need to carry the country to the next level. And that is why we would condemn those that speak truth to power, instead insisting that they must be subservient and compliant.

Why is it that any allusions made to human rights, rule of law, transparency, accountability, justice and integrity have now become part of a great Western imperialist plot that insults our sovereignty and assaults our dignity? Why is it that any suggestion that the IEBC may not have fully lived up to expectations is now treated as near-treason? Why is it that persons that we have in the very recent past hailed for their stand against corruption and bad governance suddenly become villains to be lampooned and derided? Is it that in this matter of elections a citizen has only one right – to agree with the results as announced by the IEBC? Is it that a great error was made in writing our Constitution when a provision was made for judicial intervention should there be a dispute, or was that provision intended purely for cosmetic purposes?

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and we should be commending those that have taken-up positions on the defensive wall, armed with the guarantees provided by our Constitution! We should never ever again criminalise dissent, or get caught up in the euphoric politics of expediency where those we support are always right and those in opposition are always wrong. To do so will be the beginning of a perilous slide back into the abyss of rule by personal fiat rather than by law, and the glorification of sycophancy and conformity above independent thought, personal sovereignty and innovation.

Because we have voluntarily and with open eyes chosen to go back to vomit that is years old, like some clueless mangy mongrel that is all hide and bones, we shall suffer the horrendous fate of those that forget and forsake history. Like lambs to slaughter, we shall surely be led to the abattoir without any inkling of what awaits us; and we shall only realise we were complicit in our own slaughter when the steaks are sizzling on the hot grill!

A Kenya for All Kenyans

This is lifted verbatim from the blog Gathara’s World by Patrick Gathara:

2002 was a momentous time, a good time to be a Kenyan. The elections to be held later that year which would see the exit of KANU as the governing party after nearly 40 years in power. The atmosphere was electric, election campaigns were in full gear and, contrary to previous polls, there were few reports of violence. Kenya had come of age. After decades of struggle against the tyranny of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi, the people were about to strike a blow for democracy, for good governance and to annihilate corruption.

For me, the zeitgeist was all encapsulated in a song that became the signature tune for the coalition standing against Moi’s hand-picked successor. “Unbwogable!” by the Luo duo Gidi Gidi and Maji Maji. “I am unbwogable, I am unbeatable, I am unsueable … Who can Bwogo me?” we all sang. It didn’t matter that the lyrics were about indomitable Luos. By then we were all Luos. We were all Okuyu or Kamba. In short, we were all Unbwogable Kenyans.

Fast forward to 2013, and little of that remains. Faith in our united strength has given way to an abiding fear of the other and we have sought solace in the comfort our tribal cocoons. It begun almost as soon as the Kibaki administration took power, with wrangles over MoUs and cabinet positions. These were quickly followed by mega-corruption scandals of the sort we thought were a thing of the past. Citizen arrests of corrupt traffic police officers, common in the first euphoric days of the Rainbow government, quickly dried up as we woke up to the cruel hoax that had been perpetrated. Nothing had fundamentally changed.

The anticipated prosecutions of Moi regime figures never materialized and the very people that had been eager to feast at the table of US Ambassador Smith Hempstone and call for economic sanctions against the country, now only “vomited on donor shoes” whenever called into account for their orgy of graft. Suddenly, the overhaul to the constitution that they had championed, was neither urgent nor did it need to be as comprehensive. Newspapers were raided and we were warned about rattling snakes. Foreign criminals broke our laws with impunity, called press conferences to threaten the Police Commissioner, and could stroll unimpeded into our supposedly secure airports.

By the time the first constitutional referendum rolled around, we seemed distinctly bwogable. The polarisation signified by the “41 against 1” formula would slowly, and inexorably lead to the balkanisation of the country into tribal units and the violence that erupted following the disputed 2007 elections. The uneasy ceasefire that has held since then, was itself inaugurated with the spectre of mass starvation as politicians looted the national granary and stole food from the mouths of the hungry. We built and repaired the roads between our towns, and neglected the bridges between our communities.

The idea of Kenya that had blossomed in 2002 thus proved to be nothing more than a transient phenomenon, a moon flower. Perhaps it was the irrational exuberance of youth that led us to believe that a different Kenya was possible; perhaps it was our sheltered upbringing as privileged members of an aspirational middle class nurtured on a diet of false patriotism, fantastical promises of development, western sitcoms and CNN. Perhaps we wanted to see in ourselves something that wasn’t really there.

For Kenya had not been founded as a community of Kenyans but as a playground for the privileged. The uplifting of the living standards of the majority of the people has never seemed to be the goal of our politics and our politicians. As I have written before, it has always been about the wenyenchi, not the wananchi. Democracy, human rights and all other fashionable slogans have been for them little more than a pathway to power and riches.

Any who thought otherwise were quickly shunted aside. Today we glorify their courage as we trample underfoot everything they stood for. On national holidays, we dutifully trundle out the sanitized memories of Dedan Kimathi, Bildad Kaggia, Tom Mboya, Pio Gama Pinto, JM Kariuki, Robert Ouko, Wangari Maathai and others. After the celebrations are done we hide them away till next year, not wanting to be reminded for too long of what was, and perhaps still is, possible. Their modern day equivalents are cast as neo-colonial stooges and ostracised for imagining a Kenya for all Kenyans, where justice reigns, with equality and opportunity for all.

We no longer believe in ideals or values or greatness. The country has become little more than a flag to wave to the world, especially when one of us excels internationally, in order to obscure the rot and stench within. In the rubble of the crumbling cases at The Hague we are happily burying any notions that the fortunes of our people matter and that someone should be held to account for depriving them of life and livelihood.

We are now creating new songs that reflect the limited visions we have adopted. Last weekend, the streets of Nairobi rung with a bastardized version of our national anthem. The words “natukae na uhuru, amani na undugu” were no longer about living in unity, peace and liberty. In the common imagination, uhuru now refers not to an ideal but to a person. Others now sing about living with Raila, Kalonzo and Wetangula. Unbwogable is rarely heard on radio stations anymore.

I suspect that we are in a situation not very different from that of our parents. Following the initial euphoria of independence, I am pretty sure that the predations of the Kenyatta and Moi governments had vanquished in them the idea of a Kenya for Kenyans. “Kenya Nchi Yetu” is probably for them just a reminder of the idealism of a bygone age. Yet its message is not very removed from that of Unbwogable. That the citizens can decide to remake the country. That a Kenya that is different from its previous incarnations is possible. One that caters to the desires and needs common to all and not the self-aggrandizing ambitions of a few. If we can commit to that, then perhaps one day our kids can learn to sing confidently of their genuine greatness.

Oh My God … not another Kikuyu president!

Hon Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta was NOT my prefered choice for the presidency. In fact my preferred candidate performed heart-breakingly dismally – and was clearly a non-winner even before the IEBC abandoned the digital tallying process. But today, I was still immensely proud and moved when he received his Certificate of Results from the Chairman of the IEBC Mr Isaack Hassan – and would have been just as proud if it was Rt Hon Raila Amolo Odinga receiving that certificate! I believe it should have been a proud moment for all Kenyans for its symbolic potency – the very first president elected under our new people-centred constitution, and after an election that in all likelihood reflected the sovereign will of the people. Sadly, the moment was diminished by the forthcoming legal challenge to the results, and our characteristic take-no-prisoners partisanship.

But even as I did not support Hon Kenyatta’s bid, I have made many social media posts over the last many months asserting that whether or not Hon Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta can contest and win the presidency is determined by his conscience, our applicable domestic laws and the duly registered voters, and AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE! I have declared numerous times that neither Hon Kenyatta’s family lineage nor his ethnicity should in any way whatsoever determine this important question, because neither factor is provided for in law in as far as eligibility for the Presidency of the Republic of Kenya is concerned. As for that ICC thing, I have repeatedly said that if indeed there is evidence of his involvement, he should be subjected to thorough investigations, conscientious due process, and appropriate retribution if he is found guilty – but I have also declared that  until and unless he is found guilty, his electoral eligibility is a matter of our laws, and that it would be a great injustice to bar him from contesting because that would nullify the presumption of innocence.

For these positions I have adopted, I have earned myself many ‘friends’ – many of whom I am sure genuinely agree with my views, and many more that I am equally sure are just devout adherents of the Cult of Uhuru! I have gladly welcomed both! These positions have also earned me many cherished ‘enemies’, some of whom have used on me terms as simple as ‘sell-out’  or as sophisticated as ‘Kikuyuphile’. These ‘enemies’ too I have welcomed! Of endless fascination to me, however, is the fact that quite often neither the ‘friends’ nor the ‘enemies’ presented any cogent arguments why they stood where they stood – beyond knowing where they stood!

During this time, a hate page was created on FaceBook, singularly dedicated to spreading the most vile lies and hateful drivel about Hon Kenyatta. I visited the page one day and studiously examined the ‘Likes’ – and every one of my friends that I found on that list I named and shamed right on their own timelines; asking them whether they truly subscribed to the gratuitous rubbish that was being spewed out of that page. They did not love me for my troubles! I also asked everybody I could to visit the page and report it so that it could be shut down, and indeed it was shut down; but was soon replaced by another that was just as unsanitary, and I started the campaign all over again! And I did exactly the same for a hate page dedicated to purveying the most foul content about Rt Hon Raila Odinga and his family!

‘Conventional wisdom’ and ‘common knowledge’, both of which I heartily detest – being cheap excuses for refusal to utilise one’s own intellect, provided that Hon Kenyatta could not possibly be elected to the presidency. The retarded opinion was that he was a Kikuyu, his father had been president and he was a ‘wanted criminal’ – and that the man was unelectable whichever way you looked at it, given all the baggage, and ‘garbage’, he was carrying! But in a process that in my insignificant layman’s long-distance opinion appeared to have been free, fair, transparent and credible, he emerged victorious! And that is worth celebrating; even for the most committed of his opponents’ supporters,  if it is indeed Kenya that they love and not just the candidate that they supported!

This unelectable man skilfully corralled his base into a monolithic vote basket; deftly crafted alliances with other leaders and built a formidable campaign juggernaut that carried him many thousand votes beyond the 50% + 1-vote Constitutional thresh-hold! And that is in fact the main reason I celebrate President-elect Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta’s win – he resoundingly repudiated the myths of in-electability, the spurious supposition that just because your father was, you cannot be! He stood his ground, he insisted on his rights and he got the prize!

But am I a ‘sell-out’, a ‘Kikuyuphile’? Absolutely not! I am a citizen of the Republic of Kenya who takes seriously the constitutional guarantees of the right to conscience – which is essentially the right to personal sovereignty, within reasonable limits of course. In fact, I scourged the Uhuru Campaign with just as much fervour when I felt they needed it: for their blatant ethnic mobilisation and scare-mongering; for their unrelenting demonisation of the Rt Hon Raila Odinga; for their liberal use of misinformation and disinformation; and for their cynical diminution of the concept of sovereignty into a crude weapon for beating their opposition over the head.

And if indeed the forthcoming judicial battles affirm Hon Kenyatta’s victory, and he is duly sworn in as the next president, he will absolutely be MY President, deserving of all the respect and deference due to his office. But I will still do my civic duty and demand transparency and accountability from his government. I shall insist that he must be the president of the whole of Kenya, not just those regions that overwhelmingly voted for him – and that he must make it his absolute number one priority to pull the nation together. I shall insist that he must turn off the ‘campaign mode’ and ramp up the ‘statesman mode’, and use his new-found authority to force his surrogates and proxies do the same. We must all insist that he fulfil his campaign-trail promises and electoral platform. He made an excellent start with that inspiring victory speech – and I will insist that he uses his immense charisma, powerful voice and passionate delivery to inspire THE WHOLE NATION to greater cohesiveness and superior heights of achievement.

I must now address President-elect Kenyatta’s core supporters – I am very sorry, but he no longer belongs to you! WE elected him, and by ‘we’ I mean both those who voted for him and those who did not – because the election was OUR process! TNA and Jubilee are merely the racing colours he wore on his way to victory – and not the colours by which he will lead this nation. His fealty must no longer be to you, but to his Oath of Office and the Constitution and laws that he must implement and live and govern by. You must cut him loose from your restrictive parochial apron strings and let him free – HE NO LONGER BELONGS TO YOU! And if President Kenyatta chooses to be the president of only those that voted for him, he will destroy the nation, and destroy you with it – YOU MUST LET HIM GO to serve all the peoples of Kenya! Do not strut and crow and thump your chest with mighty roars, proclaiming victory in a race that is long over – because you stopped having any special claim to President-elect Kenyatta the moment he ceased being a candidate!

Finally, brethren and sistren, the Voice of the People is NOT the voice of God – it is just the Voice of the People! While at times, the voice of the people might reflect God’s will, the two voices are very distinct and often differ.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

Whatever songs the popular praise-singing musicians sang, whatever the prophets (real and false) prophesied, whatever cryptic and esoteric messages were received from the world beyond, whichever mugumo tree fell dramatically and split into unique geometric shapes – President-elect Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta IS NOT some mysterious messianic figure sent to save Kenya at some dark hour of need, neither is he of a unique lineage drawn from a chosen people: he is simply a fellow citizen whom, by the exercise of our sovereign will, we have elevated into leadership over us! We must hold him to account, and we cannot do that when we raise him to the rarefied status of divinity. He must immediately smother the personality cult that some will want to build around him for their own purposes; and he must vapourise those emerging rivulets of sycophancy that began to trickle then flow in earnest at his victory ceremony. And he must do it IMMEDIATELY before they become a raging unstoppable torrent that will drown us all in a bottomless lake of sublime collective unquestioning stupidity.

A national hero, despite you…

For the benefit of those who have the outstanding talent for jumping to conclusions for no other reason than perceived ethnicity, let me state upfront: I am NOT a Railamaniac, I did not vote for him, neither was he my preferred candidate had I been able to vote. I do not believe every word proceeding from his mouth is divine revelation, neither do I believe he is covered by a cloak of infallibility for all his deeds. Now feel free to read on.

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga DOES NOT have a pair of horns, a pointed tail and a forked tongue! He does not exude fire and brimstone from his nose and mouth. He is NOT Lucifer – in fact he is not even one of the minor demons. He is not a malevolent force that must be cast out with loud prayers, foul language and ethnic scare-mongering! He is a mortal man, replete with human weaknesses as any of us are – but also endowed with talents and skills as any of us are.

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga DID NOT conspire with his foreign masters to institute the Kenya cases at the International Criminal Court at the Hague: that honour goes to the Waki Commission, the Cabinet and the National Assembly – that is the unassailable fact and no amount of spin-doctory, however efficacious, can change that historical fact.

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga DID NOT evict the squatters from the Mau Forest, that was a decision of Cabinet endorsed by Parliament. No amount of disinformation and misinformation, however ingenuous, can change that fact.

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga is not any more power-hungry than any other politician that has sought office, including the highest office in the land. That is a label that attached to him by frequency of repeat by his opponents, and the gullibility of their followers and the Kenyan public at large.

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga is no more avaricious than any other private sector entrepreneur, or any other political leader, in our crony-capitalist system. That ‘greedy’ has become one of his most enduring titles is not a reflection of objective fact, but testimony to the power of efficiently prosecuted propaganda.

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga has achieved a lot in his life, and that it is accepted as fact that he has done ‘nothing’ with his years in politics is testament to the undiscerning minds of those that accept this fact as gospel truth – rather than a confirmation of its veracity.

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga has indeed since 1992 been the Member of Parliament of an area that includes a very large slum with high levels of poverty. But the poverty in Kibera is no higher than the poverty in any other urban slum – and a huge number of rural constituencies. To blame this on him personally is an amazing twist of logic, especially considering no other Member of Parliament is similarly adjudged.

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga has never to the best of my knowledge given cause to believe he is a vengeful and vindictive individual – that he has been so successfully labelled as such is attributable to the personal fears and nightmares of those that detained, tortured and exiled him. Indeed he has shown rare capacity to work with his ‘mortal’ enemies.

But of these sins, the Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga is guilty: he, like every other leading politician has manipulated ethnicity to advance their ambition; he, like every other person in government, is culpable for the squandering of public resources, even if only by failure of adequate oversight; he like every other contestant in the just concluded elections has employed scare tactics, misinformation, disinformation and personal attacks against his opponents – either directly or through his surrogates and proxies. If he were even remotely guilty of the many legally-defined serious offences he has been accused of, and given the powerful people arraigned against him throughout his recent political career, Rt Hon Raila Amolo Odinga would be in jail – not contesting the presidency or the outcomes of the elections for the same!

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga is a man that stood and fought when lesser men turned tail and fled, or submissively acquiesced to great evil for personal benefit and/or political advancement. Was he unique in this? Of course not – there were many others that showed equal passion and fearlessness: Paul Muite, Gitobu Imanyara, Koigi wa Wamwere, Chibule wa Tsuma, Mashengu wa Mwachofi, George Anyona, Wanyiri Kihoro, John Khaminwa, Gibson Kamau Kuria, Davinder Singh Lamba, Peter Anyang’ Nyongo, Ms Martha Njoka nee Karua …. too many to name! This is the distinguished company in which he is counted.

But lo! This is forgotten history! Rt Hon Raila Odinga is the Devil’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in this corner of the earth! He has been liberally abused, derided and diminished by men whose greatest distinction is having been cogs in the machinery of a Police State that severely oppressed and brutalised Kenyans. He has been liberally insulted by snotty-nosed young whelps that were not even an idea when he and others suffered great tribulations that we may earn the right to insult them! He has become a by-word for the vilest lies, misinformation and disinformation.

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya, the Right Honourable Raila Amollo Odinga had equal right to contest the presidency, and an inalienable right to challenge the outcome of that contest in the Supreme Court of Kenya as provided for in our electoral laws. He is under no legal obligation whatsoever to concede if he has cause to believe that the contest was not free, fair, transparent, credible and in accordance with applicable laws. If contestants were never intended to challenge electoral outcomes, the law would not have made provision for such challenges – to concede would have been mandatory! By all means let us express our opinions on the folly or wisdom of the choice he has made, but shame on you and shame on you again if in your retarded mind you believe this gives you the right to insult him and the millions of fellow citizens that believed he was the right choice!

In conclusion, I quote Donald Rabala whom I am made to understand first authored these words. Whereas I do not agree with all his sentiments, it is a befitting third-party swansong for a remarkable man who has run a long race well, and whom history will show made a valuable contribution to the rise and rise of the Nation of Kenya:

One day, you will remember Raila Amolo Odinga. A leader who fought for multi-partism and democracy. A leader who accepted the pain of torture and detention. Without him, there would be no TNA, URP, FORD, ODM and the likes.

One day you will remember Raila Amolo Odinga. The only Luo leader who endorsed a Kikuyu president and through him, the Rainbow Coalition was formed. Kibaki, a Kikuyu, became president. And when the time to return the favour came, the people from the mountains turned their faces against him. They called him a dictator and a tribalist. Yet, he had once supported one of their own….

One day you will remember Raila Amolo Odinga. A leader determined to save the Mau forest. And when he condemned illegal harvesting of trees by settlers in the forests, he was called a betrayer by the people from the valley. To them, Raila Amolo Odinga was supposed to sit back and watch forests burn, since the people from the valley had voted for him in 2007.

One day you will remember Raila Amolo Odinga. A leader whose presidential votes were stolen by someone he once endorsed to be president. But he humbled himself, almost looking like the looser, and worked with the then president, just to prevent further bloodshed. It was like a woman who has been tortured by her husband. She runs away from home and comes back later, because of her love for her confused children and forgiveness for her husband.

You will not remember him now, because right now, he’s a dictator, betrayer and a tribalist to you. But a day is coming when the whole nation will remember Raila Amolo Odinga….the best president….we never had…..

When Kenya has decided….

The IEBC suffered serious failures of technology, management and organisation. For a while on that first and second day, they even suffered serious failures in communication. BUT it would appear this far they have not suffered any fatal failures of integrity and credibility, and appear to be determined to address any issues that may in any way at all smudge the credibility of these polls and the officers of the commission. THAT, my fellow Kenyans, is what is important – not who wins or loses.

So long as we can all be objectively certain that the elections were free, fair, transparent, credible and conducted in strict observance of the provisions of the applicable laws, we can be sure that the results reflect the will of the people – and it is imperative that the people accept the results.

We have each had a candidate that we have been passionate about, and we have each probably implied that a victory by any of the opposing candidates would constitute an existential threat to our nation. If Hon Uhuru Kenyatta wins, he may or may not continue to collaborate with the ICC, there may or may not be economic and other sanctions, and there may or may not be economic collapse – but so long as he is legitimately elected, we MUST all accept him as our President and do our civic duty to guarantee his presidency is a success for the entire nation. If Rt Hon Raila Odinga wins, there may or may not be a witch-hunt, we may or may not be sold wholesale to Western ‘imperialist’ powers, he may or may not become a power-hungry dictator – but so long as he is legitimately elected, we MUST all accept him as our President and do our civic duty to guarantee his presidency is a success.

The announcement of the results of these elections should mark the absolute end of our mutual partisan hostility, and the break of a bright new dawn for our nation. Let those that supported the winning candidate be magnanimous in victory, and let those who supported the losing candidate be gracious in defeat – because if indeed these elections have been free, fair, transparent, credible and conducted in strict observance of the provisions of the applicable laws, there is one great winner: the Nation of Kenya!

We will have exorcised the demons of 2007/8 and the assortment of minor phantoms from the earlier parodies of elections. We will have proven that one of our most important institutions does work. We will have taken a giant step to being one people under God and under the rule of law!

My fellow Kenyans, please please please – let us not ruin this through stiff-necked, fatally subjective, irreverent, insulting, polarising, partisan squabbles, arrogant strutting and crowing, and unprovable allegations of vote theft.