Why I support Raila Odinga

January 18, 2007 at 6:04 pm 11 comments

*Editor’s note:  I welcome more letters from readers wanting to support any presidential candidate of their choice.  I love short pieces.  I love original work.  I greatly appreciate genuine, even if feeble, attempts at sobriety and a sense of proportion in analysis.  I worry less about your ability to communicate in the English language, – anyone on nodding terms with it will tell you that only a few folks can play around with it so well. 

By MOSES OTIENO

I will support Raila Amolo Odinga for the presidency. I believe he has the best qualities compared to the incumbent.

Kibaki’s greatest undoing has been his inability to make all Kenyans feel like they are members of the Kenya family. Being a president is akin to a polygamous father.

My experience with polygamy is that the father should be a unifying figure and should not favour any house at the expense of another.

When dinner is served, he calls all the children and eats with them at the same table. He does not allow the members of the first house to bully and taunt members of the other houses.

He listens to all the children, and counsels them equally regardless of whether they are rich or poor. When a child gets out of line, he rebukes the miscreant but still insists that he eats at the same table.

Kibaki has failed in this test. He has allowed his lieutenants to engage in ethnic jingoism and to exclude other communities from the national dinner table.

He has given more attention to the rich children who can afford to buy shares at the Stock market, and forgotten about the poor ones who rely on fishing and cotton for a living.

He has repeatedly reminded us that Kenya is a “man eat man” family, where “pumbavu’s” whose mothers are out of favour will be disinherited by the favoured ones.

The children who have dared criticize his style have found themselves disowned and expelled from the dinner table. 

Raila Odinga gives me confidence that he can heal the divisions that threaten to tear apart the Kenya family.

He has been consistent in the only thing that matters, and that is the pursuit of justice, equality and freedom.

He has been unjust to other causes that conflict with this pursuit; and anyway, if anything was contrary to justice, equality and freedom, would a true patriot embrace it?

By switching parties and making alliances several times, Raila has shown us that he will not waste time in demagoguery that leaves Kenyans worse off.

None of the other contestants in the presidential race has committed their lives to this struggle, including the incumbent.

They have made their careers and money by stepping on our bent shoulders. Raila is the only freedom fighter in the race.

Besides political credentials, he is the only industrialist in the group, and this proves that he will have the industrialization needs of this nation close to his heart.

He has experienced the throes of dictatorship more than any other, and he has articulated devolution, separation of power and a people’s constitution as the remedy to the excesses of the ruling class.

These are qualities that will spur the greatest economists, planners and other professionals in the civil service to steer Kenya beyond economic recovery to real growth.

The Kenya family requires a father who will ensure that equity and justice prevails, no matter how many wives or children there are, or whether the family is rich or poor.

This is the promise we see in ODM-Kenya, an inclusive vehicle where all the children can eat at the same table.  

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Entry filed under: Africa, Culture, Economics, Kenya, Literature, Media, Politics, Society, World.

I just love this song! Inconvenient truths?

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tom O  |  January 19, 2007 at 7:34 am

    I agree with the writer on his comments on his sipport for Raila, but disagree on the notion that he is NOT a tribalist. I have a feeling that a lie when repeated several times is deemed to be a truth. Whereas Kibaki has not done a good job of bringing addressing the plight of the poor, Raila is no better. Why do I say this? These is a tendency on Raila’s part to always criticize just for the sake without offering an alternative solution. We have wasted 10 years with Moi while Raila cohabited with Moi. Look, he has changed coats several times since 1992. Look, at it this way, the current crop of so called leaders in ODM are just KANU in brackets. What makes us think that if elected to governement, they will no remove the brackets and revert to the pre-2002 era? What will they deliver, I think free secondary and tertiary education, free village polytechnic is not enough, what about jobs, growth rate. These free things will only over burden us with taxes? We need a radical investment in infrastructure as this will create immediate jobs, and onward accelerated economic development. Raila and team ngoja kwanza and put your house in order.

    Reply
  • 2. Hercules  |  January 19, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Tom O complains that Raila cohabited with Moi for ten years. For how many years was Kibaki married to Moi? What about Kalonzo, Ruto, Musalia, Balala and Uhuru? This is a very null arguement.

    Raila supporters point out that he has been unjust to causes that disrupt his quest for justice, equality and freedom. When he felt the Moi regime had become embarrasingly inept in 1982, he tried the tools of the day to bring about change. After Jaramogi’s death, he felt Fork-Kenya when he felt the Young Turks were marching to Sate House for their own enjoyment. Later he merged with Kanu when he felt the opposition, after the demise of Matiba, was full of self-centered and visionless individuals without any winning strategies.

    Critics should be fair to Raila. If it were not for him, the Narc revolution wouldnt have been.

    About jobs, infrastructure, investments e.t.c, why do critics think that Kibaki has a monopoly on economics? If you ask my opinion, Kibaki and his ilk were schooled in outdated economic theories that are totally inconsistent with the current world order. Ask Prof. Nyong’o and he will confirm that.

    Reply
  • 3. timbob  |  January 20, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Greetings. Just wanted to say hello and that I’m keeping you in prayer. Be blessed always.

    Reply
  • 4. abraham k. rotich  |  January 30, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    that raila deserves the presidency by acclamation for his consistency in the fight for democracy ,civil liberties and freedoms we enjoy today,isnot in doubt.but there is one thing and only one thing that scares me about raila: the manner he has ‘ ruled ‘ luo nyanza – it amounts to dictactorship. that any luo however bright ( and there are many) who disagrees with his style of politics will not make it to parliament. i have in mind the likes of Donde , Orengo, ochuodho and most likely Tuju this year. that raila can just pull out a total unknown and make him an mp in nyanza is really scary !

    Reply
  • 5. lincoln  |  August 8, 2007 at 12:08 am

    hi all. raila? he ia a real enigma. my first concern, like rotich’s, has to do with his monopolization of luo nyanza politics! any dissenting voice is quickly muzzled by being voted out. Tuju has done a lot for his constituency but he will not see the inside of parlaiment next year because he does not play to raila’s music. his role in the 1982 coup is a huge blot on his political career. he is not the only reformer who should be given a chance to rule. he is one of many, so that is not unique to him. industrailist? his acquisition of the molasses plant is questionable but commendable as it is a very crucial industry for kenya to have. he does not mind working with dubious characters so he should not mud sling others when they resort to using some of his tactics. he has worked with Moi in the past and currently works with among others Ruto. he has been minister for energy and roads with little to show for it especially considering that he claims he can revolutionize our economy within a year!!! he was roads minister for three years with very little to show for it. i think Raila generates a lot of emotional support for himself. However, emotions aside you find that he is mostly full of hot air and noise like most Kenyan politicians. People credit him with the fight for democracy for this country as if he was the only one who did it! what about the kituyis, wamweres, matibas, churchills, muge, etc of this land. if you dig deep in his list of credentials there is nothing that really separates him from the rest of the pretenders to the throne.

    Reply
  • 6. Ford Ongito  |  August 8, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    First of all let declare my support for Raila.
    And for the following
    1. His role in Second Liberation.
    Lincoln above asked if He Raila himself fought for the democracy, No, together with fellows like Paul Muite, James Orengo, Gitobu Imanyara, Anyang Nyongo, George Kapten, Mwandawiro Mgaghanga they brought about the much desired multy party politics in this country.
    2. Checking Government as Opposition MP
    Raila’s role as an opposition MP cannot be ignored. He has paid dearly for his tireless work in highlighting the excess of both Moi and Kibaki’s Government than any other MP and i stand to be corrected on this.
    3. Constituional Change
    He is only our hope for a new constitutional dispensation.

    Reply
  • 7. James Miriti  |  August 15, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    This phenomenon that “Fake Raila Odinga” is causing is just too much. It’s at http://www.fakeraila.blogspot.com

    Reply
  • 8. mogiyusuf  |  August 16, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Hon Raila Amolo Odinga, the Mp for Kibera, nay, Langata, is considered a Kingmaker in Kenyan politics. According to the late Hon Michael Kijana Wamalwa, he inspires both Railamania and Railaphobia while the latest biography aptly describes him as an enigma in Kenyan politics. In Luo Nyanza Raila has cultivated a cult of personality that is the envy of many a politician. This cult has spawned myths that elevates Raila almost to the level of luo legends like Gor Mahia and Lwanda Magere. Infact, Hon Raila Amolo Odinga, the Mp for Kibera, nay, Langata, is considered a Kingmaker in Kenyan politics. According to the late Hon Michael Kijana Wamalwa, he inspires both Railamania and Railaphobia while the latest biography aptly describes him as an enigma in Kenyan politics. In Luo Nyanza Raila has cultivated a cult of personality that is the envy of many a politician. This cult has spawned myths that elevates Raila almost to the level of luo legends like Gor Mahia and Lwanda Magere. Infact, professors of Political Science bow in awe and sing praises to Agwambo, owad gi Akinyi

    Raila straddles the Kenyan political landscape like the proverbial colossus. Whenever, he is out of the country, his absence speaks even louder. He has the knack of setting the political agenda by just calling a prss conference; and even if you are dyed-in-the-wool critique of this guy, you must appreciate one fact: he is a force that cannot be wished away.

    Despite all this accolades as a politician, Raila fails miserable as a leader. This is manifested by the increasing socio-economic misery that he has brought to members of the luo community. No wonder, the word luo Nyanza evokes negative feelings of poverty disease and immaturity. This is not to say that Raila is wholly responsible for the woes facing the luo community, members of this community are equally culpable.

    To begin with, Raila enjoys unbridled power as leaders of the luo community- forget the fact that he is a Nairobi MP. This has come about due to the fact that the luos suffered immensely under Kenyatta and Moi to the point where they were desperate for leaders who will fearless fight for them. The late Jaramogi Odinga, one of the most principled and honest politicians this country has ever had – took up this mantle but fate was not kind to him. His son ascended to this throne with the promise to deliver the luo from socio-political wilderness. Unbeknown to the luo community, he subtly changed course and is now leading them deeper and deeper into the hot desert while he is covered with a human umbrella and has fresh water at his disposal. He has even taken all the manna that dropped from heaven so that his people can remain hungry and beg from him.

    Many sons and daughters of the luo community have died in this circus of the so called political and economic liberation while his closest relatives live in luxury. When its is appropriate, Raila sheds crocodile tears knowing well aware that these suffering and death only serves to reinforce the persecution complex within the community that ensures his political survival.

    It is instructive to note that the sugar and fish sector remain the mainstay of luo economy. However, no single day not one I know of has Raila ever employed his mobilization skill and rhetoric to fight for the farmers and the fisherfolk. For along time, before Kibaki came to power, sugar framer went for years without being paid for their produce. Meanwhile, tones of sugar were being imported into the country compounding further the woes further. All this time, Agwambo never raised a finger or was he part of the cartel that was importing sugar. In the fish sector, it is ironical that people in Nyanza are contended with fish skeletons popularly known as mgongowazi due to high levels of poverty while hoping against hope that all will be well when Raila becomes president Never!

    Some will argue that Raila is the MP for Kibera and is not responsible for the woes affecting the people of Nyanza. Nothing could be further from the truth. Raila is covertly and overtly at the centre of all the major political events taking place in the region including who becomes MP, if in doubt, just ask Raphael Tuju, the MP for Rarieda. However, this is not to say that Tuju should provide the much needed alternative centre of power, given that he cannot be come an MP if left to his own devices.

    One would ask: what do you want Raila to do? Before I answer the question, I would say that Raila has remained the undisputed (mis)leader of the luo community for very long time. If he was wise and had the interest of the luo people, he would use this privileged position to help his people economically and not to pursue his own selfish political interests at the expense of his community. He should do this by using his influence among the luo as a political bargaining chip to force the government acquiesce to the urgent needs of his people in whatever way possible in return for political support. Politics for its own sake will not help the luo people.

    At this point, I want to challenge Raila to tell the public any substantial contribution in terms of economic development that he has made to his community.

    In conclusion, its time for the luo to take a hard look at themselves in the social-economic mirror and see the bruises and wounds in their faces caused by a leader whom they worship more than Nyasaye

    Raila straddles the Kenyan political landscape like the proverbial colossus. Whenever, he is out of the country, his absence speaks even louder. He has the knack of setting the political agenda by just calling a press conference; and even if you are dyed-in-the-wool critique of this guy, you must appreciate one fact: he is a force that cannot be wished away.

    Despite all this accolades as a politician, Raila fails miserable as a leader. This is manifested by the increasing socio-economic misery that he has brought to members of the luo community. No wonder, the word luo Nyanza evokes negative feelings of poverty disease and immaturity. This is not to say that Raila is wholly responsible for the woes facing the luo community, members of this community are equally culpable.

    To begin with, Raila enjoys unbridled power as leaders of the luo community- forget the fact that he is a Nairobi MP. This has come about due to the fact that the luos suffered immensely under Kenyatta and Moi to the point where they were desperate for leaders who will fearless fight for them. The late Jaramogi Odinga, one of the most principled and honest politicians this country has ever had – took up this mantle but fate was not kind to him. His son ascended to this throne with the promise to deliver the luo from socio-political wilderness. Unbeknown to the luo community, he subtly changed course and is now leading them deeper and deeper into the hot desert while he is covered with a human umbrella and has fresh water at his disposal. He has even taken all the manna that dropped from heaven so that his people can remain hungry and beg from him.

    Many sons and daughters of the luo community have died in this circus of the so called political and economic liberation while his closest relatives live in luxury. When its is appropriate, Raila sheds crocodile tears knowing well aware that these suffering and death only serves to reinforce the persecution complex within the community that ensures his political survival.

    It is instructive to note that the sugar and fish sector remain the mainstay of luo economy. However, no single day not one I know of has Raila ever employed his mobilization skill and rhetoric to fight for the farmers and the fisherfolk. For along time, before Kibaki came to power, sugar framer went for years without being paid for their produce. Meanwhile, tones of sugar were being imported into the country compounding further the woes further. All this time, Agwambo never raised a finger or was he part of the cartel that was importing sugar. In the fish sector, it is ironical that people in Nyanza are contended with fish skeletons popularly known as mgongowazi due to high levels of poverty while hoping against hope that all will be well when Raila becomes president Never!

    Some will argue that Raila is the MP for Kibera and is not responsible for the woes affecting the people of Nyanza. Nothing could be further from the truth. Raila is covertly and overtly at the centre of all the major political events taking place in the region including who becomes MP, if in doubt, just ask Raphael Tuju, the MP for Rarieda. However, this is not to say that Tuju should provide the much needed alternative centre of power, given that he cannot be come an MP if left to his own devices.

    One would ask: what do you want Raila to do? Before I answer the question, I would say that Raila has remained the undisputed (mis)leader of the luo community for very long time. If he was wise and had the interest of the luo people, he would use this privileged position to help his people economically and not to pursue his own selfish political interests at the expense of his community. He should do this by using his influence among the luo as a political bargaining chip to force the government acquiesce to the urgent needs of his people in whatever way possible in return for political support. Politics for its own sake will not help the luo people.

    At this point, I want to challenge Raila to tell the public any substantial contribution in terms of economic development that he has made to his community.

    In conclusion, its time for the luo to take a hard look at themselves in the social-economic mirror and see the bruises and wounds in their faces caused by a leader whom they worship more than Nyasaye

    Reply
  • 9. oscar  |  October 8, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    I have every reason to support Raila
    This is because in the fisrt place, he is a charismatic leader who doesn’t at any given time fear to air his views concerning the wrong doings of a president.

    Reply
  • 10. RUTH  |  December 5, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Maybe i’m just a little simplistic, but all this talk about Raila and his second revolution just leaves me feeling empty. Its all fine and dandy that he is charismatic, enigmatic, and all the other ics you can think about, but all i really want in a president is someone who can make things better fullstop, who can work not just talk anyone can do that.
    If someone can show me something tangible that he has done that has improved the lives of those affected by his status as MP (Family not included) it would be appreciated, please nothing about revolution, devolutions or constitutions no one can eat those.
    Otherwise until then i think that when all is said and done Raila just feels like another elitist with big words and little to offer.

    Reply
  • 11. austine viera  |  December 20, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    me my vote is for raila coz kibaki can not be trusted,en since he has declared publickly that this is his last term he will difinetly go for a kill coz he may not be held accountable in 2012.Again he has failed to control his own house how can he control awooping 34 million population.

    Reply

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