Power deals: An open letter to Raila and Uhuru


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ByaseL

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December 4, 2012 will forever live in infamy in Kenya’s history. That’s because the most odious – and utterly stupefying – deals were struck on that day. Now we know that Jomo’s and Jaramogi’s sons are the political colossi in Kenya. Everyone else is a political midget – a minnow.

That’s why I am writing this open letter to PM Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. I’m angry and disappointed. Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta are making a witch’s brew that could send Kenya to hell. They’ve set the stage to send Kenya over the political precipice.

That’s why we must speak now, or forever hold our peace. They may disagree with me – but they are wrong. This is why.

I will first take Mr Odinga. No other standing man in Kenya’s political history has Mr Odinga’s reformist credentials. This is a historically indisputable fact. He’s been detained and persecuted longer – and more harshly – than any other living politician in Kenya.

He’s been at the centre of every major reform in the country since the 1980s. The biggest of all was the 2010 Constitution.

Except for his dalliance with Kanu and former President Daniel Moi from 1998-2002, Mr Odinga has been the most consistent and prominent reformist politician in the country. He’s enjoyed the tacit support of civil society, the youth and working people, and Kenya’s friends abroad. There’s no doubt he leads in all major opinion polls.

Mr Odinga isn’t perfect. Here’s the rub, and Mr Odinga’s Achille’s Heel. Like most politicians, Mr Odinga has the tendency to be a fair weather reformer. He’s shown the proclivity to sacrifice principle at the altar of convenience. That’s why he went to bed with Mr Moi after the 1997 elections and joined Kanu in 2001.

He’s fallen off the reform wagon several times. I consider his pact with VP Kalonzo Musyoka a moment of a great strategic blunder. Mr Odinga has succumbed to tribal political math in his quest for State House. He’s easily allowed himself to be boxed into a tribal corner by Mr Kenyatta’s alliance with Eldoret North MP William Ruto. He could’ve resisted but didn’t.

The so-called Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) is a motley collection of anti-reformers, desperados, and political refugees. We know Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka can’t stand each other. Except for brief periods, the two have never seen eye to eye. Mr Musyoka is a bone-deep conservative and was for a long time the apple of Mr Moi’s eye at the height of Kanu’s repressive regime.

He’s a “watermelon” who never truly embraced the new Constitution. Mr Odinga then added political opportunist Trade minister Moses Wetang’ula.

As if these weren’t enough anti-reformers, Mr Odinga welcomed into CORD former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga’s Mkenya Solidarity. Seriously — really? My head is still spinning.

Let me now tackle Mr Kenyatta. Give it to Jomo’s son – the man has turned The Hague charges for crimes against humanity into a badge of honour.

He’s skilfully used them to completely tribalise the forthcoming elections. His alliance with Mr Ruto – his co-accused – is a Hail Mary to escape culpability.

They both believe they can “hide behind the skirts” of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin. They are convinced the only way to stay out of a European jail is to win the elections and defy the ICC. Mr Kenyatta’s life depends on winning the elections – and stopping Mr Odinga – at any cost. Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have exploited each other to herd the Kikuyu and Kalenjin like sheep.



Leadership credentials


But who really is Mr Kenyatta, and what are his credentials for leadership? Who is behind the mask of the man with the frequently bloodshot eyes? Mr Moi plucked him from political obscurity just over 12 years ago and foisted him on Kenyans.

In 2002, he was resoundingly rejected at the polls. In 2007, he joined President Mwai Kibaki and was implicated by the ICC as the mastermind behind the Mungiki attacks on Kalenjins in the Rift Valley.

The word reform is alien to him. He’s in a bear hug with Mr Ruto in an alliance of the accused. They’ve been joined by the indecisive DPM Musalia Mudavadi who hopes to be the flag-bearer if Mr Kenyatta can’t run because of the ICC.

Neither Mr Kenyatta nor Mr Ruto should run for any office in Kenya until they are cleared of the charges against humanity. I am equally opposed to them running on the basis of a tribal union between the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin.

But I am puzzled why Mr Odinga couldn’t exploit the Kenyatta-Ruto tribal alliance to build a truly national movement for reform.

Why did he feel compelled to answer in kind? Why did he have to build a coalition of so many unsavoury characters? Does the word “reform” ring true when one looks at the CORD membership? If he wins, how will Mr Odinga implement the Constitution with such partners? Can a lion sire a dove?

This is the question that Kenyan reformers must ask and answer – should they accept Mr Odinga’s logic that he couldn’t resist the tribal card?

How credible is the argument that this is a necessary tactical manoeuvre to capture power and enact reforms?

But this begs another question – should reformers back another horse instead of Mr Odinga? Should they migrate to Gichugu MP Martha Karua, Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, or even former Education Permanent Secretary James ole Kiyiapi? Or is Kenya stuck with Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta?



Makau Mutua is Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC. Twitter Makaumutua.
 
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SMU

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Hawa watani sijui kama wataweza kupita salama kwenye huu uchaguzi unaokuja! Inaweza kuwa mbaya kuliko ile ya 2007.
 
Money Stunna

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Money Stunna

Money Stunna

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Hawa watani sijui kama wataweza kupita salama kwenye huu uchaguzi unaokuja! Inaweza kuwa mbaya kuliko ile ya 2007.
lazima kenya wapigane tena,hali itakuwa mbaya zaidi,nawajua wakenya,dhambi ya ubaguz wa kikabila itawatafuna sana
 
Kabaridi

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Kabaridi

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It is amazing the writer has cooled down his head and toned down his open slander and pen poisoning against uhuru to write a balanced commentary on Raila and Uhuru. Mr mutua is not naive to know that biggest percentage of Kenyan voters are still to understand the Hague process, let alone embrace it though not because of ignorance. As much as the ICC is vital to rid Kenya from the culture of impunity, the handlers of process together with human rights groups have unwittingly brought its integrity to disrepute.

There are plans by the Hague court to fund and create a Kenyan version of the ICC called the ICD. It is hoped the ICD processes and operations will quickly learn and borrow a leaf from the Supreme court of kenya on the basis of its independence and rulings.

CORD has ultimately been exposed by desparation to also use the malicious strategy of building ethnic alliances to boost their presidential bid simmilar to that of TNA. But off-course when CORD backers are asked the question why does one that calls himself a reformer opt to craft alliances with political desperados that have fostered and nurtured impunity in the moi regime, the answer is as always Raila is not perfect and as a human being he can make "mistakes".

The only successful and instrumental figure of change ever to have gifted Africa is Nelson Mandela. Others that call themselves reformers are just jokers without substance out use the reform outfit to cut deals and consolidate support from western governments.
 

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