It is instructive that people who had been Kanu insiders in Kenyaâs darkest hour were more virulent and inclined towards vindictiveness when Kanu lost grip of power in 2003. It was Raila who publicly intervened saying, among other things, that the retired President should be left alone to enjoy peaceful retirement, without being burdened with witch hunting and vindictiveness.
As was the case in the 1980s when a few nationalists stood alone while everyone else sang songs of praise, Raila is once again standing alone, within the class of the national political elite. I was an adult in the days when the political class sunk the country in one party autocracy.
They all read from the same script and said appalling things in the praise of the government of the day. Only a few people like Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Martin Shikuku, George Anyona, Chibule wa Tsuma, Mwashengu wa Mwachofi and Raila Odinga could stand up to them. They were incarcerated. University students were incarcerated. Others died in jail. People disappeared never to be seen or heard of again. Nyayo House witnessed very curious "suicides." Every week, someone was alleged to have "jumped off" Nyayo House. But the politicians told us that we were "lucky" to have the government that we had. We were "an island of peace in a sea of turbulence."
That is where we have come from. But we forget too fast, conveniently. When the champions of the ancient regime and their progeny begin regrouping, we even think this is a great thing. We surely want to forget the past and move on, donât we? But how shall we move on when the past keeps on poking its fingers into our nostrils? Today the champions of the past are decamping from the Raila corner. Without any elaboration, they say he is a dictator. This is so that they can rob him of his greatest political card â the card of reform.
The good news is, however, that Raila now has a good chance to offer the Kenyan nation a new team of leaders. Five years ago, he described himself as a bridge to the future. The time had, however, not come â for he still carried a lot of baggage from the past.
This time round, he will be unburdened of this baggage. He can travel light and present before us the next generation of leaders. As was the case in the days of the Biblical Joshua, only a few from the Moses generation will reach the Promised Land. If some people elect to remain in the wilderness, you cannot come in their way. As in the days of Joshua, too, everyone must decide where they stand.
It is on account of this that I have elected to stand on the right side of history. If I should make a mistake, I shall make it on the right side of history.
The writer is a publishing editor and media consultant.