NASA leader Raila Odinga’s contribution to the well-being of Kenyans and democracy cannot be compared to all of our four presidents combined. He helped realisation of the 2010 Constitution, immensely expanding citizen rights and establishment of independent institutions. The enigma continues to fortify these gains from the Opposition side. He did this by putting his life on the line and making sacrifices. History of Kenya without the mention of Baba can only be delusional. He is an asset eternally bequeathed to future generations. That is why I believe this nationalistic stature should be jealously guarded. Leadership is about influencing positive change not just attaining power or the presidency. RAO, as he is fondly known, has changed Kenya for the better and emancipated her from tyranny.
However, this hard-earned reputation is slipping away as selfish next of kin or friends plot to inherit his constituency. The popular tag of “People’s President” was enough for Raila and he did not have to be taken through the illegal oath-taking. The Tuesday ceremony only tarnished his name internationally. That is why I feel Raila should be protected from the self-seekers around him today. Further disrepute will only hurt Raila’s legacy and put our country on a dangerous trajectory.
Raila should be ring-fenced from such and allowed to retire with dignity. Youngsters (both from Jubilee and NASA) in their prime political age should also be told to stop beating drums of war. For if truth be told, we are already in Canaan delivered by Raila lest we forget how far the country has come. Both Christianity and Islam have it that one’s destiny is preordained. We have to take faith in what we are and can’t force or change fate by any amount of wit or mass movement. If one is preordained not to make to the “House on the Hill”, so it will not be. It takes strong faith to accept this, neither is it the only means to greatness.
Jakom has always respected the rule of law. The electoral outcome of August 8, 2017, didn’t convince him and he went to court for redress. His prayers annulled the results, occasioning a repeat. That shows we have a credible and independent Judiciary to cure any illegality. His withdrawal from the repeat poll was an absolute misjudgement as the Supreme Court had unequivocally pronounced itself in the judgement that any repeat illegalities would suffer the same consequences. Elections were conducted and the same court upheld the outcome as legitimate.
Today, NASA is asking for dialogue to right perceived wrongs and achieve electoral justice. Dialogue is good and there is no demerit in it but merit. Their call is testimony that there is a government and President worth dialoguing with, despite the burning concerns. It is right then to demonstrate and picket, but taking an illegal oath was dangerous. Tuesday’s NASA ceremony was therefore illegal and illogical. I wonder what really inspired fine legal minds such as Siaya Senator James Orengo’s. Does he want this great nation lost for selfish interests outside the rule of law? If Baba’s agitation for reforms is people-centred, Kenyans will salute him and be proud of him. My political mentor and the Pan Africanist Raila should not have accepted to lift the Bible last Tuesday. Still, he should be able to secure his larger-than-life legacy in the coming days.
- The writer is former Wajir North MP