SECTIONS

Why Luo Nyanza must abandon opposition, work with President Ruto

 

NASA supporters hurl stones at the police after the 2017 General Election. [File,Standard]

On December 1991, the then president Daniel arap Moi, at a KANU delegates meeting at Kasarani stadium, acceded to the demands for the repeal of section 2A of the independence Constitution effectively making Kenya a de jure multiparty State.

The advent of political plurality enabled the introduction of term limits to the presidency. Consequently, the first multi-party elections were conducted in 1992. This was the highlight of decades of the clamor for multiparty democracy. The Luo Nyanza, led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, was at the vanguard of the fight for multi-party having been on the margins of government since independence with only a brief stint in government between 1963 and 1966 before Jaramogi and President Jomo Kenyatta unceremoniously parted ways.

The divorce between Jaramogi and President Kenyatta only three years after Kenya acquired self-rule permanently confined the region to Opposition politics with deleterious consequences 60 years later. The number of times we have tasted government are fewer than the presidents we have had as a country. That is, at independence when Jaramogi became vice president; in 2002 when NDP of Raila Odinga merged with KANU; briefly in Kibaki administration and partially in the dying days of Uhuru's administration.

Largely Luos have been in Opposition all through literally opposing every government of the day whether good or bad. And I can say without the risk of ambiguity that on the isolated occasions we have been in government, which we begin by violently opposing before joining, there is nothing to write home about in terms of tangible trickle-down benefits to the community. Looking for what we have reaped from those associations is like looking for a needle in a haystack. 

Being in Opposition has caused us more harm than good. Many people have lost their lives. We have missed jobs and business opportunities that only come by being friendly to the Government of the day. Our economic power has plummeted. It can’t be gainsaid that we have paid a high price for being in Opposition.

Despite a dark past and a future that looks so uncertain I want to challenge Luo Nyanza to have a paradigm shift on how we approach politics. We need to do self-introspection. That time is now. Our professionals, community leaders, elected leaders and clergy must take the bull by its horns and face the reality now that we have an opportunity to do so.

That opportunity is the presidency of William Ruto. A time comes when the brave in the society must stand up and be counted. I also know that this is an unpopular opinion having just come from a bitterly contested election. We wanted our son to be president but as fate would have it, we are unlucky that opportunity has slipped from us with the swearing-in of Dr Ruto.

Now the elephant in the room is, will we oppose Ruto’s regime with the passion and zeal we deployed to criticize previous governments? I see ourselves running the risk of plying this dangerous route once again, led by the usual culprits who are our elected leaders and who are themselves core beneficiaries of the largesse of the Government. We then need to ask ourselves again, how will opposing the new government serve our interests?

I don’t think so. Therefore, what’s the alternative? You may ask. It’s simple. Let us not be hostile to Ruto’s government even if we don’t support it. Let us be friendly to it and accord it a conducive environment to execute his promises to the people of Kenya. Let there be no blame in future that he was unable to implement his development agenda because we were antagonistic to him. Let the president visit us in our towns, villages and homes without seeking permission or authorisation from anyone.

Let him come to our churches and pray with us. Let him feel at home with the Luo nation.