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Is ODM scared of rising stars and new political landscape?

By Barrack Muluka | March 13th 2021

The Sacred Alliance has scared the top brass of ODM. But it has not just scared them, it has given them a scar in Ematungu, the resting place of Nabongo Mumia (1849 – 1949). ODM is scarred following the electoral defeat last week in the by-election in the place modern people call Matungu. If we may not say with Thomas Hardy, “Think how the mighty are fallen,” could we at least say, “Think how the mighty are falling?”  

For in the life of the current Parliament, the Orange Party has had bad outings in a series of by-elections. They have fallen in Ugenya, Embakasi South, Msambweni and now Matungu. The political behemoth of 2007 is shrinking and shriveling. It did not even field a candidate in the Kabuchai by-election. Kabuchai is the extended backyard of the rural home of ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna. Sifuna crowed during the campaigns that ODM was tired of carrying ANC and Ford Kenya baggage. He has eaten humble pie at home. He has lately been silent, nibbling at the bread of sorrow and sipping wormwood and waters of affliction. 

In Matungu, ODM lost to ANC’s Peter Oscar Nabulindo. Nabulindo was also a joint candidate of what has been styled as the Sacred Alliance of Kanu, Ford Kenya, Wiper Democratic Party and ANC.

Legislators James Orengo and Amolo Otiende were this time last week venting Orange frustrations on unnamed public servants. They said the faceless ones were sabotaging their party leader’s presidential dreams. Otiende swore, on audiovisual tape in mother tongue, “to return Kenya where it was in January 2018, if anyone thinks he can frustrate Raila.” 

The perception is that some individuals in the State may have worked behind the scenes to secure victory for the ANC candidate. ODM is naturally concerned that this might only be a political inoculation against what is coming. They are, therefore, threatening to unleash mayhem. They will “ensure that there will be no country,” in the words of Senior Counsel Orengo, “if these people think they can frustrate the efforts of President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to bring peace.”

Soon after the Thursday setback, another party honcho, Junet Mohamed, hollered against the conduct of the elections that were, admittedly, chaotic. 

Would part of the problem appear to be that the ODM fraternity became too complacent in the wake of the comforts of the Handshake between President Uhuru and their leader? Having kicked out of parliamentary leadership all independent voices, both in the Opposition and in Jubilee, do they seem to have carried their sacrifice way past the crossroads of trust in the shark infested waters of treachery that are Kenya’s political landscape?

Odinga’s elder brother, Dr Oburu Oginga, also an EALA MP, has on at least two occasions boasted in public that ODM now has the asset called the deep state. And because they have this benefit, they will win next year’s presidential poll. Two things stand out. First, ODM is right to feel aggrieved if, indeed, part of the undisclosed understanding in their Handshake pact with President Uhuru is that the deep state will help their leader ascend to power.

It is quite something else, however, for them to “swear in the name of God that they will throw the country into anarchy” if this does not happen. This is perhaps individual sentiment and not the official party position. Still, it is not to be taken lightly. A warning shot has been fired, despite the promise that the BBI will close all avenues to electoral fraud and violence. Hopefully, the relevant local and international authorities, alike, are taking their notes. 

The second matter is to underscore the fact that the democratic political space thrives on the right to choose. The unnamed individuals Dr Oginga has been hoping to work with in the deep state have the right to decide, too. They are free to continue working with him, as they seem to have promised. But they can also choose to work with someone else, if indeed it is the deep state that chooses leaders. 

There is an American saying that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. If ODM’s honchos have been comfortable with the thought that the deep state could do fantastic political tricks for them, let them be silent if the same entity seems to work for the Sacred Alliance.

Finally, a word to the Sacred Alliance. Please choose another name. Your name reminds students of history of the Holy Alliance proposed by Tsar Alexander I of Russia, following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in the Napoleonic Wars that followed the French Revolution. Meeting in Vienna (1814 – 1815) to attempt to restore Europe to order, they proposed many remedies. Alexander proposed the formation of the Holy Alliance among the great powers of the day.

Russia, Austria and Prussia (the ancestor of present day Germany) were to be enjoined in the alliance. The Holy Alliance was hostile to liberal and secular rule in Europe.

It sought to conserve old monarchies, and ensure political power would never leave the monarchies. They believed that monarchical rule came from God. It was, therefore, sacred – hence the Holy Alliance, the Sacred Alliance. Think again, gentlemen.

-Dr Muluka is a strategic public communications advisor


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