The 30 seconds trailer gripped and held my attention. It was a short clip run by NTV promising an in-depth on ‘Why Raila lost’, infused with Embakasi East MP Babu Owino’s witty retorts and Saitabalo Ole Kanchory’s grousing. I could not wait to watch. Vast swathes of viewers tuned in. We were all hankering to know what went amiss. I for instance was vested in the elections and rooted exhaustively for Azimio candidate Raila Odinga’s victory.
While the hyped snippets touted intriguing insights on why a man voted for by half of the total voters and who ostensibly had everything including the system and the weather on his side, failed to perch on the hill, the feature was monumentally underwhelming. It oscillated on soundbites among Babu, Kanchory and Jeremiah Kioni.
Perhaps it is the rankling need for scoops in the highly competitive media clime or how social media has vitiated mainstream story telling that has made us consumers of pinched and narrow reporting. The story was a galling one-sided PR gimmick, with no critical or dissenting voices or any tough questioning. We needed answers, where were pundits to give us opines unclouded by partisan passions, more voices from those who were actively involved in the secretariat, the agents to inundate us with the minutiae of what transpired devoid of the wild allegations made online or by politicians, what about rebuttal by the accused who in this case were Junet Mohamed, Makau Mutua and Joe Mucheru?
I am no journalism cognoscenti, and the nucleus of the piece is not to excoriate the media house. Owino might be viewed as scurrilous and bumptious, but his sentiments bore more weight than Kanchory’s niggling gripes whose veracity was not counter-checked. Kioni too offered views that made sense. Be as it may, it seems we may never comprehend what truly transpired, it is prudent that we make peace with that.
Already worn out by the cumbrous loss of what would have been the ennobling seat of his career, Raila does not need the opprobrious mudslinging within his team. There are millions of Kenyans who still approve of his espousal for justice and championing for the disenfranchised.
Of note, however, is that his national appeal is furiously ebbing and his messaging, save for the Twitter salvos he throws at President William Ruto, is increasingly insipid and implausible. The ODM party which for years has been a towering juggernaut is tremulous, erstwhile apparatchiks either pilfered or assimilated.
Salvaging this ought to be the capital focus of the ODM and in extension, Azimio mandarins. Unwavering die-hards like I admit that age and other factors might not favour the phenom of Kenyan politics but even if he was to bow out, Baba has to do so with a bang.
The furrow is not barren, but the tools must be changed to suit the time and needs if yields must be realised. Perhaps depose the use of oxen and bring in tractors. Raila is a dye-in-the wool and a virtuoso adept at re-engineering and reinventing himself. Writing him off because of the albatrosses he is facing is nothing but a purvey of ignorance.
The agitation ought to be on how to use germane tactics to keep him relevant and I stress the word germane because the latest antics of calling rallies in favour of the beleaguered IEBC officials makes one wonder if his advisors are inebriated, bereft of logic or simply lousy. Such poor strategies, which as deduced from the NTV feature, largely resulted into an avoidable loss of the presidency can only serve to shove the ODM honcho further into political Siberia.
Not only was it emblematic of the accusations that Raila pro-handshake became cavalier, thus giving the faux hustler narrative leeway to sprout and thrive, but it also reeked of poor timing. Baba needs to be the foxy man that stunned foes and thrilled fans. And while we understand his need to employ the whole shebang to remain relevant, it has to be strategic. Ruto’s administration has already began on the wrong foot on a miscellany of issues and Raila being nifty at choreographing between his personal ambitions and the public needs can cut the Gordian knot for the Hustler government and ensnare it in endless confrontations whose end-game would be beneficial both to him and the country.
Enough of the ‘why Raila lost’ shenanigans. Now let us build a platform of 'we-are-in-this-together'. Therein lies the panacea to the phenom rising again like a falcon.
Dr Oyoo is a businessman in Texas, US