Go on holiday, Raila, if you don't like the idea of President Ruto

Azimio Coalition Leader Raila Odinga. [Samson Wire. Standard].

The current political situation threatens to get out of hand with protests and chaos orchestrated by a cabal who seem to believe that President William Ruto does not deserve to lead this nation. Such a belief stems from misguided feelings that some individuals should not lead this country. It is no surprise that after losing on the democratic front, many pretenders have even come up with proposals of rotational leadership amongst communities. Kenya adopted democracy as its guide in the 1990s but to date, some politicians still harbour anti-democratic and egocentric thoughts of a leadership that is handed down to a select few.

The acceptance of democratic governance means we go the whole hog or forget about it altogether. We cannot use democracy selectively, especially when it favours ‘our own’ and discard the same democratic principles when we lose on a level playground as happened on August 9, 2022.

This feeling of entitlement is nothing new as it goes back to 1969 when President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta faced a hostile reception in Kisumu, lost his cool and all hell broke loose, leading to fatalities that are still a subject of speculation to date. Former President Daniel arap Moi also faced similar protests and at times violent demonstrations against his rule for years on end. However, he was not cowed and despite these challenges remained at the helm until 2002. Human beings are never satisfied and for certain, Kenya has faced years of intolerance to its leaders from Jomo, Moi, Kibaki and even Uhuru.

Raila Odinga will probably be best remembered for vying for the presidency a record five times (six times if he does it in 2027) with a similar outcome and oft-repeated claims of a stolen election. How many times can elections be stolen from an experienced politician? Could it be fate? Perceived from a religious standpoint that declares that leaders are anointed by God, is what has happened in Kenya any different from what has taken place elsewhere historically? Biblically speaking, God anointed David despite the older King Saul. Is it plausible that nature has denied Raila leadership? If that is the case, it wouldn’t matter how many times he vies as that would be an exercise in futility.

President Ruto had been called all sorts of names by the opposition just as happened to Moi in the 1990s. In the run-up to the 2022 elections, even worse epithets were used against Dr Ruto but despite Uhuru wielding incumbency to diminish his political clout while ‘fighting tooth and nail’ for Raila, Ruto emerged triumphant. Who would believe that a sitting Head of State would lose a political contest? That as it may be is a scenario that reminds me of an occasion in 2006 when Ruto, then Eldoret North MP, was castigated by Rift Valley political bigwigs for harbouring presidential ambitions and in my rejoinder in a local newspaper, I supported his gallant stand. True to my prediction, Ruto vied for the top seat and won 16 years later. Some individuals are still dumbfounded how the son of a peasant could dare well-heeled political heavyweights and beat them hands down.

My advice to naysayers and busybodies now is “Wake up and smell the coffee...” William Ruto is the Head of State and God willing, he will be here for another nine years. The misguided idea of flashing the “power to the people” card is a tired narrative. On August 9, 2022, the voters elected Ruto as their President. Raila and his Azimio brigade, with their now usual claims of stolen victory, went to the Supreme Court and the court upheld the Kenya Kwanza's victory. Philosopher George Santayana once said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” again and again - emphasis on “condemned”. Like it or not, the time has come for Raila to take a back seat and observe as Ruto runs this great country.

Alternatively, I suggest he hands the Opposition to Kalonzo Musyoka or whoever he pleases and goes on holiday abroad for two to three years if he can’t come to terms with the fact that Ruto is the president. I am not about to send someone to exile. However, I think it would be therapeutic for Raila if he took a ‘long walk’. What would happen to this country if Raila went on holiday for three years?

Mr Cherutich is a media trainer, and communications consultant based in Nairobi

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