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Who will save ODM from itself?

By ROBIN TOSKIN | July 9th 2016

The King is naked. The tragedy is, nobody is courageous enough to tell him so. Those who stand up to talk, unsurprisingly, cheer him on as immaculately dressed. They do so with a fatalistic template, which is to brand dissenting voices as wamenunuliwa (they have been bought). I am talking about CORD leader and ODM supremo Raila Odinga. Let us count with our fingers the leaders who have been ‘bought’ from ODM. Kalonzo Musyoka, William Ruto, Musalia Mudavadi, Najib Balala, Joseph Nyaga and Charity Ngilu. The latest ‘small fish’ to have been bought are Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba and Paul Otuoma (MP Funyula). Really? Granted they may have been bought, but question is; isn’t disdain for alternative voice making it easy for them to be bought?

If there was one thing ODM could learn (which it can’t) from the IPSOS survey released yesterday, is that there is a leadership gap in this country, but unfortunately that void cannot be filled by it. The IPSOS reveals that 49 per cent of Kenyans feel this country is headed in the wrong direction. The startling contradiction is President Uhuru Kenyatta, the captain of this ship heading towards the wrong direction, gets a flattering approval rating of 68 per cent. Well, the survey is not comparing President Uhuru with Raila. However, it is not rocket science to see that Kenyans feel “we can do with what we have (President Uhuru).” In short, there is resignation that Raila cannot help the situation.

How would he anyway, when he looks the other way when those with dissenting voices are harangued and dared to leave ODM, after all “walijengwa na Raila. Endeni tuone kama you will be re-elected.” (Raila raised their profile. Let them go).

Those interviewed for the IPSOS survey on reasons they support their party of choice, 11 per cent felt they were closer to Jubilee on how they deal with ethnic relations. Only 4 per cent of CORD supporters, of which ODM is a major member, approve of their coalition as dealing properly with ethnic relations. On dynamic leadership, 10 per cent of Jubilee supporters approve of their coalition while 8 per cent of CORD felt their vehicle is dynamic.

Yet in the thick of this gloomy picture, the King is unmoved. The slightest hint, however, that Raila may be disturbed is when he rushed to Busia after Ababu first made his threat to quit ODM. It is time Raila looked inward for the enemy within. Those shouting down those with divergent views. But first, Raila needs to look in the mirror and tell us, his admirers, whether he is the democrat he wants everyone to believe.

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