As a leader of no mean repute, Raila Amolo Odinga should exercise wisdom and caution when expressing himself on national matters. How would one explain the fact that he presided over a major project and several years down the line, he dramatically turns around to repudiate and condemn it, laying blame on everybody but himself. The Murang’a water project is above board from whatever angle you look at it. First, it is funded by none other than the World Bank. Do you think Kenya can fool such a highly respected global institution into implementing a project that can harm Kenyans? The World Bank enjoys the services of the best experts who analyse any proposed project left, right and centre. It is highly improbable that the Bank would endorse and fund a project that would have a negative impact on the surrounding communities and disturb the ecological balance.
Feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments were duly done and the National Environment Management Authority gave the project a clean bill of health. It is perplexing that Raila wants the world to believe he is the best environmental scientist this country has ever had. It has become the norm for Raila to improvise figures and facts and use them to try to hoodwink Kenyans and raise the alarm unnecessarily. However nicely cooked, garnished and artfully packaged, lies always collapse like a house of cards when subjected to the truth.
Raila’s pontification on the water project is reminiscent of his wildly misplaced proclamations about the Eurobond. Financial experts, right from the Central Bank, Controller of Budget, Auditor General to America’s JP Morgan stated unequivocally that no money was lost. However, Raila adamantly refused to see the solid facts that were loudly screaming and brightly blinking right on his face. Laughably, he wanted to show the world that he knew more about global bonds and financial matters than all these experts combined.
There is a pattern to Raila’s behaviour that portrays him as a man who has reduced himself into just crying wolf. Whenever a project experiences small and understandable challenges, Raila hastily magnifies them to scandalous proportion and starts shouting about corruption. We have heard screams of graft on the Standard Gauge Railway, Jubilee’s plan to build 10,000km of road, laptops for pupils, among others. But look at how beautifully these projects are rolling out! Initially they said the railway project was riddled with corruption and when Kenyans refused to listen to their groundless claims, they changed tune, saying the project would be a white elephant because regional countries would not use it. We wonder what next they will say. We in Jubilee have kept our eyes on the ball, ensuring these projects proceed as planned. We have chosen not to be distracted by those unhappy that Jubilee is making remarkable progress in meeting the promises it made to Kenyans.
Apparently, Raila bears all the symptoms of a frustrated politician. Indications are that, whether he runs for presidency on CORD or ODM ticket, he will lose by a wide margin. CORD is hopelessly fractious. When they are not reading from conflicting scripts, he and his co-principals Moses Wetang’ula and Kalonzo Musyoka are pulling in the opposite direction. Wetang’ula and Kalonzo have dug in, insisting that it is time Raila handed the CORD presidential flag to a different candidate. In Kalonzo’s own words, there is creeping fatigue among Kenyans on Raila’s candidature.
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If I were Raila, I would count my blessings, cut my losses and call it a day in politics. Look, he failed to hold together ODM when it had all the hallmarks of a national party. This was a vehicle that gave him a credible chance of clinching his coveted prize. That he left it to wither away raises serious questions about his leadership. CORD is too on the brink of imploding into smithereens, pushing his presidential ambition to the farthest corner. Of what use holding on to a dream that is increasingly becoming as elusive as ice in the desert? If he retired today, his political career would still be described as illustrious. He has already secured a respectable space in the annals of history. His highlights would include his celebrated role as a reformist. Few would begrudge him the prominent role he played in the Second Liberation. His position as Prime Minister would also count as a high in his career. However, this admirable record is bound to be completely shattered if he continues making reckless statements about matters he has not the faintest clue about. He will also lose face considerably if he insists on running for the presidency when all odds are heavily stacked against him.