Supporters confused as Raila and Ruto drop hardline stances

Azimio leader Raila Odinga and President William Ruto during a football match between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia at Nyayo Stadium on May 14, 2023. [PCS, Standard]

What a political turn-around on the hardened positions between the leadership of Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja coalitions!

Good as it may sound, and I know for a fact there are many Kenyans who just want peace regardless of who is in power, there are also many Kenyans who are utterly shocked at the coming together of the top leadership of Kenyan political parties, United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

The shocked Kenyans, basically the radical followers of these parties, have three main concerns eating into their nerves.

First, the Maandamano (demonstrations) were gaining traction across the country were it not for the tear gas and security alertness in slowing them down. The supporters in this camp, directly and indirectly, argued that maandamano was good activism to express disgust at the ever-rising cost of living. Too bad, the cost of living has not improved.

Second, it is unbelievable for radical supporters from either side, who are in their millions, seeing their front commanders abandoning their charged troops to take opportunistic photos for the world to see that they are “brothers.” Well, either camp stares at a real revolt from within.

Third, there is an unholy spirit between those who want the server opened and those who are convinced the elections are over, the Supreme Court drilled the last nail to the Azimio loss and therefore let the Opposition do its bit in keeping the government in check.

Sorry, the majority of those declared to have lost have refused to move on. Let the government supporters swallow this bitter pill and look deep into the eye of the adamant brothers and sisters on the other side of the aisle. It helps to be human.  

Whichever way you analyse these three concerns, justified or not, supporters will henceforth find themselves at a crossroads on what to do with politicians who radicalise them and abandon them at a point when they feel that they are called to duty to defend their generals.

Look, defending generals who are under instructions from foreign powers to slow down their horses is not a very wise thing to do. Nope! When our political leaders go for each other’s throat, they are often separated by the international community because Kenya matters to these friendly countries. The rapid high-level visits from the US, Germany, Japan among others, influenced the new political scenarios between our bitter antagonists.

Those Kenyans who have consistently called for dialogue are happy that we might be turning a new page and burying the electoral justice calls. The pro-government merchants are doing everything within their means to paint the government as the messiah we all yearned for.

The Opposition fellas are subdued with the rosy paintings of their counterparts but there is no significant evidence they are convinced they have a future in this government. For their mourning, they are reminded public appointments and government privileges are reserved.

Evidently, presidential election disputes have been solved politically since 2008. If we do not take a radical decision to rally ourselves around who actually won the 2022 presidential election, we risk moving on through the intensely sustained political campaign to close last year’s election with skeletons in the closet.

This repeatedly unproductive way of handling electoral conflicts is absolutely counterproductive in the long term. Our urgency is in restoring moral integrity in the process. Reform the hearts of crafty leadership.

-Dr Mokua is the executive director, Loyola Centre for Media and Communication