While a dynasty may simply be referred to as a line of hereditary rulers of a country, it can include a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in leadership, business, politics, or any other social field.
Dynasties being a monopoly, give the people no opportunity to compare them with any other and the people therefore live to believe that without them the things they do would not be done. They believe only members of the monarchy can lead them to victory in war, to God or to prosperity. In dynasties, any sign of rebellion or show of alternative leadership is suppressed at all costs. It is a taboo for anyone outside the dynasty to even imagine being a leader.
Dynasties by their own nature are dictatorial and may push the people over the limit through disrespect and injustice and mostly end in rebellion.
Royalties fear exposure since they survive on mysticism. Any exposure which reveal how ordinary they are, is resisted with great force. In such cases better leaders may emerge and shame the royalties. When dynasties are extended for too long they become cultic and people begin to treat them as deities. Dynasties portray themselves as saviours and protectors of their subjects from real or imagined enemies.
History is littered with examples of fallen royals. Incidentally the bible also predicts that dynasties don’t last forever. In The Easy English Bible; proverbs 27:24 reads; “Your riches will not be there forever. One family does not rule a kingdom forever”. The fulfilment of this verse is also demonstrated in the bible by the story of the Judean dynasty which began with King David - the second King of Israel who united all the tribes of Israel. He then left the throne to his son Solomon who expanded the empire. Solomon, however began to disrespect the Israelites, he imposed heavy taxes and meted heavy punishment that made one of his closest servants - Jeroboam son of Nebat to rebel.
Jeroboam fled to exile in Egypt where he stayed until the death of King Solomon. However, when Rehoboam, the only son of King Solomon from the 700 wives and 300 concubines took over the reign in the United Kingdom of Israel Jeroboam returned and led the people in demanding that unlike his father he reduces taxes and punishment.
A request that Rehoboam arrogantly rejected after consulting his peers, bragging that his last finger alone was the size of his father’s waist and instead he would enhance the punishment and increase the taxes. The people rebelled and ten tribes out of the 12 tribes of Israel declared Jeroboam their King leaving Rehoboam of the Judean dynasty with only his tribe Judah and the Benjamites who lived among them. Arrogance and disrespect destroyed the Judean dynasty.
Back home, after independence, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga became the defacto leader of the Luo community and was succeeded by his son Raila Odinga.
With Raila’s age advancing, the community is about to shift into the third generation of the Odinga ‘dynasty’ or alternatively seek fresh leadership. The Luo, unlike many African communities are a proud community who can protect their leader at any cost. They are however also sensitive to injustice and would rebel at any sign of disrespect. Naturally, third generation monarchs and beyond are people born in royalty and do not see themselves as ordinary people. They see themselves as deities.
They generally begin to see the rest of society as lesser beings and this is what leads to rebellion and subsequent divisions. Some people though, would naturally remain loyal to the dynasties, especially those who benefit most or who have never lived under any other leadership.
In the Odinga dynasty, the only visible royal is the last born who was recently elected to join the East African Legislative Assembly in Arusha Tanzania - Hon Winnie Odinga. She would however need to come down, and off the ivory tower to survive the imminent disintegration of the father’s fiefdom.
The writer is chairman Luoland Dialogue Initiative