Is the Luo nation tired of Raila Odinga hegemony?

Azimio leader Raila Odinga speaking during the launch of Kigoto maize mill in Suba south Homa Bay County on November 4, 2022. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

One morning in the summer of 1976, the late Njenga Karume and the late Kihika Kimani were in an aircraft flying over Africa when Kihika woke up from his slumber.

He asked his friend Karume; “who will succeed Jomo Kenyatta when he dies?” Njenga turned to him and said “Arap Moi! Read your constitution.”  Kihika perturbed by Njenga’s response said, “can’t happen, won’t happen.” And so he devised a scheme. 

He came up with the Change the Constitution Movement, to amend succession laws and prevent Daniel Moi from succeeding Kenyatta.

But Charles Njonjo would hear none of it. When Njonjo got wind of what Kihika and company were trying, he called a press conference and said: “It was treasonous to imagine, think, or encompass the death of the president.”

Kihika, Njenga and company stopped thinking of the Kenyatta succession. At least publicly!

Why I’m I giving you this story? What would happen if there were a Kihika Kimani in the Luo nation? Put differently, what would happen in Luo Nyanza, if anybody imagined, thought or encompassed succeeding Raila Odinga?

The Luo nation is the only one with an active political dynasty - The Odingas. But what the Luo nation must also remember is that dynasties are jealous institutions. If I’m right it means Baba man’s successor will be from his seed. But if I’m wrong then it means Baba doesn’t have a successor.

And if he doesn’t have one, the Luo nation must begin socialising their King-in-Waiting. What’s my point here? If anyone is to succeed Baba, they have to have the guts of Kihika Kimani to “imagine, think, or encompass the succession of Baba man. But I have another thought. Senior counsel James Orengo told the country last weekend that Raila could be president even before William Ruto completes his term. Question is how? How does Orengo envisage plucking Ruto from power? And why should the Luo nation believe a Raila revolution is imminent?

According to Nikita Kruschev, one of Russia’s former Presidents, “It is easy to tell a slow-punctured revolutionary. Allow him to preach revolution and lies for the first day; allow him to preach revolution and lies for the second day; allow him to preach revolution and lies for the third day; If there are no results on the fourth day, the crowds will tell him ‘To Hell with You’.”

Raila has preached revolution to us five times. In all of them, he has not delivered. Now he is at the Kruschev moment of desperation. Question is, will the crowds tell him “To Hell with You”?

Allow me to flip my argument and ask, does it have to be Raila preaching revolution this time? Or will the crowds do it for him? Put differently, does Ruto think the crowds are capable of doing a revolution on him?

Allow me to tell you another story. One day Winston Churchill took a taxi for an interview at the BBC studios in London. When he arrived, he asked the taxi driver to wait for him for 40 minutes until he got back. But the driver politely declined and told him; “I’m sorry sir I can’t. I’ve got to go home and watch Churchill’s speech”. 

Churchill was amazed. Not so much because the taxi guy didn’t recognise him, but because of the man’s desire to listen to him.

He took out 10 sterling pounds and gave the taxi man. As Churchill stepped out of the vehicle, the taxi man said; “Sir, I will wait for hours until you come back. Churchill can go to hell!”

What’s the point of my story? The crowds are like a pendulum. One moment they are with you the next they are with someone else. If it took just 10 sterling pounds to change the taxi man’s loyalty, then it may just take a 2kg pack of Unga to change a hungry Kamau’s mind.

Put differently, if Raila gives Kamau of Gatundu, a 2kg of unga when Kamau is dying of starvation, Kamau will say “to hell with Hustler!” Or will he?

The writer is a research fellow and political risk consultant at The Consulting House. @kmaina

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