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Raila presidency dream now farther than ever before

By | April 21st 2012

Betrayal in the city. This is the perception ODM’s Deputy party leader Musalia Mudavadi supporters had of party leader Raila Odinga’s allies when they filed registration documents recently. ODM Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o and his lieutenants’ big smiles crowned a turning point in the country’s political history. The tug-of-war that threatens to tear apart the Orange party has claimed other giant parties before. The self-destruction pattern is too familiar but clouded by passion of power. The protagonists want the law to favour them in their mad rush to State House, but in the ensuing tussle, ODM lies on its deathbed.

I’m reminded of the Kiswahili saying: Vita vya panzi furaha ya kunguru (The war between locusts is the crows joy, or something like that).

I recall the proverbial Kilkenny cats that fought each other so brutally that when the duel was over, only their tails remained.

For many years, Raila and Mudavadi have been joined at the hip politically and their cordial relationship – even though master/servant sort of – has made ODM thrive. After being consigned to political wilderness following 2002 polls, Mudavadi has been hanging on Raila’s coattails and this has seen his fortunes improve in Government and party politics. Raila has in turn enjoyed goodwill in parts of western Kenya by dangling the deputy captain carrot at Mudavadi. The deputy now wants the armband and things are no longer at ease. The Orange is spewing worms. It’s reeking and reeling. The duel between Raila and Mudavadi is the Kilkenny cats’ scenario and if some tails will survive, they will be so clawed and chewed beyond recognition.

In the battle, Raila is the greatest loser. The ODM chief has got his eyes firmly fixed on the top prize and 2013 would be his last realistic chance. He has already made so many enemies yet he can still afford to open other warfronts. Mudavadi too says he wants the top seat, but the oracle tells me that he will simply be content with putting up a good fight and emerging a warrior, contrary to popular belief. Oblivion will be his next destination.

The son of Jaramogi often uses football imageries to explain politics. As the captain of ODM Disunited, he knows or ought to know that a captain whose side is deserted in a huff by key players does not lift coveted trophies. A line-up of sycophantic players devoid of talent is the whipping boys of the Premier League. More importantly, a captain perpetually at loggerheads with star players is a liability to the team.

Opinion polls have often fronted Raila as the most favourite presidential hopeful. However, this can only remain realistic if he faces a divided opposition. As things stand now, it is Raila against United Rivals. A look in crystal balls shows the stars are not aligned for the premier, contrary to what his minders and hangers on want him to hear.

Agwambo requires honest advice of a child or a mad man – like Kamukuywa’s Okhwa Majani – to tell him some home truth. Without twisting the mouth, he should tell him: "Jakom, you’re assassinating yourself politically if you allow your list of enemies to expand every day.

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You deal your grand ambition a fatal blow if you let a cabal of hometown mafia surround you as the rest of the country deserts you. You cannot dare everyone to a fight and always expect to win the war. In politics, you rather have your enemy closer to you rather than always wave a dismissive hand arrogantly when things don’t work your way. Jakom, you’re killing yourself."

Musician Luther Vandross’ I’d Rather reinforces this advice:

I’d rather have bad times with you than good times with someone else

I’d rather be beside you in a storm than safe and warm by myself

I’d rather have hard times together

Than to have it easy apart.

To Hassan Omar Hassan and Asli Osman Mahmoud, I dedicate this song to you too as you exchange your marriage vows today. May it guide you whenever you find yourselves on the thorny side of your bed of roses.

The writer is Senior Editor, Production and Quality, at The Standard

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