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Lessons from literature for post-Raila oath politics
By Mark Suge | Updated Feb 08, 2018 at 08:16 EAT
Raila Odinga 'sworn-in' as People's President

After his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte lamented thus: "I found that I was wearing beyond the time of life at which point fortune usually proves favourable."

Bonaparte conceded his failure to realise that the spell that had hung around his illustrious career for years had worn thin.

Closer home, rather than lynch Kalonzo Musyoka for skipping Raila Odinga's 'swearing-in' on January 30, we should see in him a very shrewd, calculating and broad-thinking politician who tactfully refused to go to the battle at 'Waterloo' for obvious reasons.

Why go to a bad battlefield when you know your enemy has superior fire power and the law on his side? Kalonzo was experienced enough to choose his battles carefully.

So what should he and the other key National Super Alliance 'commanders' do? They should blame their general and read him the riot act for choosing to go to war with so many odds against him?

Still, what can even the greatest generals do against a rigid destiny? In Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart' the main character, Okonkwo, worked his way to high esteem, including wrestling and defeating Amalinse the cat who had reigned for several years.

The single action by Okonkwo catapulted him to instant and sustained fame. But unknown to everyone, Okonkwo's actions were being driven by an internal force; a mad fury to influence the destiny of his tribe and himself.

He then became so determined to succeed that he spared no one and nothing in his wake. But change can be devastating, and Okonkwo, like Bonaparte refused to acknowledge his fatal flaws. He ended up the same way he fought not to - without honour.

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