On Saturday 1st June, during the Madaraka Day Celebrations, a number of Kenyans were taken aback when Opposition Chief Raila Odinga was not granted a chance to address thousands of Kenyans who had flocked the Narok Stadium for the annual celebrations.
After the event, a number of Kenyans interviewed by a Local Media Station aired their frustrations following Raila’s failure to address them.
From the onset, it so looked liked Narok residents were so happy to see Mr. Odinga grace the event. Raila was given a warm welcome with the thousands of residents who thronged the Stadium.
Deputy President William Ruto later introduced Odinga only for the crowd to further profess their love for the former Prime Minister by turning into defeaning cheers the moment Raila’s name was mentioned.
After the event, when Raila was leaving the venue, Residents cheered at the top of their voices as they waved back at him.
Previous Madaraka Day Celebrations in Meru and Kakamega Counties saw Raila Odinga allowed to speak. What then happened in Narok? Why did DP William Ruto not invite Raila to address Kenyans in Narok?
Well, William Ruto is a man who fears Raila Odinga. The Raila Phobia has always got Ruto trading with caution and as such, there is no way the man from Sugoi was going to allow the man from Bondo steal his shine at the grandest stage of them all.
When Ruto arrived at the Narok Stadium, he was not not recieved in an electrifying manner like Raila was recieved by Kenyans.
Ruto was therefore cautious of the good reception Raila got from the large crowd and was out to suppress it.
William Ruto also barred Raila from speaking because he was afraid of getting into a Popularity Contest With Raila Odinga.
In previous incidences where Ruto has invited Raila to speak before him, Raila has always stole the show from Ruto. Raila is a man who knows how to play with the mindset of Kenyans and knows how to engage them depending on the situation at hand.
Be it a funeral or a church service, be it a National event or some local village event, Raila Odinga will always bring his A Game whenever he get’s a chance to speak.
Given a chance to speak at the Madaraka Day Celebrations, Tinga, would have definately stole the show and prove that he still got the masses behind him. This is what Ruto was keen to avoid, a Popularity contest pitting him against Odinga in Narok, a area Odinga still enjoys massive support.
Supremacy battles between Raila and Ruto also played out during the celebrations. It is clearly evident that Ruto was out to show Raila Odinga who the real boss is.
According to protocal, Narok Governor, Samwel Ole Tunai could only invite a fellow Governor or DP William Ruto after which it was upon Ruto to either decide whether to invite Raila or Not.
Ruto decided not to give Raila a chance to speak and instead invited President Uhuru Kenyatta who could also not break protocal by inviting Raila to speak after Ruto did.
Ruto was clearly telling Raila that “you have the support, you might have the numbers but i am the one incharge here”
Mau Forest Politics might have also played a major role in Ruto’s decision to silence Raila. The Former Prime Minister has been in the forefront of pushing for the conservation of the Mau Forest and has even called for the eviction of people who have invaded the Mau.
Ruto on the other hand has been against Raila’s approach to the Mau issue and it is the DPs stand that even made his political star shine bright.
Given a chance to speak, Raila might have addressed the Mau issue that is still a pain in the neck of a number of Maasai’s and this would have not gone well with Ruto who is also out to defend members of his community from eviction from the vast forest.
Raila Odinga might not be a government official to speak at each and every National event but even as such, he still remains a key figure in the Kenyan Political landscape.
Many Kenyans believe that Raila should have been granted a chance to speak in Narok.
What’s your view on the same? Talk to me on the comments section.