By Dikembe Disembe.
Something happened under President Uhuru’s regime which has never happened since independence. Uhuru picked no Luo man in his inaugural cabinet. History was made.
Even at the height of his schism with Jaramogi in the tumultuous sixties, Jomo Kenyatta ensured he retained a male representation of Luos in his cabinet. Under Moi, some of the most sycophantic KANU praise singers were Luo ministers, remember Oloo Aringo?
Kibaki too retained a number of Luos after breaking up with mainstream Luo politics. In the aftermath of the 2005 referendum, Kibaki elevated then Ndhiwa MP Orwa Ojode to a full ministerial position. He declined.
Raphael Tuju, seen as a postmodern, moderate Luo, served till 2007.
After 2007, Luos forcefully rejoined government, and cabinet, where Raila Odinga served as PM, unapologetically, till 2013.
The closest to a Luo that Uhuru picked was Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, whose connection to Luo is through her father, former Minister Odongo Omamo, who was a Jomo Kenyatta stooge against Jaramogi Oginga Odinga; and whose appointment is credited more to the children of the elite sharing public spoils amongst themselves, rather than any ethnic-regional considerations.
And Ms. Omamo is said to be married to, and separated from, a Kikuyu.
The second tier of Luos in Uhuru regime were principal secretaries, where two Luos, Peter Mangiti and Prof. Colleta Suda(wife to Supreme Court Judge Jackton Boma Ojwang’) featured as the PS for Devolution and Higher Education respectively. Mangiti would later be hounded out of office in the now infamous NYS scandal. He has maintained his innocence.
And he is never getting back his job. Prof. Suda serves quietly, sure to end her tenure.
The third tier of Luos were the ‘candidate’ Uhuru praise singers and court jesters. Here were (George) Onyango Oloo, the paperweight TNA chairman, and Raphael Tuju, whose 2013 presidential bid was more of a spoiler than a serious stab at the presidency.
There is Shem Ochuodho, Odoyo Owidi and, lately, Robert Alai. Miguna Miguna for a time also traded for Jubilee, but has since chosen to go it alone.
For a time, Oloo would be appointed the Chair of Lake Basin Development Authority, and he served zealously, often throwing his (light)weight around for all who wanted a round of beer in Luo political circles in weekend pubs in Nairobi and Kisumu.
Unlike Tuju, Oloo wasn’t set for greatness, and never attempted to choreograph his way up. The freebies which came with power overwhelmed him, so that it took the stern warning of his nemesis (David) Onyango Oloo, the veteran SONU student leader of yore and exilee of the Moi era to keep his inbox off Nairobi squeezes ‘eaten’ without pay.
“To those demanding pay after erotic services you rendered to Onyango Oloo, please, I’m not the TNA guy, get off my inbox”, David once quipped.
[George] Onyango Oloo remained the TNA chairman. Even after a petitioner had successfully won a case in which he accused Oloo of flouting Public Ethics Act by serving on a political position despite being a state officer by virtue of his appointment as the LBDA Chair, Oloo actively remained the TNA boss.
Tuju remained in the political cold, though he was increasingly rumoured to be an advisor of President Uhuru. If he ever was, the appointment was never made formal or public.
When Oloo’s tenure at Lake Basin Development was revoked, President Uhuru then appointed Raphael Tuju to the position, and now, it is unclear his role there, considering he was last week appointed to head Jubilee campaign secretariat.
Whichever way you look at it, the political careers of the two have come to an end. For Oloo, he no longer chairs any party as TNA has been dissolved. The new Jubilee Party has only two officials, President Uhuru and his Deputy, serving as Party Leader and Deputy Party Leader.
The other posts recently unveiled are ad hoc campaign teams, to be coordinated by a secretariat whose only known figurehead is Raphael Tuju. This arrangement completely eviscerated Oloo.
And killed Tuju.
At a time presidential material politicians (read Peter Kenneth, Musalia Mudavadi) are re-strategizing, Tuju chose to be Uhuru’s re-election patron. Whichever way the election goes, left on his own devices, Tuju, a once promising ‘postmodern moderate’ presidential material from Luo Nyanza is no more.
Because he is visionless.
The fourth tier of Luos in Uhuru regime are characters like Ronnie Osumba (heading the corruption-laden Youth Fund). The fifth tier are characters like Bill Arocho who works as a bodyguard during Uhuru political events in a post equivalent to ODM “men-in-black”.
Low level vegetables.
The paradox in the missing Luo men in high positions in the Jubilee regime particularly in Uhuru cabinet surprisingly bothers no one. Many Luos knew after 2013 it would be a miracle to get a seat. Few prepared for none.
Was Tuju not a cabinet material? How about Dr. Shem Ochuodho, who endorsed Uhuru in the same week he was declared ‘winner’?
As Oloo and Tuju end their political careers, time to discuss this open mollification, and eventual mortification of potential Luo Presidents, especially Tuju.