By Gabriel Oguda via Facebook
KIBRA is back in the news. Princess Rosemary Odinga accompanied his father last weekend for a homecoming of sorts, mumbled a few Dholuo words, got tongue-tied, reverted to Sheng’, knocked her teeth again, then switched to her English comfort zone and lost the crowd completely. Still, the intention had been received, that she is about to throw herself into the ring.
She joins Ken Okoth, the current MP, and Eliud Owalo, a nutcracker of a man so antagonistic and confrontational many are edgy about his forceful candidature.
Rosemary Odinga is not Raila Odinga. In fact, there isn’t any Odinga right now who can fit in Raila’s shoes. I say this because Raila Odinga wasn’t handed this lynchpin status he currently enjoys on a silver platter. Despite the fact that his father, Jaramogi, was high up there with the mighty, a young Raila did not ride on a hammock, like some children of pot-bellied aristocrats do, as he waited for his father to pass on and take the mantle. Raila went to the trenches, got his hands dirty, and paid for the freedom of this country with his skin. No politician, in Kenya today, deserves a more honourable treatment and dignity than the Leader of the ODM Party.
Kibera, and Kenya, should not be allowed to degenerate into a de facto monarchy.
But if elections were to be held today, Rosemary will win that seat even before the voting stations are opened. Because Raila Odinga will take it upon himself to do the groundwork for her, and as we witnessed in Homa Bay and Kabete, you never really have a choice when the Leader of your party slaps you with an unfavourable candidate to pass.
The nature of democracy, then, demands of those of us passionate about ODM, and have a historical past with Kibra, to arise and stake our claim. Forget what the slum tourists, currently combing online platforms, are peddling about Kibra.
Anybody who has ever lived in Kibra will tell you what Kibra needs now is less politics and more development. Three days ago, I went back to Lindi village to see some things.
Lindi is that corner of Kibera next to the Nairobi River – a water body so filthy it should be downgraded to a sewerage channel – bordering the decanting site at Lang’ata. The houses there are made of mud that is 80% human waste, 15% soil and 5% air. The building material, lighter than a quail’s feather, is so temporary the walls have to be re-muddied every other month. I used to pay 750 bob for a single house with an earthen floor, the size of Kamukunji Police Station’s cells, with no windows, the corner posts weaker than a pensioner’s arm, the roofing sheets rusty as Radamel Falcao’s form, you have to station watering troughs on top of your dusty wooden seats and mosquito net to collect rainwater every time acid rain fell from the sky.
Things are beginning to be better now. Thanks to Ken Okoth, a man with a historical past similar to many Kibera strugglers and is overly committed to see things change. The ever-smiling Old Starehian is so passionate about the same things I am passionate about. He should be left alone to do his job.
I have never promised to lay my life for someone, but if the enemies of progress continue beating their drums in Kibra, I am willing to change my voting station from Dagoretti South to help sort this situation once and for all. We should never let bad people interfere with the current turnaround in that informal settlement known more for thuggery than enlightenment.
This unnecessary noise must be killed.
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