By Shem Berveton
NYUNDO FACES THE GREATEST CHALLENGE OF HIS POLITICAL CAREER FROM WITHIN AND FROM WITHOUT
With CORD’s referrendum quest now on course,Odinga knows very well that it’s outcome could have serious ramifications for his 2017 presidential aspirations.With every passing day,it is becoming increasingly clear that the potential that things could go haywire for him is no longer a remote possibility but a very real prospect.
Just when he thought he had the bipartisan gubernatorial support,referrendum-averse jubilee operatives beared down full-throttle on their governors forcing a bulk of them(jubilee governors) to distance themselves from this push.Known pro-establishment hawks led by Kindiki Kithure,Aden Duale,Beatrice Elachi and Moses Kuria threatened them with a barrage of career-threatening consequences and used all manner of unsavoury epithets to describe referrendum boosters from their side.Kiambu governor in the full glare of camera’s unabashedly said,”If my president says yes,who am I to say no,” in capitulation to TNA’s anti-referrendum posture.URP,a major jubilee alliance party,is scheduled to convene a members conference to forge a united stance on this push.
Mounting an effective campaign against a government drooling at the prospect of reading Odinga’s political obituary won’t be a walk in the park.Unlike during the Banana-Orange referrendum when Nyundo(sledgehammer),as he is popularly known,was able to piggyback on popular resentment spawned by Kibaki’s regime excesses,the son of the doyen of opposition politics doesn’t enjoy as much goodwill.The establishment fearful of the prospect of a replication of Orange-Banana era Odinga successes,however remote it may be,has mobilized all tools in its panoply of resources to deliver Odinga to the most embarrassing pre-election defeats of his checkered political career.They intend to fight him tooth and nail and the referrendun craze offers the perfect opportunity to do so.
Another dynamic that could deal serious blows to his presidential ambitions is internal party politics.Threading the needle between appeasing his solid Luo Nyanza base -which somehow thinks it is divinely entitled to the party’s(ODM) leadership-and reaching out to other regions is proving to be a tremendouly tricky affair.In a fashion that harkens back to the political jockeying that characterized the build-up to the botched February 28 party elections,imperious Luo Nyanza stalwarts subjected erudite politician,Ababu Namwamba,to tr emendous censure after he unpalatably and cynically perceived Odinga for delaying ODM elections.
The young and erudite politician,oozing with dynamism,burning ambition and a sense of pride,drew the ire of the Lakesiders for casting aspersions on the honesty of their party leader.Namwamba was never going to fight alone as other Western politicians immediately joined the fray and returned fire.
Gideon Mung’aro’s,(accused of going to bed with Jubilee) ouster from minority leader in parliament position has also created a rift among coastal politicians with a clique threatening to withdraw from the party. Such rifts,in all honesty,doesn’t in the least help the party’s national elections preparedness.
Whether Raila Amollo Odinga will master the capacity to ride the double-affront to his towering ambitions,only time can provide a definitive answer.Even so,one thing is for sure,addressing the concerns of aggrieved parties within the party is fundamental to rediscovering it’s winning ways and positioning it for 2017 presidential politics.