RAILA ODINGA THE BOSSY TORTOISE? NO SIR!
By Lady D S
Barrack Muluka, ordinarily a geyser of wisdom, today chose to shout from the gutter. (Read the Star Newspaper).
For starters, I am always impatient with folly, and it was with a lot of perseverance that I read Muluka’s article to the end. He likens Raila Odinga to a bossy tortoise that borrowed wings from fellow tortoises and traveled with them to the sky. While there, the bossy tortoise got so insolent and bossy that its colleagues decided to take back their feathers. Tortoise remained with no feathers. Tortoise, instead of flying from the sky, jumped and fell and crushed on a rocky place. That is why tortoise has a back that looks like it is broken to many pieces.
According to Muluka, the departure of Namwamba and his renegade troupe signals another fiasco for Raila Odinga. That in the coming fiasco, Raila will break, and he will never recover. That ‘tortoise Namwamba’ and the rest of his troupe are taking back their feathers, leaving Raila bare.
Well, here are a few things that Muluka needs to understand:
1. Raila, unlike the unlucky tortoise, didn’t borrow any feathers
Muluka’s flawed analogy insinuates that just like the tortoise borrowed feathers, Raila got to where he is because of the people who are threatening to leave him.
That is a tragic misreading of history, Mister Muluka. Raila is self-made. He got to where he is through sheer grit and determination. He has lost so much for this nation. He has given so much for this democracy. Today nothing surprises the man. He is unflappable.
His excellence in politics is not due to baby Namwamba. Raila was a political detainee, hitting national and international headlines, when Ababu Namwamba was sucking his mother’s breasts.
To even imagine that Raila borrowed a ‘feather’ from Namwamba is to be deliberately naive or downrightly ignorant.
2. Raila, unlike the bossy tortoise, is not insolent. Keen observers will attest to the fact that Raila has maintained a studied silence over Namwamba’s puerile tantrums. He has not responded with a cynical, chiding, or derogatory word. He has not exchanged barbs with Namwamba. He has just let him be.
In fact, Raila has been able to rein in on his underdogs, keeping them from pouncing on the Budalangi legislator.
So pacific is Odinga that even when Namwamba had made it clear his heart and mind were not in ODM, Odinga organized a meeting, in a quest to prevent an imminent fallout. We did not hear Odinga castigate the renegade Namwamba when he, Namwamba, secretly and in bad taste recorded a conversation he had with Raila and some other legislators.
All the while, Raila has been diplomatic ignoring Namwamba’s truancy and betrayal. To scornfully label that as being insolent and dictatorial is a special joke.
3. Ababu Namwamba and his fellow renegades, like Adam and Eve, are given free will to choose to stay or leave. Muluka says that what Raila should have done, especially now that we are on the homestretch to the general elections, is to hedge in his supporters so that none decamps. He gives the parable of the good shepherd who left ninety sheep and went to look for one lost sheep.
Unfortunately, Muluka forgets that when the good shepherd found the lost sheep, he did not force it to come with him. (Or at least that is not recorded in the Bible.)
Perhaps the parable of the prodigal son would have been more apt. When the wayward son decided that he wanted to go to a far away land and that his father should give him his share of inheritance, the father had little to do. He dutifully gave him his share and sent him away with blessings and with tears in his eyes.
Back in the beginning, when God created the world, he gave Adam and Eve a free will- to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden and die or to refrain from eating thereof and live eternally. Adam and Eve made their choice.
I the same way, Raila has given the renegade legislators the freedom to choose- to leave or stay. Not that he has any power to force them to stay, anyway.
Besides, these are people who have been compromised and contaminated with Jubilee’s wealth. There is little that can be done to save a person who has sold his conscience.
During the last supper, Jesus knew that Judas had betrayed him. He knew what Judas would do. But he let him be. Once you sell your soul and conscience for thirty pieces of silver, there is only so much that can be done to save you.
And it is not like Raila has not tried. There was a crisis meeting that was held some time back to contain the matter. We thought a rapprochement was going to come of it. But no sooner had the words of hope left their lips, than Namwamba began issuing and breathing ultimatums.
4. Raila is not a guest in Western Kenya; he is a national leader
You cannot be a guest in the bedroom of your teenage son- (assuming that the bedroom is within the main house, and the main house is your house). Raila is a national leader, and he is at home in any corner of this nation. He has buttressed his influence so much that the Ababu problem is like a usual evening breeze to a coastal pine.
5. Those who are leaving are not leaving because they are altruistic, but because they are greedy. It is only the politically naive who are not aware of what the EUROBOND money has done. A few months ago, a delegation from Kisii that comprised of the Kisii County deputy governor, made their way to the home of William Ruto. Any politically conscious person, with his antennae high up in the sky, would have known that something momentous was in the offing.
At around the same, Ababu Namwamba made some visits to state house. That is not to say visiting state house is wrong. But the timing was suspect. It was later discovered that the man is swimming in cash. His lifestyle is one that his salary as a legislator cannot sustain. Then, all of a sudden, Ababu was unenthusiastic, lukewarm, and disinterested in matters ODM.
There were many queries from concerned ODM adherents over the whereabouts of the secretary general. The queries hit a crescendo with the anti-IEBC protests. It is then that Ababu walked out of the closet whining that his underwhelming performance was due to his sinecure office. Of course he had to come with a convenient excuse.
Some are saying that Coast is drifting away, too. But you people must surely remember how Uhuru and Ruto have camped in the area, distributing title deeds and all.
Therefore, those who are leaving have to leave. Why? They’ve sold their consciences. They’ve sold their souls. They are compromised. And they might have given up on CORD clinching the presidency.
6. Is CORD in good shape after all this? No!
It will be preposterous to claim that CORD is in good shape after the defections and the impending defections. To be honest, this is a tumultuous storm. And we are not going to emerge unscathed. However, what the world needs to know is this: those who are leaving are leaving out of their own volition. Nobody chased them out of the party. Nobody made their stay in the party difficult. Nobody emasculated them, as some claim. They are leaving because they do not have principles. They are leaving because they are political prostitutes. Political prostitutes are those politicians who, without an ideology, hop between political parties depending on where they will benefit most as individuals.
And sometimes the endgame is not clinching the presidency. The endgame could be keeping the government accountable. The endgame could be helping most of our members get political seats to serve their people. The endgame could be that the lives of Wanjiku change for the better. It is time we looked beyond the presidency to what is more ennobling, more edifying, and more altruistic. The elusive presidency can be.