By Jackson Omondi
RIGHT OF REPLY
MACHARIA GAITHO’S POLITICAL HIT-JOB ON RAILA AND ODM LEGISLATORS IS VINTAGE GAITHO
In an opinion piece published in the Daily Nation dated April 4th 2016, Macharia Gaitho, a veteran staffer ( now retired) of the same newspaper, mistook the fourth day of April to be ‘April fools’ day and decided to conjure up a political hit-job on CORD and then presented it as ‘counsel’ to the opposition leader. Macharia’s main beef with Raila and ODM is that they heckled and torpedoed the President’s State of the nation address. That would be fair, if he did not package it in a tongue in cheek lingo laced with hypocritical political rhetoric, coupled with the fact that the messenger himself, has a record of ‘going home’ when a candidate from his ‘side’ of the aisle is on the ballot.
Macharia starts by taunting Raila and then uncorks a derisive description of ODM MPs as “pea-brained ODM members of Parliament who chose to disrupt the President’s State of the nation address.” What a class act! A veteran political columnist decides to ditch the ethos of scribes and opinion-shapers and engage in throwing the kitchen sink on leaders whose only crime was to protest being denied a chance to be heard.
He further betrays his real intentions by claiming that ” to date, I have not figured out what the MPs were protesting against and what they hoped to achieve, but they indeed succeeded in making utter fools of themselves. “This is how you find out that sycophancy doesn’t discriminate! Gaitho deadpans this ridiculous statement yet, all TV stations aired footage of MPs carrying anti-corruption placards both inside and outside Parliament. Gaitho did not see the pictures of MPs with placards, No, that happened in Uganda not Parliament buildings.
The columnist, didn’t leave anything untouched, therefore, he had to let his readers know that he was not happy with the fact the international media caught wind of, or rather, had a front row seat to the event and filed reports back to their respective countries. He claims that a protest by MPs was “infantile” and exposed a “vacuity” in the opposition. Remember, Gaitho was for all these “infantile” behaviour during the KANU regime. He cheered the likes of Muite and Orengo for having the chutzpah to stick it to Moi in parliament! He cheered the opposition for disrupting the then Finance Minister Musalia Mudavadi’s Budget presentation to parliament. However, his cheers disappeared into the thin air the moment Kibaki was sworn in as the third President of Kenya. Wonder why?
Upon packaging the ODM MPs as villains, the good columnist was not done with the lawmakers, he just couldn’t resist the urge; he unleashed one more slap on the MPs by crowning them “brain-dead!” If you thought ‘mchongoano’ was over and done with in elementary school, think again. Next on his agenda was to appoint himself as Raila’s political advisor and proceeded to castigate Raila for endorsing what he calls an act that “reflects badly on his own standing..” Macharia is mad that the leader of opposition endorsed a peaceful protest. He must have preferred teargas and hoses! You see, a peaceful protest by the opposition doesn’t quite jive with the status quo’s narrative about Raila, they want to paint him as militant and when he endorses a peaceful demonstration, the political spin masters are not happy. Nice try Sir.
The self-appointed strategist was not done. He went on to advise RAO that the time being spent protesting in parliament should be dedicated to fighting corruption, salvaging Okoa Kenya bla bla bla.. Yet again, the political wizard forgot that the protest was inspired by Jubilee’s record-breaking corruption, stratospheric levels of tribalism, a weak Judiciary, a gestapo-like law enforcement apparatus and many more! They had placards with messages on them, they sang anti-corruption songs. All these happened while the Macharia was in Space. Any Kenyan with eyes saw them.
It would be lackadaisical of me not to mention that during the Moi regime, the wizard was on fire, spitting political venom from left to right. But as soon as Moi left, the hitherto fiery political writer went cold only to surface in 2007 just before the elections with very cryptic columns that slowly but surely poked holes on the ODM juggernaut. His duty was to drive the narrative that the then frontrunner AND WINNER of the 2007 presidential elections would self-destruct during the campaigns. He sang this tune until election day. The rest is history.
In vintage fashion, he went cold during the coalition government but came with a vengeance in the lead up to the 2013 polls. You know what’s next. It’s 2016 and guess who is back with a political lullaby meant to dampen the spirits of the opposition rank and file and turn a blind eye to all the colossal failures of Jubilee?
Unlike his able successor Linus KaiKai who has managed to undo some of the damage that Jubilee inflicted in the fourth estate fraternity, Gaitho’s first gig as the scribe’s lead advocate was to lead a media delegation to Statehouse for some ‘tea’ and the media has never been the same again. The draconian media bill became law and now reporters have been reduced to partisan hirelings who are readily available at the sound of a piece of silver!