By Micah Kigen
The past week has been a very eventful one in the ODM Party family. It has seen anxiety over the future role of our undisputed leader Raila Odinga will be sky rocket.
Whereas, as a father figure and a seasoned political operative of all times Hon. Raila has boldly and repeatedly assured us of his steadfastness and focus on the reform course and that he prefers to steer our team from outside parliament, some quarters in the party have hit the road with a very publicized campaign to create a post election entry of our leader to parliament on the argument that his voice is most needed and will be most effective there.
Others, like I do and many of our senators and members of the national assembly, believe the former PM is right in his choice of working from outside. If anything, his stature is above mere participation in parliamentary activities, besides, we have many strong and able legislators who will perform and deliver under the guidance of Hon. Raila.
Actually as this question lingers and hurtles to some settlement soon, I believe we should understand and support our leader at this trying time. We know he is, like all of us, unsettled about the recent election fiasco where national institutions aborted a very crucial election and failed the country in ways that we need concerted efforts to rectify for the sake of democracy and electoral justice of our children. The failures and betrayal of the IEBC, the supreme court and the national security apparatus during the elections that permitted the election fraud and mismanagement are issues we in the reform corner led by Hon. Raila must urgently embark on seeking solutions to if at all we love this country and care for its future generations.
Like all national leaders, he is also duty bound to seek for and actualize measures and efforts at uniting Kenyans at this fragile moments to ensure ethnic and class harmony.
In other words, I mean, our leader Hon. Raila’s plate is full and it is unwise for us to exert undue pressure on him. Be it pressure to rejoin parliament or pressure to undertake other not so critical roles; we need to understand him and his circumstances.
Maybe the only areas we need to actively engage him and other ODM top leaders is the area of working with the new jubilee regime. Past deals of opposition parties working with the ruling party have been disastrous, often leading to the death of the cooperating party.
In this we are reminded of Kadu when it joined Kanu in 1964. It was swallowed and forgotten. The same happened when NDP joined Kanu in 2001 and when Kanu joined President Kibaki’s Grand National Unity government of 2006, later PNU of 2007. It took rebellion by a section of Kanu officials in 2012 to resurrect and revive Kanu that had been buried together in the PNU grave.
So when we have heard Hon. Raila and other ODM leaders pledging publicly to work with the Jubilee government, we want to engage them closely and work with them to ensure that the type of working together is only limited to fostering national unity and harmony and not swallowing and killing Kenya’s biggest political party, ODM. That we will resist and we believe Hon. Raila will watch out against such a regrettable eventuality.
The second area that we need to engage our leader more energetically is in restructuring and rebuilding our party. The busy and energy-supping events of the last one year has had its toll on the leadership and naturally require some repairs and even political make-up to conquer the future. Remember in politics there is no time to waste.
There are those who got their way to parliament and the senate and hence may not have enough time to serve the national secretariat. A replacement with other able and more free members may be necessary. Amongst these include the Executive Director Janet Ongera and Secretary General Prof. Anyang Nyong’o who made it to the senate, deputy Secretary General Major. Gen. Joseph Nkaiserry and Organizing Secretary Ali Haasan Joho who became Mombasa Governor.
There is therefore need to reorganize the national office and secretariat of ODM to be able to anchor Hon. Raila’s tough job ahead of keeping the Jubilee government on its knees while at the same time preparing for a successful power take over in 2017 or even earlier.