By C A Luanda Magere
To the poorly discerning eye, Raila Odinga may have only raised a bible, in a largely chaotic sea of humanity. In Africa, where power is measured by its attendant trappings, like large motorcades, insane display of wealth and a bloated public service competing with itself to show loyalty, it may even be harder for supporters to realise just how much ground they covered in that process. I am no expert in these things, but as a student of politics, I can see things from my firm layman’s chair.
In my previous post about what may happen on 30th, my first pick was a peaceful swearing in that would almost immediately launch a secessionist movement. Obviously the function was not disrupted, and there may be a million reasons for that. But if this was meant to be a fight for electoral justice, it probably achieved more than it set out to. It also brought out a truth that we always ignore; that Raila’s slum-level supporters understand him much better than his middle and upper class supporters, who may be witnessing a serious revolution, but instead get busy asking why there are no chairs at the venue, why the PA system is not as good as Rihana’s during her last performance in San Diego, or why Miguna is wearing a white shirt! Simply put, the vanity of a perceived educated supporter is mind boggling, at a time when the low level supporter just comes out and supports the cause unequivocally.
Anyway, several things were firmly dispensed with yesterday that made the Raila swearing in a complete success…
1. Raila finally took charge of his support base in a formal covenant. This base is reputed to be in the region of 60% of the country, a potent multi tribal mass that no politician, past and present, has ever built up. The meaning of this is that even without a State House and state largesse, President Raila can now determine what his half of the country, from whether to pay taxes to an illegitimate regime or not, whether to chart a secessionist path or how to redefine our choices. If the crowd at Uhuru Park was a microcosm of the Raila national support, you are looking at an uprising just waiting for a trigger. If Raila went on with the oath despite the threat of treason charges, nothing now stops him calling for his 60% support to rise up and remove the illegitimate regime by all means. That oath was the covenant he needed.
2. No other election will ever be stolen. Simply put, after yesterday, the consequence for stealing elections has become too grave. Yesterday was just the oath. Today begins the aftermath of the oath. Wherever this will end, nobody will ever steal elections again.
3. Two unrelated things; the police failed to show up but the media was shut down! I celebrate these two. Because both of them were manifest of a collapsing system. Testimony to the fact that the police wouldn’t be of help, so let’s stop the world seeing it! Imagine that for a moment. That the regime didn’t want people to see Raila taking the oath! Keep imagining that a little longer! You are onto something here. The only reason a regime stops you seeing that is because it has lost control of the population! So why then do I think the police were a no show? I have several theories but that’s for another day. In the meantime, start counting all the countries that you think have shut the media totally to avoid showing an event. You will find Kenya is in the company of very few! And no, Somalia, Chad, Yemen, Syria and Colombia are not on that list.
4. If there was any perceived support that Raila received via his co-principals, that myth was buried yesterday. By proceeding with the oath alone, Raila used a gentle but Machiavellian move to consolidate all his support by “direct loyalty”. By end of day, people from Sabatia, Mwingi and Bungoma were calling Musalia, Kalonzo and Wetangula very unsavoury names! It is hard to understand how the so called co-principals expected the event to be postponed at 2pm, with a million people already seated and tens of millions logged onto the internet streaming it. Yesterday marked the death of the NASA lie, and incidentally, the rise of the real Raila warriors in places like Western, where Cleo Malala, Norman Magaya and Edwin Sifuna, who had played a leading role in that swearing in ceremony, firmly took their positions at the high table.
5. Hassan Joho, Heir Apparent. It may appear that the absence of the co-principals caused some sort of a vacuum. I submit that the co-principals have in fact been absent the whole time. ODM’s Deputy Party Leader, Hassan Joho, has been the coprincipal all along! Joho is also a very smart politician. Knowing that the so called co-principals would disappear last minute, he made sure to be there for his leader to the end, becoming the man who actually invited his President to take the oath. Joho has won the admiration of the Raila base. If Raila said Joho Tosha, there would also be a non Raila base in the Muslim world that would crown him. Now that Raila has consolidated his base, the next “Raila” may also just have been crowned at the function.
6. We have said before that Raila does not fear arrest and/or death. Yesterday confirmed that Jubilee has no formula to deal with Raila. And this means that if Raila chooses, he can finish Jubilee within the coming months. Jubilee’s options yesterday were quite narrow. First would have been for police to shoot hundreds of people to stop the function. That would have risked anything, from a nationwide uprising to a military intervention to restore order. As soon as military tanks hit the streets and the people cheer them and ride their tanks together, even those who sent them can’t stop their next move. The other option would have been to arrest Raila, with similar consequences. Effectively, Raila is untouchable! And the uninterrupted oath has raised him even higher. Jubilee’s best hope now is that natural happens to Raila. But nature is not stupid.
7. The Raila journey and oath brings out a demographic that is seldom celebrated but really needs its place in the sun; Women Politicians. Pick any woman MP or Senator. They were always there. Their male counterparts will eat from both sides and hold night meetings with opponents. But the women always remain firmly on their original side. Aisha, Mishi, Flo Mutua, Kwamboka…there is amazing consistency among the “Raila women”. You will pick out Roza Buyu jumping with excitement in that oathing video to understand this. The women do not play their comrades. Even in 2013 when Kalenjins were fleeing ODM, the women, Kamar, Laboso, Sally, were the last to leave, long after their men had been bought and domesticated like Mogotio goats. The Raila machine must now bring more women to the high table. There is no excuse not to have women co-principals after the experiment with men!
8. Raila paid all his debts yesterday. Actually there was none. So he just buried the perception. Ahead of the next election, President Raila now remains in total control of his base, which grows by the day, as disillusioned Rift Valley joins. Baba will be only 75 in 2022. He goes to the gym, eats osuga and drinks nyuka kal. I have never met a younger, fitter man. If you want our support in 2022, and you were not at Uhuru Park, we will remind you that the young man Raila Odinga has not reached retirement age and will not reach for another 25 or so years. We are not fools. The Raila base have their man for 2022. There is no vacuum.
9. After accepting his mandate as the President of the Majority, there will be no way the President of the Minority assumes he can ignore that. Raila got his mandate in broad daylight. One of those two must fall, and it won’t be the majority side.
10. History was made. It won’t seem so clear now. But in the coming months, you will see how liberation finally came. Not just from our enemies, but also from those who pretended to be our friends. The burden is lighter. Now let’s wait for the decrees from our President.