By Oginga Randiki
The war over 2013 general election never ends. The latest battle is over a reported out of context comments by Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga ,CORD leader. Mr. Francis Kimemia, the secretary to the cabinet, took an offence and declared it as “inflammatory” and “inciting”.But was it a blunt jab and incompetent blame on Raila?
The remarks by Raila, that what transpired at the Bomas of Kenya during the the national tallying of presidential election results was like a military coup has outraged jubilee’s dwindling loyalists. They have mounted a campaign demanding for apology from Raila.
First, Tinga’s vast fanatical supporters are aware that he is not in power, but deeply believe his ideas are in power. And that his ideas will prevail. This is why there are certain people who are ever out to get him. They know who those people are. They exist, believe them. They know Kenyans know. They spend hundreds of millions of shillings in order to try to get rid of him politically. His supporters are happy those people lose most of their money.
They are saying this because, one would imagine, a government hobbled by a trillion-shilling-corruption-allegations on the Chinese standard-gauge-railways contract, the ever menacing ICC cases, a divided and dying coalition, and a president who has nowhere near the political capital to tame opposition or his enemies within on his left, would not have time to spend on issuing statement full of quibbles and blunder.
Mr. Kimemia’s remarks and I qoute ” we also urge Mr. Odinga to desist from inciting Kenyans over his democratic loss and disillusionment. The March 4 General election was one of the most peaceful and competitive election ever carried out in the history of Kenya and we should celebrate this moment instead of issuing inflammatory comments that may destabilize the peace that we enjoy now”.
This bit of the statement is ridiculous. It sounds more of like having the Naivasha 2007/2008 post-election-violence victims sit squarely at the State House in a meeting chaired by president Uhuru on the anniversary of Mr. Uhuru indictment by International Criminal Court.
The good secretary to the cabinet, now talks of history! But the history he referred us to, is indeed telling us a different story all together. It records the problems of election rigging in Kenya as, however, more complicated than simple coalition arithmetic of tyranny of numbers. It teaches us that the rigging are schemed and executed by a pact of self serving-frauds, compulsive liars, tribal demagogues and chameleonsque bureaucrats under a cocktail of poisonous elements; autocratic, repressive,isolated,ruthless and insensitive.
History, if Kimemia perhaps forgot, may be an upright and honest judge. But the principal witnesses upon whom it has to depend are usually neither upright nor honest. They are intimidated or killed. But we make it much worse by insisting that our history shall be not only personal, but simple and highly coloured and re-written.
When the OP supremo, who observers perceived to have become aloof hidden behind an impenetrable wall of security and protocol, and earned a reprind from the head of state, wrote that,
“we therefore ask Mr. Odinga to commence respect for institutions. This is is the time to strengthen professionalism and not demonize institutions, especially now that we have a new constitution in place. Good leadership strives to consolidate dynamics ethical institutions now and for posterity”.
Outwardly,this part of the statement appears perfectly acceptable. But a second look reveals how clearly it is dangerous in itself. Firstly, perfectly acceptable because,men, women and institutions are the individual trees in the governance wood, and we are not likely to be able to see them any more accurately by getting farther away from them. Secondly, it perfectly acceptable because it exposes how those who control vast national resources, institutions of governance and other instruments of power as well as formidable State-controlled / friendly media and patronage apparatus are capable of using the same institutions to intimidate those when in doubt, put freedom before security, the market before the State and the individual before community.
But it is dangerous because it is targeting Raila for political assault for simply demanding what Kimemia is saying in his statement. the PM stated useful and indisputable fact. In the contrary, the power-men do not ”strive to consolidate dynamics of ethical institutions now and for posterity” as Kimemia purports.
Instead there are pre-occupied with making Raila an easy rhetorical target for the government. In short they are always looking for something to be critical of. In other word,the government is trying to divert attention from its vicious economic policies through incompetent blames.
Turning to IEBC, it is noteworthy that numerous attempts to reform it has failed. In the eyes of Kenyans, it has now become the equivalent of a race car, faster and more complex than any vehicle anyone has ever seen. But it turns out that no one has driven a car like this before,and no one really knows how. So it crashed in 2007 and 2013.
The real problem is that we are still driving this car. The politics, the fuel that runs the car,remains resolutely tribal. The one one the driver seat is the one who should apologize to Kenyans for crashing the car in 2007 and 2013. Raila Odinga is not the one on the seat.This is the tension at the heart of Kimemia’s and Hassan’s panic.
Going to the history that Kimemia spoke about. The history teaches Kenyans that Raila was the first to argue, of course at the risk of his liberty, that no structure,system whatever, can work without a sense of ethics and values at it’s core.
No matter what reforms we put in place , without common sense, judgment and an ethical standard, they will prove inadequate. Towards this, he has consistently and forcefully asked institution-heads to steer themselves and their institutions with a greater reliance on a moral compass. This earned him a 9-year-detention stint.
It is therefore in order to pose this quetion; what new thing on democracy can the chameleonsque bureaucrats who can change their persona to fit any audience, constructively instruct or advise Raila on?
Kenya would not have been in this despicable state if our politicians did what they thought the electorates asked of them. Bureaucrats were not exchanging cash for favours and busy floating on the raft made of the shipwreck of their former reputation. ‘ero koro awacho adharani!