BY KALYA KIPRONO
What’s your opinion about Raila’s chances and how do you rate him against Ruto in 2022?”
I stopped doing political analysis in 2019 both online or on tv because just like religion, it’s difficult to get an objective audience. Many read to respond, not to understand and it reaches a point you just let them be. I am at peace with the fact that we are not all of the same intelligence and emotional quotient rating. I once tried to explain to someone that Prophet David Owuor is a bonafide trained neuro doctor and that he uses both his knowledge of medicine and his ‘healing powers’ or faith to achieve his purpose but whoever I was telling was too defensive to understand my point. He just wanted me to ‘respect nabii’ yet my point was in support of his ‘faith/fanaticism. Politics is the same. That’s why religion and politics are the only movements to ever produce doomsday preachers, jihadists and terrorists, fanatics and mad people.
To your question.
I cannot in all honesty rate who will win between Ruto and Raila because anything with a future tense is subject to change, realignment of circumstances, fate, odds and such.
But I can say this.
Raila is a veteran presidential candidate and oppositionist. Ruto has only been in the opposition once, and that was when Uhuru was the leader of the opposition in Kanu.
Raila has honed his skills as a rebel, with his most memorable rebellion being when he stormed a Ford-Kenya meeting with his supporters in an attempt to take over the party from his father, the doyen of opposition politics, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. He then went on to resign his Lang’ata parliamentary seat and vied under a new party NDP.
His life has been chequered by rebellion against the status quo. This is what built him. He is now part of it, making Ruto out of it, hence the unpredictable nature of their competition.
Ruto on the other hand is way younger but has had nothing but wins all his life. He has never lost any competition and losing in 2022 would be his first. He is also a stealthy and dependable mobilizer with very strong ground networks. He has been exploited successfully by Moi, Odinga, Kibaki and Uhuru. His only sin is that he is way too ambitious, which always unsettles his bosses. He isn’t a Kalonzo. Kalonzo fears challenging his masters. He wants to stick to the 47 laws of power by Robert Greene while Ruto prefers the Art of War by Tsun Zu. It’s how one views life.
Ruto fell out with Moi for being too ambitious, with Raila and Uhuru for the same reasons. He didn’t fall out with Kibaki and became Kibaki’s most feted minister. Kibaki used him successfully to diminish Raila’s rift valley support through the Mau forest issue. (i will tag you on a post I once wrote about how it was done). He is dependable but dangerously aggressive.
Raila feels, like his brother once alluded, that he has always won elections but he never had the system and favourable media on his side. So now, these two are the main change areas in his ambitions that his supporters believe will make him win.
But will he?
Ruto may win, or he may lose; it won’t be catastrophic for him because it’s his first attempt and he is young enough to fight another day. Exit Raila, there’s no other politician alive who will match Ruto in future. Even Raila needed decades of profile building to be where he is.
For Raila to win in 2022, he MUST GET ALL his 2017 votes against Jubilee and more.
Before the 2018 handshake, Raila was more politically powerful than Uhuru and Ruto combined.
The handshake weakened him a great deal. But only those who think the system is alpha and omega of our existence think he is more powerful. And if the system rigs it for him, it cancels out every one of his past claims of democracy on trial, as he will be the new despot in town.
The reason the entire coast region was ODM damu was because of historical injustice. The oppression by Kenyatta and Moi regimes united them with Raila.
But today, they see the largest land occupier in the coast region ( to the disadvantages of their interests,) the Kenyattas, in an alliance with Raila. This is why Kwale has pulled away, Kilifi is pulling away and only the Abu Joho family and the few without real historical injustice claims are in ODM. Also, Hassan Joho is the deputy party leader so he still owes his allegiance. But will Raila get the 2017 votes from the coast?
In 2013 and 2017, Raila had the entire western and kambaland as part of his package.
Does he still do? Atwoli may have accidentally sabotaged him. Atwoli spent resources calling for Luhya unity and brought together ANC and Ford Kenya. None of these two parties wants to rally behind Raila. Kalonzo said the NASA agreement was that Raila would run for president in 2017 and win or lose, he would support another NASA candidate in future elections. They may not have the same political persuasion as Raila, but they have supporters too. Will they all vote for Raila? Does he still have their support?
Here’s another worrying thing.
All politicians today allied to Raila save for Oparanya, Joho and a handful of others, are lacklustre and cannot fill a classroom. His main campaigners in central Kenya are politically dim, who were elected largely via the jubilee wave which Ruto designed. The likes of Kioni, Kanini, Ngunjiri, Sabina and Nyoro are struggling. Peter Kenneth, Kamanda, Kabogo etc are unelected; they don’t have a public mandate. Raila’s rallies in central are full because of Raila himself, not those scallywags. Even so, they hardly accompany him to hardcore areas. Will he get more votes through them that can equalize the lost areas?
The media is doing what Infotrack polling used to do. Synovate was in Jubilee payroll while Infotrack was in CORD/NASA/ODM payroll. They are creating illusions that can hurt the party. The reason Raila used to have almost a million fans in Uhuru park and only a handful yesterday in Kasarani is because of voting demographics.
If Ruto was to do his UDA convention in Nakuru, it will be super full. He would get hundreds of thousands of supporters. Why? Proximity to his voting blocks.
In Uhuru Park, Raila would get all his Kibra, dagoreti and langata supporters to walk to the park. They are his strongholds. But yesterday, however much media houses were advised to film tight angles and tight shots, the stadium was only full on one side that they had to ask the crowd to mill near the podium for purposes of creating ‘perfect’ angles.
Raila and the team can win if they address these issues objectively.
Ruto is the one challenging Raila, this means he sees himself as the underdog. If he wins, he wins against a titan. If he loses, he does against a titan. That’s how he sees it. To him, either result is a win.
Raila is running for his last try at the ballot. If he wins, he would have achieved that which has eluded him all his life, if he doesn’t, he will retire a statesman who changed the democratic trajectory of this country. To him, either result is a win
Now the difficult part, avoiding myopia by the dumb blind and retarded supporters from either camp who will read to respond, not to understand.