For us to establish who instigated yesterday’s violent attacks on William Ruto’s convoy in Kondele, we must do a political cost-benefit analysis of the skirmishes. Let’s begin from here; who is the ultimate beneficiary of yesterday’s violence?
I take you down the memory lane.
At the beginning of the year, Raila Odinga’s motorcade was pelted with stones in Githurai and his roadside address disrupted by rowdy youths chanting Ruto’s name. This was in a frantic bid to perpetuate the tired narrative that Odinga was an unwanted figure in Mt. Kenya.
While the mastermind of that violence was well known, Ruto’s propaganda mill began churning out a steady diet of lies that hooligans had been ferried from Kibra to ignite the violence.
However, with all due respect to common sense, if Odinga was hated in Mt. Kenya, partly due to the ‘violent’ tag that has been hanging over his head, to what benefit could the violent be in his quest to climb the mountain?
Remember, this was the time Ruto’s campaign to decimate BBI had reached its crescendo and he wrongly believed that since he was the only one actively campaigning for presidency, 2022 was his for taking.
Then suddenly, Odinga emerged with his Azimio La Umoja campaign; powerful, rejuvenated, well-oiled and with solid messaging. All indications were that the whole state infrastructure was backing his ambition.
Then the hypnotized hustler nation woke up to a rude shock that their undisputed leader had previously been campaigning against himself. It was at this point that the battle for Mt. Kenya took centre stage.
But let me digress first.
After the Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu, all the bigshots present passed through Kondele to the excitement of the masses. Of all the presidential candidates, real and imaginary, only Ruto’s reception was astounding.
At that point, the Luo Nation was hailed as the best thing that has ever happened to Kenya after a slice of bread.
Meanwhile, Raila sustained his onslaught; rapidly climbing Mt. Kenya and reversing William’s 9-year gains. Since William had forged considerable emotional attachment with those at the bottom of the Mt. Kenya food chain, Raila majorly associated himself with those at the top.
He did so in full understanding that he has previously won elections without the support of Mt. Kenya but was denied victory because he did not curry favour with those that influence all aspects of the state, including predetermined procurement of presidential electoral outcomes.
Now that this gap had been filled, time was nigh to cascade his message to Mt. Kenya commoners. So far, Mr. Odinga has held the most successful campaigns in Mt. Kenya in the history of his politics.
But as time went by, his quest to climb the mountain was sending shivers down the spine of William and his henchmen whose support was steadily waning.
For any strategist worth their salt, Mr. Odinga’s sudden bounce back to the top of presidential politics at a time when he was perceived to be out of touch with reality would call for a change in tact.
So, the fundamental question we have to ask ourselves is, how does yesterday’s violence fit into the whole strategy of William’s campaign against Raila and his Azimio La Umoja? Let me dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s for you.
There’s no doubt that William is a master tactician. However, his biggest undoing is that he doesn’t know when to stop. And that was clear in Kisumu yesterday.
Thus far, Mr. Odinga’s campaign machinery has debunked certain narratives against his candidature, affording him considerable ground in Mt. Kenya.
But for a man previously viewed as devil reincarnate and the bogeyman for all the problems afflicting the mountain, it seemed easy in the eye of William’s strategists to resurrect the ghost of ‘violent’ tag against Raila and by extension, the Luo community.
By all intents and purposes, can Odinga mastermind violence against William in his backyard when he’s fighting hard to shed off the ‘violent man’ tag to attract Mt. Kenya, currently inclined towards Ruto?
Your answer is as good as mine. And who stands to benefit if Ruto’s entourage is attacked in Kisumu? Your guess is as good as mine: the sympathy addict himself.
It must not be lost on us that the Police Spokesperson issued a press release detailing that they had received credible intelligence of impending violence in Kondele instigated by the scramble for Ruto’s logistical funds and that they had relayed the same to the DP’s security but it was ignored.
Has it bothered you that up to this moment, the Office of the Deputy President, known to be a sucker for publicity, has not issued an official rejoinder to the IG’s press release, opting for roadside responses to which no one can easily be held responsible for?
Now, this is the gist of yesterday’s violence: to ignite Raila phobia and portray him as violent in the eyes of Kikuyus whom he has been busy courting in the recent past while William plays the victimhood card. There was a time this could sell but such line of thinking has outlived its usefulness.
Essentially, this was a ‘Look, this is the same Raila. He’s never changed and when he takes over the reins of power he will destroy you’ moment for William and his team. With such friends and advisers, William does not need enemies.
But one thing we will not take lying down is the general bastardization of the Luo community by stereotyping us as violent. I did not throw a stone at anyone. My mother in Migori didn’t even bother about Ruto’s presence there. My brother is a police officer battling such violence. We are Luos, so spare us the balkanization.
And as the maxim goes, we’d rather die on our feet than live on our knees