The trouble with being Raila Odinga….
By C A Luanda Magere
Everybody wants a piece of their dreams through you.
The middle aged folks who saw you in the 90s, and remember you as a firebrand leftist politician with a Marxist beard, who would a slap a DO here and punch a DC there, want you to get rid of the regime the hard way.
The older ones who have made money prefer that you keep your reconciliatory approach to politics. You have had to move from the left to left of center, then to center, and you are smelling the right. You are a left of center social democrat, but your right wing supporters want you on the right, while your left wing supporters want you on the left.
When you visit tribes, the Luo want the hyacinth removed, they want roads, they want you to stop their marginalisation, they want to get state jobs like other people. They want back their cotton, their sugar, their pride…heck, they even want a shrine for Messiah Ondeto. The Luhya want you to resurrect their sugar industries.
The Maasai want you to save the Mau and insure the cattle from drought. The Turkana want security. The Somali want end to stigmatization. The Coastalians want their land back. The Kalenjin and the Kikuyu want everything. Some want you dead. Some want you paralysed.
To the poor, you are the path to riches. To the sick, you are the hope for better hospitals. To the jobless, only you can guarantee jobs. You know everything. Where Eurobond went. Why SGR is a white elephant. Who killed Tom Mboya and Tupac Shakur. Where Duale’s brain was buried. Why Muranga will be a desert in five years. You are Raila Odinga. The people expect you to know!
You are judged harshly because you are everything to everyone. When you do something to please the rightwing, the left wing condemns you as a sellout. And vice versa. Rumours of your impending assassination crop up daily.
Of course your supporters know that whenever your assassination is planned, you are right in the room with your assassins, disguised as a mosquito, and smiling the mosquito way. Your intelligence network is a legendary. A combination of CIA, Mossad, KGB and our ancestors in Nam Lolwe. We know you know things we don’t know and if you seem not to know, we feel helpless.
No matter what you say, it will annoy some and please some at the same time. You can’t make mistakes. Because everyone wants you to be perfect. The Kikuyu hate you because you are too perfect. The Luo love you because you are too perfect.
You campaign on a platform of everything, because 42 tribes all have different expectations. You must assure the Kikuyu you won’t take back their wealth, but also promise the Kalenjin you will return their land taken by the same people. You must promise the Luo you will revive the textile industry, but assure the Kikuyu Gikomba traders you won’t kill their second hand clothes business.
You must promise Kenyan Somalis identity cards while assuring the country terrorists won’t get IDs. You must promise Coastal to get them their land without evicting bara people. You must promise to disarm Turkana and Pokot cattle militia without leaving them exposed to Ugandan Karamojong militia. You must please everybody without annoying anybody! You are Raila Odinga, you know.
Everyone who went to detention with you came out totally beaten. Finished. Tortured to madness or too emotionally scarred to play any more role. You still stand strong. The dream hasn’t been achieved yet. The struggle continues. Your one head and two shoulders carry the burdens, aspirations, dreams, fears, hopes and plans of an entire nation.
If Uhuru and Ruto were put in your position, they’d run mad or die in two weeks. Because the job of being Raila Odinga is a million hours per day job that you cannot delegate. No assistants and guards can help. It is tough.
Before you criticise Raila Odinga for any “mistakes”, just remember that your mother, father and everybody in your tribe combined cannot have the tenacity, the drive, the belief and the energy to do this job called RAILA ODINGA.
I kid you not !!