At last, Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Amolo Odinga (RAO)and one of the National Super Alliance (NASA) has been sworn-in as the “people’s president’. Many thought Raila was politicking while he naturally has defied logic many times in his political journey. Raila stood up to brutal fellas such as Daniel arap Moi; who else would intimidate him? If anything, the stubbornness Raila showed was aimed at intimidating and undermining the authorities not to mention tricking it into unleashing brutality that would have cost it dearly. Again, what’s the expected upshot of this swearing-in for Raila and Kenya? I can summarise it as follows:
First of all, it aimed at assuring NASA’s supporters that their leader is not a chicken who’d betray them and chicken out at the hour of need. Indeed, the swearing-in is more significate than even baptism by fire. In other words, the swearing-in energised Raila’s base not to mention showing Raila as his own man and the man of actions who breathe and live what he preaches as opposed to his compatriots in NASA who lost their significance soon after Raila was sworn-in. Although Raila enjoyed the support from the Coast, what transpired at swearing-in was a show of force for Mombasa governor Hassan Joho.
Secondly, Raila wanted the government to make a goof and act viciously and end up in bigger crisis and Catch-22 than the one it is now facing. Although, it can be seen as a sign of coward, I congratulate the authorities on averting this trap that’d make it look bad.
Thirdly, the swearing in has brought Raila back to the limelight as far as the politics of Kenya in the future is concerned. Thus, his swearing-in marks the beginning of the journey to the 2022 elections.
Fourthly, by being sworn-in without any resistance from the authorities, Raila has assured himself and his hangers-on how his next moves will succeed for the fear of mayhem. Had his co-principals partaken of the swearing in Raila would have lost his chance to stand again in the coming elections. Consequently, the swearing-in has secured him a ticket as a major contender. However, there are those who deceive themselves thinking that Raila is old to stand again. What a goof! No retirement in politics of Africa. If Mugabe was ready to soldier on, why can’t Raila? In the year 2022, Raila will be 75 just like Emerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe who is standing this year. So, too, there are other presidents who ran in elections when they were in their seventies such as Nelson Mandela and Abdulaye Wade. Therefore, here the age is nothing but numbers for Raila.
Fifth, the absence of other NASA’s co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi at the swearing-in has emboldened and cemented Raila as the true leader who can steer Kenya in future after Kenyatta lapses his term in office. The thousands who were ready for anything to see Raila is sworn-in as it happened cannot be gainsaid. So, too, this defiance has secured Raila yet another chance to take a short at presidency without necessarily needing to repay the leg up and push he enjoyed from the co-principals who have proved to be coward and political prostitutes. Furthermore, the swearing-in has portrayed Kenyatta as a runaway if not a hollerer who cannot make good on his promises. Again, Kenyatta must be commended for showing maturity that averted a grave danger that was looming over Kenya. He should not even listen to those who say what Raila did is treason. Instead, Kenyatta should keep an eye on Raila’s next move.
Sixth, Raila now knows how the UhuRuto government fears him. This is obvious. Raila intimidated it and beat it at its own game. He therefore will give it a heck of challenge provided that he knows nobody wants to go back to The Hague.
Seventh, by taking the oath of non-existing office, Raila has symbolically convinced Kenyans that he is still in the game seeking the very office. His new title people’s president dwarfs Kenyatta. My friend from Kenya gave me a call after Raila’s swearing-in teasing that Kenya now has the people’s president as opposed to the government’s president.
Eighth, by being sworn in, Raila has notched past potential future candidates that supported him to end up failing him at the moment of truth for their peril. This puts him ahead of others who are contemplating to stand for election 2022.
In a nutshell, however ceremonial or emblematic Raila’s swearing-in can rightly be construed or misconstrued; it has given him more political mojo and tempo to keep in on vis-a-vis 2022. For the authority to stop him, it must keep its cool as it softens its stand on dialogue. For, shall the impasse go on, it is Kenya that suffers.
Source: African Executive, Feb., 20, 2018.