In all fairness, Raila has the people and the votes. But will he be able to be declared the winner?
Despite the polls showing a neck-to-neck scenario, Raila has a clear majority in all fronts. Even the polls show that
Even his most ardent critics like me would confidently say that one thing Raila has never lacked since 2002 are votes. The former PM enjoys near fanatical support from most parts of the country.
While working around the campaigns for Uhuru’s re-election, we always heard candidates complain that there aren’t enough people to even attend their rallies to “show the might’ or the “tyranny of numbers.” This was as late as Friday when Jubilee had their rally at Uhuru Park. President Uhuru’s camp couldn’t muster a number to even fill half of the park which, though christened “Uhuru” to mean “independent”, is always believed that it’s named after himself.
Born in 1961, Uhuru was also named after the rallying call for independence for Africans. The same goes for Uhuru park.
Being the fourth time Raila is taking a stab at the presidency, it is not lost for observers that he will just not be the President. Most of it should be blamed on Raila while half of the reasons why he will never be sworn as president can be blamed on a small elite of power brokers who have dominated the political space and are determined to keep him off.
The Brokers and Looters;
Kenya’s political landscape is controlled by an elite of power brokers and looters who have no business to their name but just that they know who wields the magic stick of state operations and they are on their beck and call.
This cabal of extremely blood thirsty elite share one common aspiration, to forever hold sway in the country. While countries like South Africa have the Guptas, in Kenya, it’s what you might call La Familia and they are holding the country hostage. They know how to position themselves in both the ruling and opposition side. This is where people like Jimmi Wanjigi, Bitange Ndemo fall.
They will order an assassination at the slightest provocation and would infiltrate the opposition to not only make sure that in the unlikely event that their man lose, they will also be well in the new government. They did this so well with President Kibaki’s government which they infiltrated and called the shots to the end. Kibaki NEVER rolled back any of the wrongful deeds of President Moi but continued from where he left.
Kenyans are yet to be told who bought the Grand Regency hotel because it surely are not Libyans. The hotel is understood to be owned by the Kibaki family. The Libyans were just pawns. In all their newspaper analysis, people like Bitange Ndemo who are well aware of what happened will never openly discuss this because they are beneficiaries.
President Uhuru’s first term will go down in the history of the country as the period when Kenya was most looted. While has of the determination to loot state coffers can be blamed on President Uhuru and his deputy, have should be blamed on the county governors.
In the Presidency, key projects were targeted and money siphoned from projects while budgeted allocations ended up on people’s pockets. Despite attempts to explain how the Eurobond loan was spent, it has never been clear to any Kenyan. It has not made sense even to Uhuru’s staunch supporters, Eurobond remains lost money. SGR was inflated, road construction costs were also inflated with even some roads costing as much as Ksh 1billion. Kenya Pipeline, Rural Electricity Projects, much touted youth internship and the Youth Funds have all shown evidence of extreme looting.
Under Uhuru’s watch alone, I believe that more than Ksh 500 billion was looted from state coffers.
The devolved units were not spared. In a county like Nairobi, it is believed that more than Ksh 20 million was being embezzled. Through the governor’s office, a minimum of Ksh 600 million was going to private pockets every single month. In another country, an app developer was contracted to design a revenue collection Android based app where she quoted Ksh 1.5million for the work. When the county’s tender committee got wind of the deal, they demanded that the young female techie quote Ksh 250 million with the governor taking Ksh 200 million while the remaining Ksh 50 million was shared between the brokers of the tender and the young developer.
In Bungoma, county officials looted the coffers and their key protector is still a senior officer at the Auditor General’s office. The wheelbarrow scandal was just a joke if you know what really happened.
This is the same in most counties. The template was designed at the council of governors offices and has been duplicated in almost every county with Nairobi being the most unique. When some of these governors discovered that they could make so much, they even discarded the idea of traveling abroad to get lessons and projects to fool the masses. Kidero last travelled abroad in early 2015. Most of these money are collected personally by the county leaders.
In one of the raids by EACC on Kidero’s key associate George Wainaina, more than Ksh 110 million was reportedly recovered from his house in Karen. In order to mask the discovery, George was said to be ok with the EACC sleuths keeping half of the recovered amount, reporting that they recovered Ksh 17 million and leaving the rest to Wainaina.
It’s almost like the country is being bled dry.
Some of the scandals which Jubilee government can be blamed on are the NYS, Youth Fund, Health Ministry, SGR, Hustlers Jet, Irrigation, Eurobond, Rio Olympics and many others.
In fact in 2016 December, it was widely known that key state officials tasked the CBK governor to kill one of the banks which handled the NYS cash so as “to make Jubilee’s campaign in 2017” easy. Despite the CBK having previously fined 5 banks for being greatly involved in the NYS scandal, the governor strategically and consistently attacked only Family Bank at every press conference held almost every other day. The CBK governor was trying to cause a bank run so as to say “bank which handled NYS cash also died” during the re-election campaigns.
While the CBK governor was doing this, Equity Bank was tasked with sponsoring SMS and Whatsapp messages exposing how Family Bank was going down. With these, Family bank lost over Ksh 23 billion in one week’s withdrawal.
The bank realized the plan late and decided to fight back. While this is a story for another day, the bank fought back and stayed afloat.
While it is known that Anne Waiguru looted the NYS allocated cash and transported a good amount in chartered planes to foreign countries, his mission at the Interior Ministry was not limited to empowering the youth. It was matters 2017 and it is working now.
Kenya has political dynasties. They control hold sway in most of the political contests and even when you don’t agree with them, you might be forced to pledge loyality to their throne before you can even taste a political office.
Whether in government or opposition, they protect each other. The most common and powerful of the political dynasties are the Odingas, Kenyattas, Mois and Kibakis. These four families have dominated the political lives of Kenyans since independence.
As things stand now, the Kenyattas are very comfortable with Odingas being their opposer because when bad comes to worse, they will always stand with each other. When Raila lost his eldest son Fidel Odinga in January 2015, Uhuru pulled all machinery at his disposal to support Raila to the end. He even ordered not less than 5 military planes to be at the call of the family and fly them to Bondo. The President made a further donation of not less than Ksh 60million to the family in one of the visits.
Uhuru was not only being there for his friend, nemesis and who Kenyans consider arch rival, he was also recognising that Fidel was like a son to him too.
When I was strongly in the Raila’s camp, there was a time that the state machinery seemed like it was determined to strip Raila all honours and even the resources allocated to him. He was not only being denied VIP protection but even the government vehicles were being withdrawn. In one of the meetings to find ways of countering the propaganda being spewed by the state machinery as the strip-down continued, Raila strongly demanded that we know that he is not competing with President Uhuru on the matter.
He told us that it is Ruto who wants to strip him all the benefits and render him a “common citizen.” He told us that Ruto was determined to put him under house arrest should he threaten their comfort. That’s why at some point, Raila told us that he was determined to go back to the parliament or Senate to stop the onslaught on him. In one of the confessions, Raila said that Uhuru later called him to tell him that Ruto will never do anything he doesn’t approve to the opposition leader. He assured Raila that he bore no enmity and told Raila to be assured that they are brothers.
When Uhuru visited Raila after the death of Fidel, he famously told him that he was stressed by the going ons in regards to corruption but “huyu jamaa ameniambia kwamba nikiguza chenye anakula basi tunakosana.” The President was trying to tell Raila that he was hostage to Ruto.
At the unofficial start of the campaigns for the 2017 Presidential elections, President Uhuru personally donated 3 Toyota Land Cruiser V8s to the Raila campaigns.
All factors constant, the biggest threat Uhuru is aware of currently is not Raila Odinga but William Ruto. While the DP has recognised himself being the odd one out in the midst of political dynasty determined to dominate the lives of Kenyans, he has not confronted them head-on. He tried to marshal the Kalenjins to ditch their village abodes and vote in the city to take back power, but it is not clear if the message resonated well with his core support base, because the voter registrations showed that Kalenjins are a minority in the city.
Deputy President Ruto believes that though they have never had a President from their midst, Luos and Luhyas are a clear powerful determinant in the Kenyan elections as they hold sway in 2 of the 3 largest and only cities in the country. Coming from a region further than Kalenjins main home region to the capital city, Luos and Luhyas hold sway and control the city politics. During the calls for political reforms, they get listened to because whenever things get thick, they have the capacity and numbers to completely paralyse the city business until their demands are met.
President Kibaki’s camp and especially the late Michuki saw this and launched a Mungiki gang on them during the Kibaki regime, when the human rights defenders documented the operations and unmasked the evil deeds, the cabal of power brokers turned their back on Mungiki, launched an operation to completely wipe them out through sanctioned state assassinations and later even the officers in the squad responsible for the elimination of Mungiki was eliminated. It didn’t stop there as even the security ministers who, under their tenure Mungiki members were eliminated, have died under what can only be summarized as state assassinations.
It is recognised that Governor Kidero is closer to President Uhuru than to Raila. In fact after the 2013 elections, Kidero stayed away from associating with ODM but focused all his energy in taming Raila and even sponsoring the moribund Kalausi wave.
It is also known within the influential circles that President Uhuru sneaked not once or twice, but at least 6 times for night drinks at Kidero’s residence in Muthaiga. While Kidero stopped drinking alcohol before the 2013 elections, it is known that the governor us back to heavy consumption of alcohol after his many night interactions with the President who became his regular guest in Muthaiga. He had to start drinking last he be blamed if anything happened to the President under his watch. There was no way he was going to serve the President what he didn’t consume.
In oen of the night rendezvous, the President sneaked for a drink at Kider
It is believed that President Uhuru prevailed on the Murang’a clique to support Kidero’s re-election and not Sonko as he “is dependable.”
In most instances while interacting with the governor, we often told him to stop depending so much on the President for re-election support because President Uhuru is the friend of his wife Pamela Mboya whom he grew up with and not the governor.
The goofs and gafes;
While Raila is known to be a master at networking and having friends in all places, this is also another factor why it is almost impossible to see him as President.
But Raila is also known to not think through some of his utterances. During the 2013 elections, we were tasked by some friends to find ways of convincing some senior members of the police force that Raila meant well, even police officers from his own ethnic base were not supportive as the only memory they had of Raila is someone who “calls us useless” or taka taka at the slightest provocation.
This was evident in the calls for the previous IEBC commissioners to vacate office. When police officers led by the spokesman warned Raila that the guns policemen carried were loaded with “real bullets”, Raila bent so low at one of the political rallies, attacking the person of the spokesman and promising never to allow him to be an MP in ODM dominated zones. The police spokesman was rumored to be eyeing one of the parliamentary seats in an area dominated by ODM. The personal attack by Raila ended his aspirations and made him one person who might never support Raila even if he was being butchered.
The same goes for key staff in the Department of Defence, State Law Office, Judiciary, IEBC and key ministries. It’s like they can’t allow him to assume the authority because he is just not amiable. In Raila, they see a man who is almost “not patriotic.” They think that whenever Raila has gained little power, he has not been strategic to trust them but has used the little power he has to target the officers and destroy their careers.
Raila has not invested in covert capabilities to circumvent state monitor while dealing with his contacts. It was not lost for observers that even senior leuitenants of Raila were actively and openly engaging contacts like Christopher Msando regularly before his assassination. In fact, Prof. Nyong’o confirmed in a TV interview that not only was he related to the late IT expert, but he was also meeting and communicating with him regularly.
While edging out former ICT Director James Muhati, Christopher Chege Msando might have been destined to be the top IT man at the electoral body just because of his middle name. He might have been assumed by key strategists determined to keep power that he was Kikuyu. They might have later realized that he was Luo and to make it worse, related to key NASA leaders. I believe that to test the loyalty and understanding of Chris, he was asked to speak in various TV interviews and unmask his own capabilities and aspirations. When he was quoted as saying that systems would not fail under his watch and with no reason to edge him out from the key seat, his indulgences off work like love for women was carefully used against him.
Chris was killed by the people in government. This is a complex state assassination and the people who killed him are the same people leading the investigations.
The Blinded, Arrogant and Che-Thumping Supporters;
Raila’s core support base is in the Luo Nyanza. Despite being the political underdogs in the run-up to the elections, this support base is full of vengeful and raged youth whose every move only see Raila lose votes.
Despite Raila being a fighter for freedoms, you would not dare criticize Raila and stay normal or safe amidst his supporters or in Luo Nyanza, even if your criticism was to help him return to the straight path.
Raila’s word is law and you would be confidently shut down with akia pingo baba (I don’t know how to oppose Raila) and baba ok mbasni (Raila is not your age mate) chants. One joke which is common among those who see it differenly but have no option but to support baba is that to his supporters, if Raila tells you that you are pregnant, prepare for your delivery whether you are male or female. It will be if Raila says so.
They neither share nor even understand any of his ideals, visions and missions. To them, anyone opposing Raila should only be killed or completely be vanquished. This is not limited to the semi-literate staunch supporters with limited exposure but also key supporters in places of influence or working with reputable organizations in USA, Dubai, Jordan, UK, South Africa, Tanzania and other places.
That’s the group which funds the attack on critics even without carefully listening to what the critics have to say. One confessed to me how he personally funded youth to stone the chopper of Raphael Tuju in Kisumu during the government of Kibaki but later regretted the move because he understands Raila critics better now. The man who now heads a unit in Ranguma’s administration, is really regretting his actions then.
Apart from the raw insults, misplaced pride and arrogance, Raila’s key support base also lacks clear vote hunting strategies. While Uhuru’s backyard engaged in door to door campaigns and election winning schemes way before 2016, Raila’s key base is mostly focused on who they can bully into supporting him. All efforts to campaign remains on Raila. Apart from a few elected leaders in Nyanza who knows how to reach over and convince those not yet supporting Raila, even most leaders from Luo Nyanza would rather you leave their midst if you don’t support baba who is an ethnic god to them during elections.
Incompetence and Domineering Family;
The last time Raila ran a well managed and professionally executed campaign plan was in 2007. All machinery were in place, agents were trained and deployed in time and the campaign was felt all over the country.
2013 was something else. There were two camps trying to run the campaigns at the same time. We had the Mama Ida’s camp which had all the family members while Raila’s campaign secretariat under Owalo was just incompetent and clueless. Campaign materials were not being disbursed in time and the candidate was always out of schedule.
At some point, Raila Junior insisted on charging supporters each campaign merchandise (T-shirt or cap) he had while the T-shirts and caps were bought using campaign funds. They were still being sold expensively, if at all you were interested in buying them. Who was going to buy t-shirts from Raila Junior, whose dad wanted to be President, at twice the cost while printers in town could charge even less.
The NASA leader has also failed to appreciate the role of media with wide networks in political settings. He has not shown interest in owning or through associates, having a clear long term partnership with a media house. In 2007, ODM won because it was supported by KTN to the end. The linkage was developed by now Deputy President, William Ruto.
You can’t prevent rigging in the last minute;
The biggest rigging plan was crafted and executed by Anne Waiguru at NYS. That’s why you will never see Anne Waiguru before a court of law as long as President Uhuru is still in power.
In the NYS cohorts and recruits operation, biometric details of more than 2 million new voters were collected. In some instances and for a long period of time in 2014 and 2015, Anne Waiguru coordinate the registration of minors as voters in Central Kenya and parts of Rift Valley.
Raila focused on the looted money not knowing that it was a decoy while the real scandal at NYS was the parallel voter register to be used to inflate votes.