By DAUDI MWENDA
The swearing in of President Uhuru Kenyatta, following the Supreme Court ruling, confirms the commencement of the Jubilee governments’ second term.
The failure by NASA to petition the November 26 repeat election more or less estopps them from any further legal challenges. Viewed from a wider perspective, the options for Raila Odinga are narrowing swiftly. His fourth stab at the presidency has come a cropper but not without drama as he succeeded in nullifying Uhuru’s first election. This unprecedented victory was a first in Africa.
Uhuru and William Ruto came back guns a blazing, pulling no stops to retain the presidency. Enormous resources were expended as they criss-crossed the country, literally purchasing disgruntled former opposition party stalwarts. All manner of promises were made in the political horse-trading. Whether they will be fulfilled is a subject for another day. There is only one burning question in our geopolitical space. Has Baba expended his last bullet after failing in his fourth stab at the presidency? The young bulls, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi, bent over backwards to accommodate him in this election. They literally placed their political ambitions in cold storage to allow Raila one final stab at the Presidency. It is highly unlikely that they will post-pone again. They no-longer possess the luxury of time with Kalonzo headed to a premium 70 years of age and Mudavadi 60. The question is how to put the old bull to pasture with minimum friction or acrimony. In a nutshell to quote songbird Millie Jackson, “It’s all over, but the shouting!” Of course the best option would be for Raila to honourably and graciously hand over the baton to his anointed successor. This, however, may not happen and the two maybe left to out-manoeuvre or politically outwit one another in this game of numbers.
Whatever happens, now or in the future, Raila will go down as a great champion of democracy. A fearless man he stared down despots like Moi until he was brought into Kanu, only to engineer its demise from within. He gave the Mwai Kibaki administration headaches and Uhuru sleepless nights. His journey has not been without obstacles, including long stints of detention without trial. At one time, Kijana Wamalwa almost locked him out of leadership yet he clawed back with the tenacity of a weed. He was later fired by Kibaki only to return with the juggernaut known as ODM. His strongest attribute is the capacity to re-engineer self even in the face of adversity. Perhaps this is why he is often described as an enigma. Our political scene will be a barren wasteland without him as he continuously sets our political agenda. He bestrides the press and airwaves like a colossus. Whenever, he is out of the country even bumpkins are keenly aware of his absence.
They say that every blessing is a potential curse or vice-versa. The exit of Raila will offer Kenyans a fresh opportunity to end the Kenyatta-Odinga feud, an ailment that has afflicted us since Independence. It is a ruinous feud that divided Kenya and has kept it divided for years. The assassination of Tom Mboya and the mishandling of Jaramogi Odinga alienated a huge constituency of Kenyans who have often felt excluded by government. The divide and rule system of administration adopted by successive Kenya governments only aggravated the situation. The opportunity of a lifetime is now with us. However, it must be seized within the lifetime of that opportunity.” Kenya now has a chance to move away from our ruinous past by electing an independent, who is not tied to the Kenyatta-Odinga-Moi dynasties in 2022. Kenyans have the rare opportunity of liberating themselves from the past. The future is for the brave.