Truly, I tell you when baba is happy, Kenya is happy; when he’s disenfranchised, we can’t breathe. That is why today I’m entertaining an outlier thought that Raila Odinga should be the fifth president of Kenya come 2022.
Two reasons birthed this thinking. One, Raila has overtly implied that in 2022, he will be in the ballot and two, Uhuru Kenyatta, during the burial of Mama Hannah Mudavadi, said it is time for another tribe to rule Kenya. Should political heavens heed Uhuru’s baddish, then a Kikuyu or a Kalenjin presidency is damned come 2022.
Forget the sensational endorsement of Musalia Mudavadi during the event. As one Kenyan noted on social media, these burial endorsements are opiates depending on where the burial is every weekend. If the funeral is in Kisii, they will say Matiang’i Tosha; if in Eastern region, Kalonzo Tosha; if in Central, Peter Kenneth and if in Luo Nyanza, they will vend Raila. These funeral political endorsements are neither here nor there.
Why Raila? There is the biblical judge who was nagged by a woman who demanded justice for long. The cruel judge decided to accord her justice so she would not weary him. Thus, Kenya should let baba sit on the presidency for two reasons.
One, he will be a one-term or transitional president. Raila will be 78 should he take the presidency next year. By the time he will be finishing his first term, age will have weighed him down and he’ll want peace for himself and family. The best gift we can give him is the presidency if at all his political resume on liberation pleases us.
Second, the other contestants for the presidency are younger. William Ruto, for instance, has four elections away to be Raila’s current age. In fact, Ruto will be Raila’s current age in 2043. If you like history, get this; Ruto is at the moment what Raila was in 1997 age-wise.
Third, Oginga Odinga (Raila’s father) freely offered the presidency to Jomo Kenyatta when he had the golden chance to be the first president of Kenya. It remains a historical selfless act of nationhood and brotherhood. Although the two parted ways later due to ideologies, they remained loyal and brothers to death. Evidence exists that Oginga eulogised Kenyatta like no other Kenyan.
If the fathers’ sins are repaid through their children, then the ‘good deeds’ of fathers should also be repaid to their children. History will be read that Kenya needed Raila so much at their convenience — they called baba when the country was being looted; they fell at his feet when they were bruised but denied him the presidency he desperately wanted. I must state that the presidency had been a ‘want’ for Raila until 2017. Going forward, the presidency is a ‘need’ for Raila.
Before I rest my case, the fourth reason is that there will be a lot of peace and optimism if Raila becomes president. Raila is like the biblical priest Samuel. As long as he is smiling — love him or hate him — Kenya will be calm. If all leadership comes from God, his since the 1990s, albeit mostly in opposition, has been a thorn in our flesh so that we do not slumber.
However, if the country wants to make Raila president, he must be protected from the news media. Let me explain this concept.
In the United States, when Democrats realised that the old Joe Biden was likely to utter some ‘vote predating’ words toward the 2020 presidential elections, they ardently protected him from the journalists’ trap questioning.
The Democrats knew the millennial and Generation-Z journalists could easily lure the old man into exposing their political underbellies. This way, Americans had less of Biden and more of Trump and as such, they went to the ballot not to vote Biden in, but to vote Trump out.
If Raila continues attending news media interviews and hankering for news media presence, he will have to eat most of his words later, just as he did for Msambweni, and on many occasions, on matters BBI. It is time to censor any media interviewing or questioning of Raila. This is just an advice.
This prescription has more advantages. Note when Raila is rare, he is craved for like chocolate. The way grandfather Tekayo hankered for a sweet liver dropped by an eagle in Grace Ogot’s short story Tekayo, so is baba in more demand if he is infrequent.
For example, in 2014 when he left for the United States Kenyans missed him so much that when he jetted back on May 31, 2014, Nairobi stood still and the social media was awash with ‘Baba while you were away’. It can work again!
-Dr Ndonye is a political economist of media and communication
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