Raila's best campaign for Kibaki

Story by PAUL MWANGI Publication Date: 2007/05/09

President Kibaki’s team of campaigners must have been holding their collective breath with trepidation when Lang’ata MP Raila Odinga’s team assembled to launch his vision last Sunday. The greatest worry must have been that Mr Odinga would launch a vision that would make everyone look like they never went to school.

When the function started, it looked like he might do just that. The pomp was unrivalled. The speeches were equally impressive. The Rev Timothy Njoya set the mood of what was literally an enthronement.

Many of Mr Odinga’s competitors in ODM must have regretted their presence at the ceremony as they had to stand and chant after the Rev Njoya “So be it” as he prayed for Raila’s presidency.

But when the climax came, it aborted because Mr Odinga ended up putting the best case so far why President Kibaki should be voted for a second term.

Firstly, we watched something we have not seen in a long time sycophancy. It was unsettling to see a man drowned in so much praise before the entire nation, and incessantly told how good he has been for us.

For a man applying for a job to be our servant, the ceremony lacked the humility that should go with such a noble intention. I did not see a servant applying for a job, but an emperor in the making.

When Mr Odinga opened his speech, he begun by recounting where we are coming from. That was fine, but that is not the next step for Kenya.

Yes, we have suffered, lost opportunities, and been repressed, but we can’t undo the nation and start it anew. No regime will bring back Pio Gama Pinto, T J Mboya or JM from the dead. They are now good lessons of what we must avoid. They are not our starting point.

He then read a list of things-to-do that sounded like it had been authored by Dr Alfred Mutua.
In a majority of respects, his vision did sound like President Kibaki’s achievements.

IT WAS RIGHT OFF THAT SMALL book Dr Mutua has been distributing. It was roads, hospitals, health, education, expansion of airports, etc. There was nothing so radically different as would have justified him to say that he can deliver Vision 2030 some 10 years earlier.
I compared the suggestions to those of Mr Kalonzo Musyoka’s, and I thought the latter had been more daring.

It was when Mr Odinga departed from the well-written speech that his political character came out. In an off-the-cuff remark, he expressed his admiration for the revered German Chancellor, Otto von Bismark. In short, he told us that Bismark’s is the model he would use to usher us into the Second World.

Now, Bismark achieved an almost impossible feat. He created Germany from several independent empires and developed it into one of Europe’s most powerful countries. But the road was not that rosy, and it was done at a very high cost to Germans and other Europeans.
From the very beginning, Bismark made it very clear that he had no time for democracy. “The great question of the day will not be decided by speeches and resolutions of the majorities but by blood and iron,” he had declared. He waged three wars in eight years, oppressed Catholics, socialists and liberals, and eventually became so unpopular that Kaiser Wilhelm II fired him in 1890.

It is believed that Bismark’s dictatorial domestic policies laid the foundation for the Nazi regime five decades later. He was aptly nicknamed the “Iron Chancellor” for his autocratic method of ruling.

If that is the way Mr Odinga will usher us into the Second World 10 years earlier than when Mr Kibaki has promised, I elect to take my time getting there.

Bismark was possibly good for Germany in the 19th century. But his example cannot be the guiding light of a president wanting to lead us as a democratic nation in the 21st century.
And to crown it all, the ceremony was closed by Raila’s supporters singing that despicable anthem of Kenya’s years of tyranny, “Tawala Kenya Tawala”.

Mr Mwangi is a Nairobi lawyer

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One Response to Raila's best campaign for Kibaki

Kenyanomics said...

Like many Kenyans I expected Raila to unleash a never seen before vision. But the man is smarter than we think. Unleashing his vision would have given Nark-Kenya a chance to punch holes before the big day. Remember what happed to Kalonzo's free secondary education?

I therefore think Tinga will release the much awaited document once he has been declared the ODM flag bearer.

Am however disturbed by Tinga's admiration of Bismarck, father of the German welfare state. Bismack tried to entice German workers with free goodies, in form of State funded health, accident, old age, and disability insurance schemes. I hope Tinga does not plan on such schemes, because they will cement views on his socialistic tendencies.