Jerry Okungu: Raila Should Avoid Fighting all Fires

Sometimes I wonder whether this is the kind of job Raila Odinga expected when he accepted to be Kenya’s second Prime Minister. Perhaps there are too many intrigues clouding the effective operations of the Prime Minister, very much unlike when Jomo Kenyatta assumed that office 45 years ago.

As an observer, I fear that if this trend continues, Raila will end up fighting fires from all corners of the republic, achieving nothing in the end and getting blamed for everything.

If I were Raila, I would not entangled in football politics, Mungiki menace, Mau Forest environmental saga, land problems in Rift Valley, a dispute with bank benchers over whether to have a Grand Opposition or not and whether to release election violence suspects or not. These matters are too much for a single individual to handle even with the best of intentions.

As Prime Minister in charge of coordinating and supervising government ministries and departments, his job should just be that: to coordinate and supervise.

In this job description, there should be inserted proper delegation to respective ministers who should find out how to deal with their respective problems and report the same to the Prime Minister for action.

As much as Raila loves football, he has no business getting embroiled in football politics because that is where insanity lives. Because of this insanity, many governments over the years have dissolved the Kenya Football Federation a hundred times in 50 years. They never found a lasting solution to the disease.

Let the football nuisance be handled by the sports minister Helen Sambili to the best of her ability. If she fails to manage the eternally corrupt fraternity, let her then report to the Prime Minister, get her efforts discussed at the cabinet meeting and a collective decision taken.

In my opinion, disbanding KFF permanently would not be a bad idea even if it irks FIFA. In fact banning Kenya from participating in international tournaments for two decades could end up being a blessing in disguise. It would save us from perennial embarrassment for having teams that never win a single trophy. The other will be to give us time to weed off the bad old managers and train young players!

As for the Mungiki sect, this is a national security issue whose origins and initial promoters are still in the cabinet.

Let this be the full responsibility of the internal security minister Prof George Saitoti who should give the Prime Minister and the President progress reports on his efforts. If the cabinet decides to open talks with them along the lines of Joseph Kony and Yoweri Museveni, so be it.

The Prime Minister should similarly handle land, environment and other sensitive matters through respective ministers. He should be the last resort when his ministers fail to find a solution.

Being on the frontline will cheapen the office of the Prime Minister because there are some in the cabinet who will just be too happy to either contradict him or celebrate if his efforts tumble.

On the internally displaced persons in Rift Valley, there are the ministers of special programmes, internal security and defence to deal with them.

If there are any talks of releasing the youths languishing in police custody for having taken part in the post election violence, these matters need serious backroom negotiations.

Borrowing a leaf from Charles Njonjo on how he used to deal with mass university students arrests in the 1970s may come in handy. Amos Wako should be at the forefront in dealing with these cases rather than sitting on the fence as cabinet ministers grope in the dark.

Finally, Raila should desist from engaging back-benchers on the controversial Grand Opposition coalition. This is a matter that can be handled by the government spokesman and other MPs detailed by the Prime Minister and the President.

There are some ministers and assistant ministers who can easily engage the MPs in meaningful debate rather than the PM taking it upon himself to confront the MPs, some of whom will just be too happy to bring him down.

Remember the days of David Mwenje and Kuria Kanyingi, when Moi used them to derail the political careers of former vice-president Josephat Karanja and former constitutional affairs minister, Charles Njonjo?

In Kenya politics, there will always be charlatans ready to do the dirty work at the behest of their masters.

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The Indefatigable Prime Minister

It seems nothing can slow down Prime Minister Raila Odinga. He lands at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the morning from South Africa, addresses a press conference there, then flies out to the Rift Valley where he attends the funeral of a party supporter. He even does a little politicking on the side.

Later in the afternoon he is back to the city to attend the match between Harambee Stars and Guines. Though he misses the first goal, he is in time to do that now familiar jig when Denis Oliech slams in the second. All this energy can certainly do this country some good.

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The Trouble with Kenya is Leaders

In the just-concluded by-elections, we saw the bad and ugly. In Kilgoris, leaders exposed themselves as the high priests of tribalism. That nonsense about outsiders versus the host community was played out without shame. I may not be an expert in such matters, but some of the pronouncements I heard were nothing less than incitement.

Emerging from tribal violence caused by political campaigns based on ethnicity, one would have thought that people who have been entrusted wit leadership would be more circumspect when it comes to matters of ethnicity. One also would have expected the security apparatus to swing into action and stop warmongers in their tracks. Kilgoris exposed the trouble with this country: its leaders.



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3 Responses to Jerry Okungu: Raila Should Avoid Fighting all Fires

Mariane said...

Jerry you couldn't have said it better!
It is a high time that the Prime minister sat in his office to formulate a way forward to seeing how he can fulfill the promises they gave to Kenyans during the elections.
Time for politicking is over.
Now what we want is serious business and they should all stop dancing to the tunes of the press by giving statements all the time.

Kenya has a long way to go but without proper infrastructure we are doing nothing.

MsemaTruth said...

In 2003 before the MOU tussle, Raila had a diary of weekly achievements,he would publicize to the press. He should adopt that if it is the limelight he is fighting for rather than be a free radical all over the place and nowhere in particular

joshuaaluodo said...

Jerry,the issues you've discussed are real and if taken in by political figures in this sweet country of Kenya the VISION 2030 could be in five years to come.