Zimbabwe Media Criticize Raila: Mr Raila Odinga’s way of ‘doing it’

DEAR Mr Odinga. Please be advised that we take great exception to some of the words you have used in describing our leadership in Zimbabwe, when you know very well that some of those words you use could well be used to describe yourself and your new government.

We shall not repeat everything you have said otherwise we will not be able to make our point clear.

You recently called Zimbabwe Africa’s ‘eyesore’ and an example of ‘how not to do it’. You have also said that ‘disaster is looming in

You made similar statements about Zimbabwe, before the current violence had started around the beginning of April 2008, as if you had some special powers of ‘reading the future’. Everything you predicted has happened in exactly the same way; yet there was no precedent to such election violence in Zimbabwe — at least of that nature.

Today Zimbabwe feels like Kenya in December 2007-January 2008, where bodies, for the first time, are burnt and body parts cut off innocent civilians in the name of politics. We had never seen this kind of violence and level of killing in Zimbabwe and we condemn it unreservedly.

We challenge you to read reports of violence documented on Zimbabwe and you will agree with us that this type of violence is a first in Zimbabwe’s post-independence history.

You have been recently installed as a Prime Minister after almost 2, 500 post-election deaths, violent deaths, in your own country where we saw some of the worst brutality on the African continent in this day and age. Three hundred of your own people died pre-election (before December 2007) — a number that the current violence in Zimbabwe could never match; yet you have the audacity to call Zimbabwe an 'eyesore'.

Mr Odinga, we know that two wrongs don’t make a right, so Zimbabwe is not exonerated from criticism and it should be criticized. But who criticizes Zimbabwe and using what words? The words you have used recently Sir, are not akin to a new leader and whose own country is still reeling from one of the worst violent episodes on the continent.

We are getting increasing concerned and frustrated that you are not using diplomatic channels in criticising Zimbabwe. You will soon be mirroring the utterances of the erstwhile enemies of Zimbabwe, who have closed all diplomatic channels and are now trying to use 'force' to bring change in the couintry. You might as well be representing those countries, and their interests in Zimbabwe, not Kenya.

We do not exactly know what ‘triggered you off’ as a new Prime Minister to dedicate your respectable offices to criticizing Zimbabwe in this manner, when you have the advantage of your 'good offices' to do so. We were hoping that if you had any concerns, as a ‘head of state’ you had the opportunity to visit President Mugabe and speak to him directly. But you chose to use different fora; just like those people who have traditionally been at loggerheads with Zimbabwe.

In this regard, with all due respect, we think this is cowardly. As a ‘head of state’ why you preferred to use the World Economic Forum in Pretoria and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington as platforms for firing ‘insults’ at Zimbabwe, rather than engage the leadership to find common solutions, is not clear. Your silence on Darfur and your own problems at home on these same fora is very concerning.

When you said you are ‘enemy No 1’ in Zimbabwe, you were wrong Mr Odinga. Zimbabwe does not hate you at all. You are not the enemy. Why are you identifying yourself with the enemies of Zimbabwe? Why should Zimbabwe hate you? Or, to rephrase, do you want Zimbabwe to hate you? As a news organsiation, we are concerned by your statements, but hate is a far-fetched word. Afterall, you are an African brother.

We sincerely hope that you do not view your leadership as ‘a way of doing it’ in Africa. Your leadership as Prime Minister is yet to be tested, yet you have the audacity to speak ill about Zimbabwe's leadership.

As we speak ethnic tension in your country is showing no sign of abating and suspicion runs high in your cabinet. We do not know if President Mwai Kibaki shares the same sentiments as you on Zimbabwe. We have only heard your lone voice from your bloated cabinet.

The just-ended by-elections in your country have highlighted continued tensions between the coalition partners and the persistence of ethnic politics.

The coalition that holds your government together is still to be tested. We urge you not to be over-excited by power and start criticizing what you term 'old African leaders'.

We know about the disgruntlement that exists in your party today, and your desire to forgive those who have perpetrated violence in the post-election period which has been criticised by the Roman Catholic prelate Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi.

Many of your allies “have been disheartened by the success of Mr Kibaki’s party – and his Kikuyu ethnic group – in dominating a government conceived as a union of equals,” according to the Financial Times.

Long-standing ethnic grievances over the unequal distribution of land, wealth and power in Kenya will not be resolved by a GNU, and we hope you know that. This, we know, is what triggered the post-election violence, although others have said it was your desire to attain power.

We hope you will not get so overzealous in your new job as to create new enemies for Kenya from old friends. You still have a long way to go before the next election (in 2012). There is still a lot of work to do on constitutional reform, on truth, justice and reconciliation, and on the ever contentious issue of land. These are very delicate areas and before you start presenting yourself as an effective leader, you have to resolve these problems first.


We do not know who you represent in your views Mr Odinga, given that you seem to be distracting world attention from

It would suffice to remind people of what happened to kenya in January this year, to contextulise our concern. Some quotations from the media not so long ago would help:

“An estimated 30 Kenyans of the Kikuyu ethnic group – many of them children – were burned alive after taking shelter from a mob in a church in the western town of Eldoret,” CS Monitor, Jan 3, 2008.

“Ethnic violence continued to spread throughout Kenya on Sunday, with at least 7 people burned to death in their homes in a tourist town and more than 100 people killed in the past four days.” Associated Press Janury 27, 2008.

In one incident, witnesses said at least 7 people and possibly as many as 14 had been burned to death after they were trapped inside their house. Associated Press January 27, 2008.

“On Saturday, hundreds of men prowled a section of the city with iron bars, poisoned swords, clubs, knives and crude circumcision tools. Boys carried gladiator-style shields and women strutted around with sharpened sticks. The police were nowhere to be found. Even the locals were shocked. ‘I've never seen anything like this,’ said David Macharia, a bus driver.” Associated Press Janury 27, 2008.

This will suffice for now.

300 people died in pre-election violence in
Kenya and 2,500 died post election violence. This number, by any measure, dwarfs the 65-70 deaths recorded by the MDC (Tsvangirai) in unclear circumstances, yet you call Zimbabwe an eyesore, without trying to engage the Zimbabwean government as a PM.

We feel that Mr Odinga you still have to prove yourself as a leader and therefore are unqualified to make informed judgments about other leaders. We do not know what advises your judgment.

We urge you to stop the globe-trotting and focus on troubles in Kenya and engage African (Zimbabwean) leaders. We also urge you to let Mr Kibaki sometimes comment on Zimbabwe. He is the president, afterall. We do not even know if he shares the same sentiments as you over Zimbabwe.

We also urge you to reduce the size of your cabinet. We know that cabinet posts in Kenya attract a monthly salary of nearly (US) $18,000 (£9,000). Assistant ministers earn a bit less - just over $15,000. (BBC)

We also know that there are “40 cabinet ministers and 52 assistant ministers, not far short of half the total number of MPs” in your country.

“Ministers and their assistants also get allowances - that adds another $210,000 a month to the bill.

“To add insult to injury, the Kenyan exchequer only claws back a little in tax: only around $3,000 of the ministers' income is treated as taxable income.”

So we know that you spend at least US$1.5million a month on salaries alone — the Kenyan taxpayers’ money. What exactly are you managing in that country Mr Odinga? And couldn’t you use that money for land redistribution and dealing with ethnic divisions in your country? Do you think this is sustainable in the long run?

We have problems in Zimbabwe. We have to deal with them; but we do not need insults from you Mr Odinga. We need help. We did not insult your country or your leadership when innocent people died in Kenya in the name of politics.

We expect you, the new generation of leaders, to be exemplary, not derogatory and divisive.

What lessons are you teaching future generations of leaders?

Is this the best you can come up with in your first months of leadership?

Do you have to exploit every forum to chastise those who make mistakes and castigate your own continent?

The US$13m a year you are about top spend on your cabinet, according to the BBC, is enough to build around 50 new schools in Kenya. So is this not an ‘eyesore’ on the continent? Is this a ‘way of doing it’?

Having 40 permanent secretaries and their staff, adding hundreds of thousands of dollars more to the bill, is not a ‘way of doing it’, neither is it exemplary leadership on a continent that is trying to lift itself from years of foreign domination and extraction of resources.

Mr Odinga, we wonder why you have already been allocated 45 security staff and a fleet of cars to travel in, when you say the situation in Kenya is improving.

We also wonder why “cabinet ministers and their deputies get a minimum of five security personnel and a couple of shiny new cars.”

In a country with an annual per capita income of less than US$400, these statistics are shocking. They are irresponsible. They are an antithesis to development and an embarrassment to the continent, and definitely an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘way of not doing it’.


Sometimes, Mr Odinga, we wonder if you really know the Zimbabwean problem — how it started and how long it took the government to get majority rule. We wonder if you have read the history of our relationship with the ‘wild wild West’. We wonder if you know how many people perished in colonial Rhodesian and how many people sacrificed their lives.

We also wonder if you know how many black Zimbabweans people fought in World War II and were only given 15 Shillings as compensation on return; and how your own people (the Kenyans) contributed to the British Empire in Burma and SE Asia and went back home to fight the same people for freedom. Obviously history is not important to you, Mr Odinga. We believe the world starts in 2008 for you?

We do not say seek retribution; but we say, ‘contextualize problems’ before you are given a ‘High Chair’ at some forum or institute. Have pride in resolving your continent’s problems; not castigating those who came before you. Even Catholicism was proved fallible, remember papal infallibility?

Why can’t Zimbabwe make mistakes without attracting your un-useful comments? Why can’t you take a trip to Zimbabwe and not to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. if you feel Zimbabwe needs urgent attention? Why didn’t you detour to Zimbabwe on your way to, or from Pretoria, where you were attending the World Economic Forum?

Why do you always have to score points by mentioning Zimbabwe — and not providing credible solutions — than by talking about Kenya? Is there not enough trouble in Kenya?

We urge you Mr Odinga, to diplomatically engage the Zimbabwean government.

People are dying in the country and your words are not very helpful to a situation that is out of hand. We all exercised caution when
Kenya was burning. It still is burning today, and we are still exercising caution. We are not getting over-excited. That’s what leaders do — find strategic ways to resolve crises, not attack other leaders.

We do not remember hearing President Mugabe refusing to meet you or criticizing you or Mr Kibaki. We also do not remember you offering to help Zimbabwe. We remember your hugs with opposition leaders soon after your ‘inauguration’ and hugs at the World Economic Forum with Tendai Biti and Jendayi Frazer. Those are more memorable than anything useful you have said or done on ‘really’ resolving the Zimbabwean crisis.

We urge you to clean house before you make any further embarrassing statements about Zimbabwe in your first few months of leadership; and we also urge you to seek diplomatic ways of engaging the Zimbabwean government.

While at it, please also ask the Africa Commission and its splinter organisations and their spokespersons to lead a diplomatic offensive on
Zimbabwe rather than speak from London.

Also please ask Mr Tony Blair to encourage the ‘African Elders’ he currently leads, to use the same methods he used in a more difficult situation in
Northern Ireland, in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis.

Zimbabweans are dying from violence and soberness and diplomacy by leadership is needed; not these divisive by-partisan statements likely to divide a continent that was moving towards a Pan-African integration.




Dipesh Pabari dpinkenya@yahoo.co.uk
Subject: well said indeed
Thu, 19 Jun 2008 14:13:05
To my fellow African who posted on my blog Sukuma Kenya, I could not agree with you more. It is easier for us Kenyans to point the finger elsewhere. Nothing has been resolved in this country. We have the same criminals in government and the same people sitting receiving nice fat paychecks in their respective NGOs pretending to do good for Kenya. Ask any of them to get out and march and there will be a silence, ask them to hold a workshop abour protesting for peace, and the room will be full...

Omugabe Dziva@sanandresano.com
Subject: Look Inward & Look East for Self-development, Zim Patriots!
Thu, 19 Jun 2008 00:48:28
Please, Africans, Rail Odinga does not deserve the time of day. lol

For the sake of power ALONE, this self-hating and self-destructive man collude with the Europeans to mass 'slaughter' African people.

Odinga can speak the propaganda of his European slave masters; because there aren't Kenyan Patriots willing to close him down.

Zimbabweans are way ahead in this regard.
Zim Patriots are magnanimous .

Any self-hating and self-destructive servant and slave of the Europeans WILL pay the price for any increase violence against ordinary Zimbabweans.

Kenya should have patriots who can make Odinga and his slave masters pay for the horrendous crimes against ordinary Kenyans.
Then we bet that Odinga wouldn't be so full of bombast?

By allowing Rail Odinga, to roam freely and the british to continue holding onto choice African lands in Kenya, Kenyans will AGAIN need liberators.

Gwatakwata Mlambo N/a
Subject: Mugabe Bashing
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 22:27:23
The truth is Mr Odinga loves the limelight and he thinks that by bashing President Mugabe in every International fora, he gains more marks. Well he CERTAINLY will get them. He may also be able to divert people's attention from the realities that he has to deal with in Kenya-but for how long. The unfortunate thing is the marks he seeks to gain, are marks allocated by the same people who plundered Africa. The same people who would like Africa to remain an undeveloped continent so that our brothers and sisters can continue to trek northwards to service their economies. The same people who want Africa to remain undeveloped so that the term AID remains part of our vocabulary for ever. Mr Odinga Sir, you should apologise to the people of Zimbabwe for insulting their leadership. Kindly invest more time in cultivating the true friendship between the peoples of Kenya and Zimbabwe, and the fractured relations between the Luo and Kikuyu which you have been the major architect.

Raila, you are our brother and not our enemy. Mugabe is your brother and not enemy. If you do not understand this, then I pity Kenyans including the Luos who revere you.

Tee ngomandiyo@hotmail.com
Subject: n/a
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 15:45:37
Odinga thinks we dont know about the tribal violence that his party was promoting.He thinks he can lecture us about democracy,as far as im concerned there is no democracy in kenya. It is just a country being run by proxys of the west. Odinga we know your connection to the British, who you speak to impress when you criticise Zimbabwe. Who are you anyway. You are a nobody in Africa..A tiny little dot.

Wanja wn.2007@hotmail.com
Subject: Kenya cannot point a finger at Zimbabwe, Honestly!
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 15:35:12
Well said. As a Kenyan working abroad and whereas I do not believe in tribalism, racism or whatever other isms abound, I believe in removing the speck in my eye before bothering about the log in someone else's. The issues mentioned above and so many others the writer has no idea about in Kenya need urgent measures. Poverty levels in the country are astronomical while the honorable members of parliament enjoy monetary gains that are unbelievable in a developing nation. What we have in Kenya right now is a 'time bomb' waiting to explode unless leaders deal with issues in a realistic manner and not having blown up cabinets to 'appease' political parties. The issues in Kenya need to be dealt with once and for all and by leaders who want to see the people of Kenya from whatever tribes or races enjoy independence more than 44 years later! No one chooses which tribe or race to be born into - lets be proud of whoever we are and use our skin, lingua or other differences for the good of all both in Kenya, Zimbabwe and other African countries facing similar issues. Its time Africa is giving the respect it deserves but charity has to begin at home!

enock egamha@yahoo.ca
Subject: we 're not like kenya
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:24:44
mugabe should rule zim for as long has he feels. God bless RG MUGABE

Richard omondi007@yahoo.com
Subject: Why have u not published my comment?
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 13:59:14
I submitted my comment several hours ago in which I raised some flaws in your opinion piece. I am surprised that you have not published it yet. This does not reflect well on your image as an impartial source of news and information. You may not even publish this comment, but at least you have read what I think of you and your opinion piece on Odinga.

Sadhaki Observer n/a
Subject: Odinga has no moral right to criticise Zim
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 13:50:24
We all condone violence - the fact here is Odinga is the least qualified to accuse anyone of formenting violence. He is currently enjoying his premiership post at the expense of thousands of Kenyans he personally incited to engaage in violence so he could get his current title - and guess what he is not even mourning the deaths he sanctioned.

As such, he too is guilty of a much bigger offence than he accuses the zim gvt of. Odinga is singing for his supper from the west - they gave him that position so he has to work for it, unfortunately in a regretable manner.

Odinga aspires to be white - never mind he is as black as five dark nights put together.

BHUDHI MUKOMA dexterbm@gmail.com
Subject: Mugabe a Dictator
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 13:30:25
ZANU PF wants us to believe that we are in this dilema due to the influence of the west. The MDC is not a formation of the west but a grouping of tormrnted masses who dare to speak. If ZANU has the support of the masses why unleash the army machinery on the people. We can't be silent when our brothers are being butchered in the countyside. Why is the police saying its hands are tied when it comes to arresting ZANU thugs.
MUGABE is a DICTATOR, just like his ally MENGISTU. Birds of a feather

Chief Negomo munhumutapamurozvi@yahoo.co.uk
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 10:49:33
We not saying Odinga should not comment,but his comments denotes an il informed person.In as much as he can be an ideal person to comment,the guardian newspaper is questioning his timing and the platform he is using.More to say on the allegations he is fermenting against a legitimate govt that your are saying is guilty of the innocent blood,equaly this disqualifies Mr Odinga to make such deragotory statements about zim.Mr Odinga is equaly stained with blood of over 1500 innocent kikuyus and masai.

We have got situations that are wholesomely suppose to be attracting great interest for Mr Odinga to comment,but he seem to be undermining those simply because his backers are behind the scuffle.Africa has been looted and still continously being plundered by myopic and greedy nations like Britain,US and the like.Why is Mr Odinga not commenting on this.Maybe you do not know,The US is killing and raping civilians in somalia.Somalis have more people who have sought refugee across the globe than zimbabwe.In Mr Odinga's country there could be a million somali refugees and why would Mr Odinga choose to direct his vernom on zim.We blacks we seem to be seriously mentaly corrupted.Its open secret that the blood of civilians was shade in matebeleland.There is absolutely no justification to this,but why do you choose to dwell on this one alone.Are you not aware that Smith equally masacred innocent civilians.I know what you would say,It was war.Was the war against the blacks justfied at all.

So all we are saying is usabvisa chitanda muziso mememwe,tanga nemako.Are you not seing some of the west's actions.Read about severo moto,mann,jonas savimbi,DRC and the liek

Simon Nyirenda tamarasvd@hotmail.com
Subject: Zimbabwe an eyesore
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 07:27:28
Its true Zim is an eyesore a disgrace to Africa. You cant ask Odinga not to comment on the violence taking place in Zimbabwe. If it is bad it is bad. Zanu-Pf is a party full off people who enjoy seeing blood. What happened in the 80's was not blood when people where massacred by Mugabe and his people. Guardian we are watching you try to be impartial.

Chief Negomo munhumutapamurozvi@yahoo.co.uk
Subject: WELL SAID
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 05:34:16
We all know of the masai problems,the mungiki terror,kenyan is rated the country with the largest slums in the world yet we do not have all that in zim.

Kukanganwa chazuro ne hope.The blood of innocent kenyans are is oozing from this bastard's hands.Zim is not an outlaw governement and we do not condone an form of violence despite the fact your friends (MDC) Mr Odinga have long promised the current situation of zim.

Mr Odinga even your father achieved little if not none for the people of Kenya.I have personally attended your rally at Uhuru park and you said more rhetoric than constructive speach.I have witnesed a lot that the Kibaki govt has done in kenya.I am sure you can construct more homes at moja there rather than globe trotting and spreading falsehoods about zim.You are a misguided figure and a power monger

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5 Responses to Zimbabwe Media Criticize Raila: Mr Raila Odinga’s way of ‘doing it’

Anonymous said...

Africans, look at your situation. In the mid-1990s bin Laden declared his global jihad. He started in Kenya. There was a reason for that. In 2006, Raila Odinga ran for President with an agenda for sharia law. He lost, killings ensued until he secured a co-governing post... classic jihad. In 2006, the CIC seized the capital of Somalia, next to Kenya, and since then it has been a breeding ground for al Qaeda and other terrorists. Opposition leaders throughout Africa are going to South Africa for support. Al Qaeda is now incorporating others' battles into their own international jihad. What is going on in Africa is not old tribal conflicts as usual.
If it is any consolation, what is going on in the US isn't politics as usual either, and if we don't all wake up, radical Islam will have achieved its promised goal of world domination.

Anonymous said...

what you must know is that Raila won but was not sworn in thus trouble erapted as we were fighting for our right. that is the cause of the violence in kenya not some dictatorship like Mugabe even our former president Moi was better.
poor zimbabweans will never wake up and send Mugabe home.. what a pity. Bravo Raila tell them even if they dont want to hear.

Anonymous said...

Zimbabwe is full of brainwashed people! How can there be triple digit inflation? What must they have put up with to let it get that bad??? The way to peace is through war sometimes. They have to gain the courage to stand up for themselves against Mugabe before they can even think of others helping them out of their quagmire. And whatever Raila's faults, at least he had the courage to speak the truth when most African leaders (Read Thabo Mbeki) are turning a blind eye and aiding in the murder of thousands of innocent Zimbabweans!!!

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