Muthui Kariuki: Raila’s stand on Mau made his political star brighter - The Star

For the first time in his long and chequered political career; Prime Minister Raila Odinga has clearly demonstrated that he is capable of transcending politics and seeing the big picture.

Raila's principled stand on the Mau saga is in great contrast with the narrow and atavistic posture of the Rift Valley political leaders.

Raila has finally achieved states-man status and his political adversaries in Rift Valley, led by Agriculture minister William Ruto, have displayed their hopelessly cynical and devious characters.

Even former President Moi has put both his feet in his mouth on environmental matters.

Rift Valley voted for Raila overwhelmingly in the 2007 Presidential polls and all expectations would ordinarily be that the PM would do everything possible not to alienate this single most numerous bloc of voters barely 36 months to the next presidential contest.

But the Mau issue is an extraordinary matter and the PM has admirably risen to the occasion and shown himself to be an extraordinary politician and a genuine leader.

Raila should take the Mau issue to the next level by making it clear that the views espoused by the current crop of Rift Valley leaders are not necessarily the views of the people of the region.

Come 2012, a very large number of these MPs making such a sorry spectacle of themselves before media cameras will be voted out. They will undoubtedly fall as a direct result of the Mau issue.

The fact that Raila is willing to take such a huge political risk with such a large vote bloc should signal to all thinking Kenyans that it is not business as usual concerning the Mau Forest. It is not every day that a leader of the PM's stature and political savvy goes alienating entire vote blocs.

Unlike the motley crew led by Ruto, Raila has examined all the facts and options about the Mau and reached the inescapable conclusion: it is one of the country's foremost water towers and also serves the region, with implications that reverberate all the way to Egypt. What's more, the planet is in the grip of climate change precisely because of adverse practices such as settling in the Mau.

Raila knows that painful decisions have to be taken over Mau and is prepared to take the consequences.

I do not hold any brief for Raila and for those who care to know, the Prime Minister and myself, except in 2002 when he made his famous "Kibaki Tosha" declaration, have been on different sides of the political divide.

Irrespective of that, I do submit that Raila has outgrown the " Luo tribal chief" tag and is now ready to lead this country.

Go Raila Go! We are behind you and you have our votes.

Kariuki is a PR consultant.

This entry was posted in , , . Bookmark the permalink.