Friday, October 31, 2014

Put him out to pasture.

It is dead. All we are waiting for is the funeral. The Orange Democratic Movement is dead. Raila Odinga knows this to be true. Magerer Langat found out the hard way yesterday, Thursday 30 October 2014. (He'll be needing a new set of tyres for his humongous SUV, too.) From the Men In Black Incident to the Magerer Langat Fiasco, ODM has done everything in its considerable repertoire of skill sets to bring itself low. It doesn't get any lower than having the Jubilee Alliance's garrulously inarticulate members hold a press conference in order to plead for government intervention in the affairs of the ODM.

It is difficult holding your own when you don't have anything to hold. Raila Odinga is fast coming to realise that his all-in gambit was a foolhardy errand. He has to telegraph his intentions through Moses Wetangula, Jakoyo Midiwo, Otieno Kajwang' - and ODM's Nairobi's MCAs. "Party leader" may sound grand to the Great Unwashed, but the reality of the title is that it means diddly squat to the men with real power. They will not listen to you. They will not pay obeisance to you. They will not fawn and genuflect. They will treat you increasing;y like a skunk: delicately enough that you don't raise a stink, but yet at arms length because you almost certainly will. "Party leader" is a political figleaf for political irrelevance.

The slow decline of a political colossus continues. Mr Odinga single-handedly re-branded opposition politics in 2005-2007 (Orange v Banana, Round 1). But he failed to grow out of it, bitching all through his coalition with Mwai Kibaki. Instead of building up his political leadership credentials, he reinforced his image as a hard-headed political anarchist out to shake things up. He surrounded himself with equally fish-out-of-water flunkies and advisers. It all ended in tears. He couldn't even be bothered to establish a credible machinery to fight the 2013 general election; he couldn't be bothered to set up a war room to troubleshoot the political, legal and constitutional problems that the general election brought up; and he couldn't be bothered to instil discipline in his political troops leading to the best opposition performance for a long time but the worst outcome since 1992. 2013 was Mr Odinga's to lose; he managed to do just that. Twice. First at the ballot; then in the Supreme Court.

It is only then that his leadership flaws became painfully apparent. He vacillated for so long over whether a party member would step down for him in the National assembly or Senate and ended up pissing off potential sacrificial lambs into hardening their hearts against him. He couldn't decide whether his would be a loyal opposition or it would be a flame-throwing party of "No!" He couldn't even force a credible party poll. Then he pushed off to the US for three months without leaving a management team in place to take care of the nuts and bolts of political leading. Now his Okoa Kenya gambit is being painted by Kanini Kega of all jokers as the last feeble grasps at the brass ring of national power sharing and he does not have a credible riposte to the allegation. He is done. He is a has been. It is time that Ababu Namwamba and his fellow restless and rebellious members did the merciful thing and stuck political knives in his back right out there on the senate floor. It is time Mr Odinga was put out to pasture.

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