Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The anti-Raila canon

Opposition to a Raila Odinga presidency has been elevated to a religious precept by every cat and its uncle in the ruling alliance. It doesn't really matter that the contradictions of an Odinga presidency are plain to see, the Jubilation is living in a permanent state of crisis, fearing that Mr Odinga is the schoolyard bully out to take their lunch money and send them home screaming for their nannies.

If there has been one organising principle of all the streams that brought Messrs Kenyatta and Ruto together is that the Government of Kenya must never fall into the hands of Mr Odinga and his acolytes. The canon of the anti-Odinga religion has it that Mr Odinga is a communist, the son of communist, with communist contacts and, after the successful socialisation of the Kenya Chemical and Food Corporation (better known as the Kisumu Molasses Plant), socialistic intentions for the hundreds of thousands of acres of land that Messrs Kenyatta, Ruto and the members of their faith owned. One of the pillars of this strange religion is that it doesn't matter how bad things get between its co-religionists, none of them will become an apostate and sing Mr Odinga's praises, even when he deserves the praise, as when he offered to testify on behalf of the accused at the Hague in the strange affair over the post-election violence, PEV.

There is a liturgy to this religion and a gospel that is spread by the religions clerics, some of whom have the gift of oratory that can paint Mr Odinga as the monster they fervently wish their vote-banks to see him as. It always comes as shock to the penitent in this religion when they finally meet Mr Odinga in the flesh and it turns out that he has the same desires that they do: peace, prosperity and national pride. The coup-plotting traitor who wants to drive the Kikuyu and Kalenjin into the Indian Ocean turns out to be a man who believes strongly in a national character and identity that binds all Kenyans, believes that private property must be protected from a rapine state, believes that the rule of law applies to one and all without fear or favour, believes in fairness regardless of ethnic or lingusitc background, and has suffered at the hands of both the first and second presidents and has been betrayed and demonised by the third and fourth.

When the scales fall from their eyes, they realise that while Mr Odinga s not the ogre that their false prophets have declared him to be, that he is too old and too set in his ways to rescue Kenya from the dire political and economic straits it finds itself. Mr Odinga is St John the Baptist to Kenya's true political liberator: he has led the way to a more equitable and prosperous nation but he is likely never to the one to bring Kenya to its true potential. In their deepest hearts, they know this to be true. But as in all religions, none wants to be excommunicated and labelled an apostate; their faith sustains their irrational paranoia regardless of the terrible consequences on their mental, social , economic and political well-being.

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