A self-imposed news-media blackout has left me bereft of credible news -- Twitter is not a credible alternative -- of the general election or the candidates that wish to tug at our political heartstrings for our "Xs". I had heard that Abduba Dida was trying his luck a second time. For a former teacher you would think he would be familiar with the adage "lightning doesn't strike in a bottle twice". Then there was Dr Ekuru Aukot whom I remember was the executive director of the Committee of Experts that drafted the Harmonised Draft Constitution that Kenyans ratified in August 2010. Do you have any idea what he has been doing since the referendum -- apart from campaigning for the presidency?
This has been the case for the past fifteen years: if Raila isn't involved, somehow, with the general election, then the election is meaningless. Mr Odinga made it Kibaki's presidency in 2002 -- and denied Uhuru Kenyatta his first bite at the presidential apple. Mr Odinga made it Kibaki's nightmare when he denied Kibaki a new constitution in 2005. Mr Odinga was cheated of his first bite at the presidential ballot in 2007 -- or so one would be led to believe by Mr Odinga's legions of supporters. And because Mr Odinga was the force behind the political ferment in 2007, Mr Kenyatta sat the general election out, lending Mr Kibaki his support instead. In 2013, it was Mr Odinga who almost upset Mr Kenyatta's applecart -- until the Supreme Court told him to can it. In 2017, is Mr Odinga's Joshua Story that has Mr Kenyatta's minions all agog with apoplectic rage.
Thus, from 2002 general elections have always been about Mr Odinga and his allies on one side, and some other anti-Raila on the other. Mr Dida is the only one who ever made a big enough impression in 2013 to be memorable mostly because he was not the anti-Raila candidate so much as the comic relief candidate who everyone secretly respected. He had a personality that captured the popular underdog vibe that is crucial to winning votes, if not elections. He wasn't as self-entitled as the other also-rans. He should have left it at that.
Dr Aukot and his fellow-travellers in the short political bus don't have Mr Dida's verve. They are colourless, humourless and about as inspiring as watching mud-brown paint dry. They may be well-meaning but that is not enough. They may have bright ideas but ideas these days are a dime-a-dozen. What they are not is Raila Odinga. They re not even caricatures of what we have come to idolise as Raila Odinga. They are just -- how do I say this in a patois even they can understand? -- meh!