HENRY MAKORI: Why Uhuru won’t declare ‘Raila Tosha’

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga shake hands at Harambee House on March 9, 2018/ COURTESY


President Uhuru Kenyatta says the presidency should be rotational, not a preserve of two tribes. Does that sound like endorsing anyone? His handshake partner, ODM leader Raila Odinga, supports this arrant nonsense. Tribes don’t become President in Kenya.

The drunken, divisive rant has only fuelled anger against Uhuru among Kenyans, particularly the Kikuyus and the Kalenjins. Of course the Luo Nation is excited. They have been endorsed to rule Kenya. Ha, ha, ha!

The outburst makes some sense, though. The 2022 succession has become complicated. Or, likely, that was the plan from the start as Raila was being neutered. Big Question for the deep state is how to offload Raila after the handshake. The ruBBIsh will certainly flop.

Forget past elections. Truth is, Raila is unelectable in 2022 and the deep state knows this pretty well. But they must handle it carefully, or the stone throwing, burning of tires and kung’oa reli will resume.

Raila is ageing. His much-trumpeted democratic credentials are an ancient tale in the ears of Kenya’s largely youthful electorate concerned about jobs, poverty and getting ahead.

ODM’s (meaning Raila’s) national constituency is shrinking fast.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi is the latest Pwani bigwig to join the growing chorus for a regional party, rejecting parties led by outsiders. Kingi simply buckled under the intense pressure of shifting Coast politics, until now an ODM stronghold. Kwale’s Salim Mvurya, who led the ODM massacre in Msambweni by-election, will be the new Pwani kingpin. ODM deputy party leader Hassan Joho, who is also the Mombasa governor, is isolated.

Count out Eastern. When Watermelon — Kalonzo Musyoka — attempted to read a presidential speech at the funeral of Machakos Senator Kabaka in the presence of DP William Ruto last month, the mourners voted with their feet. With Mr Moneybags, Johnson Muthama gone, Raila has no one to sell him in Ukambani. Maybe he could try wooing Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu.

Nairobi is, at best, a toss-up; a battleground no one can fully claim. The DDM leader is anathema in Central. And the Rift Valley. And now Northeastern, which has fallen under the Hustler spell. Western is crowded, no longer an ODM zone.

That leaves only Luo-Nyanza as Raila’s sure stronghold. Whenever Uhuru wants to excite the former Prime Minister, he lands in Kisumu to “tour development projects”.

Raila has lost not just territory but also critical intellectual capital. How can cows (followers) such as Junet Mohaned, Suna East MP and Minority Whip in the National Assembly, and that ODM petty secretary general with the intellect of a weevil Edwin Sifuna, or the gaggle of Luo-Nyanza praise-singers surrounding Baba deliver him victory at the ballot?

Raila’s only remaining relevance is to, once again, say someone else Tosha! He has risked nearly everything to legitimise Uhuru. Will the President risk everything to endorse him? Nope.

Makori is a journalist and he first published the article on his Facebook Page

HENRY MAKORI: BBI is Raila’s one way ticket to political oblivion

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