Raila only opposition aspirant who promises change

Friday March 3 2017

From left: National Super Alliance co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi at Capitol Hill Towers in Nairobi on March 2, 2017. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

From left: National Super Alliance co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi at Capitol Hill Towers in Nairobi on March 2, 2017. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The National Super Alliance (Nasa) figure heads of Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga, and Moses Wetang’ula have been tiptoeing around each other, avoiding eye contact and not saying who among them shall be the presidential candidate.

If you asked me, Odinga is the man. Only Odinga offers real change from Jomo’s son, in political ideology and praxis.

The rest are Uhuru’s political stepbrothers who were chaperoned by retired President Daniel arap Moi, who socialised them into pro-systemic conformity, out of which they seem unable to outgrow.

Musyoka, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula are reactionaries who have previously and repeatedly been readily seduced by the senior Moi’s errand boys to commit political kamikazes supposedly against revolutionary politicians of Odinga’s pedigree, the same Odinga who has been packaged and sold as the political bogeyman of especially the Bantus of central Kenya and Nilotes of the great Rift Valley.

Again, Musyoka and Mudavadi have previously postured towards opposition unity, only to capitulate for reward; Mudavadi in 2002 and 2013, Musyoka in 2007. For shortsighted personal benefits, the two forfeited trust and long-term political relevance, even among their contemporaries.

Now that their little game is up, Musyoka and Mudavadi hope to salvage their political image by hovering around Odinga, not because they believe in what he believes in, but because of a vain hope that Odinga will funnel his rock-solid voter base to them the way he did to Kibaki 15 years ago.

Their hope is nourished by the analytically lazy myth currently circulated by Jubilee supporters that Odinga can never be elected President of Kenya and they are now trailing Odinga like the proverbial hyenas.


They are disappointed that the Odingaphobia that they took part in propagating is turning into Odingaphilia, thanks to his political consistency and capacity for reinvention, traits that the Musyoka-Mudavadi-Wetang’ula triumvirate can only wish for. And although they have notched decades in Kenyan politics, their political curriculum vitae are full of gifts doled out to them by Moi. Yet from the senior Moi, sadly, there had not been handed opportunities or reasons to learn the political virtues of mass mobilisation, of loyalty to colleagues, of political strategy, of consistency in word and deed.

The three have drifted through Kenyan politics as creatures of client-patron machinations of an old order, with little to show for their own labour, but forever hopeful that somehow they will be gifted the presidency in honour of their compliance.

Objectively, Nasa’s best chance in dislodging the UhuRuto team from power is in Odinga, with Musyoka as the better running mate. Odinga and Musyoka have relatively experienced and financially endowed supporters as governors and senators as a bonus. Mudavadi and Wetang’ula have little to offer in numbers – Odinga can get the Luhyia votes without them – and they have more time at other levels to grow their political pedigree. Perhaps Mudavadi can still earn national constituency as Speaker of the National Assembly, Wetang’ula as the Majority Leader in the Senate.

Godwin Siundu teaches at the University of Nairobi.