According to George Oraro, CORD’s lead attorney, he “is confident of a strong case” after filing the petition challenging Jubilee’s victory in the just-concluded presidential elections. In part, CORD is accusing the IEBC of negligence and failure to conduct free and fair elections.
I am not a lawyer nor do I have access to the information CORD’s legal brain trust has pertinent to their case but accusing a government bureaucracy of negligence and failure to perform its functions fairly and effectively i.e. oversee a “fair” and “free” election is akin to accusing high-powered Kenyans of being corrupt, the US/West of being hypocritical or Uhuru of being the beneficiary of ill-gotten gains – land!
To quote my ten-year old son, “dad…..square duh!”
Let me offer the following:
• Bureaucracies by their very nature are ponderous, inefficient, and indeed negligent! The question for CORD is whether or not Kenya’s institutions have matured enough to independently deal with the claims of inefficiency and fairness without political interference and influence. Even more important is whether Kenyans have matured enough from the ugliness of 2007/2008 to respect the verdict of the High Court.
• Transparency International ranks Kenya as the most corrupt country in the former East African Community and the fourth most corrupt country in the regional development organization IGAD. Two of the eight countries in the organization – S. Sudan and Djibouti are unranked, the former having gotten its independence in 2011 and the latter in 1977 compared to Kenya that become independent in 1963!
• The US and the West long ago patented hypocrisy!
• The president-elect is the beneficiary of vast tracts of land his father amassed legally and illegally!
As much as I did not want the president and vice-president of the country of my birth facing charges at the International Criminal Court, Kenyans have spoken and the majority voted for two people facing charges of crimes against humanity. I believe that we get the leadership we deserve: The majority that voted for the Uhuru and Ruto ticket have the leadership they wanted AND deserve.
Which brings me to Raila Odinga.
Given the vote count put forth by the IEBC, it looks like Raila fought the good fight and lost. That is the reality of the just-concluded elections. Democracy can be torturous and as the late British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill is rumored to have said, “(I)t, democracy, is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” Be that as it may and like they say stateside “It is what it is.” Raila lost the elections the complaints filed with the High Court notwithstanding.
Depending on the High Court’s ruling on CORD’s petition, the numbers (votes) as they currently stand favor Uhuru: 6,173,433 vs. 5,340,546 – a gap of 832,887 votes. The other six candidates (Musalia, Kenneth, Dida, Karua, Kiyiapi and Muite) garnered a combined total of 707,064 votes, one hundred and twenty-five thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three (125,823) votes less than the difference currently separating Uhuru and Raila. The hard numbers favor Uhuru. Raila would have to get ALL the votes cast for the six candidates PLUS an additional 125,824 to overcome Uhuru’s current total. I honestly do not see that happening. Given the voting pattern displayed by Kenyans on March 4, I can see the majority of Musalia’s vote going to Raila and those of Karua, Kenneth and Muite going to Uhuru. The two front-runners would split the votes of Dida and Kiyiapi. The end result would be Uhuru with 6,349,598 votes vs. 5,824,527 for Raila: A 478,153 margin of victory for Uhuru. To quote former US President Bill Clinton, “the arithmetic just does not add up” for Mr. Odinga. Damn the tyranny of numbers! This article does not delve into why the 50%+1 voted the way they did nor does it challenge the veracity of the final votes, It accepts both the totals of the vote and their accuracy.
Given the reality of the numbers as they currently stand, it is my hope that Raila becomes what he has been his entire political life: The political opposition, albeit a loyal and constructive one, to Uhuru’s government. It is my hope that RAO offers, indeed mentors those aspiring to become the next generation of political and civic leaders in Kenya. To quote the current Chief Justice Willy Mutunga: “(G)iven the crisis of political leadership in Africa, and the burning quest for alternative political leadership on the continent, Raila Odinga…provides an interesting case study …and food for serious thought on both issues.” (Babafemi Badejo, Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan Politics, Back of book).
This a role Raila should embrace regardless of the outcome of the petition. Kenya needs an effective and respected counter-weight to Kenya’s “masters of impunity” of which I hate to say but Uhuru is one! It is Jomo Kenyatta, the president-elect’s father who perfected the art of co-option, demonization and assassination of political opponents in the nascent “democracy” that was Kenya in the 60s (David Lamb, The Africans, pp. 63, Colin Leys, Underdevelopment in Kenya, pps. 235-236). It was also Mzee who set the stage for the current animus between Kenya’s tribes by playing them against one another in a colonialist-like master stroke of “divide-and-conquer”? (Michela Wrong and John Githongo, It is our turn to eat, pp. 50) It was Mzee who turned on Jaramogi even after the latter told the Brits that release of Mzee from detention was a pre-condition for continued talks toward Kenya’s independence? Oginga Odinga, Not Yet Uhuru: An Autobiography, pps. 155-156).
Given what transpired between Uhuru and Mudavadi during the run-up to the March 4 elections, methinks it is safe to say that Uhuru learnt his politics from two of the best, his father Mzee and his father’s vice-president and former president Daniel Arap Moi. It is combination of the Machiavellianism of the president-elect, the charges he faces at the ICC, the kshs. 9.2Billion “computer error, typing error or whatever” under his watch as Minister for Finance, the building sycophancy around the president-elect and the adage “the fruit does not fall far from the tree” that creates the crisis of political leadership the current CJ alludes to and makes the need for Raila in Kenya’s political scene extremely pressing, indeed vital.
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