Raila, Kibaki defy Kalenjin politicians

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga began today a series of tours in the Rift Valley aimed at reconciling warring communities after violence in January left thousands dead.

Kibaki and Raila made the trip in with Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka inspite of protests by Kalenjin politicians that their people were not ready to welcome back the hundreds of thousands evicted from the area.

During the January violence, Kalenjin evicted Kikuyu from their farms and businesses saying that they were reclaiming their ancestral lands. However, it happened that the Kalenjin supported Raila in his presidential bid in last December’s elections while the Kikuyu supported Kibaki. Thus the violence was both ethnic and political. Among the key aspects of the National Accord that created the giant coalition between Kibaki and Raila was the return of persons displaced by the ethno-political violence.

Raila finds himself in an awkward position because as Prime Minister, he is expected to champion the interests of all the country’s ethnic groups. Following violence against the Kikuyu in the Rift Valley, there were reprisal attacks against the Raila’s Luo ethnic group as well as the Kalenjin in the Central Province, Nairobi, Naivasha and Nakuru. Thousands of Luo were forced from their homes and are now camping in football stadia, churches and schools. In Nakuru, the Luo camps are just kilometres away from camps housing Kikuyu evicted from the Rift Valley. Therefore, Raila will have to work hard to ensure his own Luo people return to their homes and businesses as well.

Inhabiting the fertile highlands of the Western Rift Valley, the Kalenjin say their land has been occupied by outsiders. Since 1992, during the Presidency of Daniel arap Moi (himself a Kalenjin) clashes have erupted intermittently as a growing Kalenjin population demands more land for its youth. The ODM politicians opposed to the return of refugees to the Rift Valley do not want to appear as going against communal sentiments.

Moi stooges drive Kenya into ruins

Former President Daniel arap Moi (right) discussing a point with his ministers in this 1999 photo.

When a country has one leader for very many years, trouble is bound to erupt when that particular person leaves office.

The French Revolution is attributed in part to the lengthy reign of Louis XIV. Malaysian politics has been chaotic ever since Dr Mahathir Muhammad left after 22 years as Prime Minister. Indonesia has never stabilized since the fall of the late Suharto in 1998. The Congo is yet to regain its footings with the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997 after 32 years in power.

Kenya has been suffering the same problem since 2002 with the retirement of President Daniel arap Moi after 24 years of office. The country’s political leadership – both in opposition and in government – is confused. The country is rudderless and tottering on the brink of anarchy. There is no direction, only greed, vice and self-centeredness. The people are like lost sheep wondering in the dark crying out for salvation. But alas! Their cries are like the chirping of crickets outside a rich family’s home … One man is to blame for the current mess in Kenya. And that man is Moi.

All the political leaders we have today are nothing more than Moi stooges. Moi created them in his own image with one objective in mind: to protect him and to preserve the status-quo. Moi did not create this people to become innovative or creative or servants of the people. No! Moi created this people to become stupid, greedy, selfish, corrupt and uncaring. There were people that were right-thinking and creative and full of ideas. Moi corrupted them and those who were morally upright were eliminated or forced into exile.

There was a time when Kalonzo Musyoka would not shake hands with the opposition for fear of “contaminating” himself. Kalonzo was so loyal to his mentor that he had a whole district created to provide him with a loyal political base. Even as a presidential candidate last year, Kalonzo refused to criticize Moi and went out of his way to assure Moi of protection. According to the political grapevine, Kalonzo’s campaign was a beneficiary of Moi funds. But on this aspect, he is in plenty of good company.

President Kibaki (right) at a national function with the Chief of General Staff, Jeremiah Kianga.

President Kibaki (right) at a national function with Chief of General Staff, Jeremiah Kianga

President Mwai Kibaki served as Moi’s Vice President for 8 years. At that time, Kibaki said that President Moi’s KANU party was so strong that opposition was useless. In 1990, Kibaki left KANU to form his own Democratic Party which was notorious for its lucklustre nature. By 2002, thanks to a shrinking economy, Moi was so despised that voters gave their votes to Kibaki almost en-masse. Four years later, Kibaki was making deals with Moi. A few months to the 2007 elections, Moi gave Kibaki his endorsement as well as millions in campaign funds.

William ole Ntimama and Kipkalya Kones served their political patron well by evicting opposition voters from the Rift Valley. George Saitoti and Musalia Mudavadi were plucked from academic obscurity, placed in the Treasury, and presided over grand looting of the Central Bank. Infact, the only reason Mudavadi is anything is because his father, the late Moses Mudavadi, was a good friend of the dictator – Moi.

Najib Balala owes his political prominence to Moi. Actually, Balala’s story is quite interesting. Balala was mentored by a Moi court-jester, the late Sharrif Nassir. Moi, being the devious politician he is, groomed Balala to keep Nassir politically occupied. Later on, Balala fell out with Moi and joined Raila Odinga.

Raila Odinga in traditional dress.

Raila Odinga: this man spent so much time and energy fighting Moi that he became the monster he was fighting. Raila Odinga was detained by Moi in extremely atrocious conditions, subjected to extreme torture for his oppositionist leanings in the 1980s. But like the ancient tragedies, Raila became the very thing he was fighting against.

Like Moi, Raila does not tolerate opposition in his backyard. Democracy is a term used when its convenient to please the international community. Like Moi, Raila does not have a political ideology but latches onto popular sentiment for the sake of winning popularity. Like Moi, Raila neither has permanent friends nor permanent enemies (part of ODM campaign funds came from Moi clones such as Joshua Kulei). Like Moi, Raila is a populist prone to impromptu roadside announcements. Like Moi, Raila is more comfortable with the rural peasant than with the urban intelligentsia. Like Moi, Raila uses ethnic and racial prejudices to shore up his political support.

And, again like Moi, Raila would rather work with people he himself has annointed. In Luo Nyanza, majority of Members of Parliament are related to Raila by blood or by marriage. When Musalia Mudavadi decided to run for the presidency last year, Raila went to Musalia’s home in Vihiga and told the crowd that he had instructed Musalia to vie. He did the same thing in Eldoret when William Ruto was a candidate for the presidency. Is it a coincidence that most of the Moi stooges are with Raila?

William Ruto: the latest champion of democracy in Kenya. Moi may not be Ruto’s biological father but he is certainly Ruto’s political godfather. At least, people like Kibaki, Kalonzo and Saitoti had careers of their own before Moi brought them aboard his political academy. Ruto was a nobody before he met Moi. It was Moi that took him and moulded him into who he is today. It should come as no surprise that today, Ruto proclaims himself as leader of the Kalenjin. He is certainly following in the footsteps of his mentor for the Kalenjin leadership.

Ruto thinks that by evicting the Kikuyu from Eldoret, he will be establishing his credentials as protector of his people. Little does he know that he is getting into a trap designed by his political mentor.

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