A Digital Essay by Onyango Oloo in Mombasa, Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The recent traffic snarl up in Nairobi triggered by the Ocampo Six so called “home coming" for the first half of April 11th was so severe that I was able to compose half of this digital essay while trapped in a Double M bus along Jogoo Road. I had left my Eastlands abode just beyond the Buru Buru neighbourhood two hours previously and here I was, not even past the ageing City Stadium. On both sides of Jogoo Road, Citi Hoppa, KBS, Double M matatu manyangas and minibuses croaked, choking and coughing in a snail pace unsure if they would reach their respective destinations before the Second Coming of Christ.
The second half is being keyboarded a couple of days after the Uhuru Park event in the breezy, if somewhat humid milieu of Mombasa where I am on a professional assignment.
By the way, I never made it to the city centre on that Double M bus on that Monday. When we finally reached Muthurwa, the traffic was so bad that we were all ordered to disembark as the bus turned round to go back where it came from!
I had to trek to downtown Nairobi on foot.
Considering how much it had contributed to my travel travails, I considered it my duty to look for a television beaming the Uhuru Park event live to follow it keenly.
Soon, I was reunited with the Citizen channel where I heard a Muslim cleric predict that the fourth Kenyan president would emerge from the Ocampo Six while, not to be outdone, a Christian cleric compared Uhuru, Ruto and Sang (or was it Muthaura) to the biblical Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego and how the holy Kenyan-born Ocampo trio were flung to the Hague den of lions.
Among the first camera shots from the Uhuru Park venue was a close up of Agriculture Minister Dr. Sally Kosgei, a long time confidante and ideological aide of former President Daniel arap Moi.
I ogled my former lawyer Kiraitu Murungi, the Mvita MP and ODM Pentagon member Najib Balala, VP Kalonzo Musyoka, former MPs Maina Kamanda and Betty Tett to name just a few on hand to trumpet the arrival of the so called G7 alliance of right wing Kenyan politicians.
When the bling blinged Madaraka MP Mike Sonko was called to the stage, the crowd went berserk-in this Kenya of ours where suspected drug dealers are treated like rock superstars. He went on to talk about rotten oranges, insulting some people’s mothers in the process while dishing out his Safaricom mobile number to the youth advising them to call HIM, rather than the Minister for Immigration if they needed to acquire IDs. He concluded by calling on his “mother” Karua to cross over to the Uhuru/Ruto camp. Sonko was followed by another suspected drug dealing MP, also from NARC-Kenya, William Kabogo. WhenWilliam K intoned “Harambee”, the crowd roared back “Uhuru!- the same Kenyatta Jr. he had locked horns with during the Juja by elections when Kabogo trounced Uhuru sidekick George Thuo.
The ridiculous thing was that at various points, the same crowd was extremely confused of what to say to the “Harambee!” call.
Some said “Chungwa!” (and you could tell that they were Wiper Kalonzo’s supporters); others said “Nyayo!” (the die hard Moi era KANU holdouts) while others screamed “Ruto! ” and “Uhuru!”
Noticing this collective befuddlement, Ferdinand Waititu the Embakasi MP who was doing the honours as the MC, helpfully suggested that the response should be “PAMOJA!”
Moyale MP Mohamed Ali, who is actually ODM’s Deputy Secretary General, loudly read every line of the now infamous fake ODM letter castigating his boss, Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o.
ODM Vice-Chair and Dujis MP Aden Duale from the former North Eastern province was on hand to blast his own Party Leader, Raila Odinga, using abusive language so strong as to make the PNU crowed go gaga delirious climaxing into an orgasmic frenzy. Hitler would have been proud of these choice epithets of hate speech.
Musikari Kombo, Bifwoli Wakoli and especially former Budalangi MP Richard Wanjala as part of the (former) Western Province choir said that the enemy was Raila Odinga who was the instigator of ethnic violence and that ODM stood for ”One Dangerous Man.”
Ali Mwakwere, Naomi Shabaan, Shakila Abdalla and other members from the Coast were not to be left out in the Agwambo Hate Fest.
It was not long before people like Kiema Kilonzo unleashed their war cries, puncturing the hypocrisy of the so called “peaceful prayer meeting”. One of the Hague tourists, Johnstone Muthama boasted that as a “real man” he gave Miguna Miguna a “technical knock out” at the venue of the ICC hearings before ripping directly into Prime Minister Raila Odinga once again comparing the Ocampo Six to the Kapenguria Six.
Sam Ongeri dutifullly led the Nyanza chorus on stage introducing Dr. Machage, George Nyamweya, Wilfrid Ongui, Jimmy Angwenyi, Omingo Magara, my name sake Onyango Oloo from Kisumu Town East, and PDP head honcho Nyarangi before passing the anti-Raila relay baton to ODM politicians from the Rift Valley ranting and raving against their Party Leader in a rally organized by ODM’s most rabid detractors.
It sounded eerily like a replay of those blood curdling 2007 PNU shrieks.
Earlier in the morning of April 11, 2011, I had watched on telly, with bemusement the triumphant re-entry of the Two Musketeers, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto emerging from JKIA’s VIP Lounge to the ululations of their vociferous and easily excitable supporters.
Despite his ubiquitous absence from the April 11th rally/prayer meeting it was patently obvious that Daniel arap Moi’s spirit suffused every crevice, every nook and every cranny of the history drenched Uhuru Park.
To my mind, what was NOT happening at the April 11th Uhuru Park so called “prayer meeting” was the crowning of Jomo Kenyatta Junior as the post-Kibaki King of Kenya or the anointing of William Samoei Ruto as the Crown Prince and head of state in waiting.
Despite the chest thumping about a new party being launched, what Kenyans were witnessing was the peddling of a mere retread of a very tired set of political tyres.
Why do I say this?
I will answer with a series of rhetorical questions:
1. What is common between Dr. Sally Kosgei and Uhuru Kenyatta?
2. What is common between William Ruto and Najib Balala?
3. What is the connection between Zakayo Cheruyoit and Aden Duale?
They are all, politically speaking, the OFFSPRING of Daniel arap Moi.
This shared ideological parentage cuts across region and religion; age and gender, ethnicity and educational status.
When, a decade or so ago Moi boasted of KANU ruling for one hundred years, he was NOT yodeling idly.
Do the math:
KANU was the ruling party between 1963 and 2002. Moi’s former Vice President and fellow life member of KANU, Mwai Kibaki took over in 2003 and from 2004 has been co-ruling openly with KANU. In the 2007 elections, Uhuru Kenyatta, then KANU Chairman, officially abandoned his post as Leader of the Opposition in parliament to campaign vigorously for the re-election of Mwai Kibaki. In 2008, one of Moi’s Crown Princes, Kalonzo Musyoka rushed to the rescue of Kibaki’s discredited civilian coup junta. Most significantly, Kenyans remember Daniel arap Moi himself hitting the stumps for Kibaki during the 2007 electoral hysteria.
All these moves had one objective:
To defend and consolidate the political power, economic clout and ideological hegemony of the elitist status quo which had its bedrock in the decades old tyranny of the KANU dictatorship.
Wily despots know how to adapt to stay ahead of the curve. Moi-KANU was able to “win” multi-party elections in 1992 and 1997 through corruption, skulduggery, tribal divide and rule stratagems, open state terror, covert security intelligence operations and infiltrating the fledgling opposition forces. In 2002, upon realizing that KANU could no longer rule in the old way, they simply crossed over to the corridors of NARC power and soon ensconced themselves comfortably as partners at the helm, knowing that through Mwai Kibaki, KANU’s influence would still be felt.
During the 2010 referendum on the constitution, contingents of the old order cleverly divided themselves into four teams working in tandem, even when they appeared, at the veneer to be locked in mortal combat. From one extreme you had the NO forces led by Moi and William Ruto; you had the waffling Water Melon fifth columnists epitomized by Kalonzo Musyoka and then you had the right wing lukewarm Yes wing led by Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta.
Despite their seemingly discordant positions they were united in one determination- to preserve the privileges of the ancien regime whichever way the vote went. As expected, millions of Kenyans overwhelmingly voted YES and that is when the Right Wing Yes forces led by Mwai Kibaki swung into action with their opening volley being the infamous invitation of Sudan’s Omar el Bashir to attend the August 27th promulgation of the constitution followed by the now rescinded illegal Presidential appointments. Kalonzo Musyoka’s quixotic and brainless shuttle diplomacy to try and shut down the ICC trials of Muthaura, Ali, Uhuru, Ruto and Co. Ltd was the next step in the ploy. The putrid ethnic Railaphobia vomited at rowdy and raucous rallies before the early April dates at the Hague was a continuation of that strategy of KANU recharging its age old batteries.
The April 11th Uhuru Park event was nothing more than the platform for the official relaunch of KANU for the purposes of consolidating its power come 2012.
Of course we know that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto had previously ballyhooed the birth of an allegedly “new political party””as their conduit for their "grand march to State House".
But to paraphrase Jesus Christ, who Ruto is fond of quoting, what we are seeing is just old KANU changaa being poured into a new political kube so that can wananchi can be intoxicated by the Mututho approved potent brew (apologies to my non-Kenyan bloggers reading this paragraph: you have to be an indigene to get the cultural Kenyanisms).
All were all ears for the announcement of the “new party”.
In the end, nothing.
The mask had dropped.
Mzalendo Kibunjia and his NCIC sleuths should have no trouble at all collecting and collating evidence of hate speech from this so called “peaceful prayer rally”, which also included a surprising dose of anti-white xenophobic tirade.”
If the organizers of the April 11th Hate Crusade expected to win media and public accolades for their show of FARCE then they must be slightly disappointed by now.
The day after the event, ALL the leading dailies lambasted the rally in no uncertain terms.
The Standard called it an Anti-Raila Crusade; the Nation started its scathing editorial on the front page while the Star called on the organizers to ”avoid falsehoods in political debate”.
The letters to the editor columns were flooded by irate readers furious at the undue media coverage glorifying accused criminals as heroes.
An internet based petition has been launched appealing for a total news blackout on the Ocampo Six.
Somebody from Mandera chimed in, aghast at the fact that hunger and drought in northern Kenya was running a distant third to the obsession with Ruto, Uhuru, Muthaura, Sang, Ali, Kosgey and Co. Ltd.
All the same, the astounding makeover and rehabilitation of Ruto by the PNU back room boys is as dramatic as it is opportunistic.
In the first half of 2008, the Eldoret North MP was their Enemy Number One. This was back in the days when the Agikuyu elite was accusing William Ruto of being the chief instigator of an alleged genocidal campaign to wipe out members of Kenya’s largest tribe from the Rift Valley region. At that time they were quite vociferous in demanding that Ruto and his ODM acolytes be hauled to the Hague to answer to charges of heinous crimes against humanity. Today, PNU is the biggest saxophone blaring the innocence of Ruto. Yesterday when the Chief Magistrate acquitted Ruto, Kulei and Mwaita of fraud charges, the same PNU machine shepherded boisterous Nyakinyua Agikuyu dancers to gyrate and ululate outside the Nairobi Law Courts. It is just a matter of time before William Samoei Ruto is catapulted back to cabinet to bolster the PNU wing in much the same way Kalonzo Musyoka salvaged Kibaki’s civilian coup junta after the fractious, bitterly contested 2007 presidential polls.
I consider William Ruto to be among the most intelligent Kenyan politicians on the scene today. That is why I am baffled as to why he cannot see through the naked PNU power plot with Uhuru Kenyatta as the centre piece and Ruto as a sideshow and dangling carrot. Surely the Eldoret North MP must know that the Central Kenya power barons are not about to pass the baton to one of the most vilified figures in their Agikuyu social base. Surely Ruto knows that there is no way he is going to be declared the PNU presidential candidate with Kenyatta Jr. on the undercard. Within months I predict, the irreconcilable contradictions between the Kalenjin and Agikuyu elite will burst out in the open with dangerous ramifications in the 2012 election year.
But let us leave that aside for the moment.
The other big story coming out of the April 11th Uhuru Park event is the following:
THE DEATH OF ODM.
I can already hear the cat calls from my friends in the Orange Democratic Movement:
Alarmist! Traitor! Appeaser! Liar!
I will let the heckling die down a bit before I proceed to explain myself.
Can I go on now?
As I was saying, the last stake was driven into the heart of ODM at that KANU revival rally at Uhuru Park.
Why do I say this?
When you have one of the Deputy Leaders of ODM; two members of the ODM Pentagon; one of the Vice-Chairmen of ODM; the Deputy Secretary General of ODM and more than half of ODM’s elected members of parliament showing up to denounce their own party and more specifically, their Party Leader who happens to be one of the Co-Principals of the Grand Coalition Government, then it is pretty obvious that there is no party unity; no party cohesion; no party discipline and consequence one is staring at an empty shell, an apparition.
According to some very credible sources within ODM, the party lost a key part of its old Rift Valley stronghold and cannot really count on sections of northern Kenya. The source clarified that this was in reference to the Kalenjin dominated counties of the North and South Rift rather than the whole of the old Rift Valley province because the Maasai sections are still firmly within ODM.
The death of ODM is obviously bad news for the majority party in the country.
But paradoxically, this is the BEST NEWS that could have happened to Raila Odinga at this point in time.
Is Onyango Oloo DRUNK???!!!
Of course not.
Once again, let me explain myself.
I remember writing a position paper for ODM way back in October 2005, at the height of the first referendum campaign. I argued that the leaders of ODM had started ON THE WRONG FOOTING. I questioned why progressive democrats like Raila Odinga and Anyang’ Nyongo were seeking common cause with opportunists and die hard KANU stalwarts like Kalonzo Musyoka, William Ruto, Dalmas Otieno and others. I remember being met with a palpable stony hostile silence as if I had urinated in church during a packed wedding ceremony.
Nevertheless I believe time has vindicated my initial skepticism from six years ago.
I am today, in April 2011, calling upon Raila Amolo Odinga to do EIGHT THINGS WITHIN THE NEXT THREE MONTHS:
1. Jettison the KANU crowd in whatever partisan shape or ethnic form they come in. Some of them are in Nyanza, Western, Central as well as the Rift Valley and northern Kenya and the Coast. He should consider those who have decamped to PNU as GOOD RIDDANCE OF BAD RUBBISH. Use the upcoming ODM elections to bring in new blood-even if it means losing many parliamentary seats before 2012. This will prove to be only a temporary set back.
2. Revert back to his ORIGINAL power base- the left leaning national democratic forces consisting of tried and tested Kenyan patriots. Some of these veterans of the democratic struggle are militant nationalists; some of them are sincere liberal democrats; others are consistent social democrats while some of us are unabashed Marxist-Leninists. We have endured the dungeons of Kamiti, Naivasha, Shimo la Tewa not to forget the water logged cells of Nyayo House with Raila Odinga and his comrades. We started fighting for multi-party democracy long before it became fashionable and most of us were NOT dreaming of ministerial flags and parliamentary perks. In fact, most of us are very far from such superficial trappings of power and privilege.
3. Avoid using particular individual politicians to “deliver” their ethnic constituencies. Najib does not represent the Swahili, Arab or Mijikenda vote in Mombasa. Omingo Magara does not equal the Abagusii. Mohamed Ali is not representative of the Borana or the Upper Eastern communities. And yes William Ruto is NOT the king of the Kalenjin. Instead use the precepts in our new constitution to appeal to KENYANS, irrespective of ethnicity, region, religion, gender, age ability/disability.
4. Work with progressive members from the so called PNU territory to create a democratic beachhead in that part of the country. I have been speaking to my Tharaka, Imenti, Chuka, Tigania, Nyambene, Embu, Ndia, Muranga, Kiambu, Nyeri, Kinangop, Nyahururu friends, to name just a few who are as fed up with the ethnic chest thumping by some of the chauvinistic politicians from the Central Kenya, Meru, Embu and Central Rift regions as millions of other Kenyans from other parts of the country. In this connection, Raila Odinga should try very hard to forge alliances with people like Martha Karua, Kilemi Mwiria, Peter Kenneth, Gitobu Imanyara and other progressive voices. I am aware that some of this is already underway but more can and should be done.
5. Launch a National Democratic Movement from the grass roots which transcends the narrow and parochial confines of the existing but crumbling ODM/PNU/NARC-Kenya/FORD-Kenya and ODM-Kenya fault lines. Of course in a separate aside, it is the task of the Kenyan Left to steer the ideological direction of this proposed national movement.
6. Make implementation of the constitution the corner stone of Raila Odinga’s public pronouncements from henceforth. There should be earnest and urgent attempts to seek common ground with the politically conscious and democratic sections of Kenyan civil society.
7. Do NOT ignore the resurgence of the Kenyan Youth in the country’s dispensation. They represent a big chunk of the electorate and can not be ignored- especially in terms of being catapulted into positions of power at party, county and national levels.
8. Ensure that the political process is gendered and integrates Kenyan women at the highest echelons of power.
I could say more, but I am tired of writing this digital essay.
April 13, 2011