Saturday, April 5, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
Atlanta, Georgia

President Kibaki derailed Raila Odinga’s campaign promises in 2003. Then, as now, Raila Odinga had promised Kenyans change. However, when Kibaki assumed the presidency that he never worked for, he reneged on the power sharing deal and scuttled Raila’s plans.

The dilly-dallying tactic that President Kibaki has started applying in implementing the international power sharing accord between him and Raila Odinga is worrying to all Kenyans and East Africans of good will. It is a stark reminder of the 2003 events that finally derailed the NARC revolution. Kenyans are once more witnessing history repeating itself.

Let us face it; Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki are two different personalities that have nothing in common except their black skins. Mwai Kibaki is a sly and indecisive politician. He is forever cautious in every difficult situation. The main reason he does this is to avoid being blamed by any side of the political grouping.

Raila Odinga on the other hand is a man who would like to take risks and difficult decisions when occasion demands. When the going gets tough he would rather stick his neck out and make a decision for better or for worse. In many circumstances, he has for the greater good of society made concessions that have obviously been at variance with the wishes of his supporters.

The architects of the latest Raila- Kibaki accord were acutely aware that the two leaders were made of different clay. One is a prisoner of his circle of old boys while the other is a magnet of his primary constituency. The prisoner cannot break lose without the consent of his captors while the magnet decides when to let go of the metals. One is under siege while the other is in control.

These divergent personalities are not putting Jakaya Kikwete and Kofi Annan in an embarrassing situation. They are threatening to derail the much acclaimed peace deal the two leaders midwifed in February 2008.

Now it can be confirmed that what was mere speculation between February 26 and 28 2008 when mediation talks collapsed was in fact the reality on the ground. President Kibaki signed the accord with Raila under duress. He was forced into the power sharing deal. Now it can be confirmed that all those undiplomatic epithets that oozed out of the mouths of some of his mediators were his very sentiments. He truly believed he could not share power because he thought, like his advisors, that he had actually won the 2007 elections!

It is true Kenyans have suffered a great deal since the flawed elections. It is also true that over a thousand people died with more thousands were internally displaced. However, let us face it; those people who suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the flawed elections must now realize that President Kibaki is not interested in their plight. If he were, he would not be dithering with forming a coalition government he penned his signature to in front of the international community.

Mwai Kibaki is not about to share power with Raila Odinga for the simple reason that he has allowed bigotry to be in his way. He has allowed ethnic chauvinism to take the better part of him. He has allowed himself to be blinded by the logic of political losers who made him lose the 2007 elections.

If he is now listening to Kalonzo Musyoka, Uhuru Kenya, Martha Karua and a few hardliners from Central Province, whose combined votes could not deliver the presidency and parliamentary majority to him, it means Kibaki has given up being a national leader. It means he has given up reconciling Kenyans following the disastrous 2007 elections.

If Kibaki can attempt to hoodwink the AU, the UN and other international communities like the EU that he would genuinely share power with Raila and then begin to play games with the accord, then it is possible the man is incorrigible. It means that handshakes and smiles on the steps of Harambee House, those high sounding speeches inside Parliament and at the Karen Golf Club were acts of utmost deceit unworthy of an international statesman. It means that in his fifty years of politics, the man has not embraced the moral authority to honour promises made in public.

It means that thousands of internally displaced Kenyans, a number of whom are originally from Central Province have not touched his heart. It means that he has no desire to make it easier for them to go back to their farms!

It means President Kibaki wants Kenyans to back to the elections sooner rather than later!