Tuesday, April 8, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
Atlanta, Georgia

Some things are difficult to understand. May be I am just a dumb person.
On December 27, 2007, Kenyans went to the polls and elected a government of their choice. There were three main parties in the contest. Of the three parties, ODM of Raila Odinga came tops by winning six and a half out of the eight provinces. Kibaki’s PNU took one and a half while Kalonzo’s ODM K split Eastern Province with PNU.

In Parliament, Raila’s ODM again bagged 99 seats against Kibaki’s PNU with 45 seats, Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kanu 14 seats while Kalonzo’s ODM Kenya brought in 16 seats. The combined votes from PNU, KANU and ODMK were 75 against Raila Odinga’s 99. In a Parliament of 210 elected members, other fringe parties brought in 36 MPs. Since then Charity Ngilu’s Narc, Prof Sambili’s UDM and Cyrus Jirongo’s KADDU have joined Raila Odinga’s to give him another five elected MPs to bring the ODM block in the House to 104. These were the numbers in Parliament before two ODM newly elected MPs were brutally murdered just days after they were sworn in.

However, Raila Odinga and his party were never to celebrate their victory. A miracle happened along the way. That miracle gave Mwai Kibaki’s PNU victory of some sorts despite losing more than six provinces and parliamentary majority.

What followed was not unexpected. The whole nation rose up in arms and hacked one another to death. Two weeks of mayhem caused the lives of a thousand innocent Kenyans. Another half a million people were sent scampering for safety either to local police stations, churches or sought refuge across our borders!

The rage with which Kenyans responded to the theft of their votes stunned the world. The international community as well as local intelligence units were equally caught on the wrong foot. The bloodletting sent the international community trooping into the country like never before. They had to arrest the situation before Kenya degenerated either into a Rwanda like crisis. Nobody wanted another senseless genocide on their hands again- not so soon after the shameful Rwanda experience that left the United Nations looking really bad.

When Kofi Annan and his team arrived in Kenya, they spent four weeks talking a settlement. By February 28, 2008, he had brokered a peace deal whose signing was finally witnessed by the current AU Chairman and Tanzania President, Jakaya Kikwete.

That peace deal, signed between ODM and PNU was specific and watertight. It spelt out a power sharing arrangement on a 50-50 basis in the Cabinet, the Civil Service and Foreign Service.

It retained Kibaki as the Head of State while it created the post of Prime Minister and Head of Government for Raila Odinga. It created an exit clause should either of the parties feel like getting out. It specified that the deal be entrenched in the current constitution to secure the deal. It was very clear that this coalition power sharing arrangement was a stop gap measure pending long term arrangements. It called for genuine sharing of power during the transition.

Now, six weeks later, Kenyans are yet to get their coalition cabinet. Raila Odinga, though enjoying government security detail, is still referred to as Prime Minister designate. Several meetings with President Kibaki over the cabinet positions have yielded only frustrations for Kenyans. One-on-one meetings with Kibaki have become chess board games. Somebody has decided to play Russian roulette with the lives of Kenyans.

Right now, Kenyans are not even angry with Mwai Kibaki. They are not even blaming him. He has been playing the same game he has perfected since January 2003 when he first fooled the same Raila Odinga into signing an MoU with him prior to the 2002 general elections. A few months later, he went ahead to trash the same MoU with ease.

Right now, Kenyans are angry with Raila who has refused to read the writing on the wall. They are asking why Raila cannot stick to the spirit and letter of the Accord and quit the coalition if Kibaki cannot honour this constitutional amendment. Right now Raila has allowed low level operatives in the Kibaki government to comment on the document they were not party to. He has allowed mere civil servants to meddle in a purely political matter when he knows that right now, he has no civil servants of his own.

Kenyans are annoyed with Raila because he has allowed PNU operatives to drag his name in the mud, erode his popularity with the people and make him look like he is merely after state power rather than real change he preached to Kenyans prior to the elections. And they have proved that he is gullible enough when they offered him state security that he accepted even before being sworn in as the country’s second Prime Minister!

The only way for Raila to redeem himself in the eyes of the public is to renounce the forty member cabinet, reject the state security and tell Kibaki to either accept the spirit and letter of the Accord or he walks out of the deal. This is the time for Raila Odinga to show that he has some spine!