Thursday, April 10, 2008



By Patrick L Omondi
St. Paul, Minnesota

Prime minister designate Hon Raila Amolo odinga is a man with a large constituency. He has transformed himself through political evolution, rising to a powerful position that will allow him to share real power with the incumbent president. His party strength in parliament is an added muscle to his strength, including the recent triumph of ODM in parliament to bag the prestigious national assembly speaker position.

Away from Raila, another individual with tremendous power is the president. His authority is bestowed to him by the constitution as the head of state. He may find himself weakened at this position being the leader of a minority party but this is cushioned by his position as president and commander in chief of the armed forces. He has already used his position under the old constitution to solidify his position as president by rewarding individuals and smaller parties with key appointments in government in return for their support.

The recent constitutional amendments may have watered down the position of the president but he is keen to remain relevant politically, through patronage and association with willing partners, to keep the prime minister in check.

Raila and Kibaki are strange bedfellows in the same way PNU is to ODM. Circumstances are forcing them to share one roof but as long as they remain in the marriage, they will continue to see things differently. They will
bicker, scratch faces and their followers will continue to mock and wrestle, just to prove their worth.

I have been following the ongoing coalition discussion and the mediation process. Making comparisons with the past political marriages, the last being Narc that propelled Kibaki to leadership.

What is evident in the current marriage just like in the past is a culture of mistrust and suspicion. Raila found his LDP being treated as illegitimate member of the Narc coalition by the Mt Kenya power brokers soon after Kibaki was inaugurated president. The popularity of Raila became his undoing, when his rivals moved to tame his rise and block his contacts with the president.

Today as we enter a new marriage, under constitutional amendment, the same forces are still in play. The president is surrounded by hardcore friends, including those scheming for the 2012 succession. They see the new world older as making them politically irrelevant while elevating their foe, Raila Odinga to the helm, a strategic position that could see him dethroning them all in any future contest.

Kibaki no longer enjoys any freedom that could allow him to make independent choices and judgment. His view of the world is controlled; the president can only hear and see the world through their lens. In this arrangement, they have issued threats and intimidated him not to cede power and authority to ODM for their own selfish interest.

Where is this fear of Raila and his ODM stemming from? These are the same forces that were in play before the December polls results were announced. The charade that witnessed the elections and the manner in which Kibaki assumed office were very suspicious. All looked stage managed, carefully orchestrated to block Raila ascending to the presidency. We can now see the very men and women laboriously blocking any progress made in the new political arrangement to keep their victim at bay.

How long will our country men continue victimize others, treating them with suspicion as if they do not deserve being in the same country and in leadership?

The country recently witnessed uncalled for pain and destruction. Many lost their lives and property with thousands displaced while others are nursing their wounds. We thought the country had suffered enough for the so called leaders to see sense. For how long will the leadership of this country remain blind to our suffering?

Mr. President, rise up to the occasion. Free your self from the bondage imposed on you by a gang surrounding you for their self interest. The country is bigger than them and you must listen to the cry of the people you purport to lead. Parliament, a voice of the Kenyan people has spoken.

It is time you caved in to parliament.

Patrick L Opondi,
St Paul, Minnesota.
The writer is a post graduate student at Hamline University , USA .