Wednesday, May 21, 2008



By Jerry Okungu

An American couple has lived in Mt. Kenya area for twelve years preaching the word of God, a very noble calling if you ask me. They have been holed up in Mt. Kenya area for all these many years. I wonder whether they had the time to travel to Western Kenya during their tour of duty.

Now that they are tired of preaching to these ungrateful ingrates, they have apparently seen the light and decided to change their calling. Now they are the new breed of political analysts with the ability and technology to define the American politics in terms of Kenya politics.

Their attraction to politics has been inspired by two characters; one in the United States of America and the other in the Kibera slums of Nairobi. Since both politicians are making some kind of shockwaves with their near fanatical following in both countries, our good missionaries having been busy churning long articles on the internet to prove that Kenya’s Prime Minister from Kibera is indeed the blood relative of Barack Obama.

Half-hearted response from Raila Odinga’s spokesman over allegations that Barack Obama donated over US $ 1 million to the Raila campaign has not deterred our right-wing good Samaritans from hitting at Obama.

On reading these exposes from the internet, perhaps a lot more Kenyans and Americans were surprised. I found them interesting but not surprising.
First, I found it pretty naïve for the two Americans to think they were saying something new. Most Kenyans and even informed Americans have known for years that Barack Obama’s father came from Alego in Siaya District in Luo Nyanza, the very place Obama visited with a huge contingent of American marines just the other day.

The entire world press was there and they talked to anybody who cared to listen.
Sometimes last year, when Raila Odinga returned from one of his many trips to the US, he displayed a photograph he had taken with Barack Obama while in the US. The media had it all and some even questioned its significance and relevance to Kenyan politics.

On going through these articles a second time, it dawned on me that these missionaries may not even be Americans after all. The article reminded me of the many hate mails I used to receive on Raila Odinga in last year’s presidential campaigns. Most of them came from an anonymous group of Kenyans calling themselves The Voice of the Diaspora.

Two months ago, I visited the United States and had a chance to meet many Kenyans of all tribes living and working in America. At that, Barack Obama’s campaign had reached a critical moment. He was neck to neck with Hilary Clinton, at times winning; at times losing some states.

Every time we delved into discussing the Democratic nominations, I realized a measure of resentment of Obama by a section of Kenyans that opposed Raila Odinga in the United States in last year’s elections. I couldn’t help but trace a link, no matter how weak, between these American missionaries that coincidentally lived in Meru and Embu for twelve years being uncomfortable with an Obama presidency on the basis that he was related to Raila Odinga!

Allow me to be skeptical; but would it be too much to speculate that these American missionaries could actually be our brothers stretching their low life tribalism too far? Better still, could right-wing Americans be getting their feeds from our bothers right- here; the brothers that would hate to see an American president with a Luo blood in the White House?

Finally; during the Kenyan crisis in January and February this year, there was a group of Kenyans who exploited their brothers’ misfortune to the maximum. All of a sudden, economic refugees became victims of genocide knocking at the gates of good old American immigration department to be let it. And they weren’t stupid. They carried evidence of burnt houses and hacked bodies along the road, claiming them as their lost property and blood relatives. And gullible America swallowed it all. They were given temporary asylum while their papers were being processed!

Anybody who thinks he can lie to the Americans that Raila Odinga is a socialist must be living in another planet. Raila Odinga’s upbringing, lifestyle and ideology are anything but socialist. He has said for the umpteenth time that he is a social-democrat like all German Chancellors, British Prime Ministers, Scandinavian Prime Ministers and French leaders since World War 11.
What is more, Americans have the right to elect a president of their choice be that president black, white, male or female irrespective of his or her ancestral origins in Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Morocco or Alego in Kenya.