Sunday, August 3, 2008



August 3, 2008
By Jack Nduri & Mutinda Mwanzia
Sunday Standard

Prime Minister Raila Odinga revisited the election fiasco repeating his party’s victory was ‘stolen’ and 2012 will be the return match to reclaim it. "Do not give up … you know we are not number two in this government … we are number one. The whole world knows what happened,’’ Raila said.

The PM, who was last week mobbed by the public as he walked out of a barber’s shop, added his position in the Government was merely transitional, as he prepares for his ‘rightful’ seat.

He spoke on the day the President, according to a Presidential Press Service dispatch, "reiterated his commitment to the success of the Grand Coalition Government formed early this year and declared it was working for all Kenyans".

Mary Achieng gives Prime Minister Raila Odinga a hair touch at Ashleys Barber shop along Kimathi street in Nairobi, last week, Nairobi. PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO

"President Kibaki said the unity of purpose was an historical moment for Kenyans to reflect on the challenges that faced the nation and embrace the spirit of brotherhood to co-exist peacefully,’’ continued the PPS dispatch.

The President revisited the post- election crisis, which he said should never be allowed to recur. "The loss of lives and destruction of property was a painful lesson to all of us," said Kibaki at State House Nairobi, during Kenya Scouts Association Patron’s Day.
The leader of Orange Democratic Movement, which bitterly disputed Electoral Commission’s declaration of Mr Mwai Kibaki as the winner on December 30, last year, said he agreed to power sharing for his supporters’ sake.

"We realised our innocent supporters were dying because they only had stones and these people had the guns. That’s why we decided to call a truce and share the subdued animal down the middle,’’ said Raila.

The PM, who is Kenya’s most-talked about politician outside the Presidency, and who came up with names of half of the Cabinet in line with the internationally supervised National Peace Accord, spoke at a burial of a clergyman who prayed for him during his campaign blitzes.

It was a projection of the other side of a leader who after the power-sharing deal repackaged himself as the ‘bridge’ in his campaigns.

The statements were yet another chapter in the political career of the controversial politician, who has been pacifying the President’s Party of National Unity’s bloc, with the message he has put the past behind him.

Mission is still alive

Confronted with the delicate and potentially explosive task of disarming PNU while at the same time enticing ODM to keep the eye on the prize they missed, the ‘Captain’, as his party referred to him, Raila said the team would put up a spirited fight in 2012 to reclaim its democratic right.

This is the year Kibaki’s controversial second term will lapse, at least by the Constitution.

Speaking at the burial of respected Seventh Day Adventist elder, the late Pastor Mathayo Wandiga, the PM recalled the pain that forced him to share power with ‘people’ he believes he had defeated.

Pastor Wandiga is the father of Prof Shem Wandiga, a former deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Nairobi.

Raila was cheered as he gave the soothing message to ODM supporters, that the peace deal was a truce, and the mission is still alive.

It was reminiscent of Raila’s warning before the referendum, as his relations with Kibaki plummeted to the point of being sacked along with six other ministers, to climb up the mountains because a tsunami was on the way. After he beat the President at the constitutional referendum, he declared he actually meant the killer waves were coming for the other side and he wanted his supporters not to be swept along with them.

Raila insisted at the burial in Kogembo Village, Rachuonyo District, the Grand Coalition was the best option in the circumstances. It ended the wave of killings, dispossession and displacement that followed the announcement of Kibaki’s victory by Mr Samuel Kivuitu.

In his usual streak, he borrowed from his bank of parables and powerful imagery with the constant line being he won the election.

He thanked the Luo and ODM supporters countrywide for giving him overwhelming support at a time his opponents said, "a Luo could not be elected President".

The PM said Kenyans who voted for him had "shamed the angels of doom" who had depicted him as "unelectable" merely because of his tribe. Such people perfected tribalism and hate campaign against his community, the PM said.

"The enemies of democracy had coined a theory that a Luo is unelectable just to bar me from power," said Raila.

The move, he said, forced the country to the brink of war when election results were manipulated because Kenyans had made up their mind to eradicate tribalism, and vote for change.

Raila said his team was focusing on the future, the task of completing the unfinished business, and asked ODM supporters not to relent or feel inferior in the Coalition Government.

The PM said ODM occupies advantageous positions in the Government in readiness for 2012. "We are still looking ahead because tomorrow is another day. Don’t panic thinking you are not in Government because you are in it," the PM said.

He said his Cabinet position was central in the running of the Government and assured ODM followers nothing could happen in the Government without him being consulted.

He said his focus now was to empower the electorate economically through creation of opportunities for investments and a good environment for business.

The Lang’ata MP said he took the mission further during his recent tour of the UK where British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave him an opportunity to address potential investors.

"My colleague gathered for me many investors and I wooed them to our country because what we need most now is investment. I told them Kenya is back on track in many aspects and most of them agreed to come here and invest,’’ Raila added.

Unique moment

In Nairobi Kibaki said the Grand Coalition Government was a unique moment.

"Our unity of purpose provides an opportunity to address the challenges facing the nation," he added. Leaders, he went on, must endeavour to leave a legacy that gives the nation hope.

Kibaki said the spirit of brotherhood that cuts across the political, tribal and religious divide was behind the decision by leaders to form the Grand Coalition Government.

"We must be in the forefront in creating opportunities for our people to prosper and especially the youth who are the majority," said Kibaki.