Personal and character flaws: Why a Raila win is unlikely

Incumbency favours Uhuru, and on these shores, that counts for much. The ODM leader is a good man and none, perhaps, deserves the presidency as much as he does. But he also has the unenviable ability to inspire voter apathy amongst his supporters, which starts right from nominations

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga arrrives for a CORD (Coalition for Reforms and Democracy) rally, on May 31, 2014, in Nairobi. Raila has returned to the country after spending nearly three months in the US on a programme for retired African Heads of State and Government, and on a university lecture tour, highlighting Africas triumphs and challenges at high profile institutions, as a CORD leader. He has contested the presidency thrice and lost, but in the last two cases (2007, 2013) he said he was robbed of victory. AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)


If there is one profound lesson from the just ended party nominations, it is that voters are getting reawakened. After all the noise and venting and campaigning on social media – against bad leadership, not for or against candidates – the electorate seems to have finally decided, to some appreciable extent, to exercise free will. In any democratic spectrum, that is always a plus.

One other lesson has been the bursting of perceptions that as long as your party leader wants you, you are home and dry. There has been open rebellion against all the political gods and demigods – only that they can no longer assign themselves those outrageous titles.

At last, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) Coalition has a flag bearer in Right Honourable Raila Odinga, and a team including Wiper Party’s Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as running mate, and Musalia Mudavadi of Amani, Moses Wetangula of Ford Kenya and Isaac Ruto of Chama Cha Mashinani behind him; together, they will try and wrestle power from Jubilee.

The real work for Nasa, however, has just began, as former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka put it – and aptly so – in his speech at the unveiling of their line-up at Uhuru Park.

“I want to tell fellow Kenyans, the hard part now begins. We have not celebrated yet, and we will not celebrate until Jubilee has gone home. So I want to urge caution; it may be too early to celebrate. There’s no contest here between brother Raila and between brother Kalonzo or Mudavadi… The contest is between the progressive forces in this nation and those that want to take this country back to the dark days…” Kalonzo said.

True to Kalonzo’s words, Nasa now needs to go on overdrive to refocus the energies of their followers from the previously internal contest among parties forming the coalition for the party ticket, to a common enemy in the opposing camp. However, before they even get to that, it will be critical for them to identify their real enemy within. And this is not the war of coalition parties, as Kalonzo has identified.

The real enemy in Nasa is no longer the mistrust between Kalonzo and Raila or any other principal within the coalition. In fact that has never been a problem…

…To continue reading this article please buy a copy of the Nairobi Law Monthly Magazine May 2017 Issue



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here