Baba should retire now gracefully or forever ruin his legacy
No one can actually stand anywhere and deny that NASA leader Raila Odinga is practically the father of democracy in this country. From his fights against human rights abuses for which he earned jail time during a repressive regime to the creation of good laws, which was crowned in a successful constitutional referendum in 2010, Raila has done a great service for this country.
The son of Jaramogi is also undoubtedly the most successful leader of the opposition in Africa, even globally. He has always fought for good governance ever since he joined politics in 1994, always finding a way to arm twist the government against autocracy and tyranny. With his undying love for democracy and good governance and always having his way as the opposition leader, most Kenyan governments have most likely considered him a pain, but his dalliance with the people has ensured that he is always around.
He brought down one president and the then omnipresent independence party KANU after what most Kenyans considered a 24-year repressive regime, and made another when he famously stood before a mammoth crowd and said “Kibaki tosha”. He then single-handedly campaigned for Mwai Kibaki and managed to unite Kenyans, for the first time and probably the last in our time, against one man – President Daniel Moi and the man he had handpicked to succeed him, Uhuru Kenyatta. No Kenyan can ever forget that.
However, there comes a time when one has to say enough is enough, and that time for Raila is now. The best time for Raila to have exited the Kenyan political scene, having lost the election yet again, was after the August 8 General Election. But all is not lost yet for him, given the Supreme Court helped him save face by nullifying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election. He has another chance, probably the last chance, to save his great legacy as the father of democracy. He should now allow Kenyans, whose lives are at a standstill because of an unending election cycle, to vote peacefully at the October 26 repeat presidential election and then retire from politics with his head high after losing, again.
Many Kenyans consider Raila a great statesman, which he rightly is, but he risks losing this legacy if he maintains the unpopular stand that there will be no election as planned by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Even the late South African President Nelson Mandela viciously fought apartheid and was incarcerated for 27 years, but when he finally won the struggle and became the President, he knew just the right time to exit the scene and that has earned him respect to date.
Just like Mandela, Raila has won the struggle by entrenching democracy in this country. His supporters should not be misguided to think that he has to be president to consider him victorious. He is a hero now and deserves to be celebrated so.
It is not a secret that Raila is poor at winning elections, if his experience in the last four polls are anything to go by. Even in 2013 when he had the best chance of winning the coveted seat, when both he and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka were in government and enjoyed the power of incumbency, the former Prime Minister let it slip through his fingers. And now he wants to make Kenyans believe that they can beat the same dynamic duo who now have the State machinery at their disposal. Outrageous!
Even with all this bright legacy that is at the precipice of dissipating, the doyen of opposition politics has not trained anyone to take over from him and inherit his constituency and the religious love it professes to him. This utter selfishness has now put Raila in a very precarious position, with the fear that the dynasty he has struggled to build over the decades might crumble upon his exit.
With his love and struggle for democracy, one would expect Tinga to allow internal battles within his party, ODM, and Luo Nyanza, which would have helped produce his successor by now. Instead, he has always cut off the branches of any tree that tries to build strong roots for a succession, most of them being christened government moles and finished politically. Is it this selfishness that has made it difficult for Tinga to leave the political scene?
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