Are Kenyans addicted to Dictatorship? A Return to Moi Era Politics.


President Uhuru & Deputy President Ruto

Following the recent Supreme Court of Kenya (SCOK) ruling overturning the presidential election, it appears that Kenya is descending back to the dark Moi era. Interestingly, on this occasion, the dictator is not the President, but the opposition, which has gradually gained in power over the years. The opposition leader Raila Odinga having previously been Prime Minister, and who enjoys a feverishly sycophantic following, placed individuals loyal to him right across both government as well as civil society, the judiciary and the media. This has allowed him to wage an underhanded war on the government and government institutions, with a combination of persuasion and threats leading to Raila managing to obtain pretty much everything he has ever demanded, including previously, a seat in a coalition govt as Prime Minister after the 2007 poll which led to violence and chaos.

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Former President Daniel Arap Moi

In 2007, Raila Odinga lost the election to Kibaki, stoked violence as a result of his underhanded hate speech against President Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe, and got rewarded for it with the highest of prizes, instead of being prosecuted for crimes against humanity. In a most unfortunate and twisted comedic tragedy, he managed to convince international prosecutors that despite the fact that it was his supporters that had killed and caused the displacement of over 600,000 Kenyans for the first time in Kenya’s history, that then govt minister Uhuru Kenyatta was the one responsible for the murders of people from his own Kikuyu community! This led to Uhuru Kenyatta being charged at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, which almost caused his exclusion from the Presidential election in 2013. Uhuru was able to contest and win beating the then sitting Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka who was then a seating Vice President.

I argued after the 2007 poll that rewarding Raila with a seat in govt as a result of the violence he stoked was setting a dangerous precedent, and indeed it has been. Raila Odinga has always since threatened to cause chaos by bringing his supporters to the streets in mass demonstrations and confrontations with the police to get whatever he wants whenever he has wanted to.

Raila Odinga

It appears that Kenyans, out of a seeming perennial inferiority complex are unable to recognize that we have succeeded in obtaining the independent institutions that we so long fought for. We achieved an overthrow of the dictatorship of former President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, ushering in a new and vibrant multi-party democracy as well as promulgating a new constitution in 2010 which greatly limited the powers of the president and granted greatly increased powers to the judiciary and other independent public commissions.

Kenyans have continued fighting against the presidency, leading to a situation where the opposition has gained undue power and influence over independent institutions. The judiciary has also gained a great deal of power. Additionally, the opposition has managed to place a great number of judges sympathetic to Raila Odinga right across the judiciary. This has led to a situation where judges have granted almost every single petition that has been filed by the opposition, culminating in the recent ruling in favor of the frivolous presidential poll petition against the IEBC and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The opposition has behaved with great impunity and displayed a willingness to behave in dictatorial fashion, without even any attempt at consistency. There seem to be a cross section of Kenyans, led by elites in the media and civil society that seem to hold the view that the truly patriotic thing to do is to always be in opposition to the government. That is erroneous and unwise particularly on this occasion whereby an election that was by far the most professionally run, credible, fair and verifiable has been overturned by a seeming activist court that has essentially usurped the will of the Kenyan people in the seeming service of one Raila Amollo Odinga.

Everywhere Raila Odiiga has ever been, there has been violence going as far back as 1982, when he led the first ever military coup attempt against then President Moi. Since becoming the leader of the opposition, Raila Odinga has displayed an alarming willingness to assert his dictatorial will over his own party. ODM Party nominations have always been marred by rigging and overturning of the will of ODM members, with Raila installing his own choices of candidates without any sense of irony or even attempts at disguise whatsoever.

It appears that there are many Kenyans who do indeed seem to enjoy a dictatorial streak. Perhaps they miss the good old days of Moi because Raila’s supporters do not seem interested in democracy. They seem to be only interested in Raila being declared president, by any means necessary. Raila has made thinly veiled threats of violence and anarchy should he fail to accede to the Presidency. He must never be rewarded again for taking the whole country hostage. The politics of threats and violence should once and for all be put to rest. Hopefully Raila will lose on October 17th and be sent home once and for all and to the dustbin of history where he belongs! Raila having been heavily involved in the fight for a fully fair and transparent democracy has led to his having a great deal of good will from civil society, elites in the media as well as the international community with whom he has had long relationships.

These supporters of Raila seem to have gotten drunk with the power of their own success. They seem to be of the view that Raila must be rewarded for his perceived contributions to the fight for democracy by any means necessary. There are many that argue that Kenya cannot be continually ruled by members of Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kikuyu community. There are arguments that the Kikuyu by their sheer numbers yield undue power and influence over the political system. Kenya is a constitutional representative democracy of one man one vote. Until a politician comes along and convinces the majority of Kenyans to vote for them, they cannot accede to power by any means other than by the ballot. If Kenyans wanted a Swiss style system of democracy whereby the presidency is rotated among cabinet ministers serving to completely demystify the presidency, then they should have passed that in the Kenyan constitution. Raila has always run an openly tribal campaign starting with the 41 against 1 campaign that had sought to frame the 2007 election as a campaign of all of Kenya’s other communities isolating the Kikuyu community. It failed in 2007, and he dropped the 41 against 1 language. However the openly tribal overtones have persevered and Raila has never once had to pay for his openly stoking of tribal hatred.

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