For those who revere the man they nurse a hope of reinvention; at least for the last time perhaps. Well signs point to an ending season; bold internal rebellion and an ODM that is a pale shadow of its former self. Of course, a resurgent Jubilee that is so keen on allowing no chance at reinvention. And the man, Raila, his vigor and energy stolen each day by the advance of age
Kenyan politics has pivoted around this enigmatic figure for more than a decade. The man, Raila, has been a novice and a master, the hero and the villain. He has morphed from Tinga, to Agwambo to hammer and then baba; a master at reinvention.
His name has made careers and his person destroyed some. A characteristic Machiavellian prince in many ways who did not hesitate at some instances to burn the very bridges he used. To say Raila has been the Kenyan politics and the Kenyan politics has been Raila is not an unholy exaggeration.
But now the sunset looms; a statement that his believers would not bear. But which is a guarantee of nature, for every man must bow down at some point, and Baba, is just a man. Raila has been a controversy, a puzzle that history will try to unravel. And in his characteristic self, no one can predict just the perfect time when he should call it a day. And he knows the art, he keeps people guessing. Raila.
Raila built around himself an aura that is puzzling, his name sometimes overshadowing institutions. Not the best characteristic of a good leader, but I think a show of politics per excellence. And with this, he built two nations; one that believes the man and the other that loathes the man. Sometimes the latter has been reduced to be called the Luo nation, but that is a lie. For Raila commands followership albeit fading that goes well beyond the boundaries of Nyanza.
While the former, the nation that loathes the man anticipates his end, there is an unknown danger that it equally faces. Anytime Raila is in the politics, he becomes a common enemy, when he leaves; certainly, a unity of purpose for an impressively large constituency in Kenya disintegrates. So, in my own estimation, the two Raila nations must share in the anxiety of the post baba uncertainty.
So the most fundamental question is what lies ahead, after Baba?
For those who revere the man they nurse a hope of reinvention; at least for the last time perhaps. Well signs point to an ending season; bold internal rebellion and an ODM that is a pale shadow of its former self. Of course, a resurgent Jubilee that is so keen on allowing no chance at reinvention. And the man, Raila, his vigor and energy stolen each day by the advance of age.
OKOA Kenya which in my interpretation would have provided a real chance has barely taken off. And while Raila in the last decade always set the pace, he finds himself playing reactionary. Trying to catch up, trying to mend what is disintegrating. Signs point to a looming sunset. And in part, I believe those around Baba instead of helping him craft a narrative that resonates with time, they each day are a luggage, being carried on his very back that knows both the joys and pains of time. Signs point to a looming sunset.
It will be foolhardy to conclude, whether there is nothing up his sleeves. Whether there is no other person after Baba.
To the ambitious, who hope they can inherit his faithful, this is the best time to start. And some in naivety believe this nation is up for auction.
While admittedly Kenyan politics his tribal, what has galvanized Luos around Raila is not necessarily his Luoness. It is his charisma, his person. He earned his place through stripes and whacks. Born of royalty, to a vice president to be, he crafted and cemented his own image. Told his own story and fought his battles. To imagine that after he leaves the scene, there shall remain a coherent Nation of faithful is to be naïve.
Well, certainly a huge number of people will now be up for grabs, but the ambitious who hope to take the loot home, in my estimation must be ready to craft a powerful narrative. In fact, a hope that anyone can replace Raila, in form and stature is impossible for much known reasons; no one can be Raila. So everyone should try being their own person. If there is a conclusion I am prepared to make, is that the Raila faithful cannot be inherited without considerable disruption. The going of the man, shall leave a nation that will certainly scatter, even if it will recollect itself later on.
The nation that loathes Raila must be prepared to find a new unity of purpose. And whatever narrative that will replace Raila, must certainly be powerful. It was so easy to whip emotions against the man and get followers. You could galvanize a narrative by just stating that is you are not supported, and then Raila will win. This narrative won 2007 and 2013. Certainly, post Baba shall call for a thorough reinvention.
The hope of his calling it a day will be disruptive, but certainly not unwelcome. He has given his time and life for country. Many see him as a hero, many as a villain. Many see him as though he championed a course; many think his was a raw pursuit of ambition. And many will struggle to have an opinion about him. Whichever Nation you belong, one thing we all agree, Raila Odinga existed, and an exciting time is ahead as we face a politics without him.