Boniface Mwangi: Thanks Raila, but it's time for you to retire

While he has done a lot for our democracy, his time is up. Raila is one tree that is now old, and if he wants to be a forest, he must plant more trees and nurture young leaders to take over the mantle

I congratulate President Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga for saying they’re willing to work together for the sake of Kenya.  That should be good news for the country, but we have been here before.

In 2007-08, over 1,000 people died and half a million were displaced. Raila and President Kibaki met and shook hands and we got the grand coalition, also known as the grand looting coalition. It was Raila’s party’s turn to eat.  When you read Miguna’s book, Peeling Back the Mask, you learn of ministers who were wearing Sh700,000 suits. Some even bought hotels.

The people who suffered and died in order for Kibaki and Raila to share power were forgotten as soon as the two shook hands and moved on. Raila and his fellow politicians didn’t pay any price for the post-election violence (PEV).

Their sons weren’t killed, their mothers weren’t raped and they didn’t suffer any loss. It’s easy for Raila to always move on after a handshake. The victims of post-election violence lost lives and property. The survivors can’t go back to Kibera, Naivasha, Kisumu and Rift Valley, where some still own land and houses.

We have enough police officers to guard elected criminals, shoot demonstrators, but not help the PEV victims go back to live on their own land.

After two election losses to Uhuru, which Raila Odinga claims he has won, he has crossed over and started calling Uhuru his brother. Whereas that is commendable and shows political maturity, it’s also an indication of something troubling.

Raila Odinga has zero loyalty to the people who take to the streets to protest every time he says his election victory has been stolen. Many have died in Raila’s name, but he hasn’t demanded justice and compensation for them. Raila is a use-and-dump politician.

Deputy President William Ruto, was once on Raila’s side, crossed over when he realised Raila doesn’t keep his word. In 2007, Kalonzo Musyoka betrayed Raila and ran, hence splitting the votes, for the same reason and that led to Raila’s electoral loss.

In 2013, Mudavadi did the same to him. Ababu and Tuju were once Raila’s people before he betrayed them. Raila has always betrayed those close to him, because of his personal ambitions and lack of democracy in whichever party, or coalition, he is in. Miguna has written a book and tens of articles citing numerous examples of this behaviour.

While Raila has done a lot for our democracy, I believe that his time is up. This is a fact of life; he will never be president. Raila is a tree, one tree that is now old and has served its time. If Raila wants to be a forest, he must plant more trees and nurture other young leaders.

The Kibaki and Raila coalition government didn’t fight any corruption. Raila, in the last five years, didn’t speak about corruption in the 24 counties that CORD governed.

So, whereas many millions have put their trust in Baba, his time is up and he can now enjoy the next five years in whatever capacity Uhuru will give him and exit the stage. If he has learnt any lesson, let it be that his legacy depends on the people he will nurture and leave behind to continue with the struggle he has been involved in his entire life.

The burning question, however is, will Raila, as he enjoys that handshake, continue to call out Uhuru on corruption, disregarding court orders and police brutality? Will Raila demand electoral justice, compensation for the victims killed by police in peaceful protests, or will he keep quiet?

To the orphans in Nasa, the lion is old; it’s time for a coup. Take over!

And I have a word for Uhuru, too.  Mr President, don’t destroy the Constitution and institutions of governance, because that is how dictators behave.

The writer is an award winning photojournalist and human rights activist.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Sde.co.ke


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