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Why Raila should listen to Robert Alai

Yesterday the internet (Facebook) was startled. Robert Alai, an anti -Jubilee blogger turned his guns on the opposition supremo telling him him that Kenyans are tired of wasting their time voting for him. In a country where everything and everyone has a price, your first reaction would be that he has been bought. Especially coming weeks after he was invited to Statehouse for a summit. Die-hard supporters of Mr. Odinga pointed out as much.

” To earn respect, consistency is all you need. The moment you start hawking your loyalty, you are loyal no more. You are a (political) prostitute. Raila Odinga has held no Luo as his slave, it’s the majority here who love him, he owes the Luo nation nothing. He has been fighting for a better Kenya for all not a better Kenya for Luos. ” – Eddy Papa Nyangweso (on Facebook)

The reactions aside, Alai poses fundamental issues that the opposition team need to interrogate if they are to purport to hold any moral authority to speak against the current regime’s lootocracy. The blogger expresses opinion which might not be factual but is still a feeling that is held by a substantial segment of Mr. Odinga’s support base especially from his Nyanza backyard.

He first accuses Mr. Odinga of being held hostage by family and cartels.

“I have been a pro-Raila supporter for long and hope that one day he will take the race seriously and dismantle the cartels in his office who are focused on making money but not delivering a Raila Presidency.”

Mr. Odinga is on the record for accusing former President Mwai Kibaki and the incumbent uhuru Kenyatta for entertaining corruption cartels in their offices. The same crime Alai is accusing Mr. Odinga of. He does not stop there though.

 “I don’t see the seriousness in the quest. Raila is NOT interested in the presidency. He seems to be more focused on maximizing returns from party activities but not on the big office…….In 2012 and now 2016, we are witnessing a group which is dominated by Odinga family and extended relations coming to take charge of all key aspects of campaigns towards the general elections. They handle all key coffers and resources meant for the campaigns. Professional entities are sidelined and any attempt to instill a sense of professionalism in the quest will make you an enemy of Raila and his close confidantes. I strongly believe that Raila is now out to make the most amount from the nominations and campaign donations but he is not serious about a race for the Presidency.”

It is easy to rubbish these sentiments away but the job of a “blogger and social justice activist is to give voice to the voiceless and critique the public leaders.”  Whether in government or opposition. The sentiments expressed in Alai’s post are public perceptions just as the perception that the Kenyatta regime is milking Kenya’s coffers dry. Mr.Odinga’sstrongest points ahead of the 2017 elections is that he has stood as a champion of democracy and good governance. A legacy that is now in question.

Two things Mr. Odinga has to do urgently:

  1. Dismantle the cartels in his office, even if it means sacrificing family.
  2. Bring in professionals to run his campaign. Let his supporters see that he is serious about becoming president and is not just doing business with their votes.

Otherwise like Alai says,  he “will run for the Presidency in 2017, 2022, 2027 etc….. It’s business.

A version of this post written for non-Kenyan audiences was published on the Africa Blogging Website.



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