|The flag of the Republic of Kenya.|
Regarded as an enigma in Kenya’s politics, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s contribution to the political and economic liberation of the country cannot be understated.
Loved and loathed by many, and whose brand of politics cultivates the Raila mania frenzy and elicits the passionate hatred that is Raila phobia, the scion of Kenya’s first Vice President was instrumental in birthing the Republic’s Second Liberation.
The hallmarks of the Second Liberation were the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1991, after the landmark repealing of the famous Section 2A, and the promulgation of the current progressive constitutional dispensation 19 years later in 2010.
Unfortunately, the full implementation of the Republic’s progressive Constitution has been hijacked by political forces nursing the Moi-era hangovers and keen on promoting the status quo.
In his quest to ascend to the presidency, Mr. Odinga’s political journey has been episodic.
These episodes range from his own political mistakes, rigged presidential elections, re-uniting with erstwhile political nemeses and making unexpected political declarations like the historical “Kibaki Tosha” not forgetting the detentions he was subjected to by Kenya’s second president, Daniel Arap Moi, a corrupt oligarch.
Having fervently championed for the realization of the Kenyan Dream through various political vehicles from the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD) to the National Super Alliance (NASA), Mr. Odinga’s political career takes a homestretch but the 72 year old firebrand politician seems not to be giving up on his dream for a better Kenya.
This follows his latest political move to transform the NASA coalition into a ‘National Resistance Movement’.
The tenets that informed the struggle for the First and Second Liberation were solely anchored on the need for political and economic emancipation of the oppressed Kenyans.
With the first struggle being the fight for the Republic’s independence, it was envisaged that the life for the common man – the average Kenyan; the hoi polloi – would reflect the political and economic liberation that was granted by the British imperialists 54 years ago in 1963.
After independence, however, it quickly turned out that Jomo Kenyatta’s administration was in fact a disgraced institutional set up, a colonial relic for that matter, whose mission was the promotion of crony capitalism through corruption and illegal acquisition of public resources.
Ever wondered why Jomo Kenyatta became wealthy and other heroes of the First Liberation such as Bildad Kaggia, General Baimunge among others died while struggling to unchain themselves from the manacles of poverty? Jomo Kenyatta and his cronies were the enemies within.
Initiatives and activities intended to spur economic growth and development during Jomo Kenyatta’s era were largely based on political affiliation with the regime’s sycophants and loyalists rewarded with a number of ‘projects’.
Jomo Kenyatta’s crackdown on political dissenters such as the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and the assassination of fiery revolutionaries such as Pio Gama Pinto and J. M. Kariuki as well as gallant politicians like Tom Mboya and Ronald Ngala was an affirmation of the existence of an imperialist under a Black man’s skin.
In a nutshell, Jomo Kenyatta’s presidency was characterized by political and economic exclusion that resulted in a few illicitly wealthy demagogues, millions of economically destitute patriots and deeply disillusioned political leaders whose aspirations for a politically and economically liberated Kenya were thwarted.
Moi’s presidency was an assortment of a political pantomime and despotism largely due to the inferiority complex and paranoia that Kenya’s longest serving president suffered from.
Arap Moi religiously followed Jomo Kenyatta’s footsteps coining the dubious philosophy dubbed as the “Nyayo Philosophy” meant to promote peace, love and unity. However, it turned out that the ideological maxim of Nyayoism actually propagated economic mismanagement and political exclusion with the old man’s paranoia concentrated on fixing the dissenting voices and amassing illicit wealth.
It was during his presidency in the 1980s and early 1990s that the struggle for the Second Liberation took shape. The Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD) – originally founded by the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Phillip Gachoka, Masinde Muliro, Martin Shikuku, George Nthenge, and Ahmed Bamahriz – exerted pressure on Moi to institute political and economic reforms.
One of the critical junctures of the Second Liberation was in 1991 when Daniel arap Moi bowed to pressure and repealed Section 2A of the Constitution that led to the re-introduction of the multi-party political system. However, 26 years later, the Republic is littered with political parties that are not founded on definite ideologies and whose lifespan is directly depended on its founder/leader.
The second critical juncture of the Second Liberation was the political obliteration of KANU in 2002 that culminated in the formation of the NARC government with Mwai Kibaki as president.
Despite reviving the country’s moribund economy, Kibaki failed to deliver a progressive constitution to Kenyans as promised, fashioned tribalism and of course allowed corruption to blossom.
This led to the 2007/08 post-election violence in which the presidential election was rigged in favor of Mr. Kibaki. This event was the third crunch time after the dawn of the Second Liberation whose eventuality was the formation of the Grand Coalition government with Kibaki as president and Raila Odinga as Prime Minister.
An outstanding achievement of the Kibaki and Raila led coalition government was the promulgation of the current Constitution in 2010. The Republic’s Constitution is wholly progressive but its key component is devolution, a politico-economic concept advocated for by Mr. Odinga.
A politically progressive doctrine that was to be included in our national Constitution but was quashed by Mwai Kibaki’s camp and William Ruto during the constitution making process is the Parliamentary system of government.
Such a system would be ideal for the Republic in view of the tribal political formations that compete for the presidency in the case of the current Presidential system.
Four and a half years under the Jubilee administration, corruption has been rife with no tangible effort made to tackle this vice despite the existence of a number of governance institutions as stipulated by the Constitution.
Under the presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta there have been several attempts to drag the country to the dark days of Moi and Jomo Kenyatta. His administration has effectively put into use large doses of propaganda (the PR we’ve witnessed) that is confusingly and annoyingly packaged as “development record”. This effective use of propaganda mimics the classical Communist propaganda.
But it isn’t a surprise since the Jubilee Party has been closely benchmarking with the Chinese Communist Party. This is the genesis of the propaganda lately escalated by the involvement of international PR firm, Cambridge Analytica.
Jubilee Party’s propaganda bears semblance with similar “PR” schemes engineered by Daniel Moi who even went to an extent of publishing the Kenya Times newspaper to religiously brainwash the citizens with political garbage.
Fast forward, following the flawed repeat presidential election presided over by the broken and rotten Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the country remains deeply divided with nearly half of the electorate disillusioned by the electoral body.
It is a stinking shame to have the ignominious IEBC with its crooked commissioners presiding over an election even after the chairman, Wafula Chebukati, laid bare the intrigues and machinations within the commission.
With electoral malpractice and political hubris having transformed the NASA coalition into a ‘National Resistance Movement’, the country awaits with bated breath to see ‘what next’. This is certainly the political zero hour to birth the Republic’s Third Liberation.
The Third Liberation
Since the ‘Uhuru Park Declaration’ whose prime highlight was the formation of the ‘National Resistance Movement’, Jubilee propagandists have framed the movement as a “rebel movement” keen on pursuing its political agenda by instigating violence. This is absolutely a warped view and a figment of imaginations of the hell-bent Jubilee Party surrogates.
Apart from Raila Odinga pursuing his own political interests, it is true to state that the Republic urgently needs social, political and economic reforms in line with the national Constitution and through a referendum.
There is need for the broken healthcare system to be fixed. The argument that county governments are responsible for healthcare is fundamentally flawed and utter nonsense.
As long as we don’t have a responsible national government keen on instituting a healthcare system for all, even the devolution of health services will fail fantastically.
By the way, Rwanda is on course to fully implementing the universal healthcare system while East Africa’s ‘most progressive’ state is grappling with endless strikes by health workers. The Republic’s third estate is subjected to poor health incommensurate with the taxes they pay to the national government.
In addition, the Third Liberation must institutionalize the Parliamentary system of government which effectively works with Kenya’s national political architecture that is purely based on shuffling the tribal cards.
The Third Liberation should be a movement out to liberate the country from the yoke of corruption both at the national government and the 47 county governments. Why should we have people running governments yet they allow corruption to flourish under their watch?
This is sanctioning cronyism and theft of public resources, a clear violation of the social contract that binds the relation between the governor and the governed. Kenyans must certainly be angry enough about corruption.
Corruption’s twin problem, that is the existence of the ‘permanent government’ often referred to as the cartels must be annihilated with the Third Liberation. The crony culture propagated by the cartels must be zealously fought if the Republic is to progress socially, economically and politically.
Furthermore, the Third Liberation must bring to an end the culture of defective electoral processes and systems that perpetuate political exclusion. The electoral body’s affairs must be managed by morally upright Kenyans.
Just like the IEBC, all public institutions have a chronic deficiency of people with unrivalled integrity which is a malady that must be rectified by the Third Liberation. This will be made possible by religiously sticking to the provisions of Chapter 6 of the Republic’s Constitution on Leadership and Integrity.
But who will make the Third Liberation a reality? Will it be the politicians or the people’s power?
Politicians or the People’s Power?
With the ‘National Resistance Movement’ being the brainchild of Raila Odinga, he is expected to naturally provide leadership to the cause of this political movement.
Of keen interest, however, is whether his co-principals – Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula – will fully embrace Odinga’s latest political strategy. The three senior politicians never fought for the Second Liberation and hence are ‘strangers’ with the former Premier’s revolutionary ideologies.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula were dining with the corrupt despot, Daniel Moi. Wetang’ula’s flirtation with the oligarch came after he represented some of the orchestrators of the failed 1982 coup in court.
Even as I highly doubt the commitment of the three to lead the way to the Third Liberation, all the forward-thinking Kenyans must come forth and seize the moment to liberate the Republic through non-violence means.
Peaceful revolutionary messages cannot be effective if at all there is no critical mass. I come across majority of the common folks lamenting about poor governance and all the malfeasance rampant in the national government and the county governments but who end up voting along tribal lines or whose ballot decision is artificially wrecked.
Fermentation of the Third Liberation calls for a new generation of leaders. Perhaps more youthful leaders need to take a pivotal role by clearly pointing out the socio-political and economic ills and endlessly agitate for transformation of the Republic.
Disappointments, however, are bound to occur since a significant number of Kenyan youth are ethnic fundamentalists. Informal education acquired through the primary socialization process is a breeding mechanism for highly spirited tribalists. No wonder formal learning institutions are ethnic enclaves.
All in all, talking we must at this moment but the embers of the Third Liberation should not be allowed to flicker out. The oppressed majority must seek for political and economic emancipation through peaceful means.
Viva Troisieme Liberation! Viva Mouvement des Personnes!