Friday, September 22, 2006

Is The Odinga Spell Broken? New Things The Luo Are Saying About Raila

Hon Raila Amolo Odinga, the MP for Kibera, nay, Langata, is considered a Kingmaker in Kenyan politics.

According to the late Hon Michael Kijana Wamalwa, he inspires both Railamania and Railaphobia while the latest biography aptly describes him as an enigma in Kenyan politics. In Luo Nyanza Raila has cultivated a cult of personality that is the envy of many a politician. This cult has spawned myths that elevates Raila almost to the level of luo legends like Gor Mahia and Lwanda Magere. Infact, professors of Political Science bow in awe and sing praises to Agwambo, owad gi Akinyi

Raila straddles the Kenyan political landscape like the proverbial colossus. Whenever, he is out of the country, his absence speaks even louder. He has the knack of setting the political agenda by just calling a prèss conference; and even if you are dyed-in-the-wool critique of this guy, you must appreciate one fact: he is a force that cannot be wished away.

Despite all this accolades as a politician, Raila fails miserable as a leader. This is manifested by the increasing socio-economic misery that he has brought to members of the luo community. No wonder, the word luo Nyanza evokes negative feelings of poverty disease and immaturity. This is not to say that Raila is wholly responsible for the woes facing the luo community, members of this community are equally culpable.

To begin with, Raila enjoys unbridled power as leaders of the luo community- forget the fact that he is a Nairobi MP. This has come about due to the fact that the luos suffered immensely under Kenyatta and Moi to the point where they were desperate for leaders who will fearless fight for them. The late Jaramogi Odinga, one of the most principled and honest politicians this country has ever had - took up this mantle but fate was not kind to him. His son ascended to this throne with the promise to deliver the luo from socio-political wilderness. Unbeknown to the luo community, he subtly changed course and is now leading them deeper and deeper into the hot desert while he is covered with a human umbrella and has fresh water at his disposal. He has even taken all the manna that dropped from heaven so that his people can remain hungry and beg from him.

Many sons and daughters of the luo community have died in this circus of the so called political and economic liberation while his closest relatives live in luxury. When its is appropriate, Raila sheds crocodile tears knowing well aware that these suffering and death only serves to reinforce the persecution complex within the community that ensures his political survival.

It is instructive to note that the sugar and fish sector remain the mainstay of luo economy. However, no single day - not one I know of - has Raila ever employed his mobilization skill and rhetoric to fight for the farmers and the fisherfolk. For along time, before Kibaki came to power, sugar framer went for years without being paid for their produce. Meanwhile, tones of sugar were being imported into the country compounding further the woes further. All this time, Agwambo never raised a finger (or was he part of the cartel that was importing sugar?). In the fish sector, it is ironical that people in Nyanza are contended with fish skeletons popularly known as mgongowazi due to high levels of poverty while hoping against hope that all will be well when Raila becomes president. Never!

Some will argue that Raila is the MP for Kibera and is not responsible for the woes affecting the people of Nyanza. Nothing could be further from the truth. Raila is covertly and overtly at the centre of all the major political events taking place in the region including who becomes MP, if in doubt, just ask Raphael Tuju, the MP for Rarieda. However, this is not to say that Tuju should provide the much needed alternative centre of power, given that he cannot be come an MP if left to his own devices.

One would ask: what do you want Raila to do? Before I answer the question, I would say that Raila has remained the undisputed (mis)leader of the luo community for very long time. If he was wise and had the interest of the luo people, he would use this privileged position to help his people economically and not to pursue his own selfish political interests at the expense of his community. He should do this by using his influence among the luo as a political bargaining chip to force the government acquiesce to the urgent needs of his people in whatever way possible in return for political support. Politics for its own sake will not help the luo people.

At this point, I want to challenge Raila to tell the public any substantial contribution in terms of economic development that he has made to his community.

In conclusion, its time for the luo to take a hard look at themselves in the social-economic mirror and see the bruises and wounds in their faces caused by a leader whom they "worship" more than Nyasaye.

Yours Faithfully
Alfred Oduor


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raila is by no means responsible for problems luo community go through. We suffer because we've not realised how much hard & tough we should work to free ourselves from the bondage of our political emiseries. Our problems existed long before Raila came to the lime light of politics in Kenya. Let him help us struggle till we reach Cannan, whether we die or not those alive will surely benefit

1:57 AM  
Blogger MAZEMBE said...

It is indeed very easy to stand at the sidelines and point fingers and hurl insults, etc.The problems with Luos in Kenya are actually Kenyan problems and are not limited to Luos alone.Raila is just one man, and unfortunately, the way Kenyans have chosen to see the world and to interact with it is through individuals.When Obama went to Kenya, he pointed out corruption as being one of the major problems in Kenya, along with AIDS, (although I fail to see the truth in that, considering that there have been questions as to what the true origins of that virus might be. was it a military lab somewhere in the usa? )Kenya needs all kenyans in order to survive. Kenya has had some poor and ineffective leadership for many many years, and heaping the blame on raila at this point in time, is yet another waste of time and space.Let us not forget that the luos were robbed greatly, when their leaders such as tom mboya, robert ouko, mbaya and others were blatantly assasinated by cruel and despotic leaders governing Kenya.We can blame kikuyus for this and that, but that only breeds tribal animosity.Kenya is an impoverished country in east africa, faced with a terribly difficult future because of many factors and unfortunate circumstances, eg being neighbours with somalia, ethiopia, uganda.I read kenyan politics in kenyan papers like standard, nation, etc and each day, is more pessimistic and disparaging than the previous days news, not because of any thing of the kenyans making, but because of the disastrous decisions by politicians and the reckless manner with which the country is increasingly becaoming lawless.

7:34 PM  
Blogger chris said...

Very honest and enlightening comment. You may be interested in adding your views to our ongoing debate on tribalism in Kenya. Find it at;
(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page (and click on the "Post A Comment" button) to post your comment.)

Best wishes. Please keep commenting and reading


1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this article with amusement! To blame Raila solely for the poverty and disease that is rampant in Luo Nyanza is Naive.
I think that a good portion of the blame lies in the Luo psyche. Many Luo cultural practices encourage the spread of poverty and disease. Take the practices of wife inheritance and polygamy for example. In this day and age polygamous pursuits are more likely to generate poverty simply because whatever little wealth a man may have generated in his life time will have to be split severally amongst all his wives and children. Luo men are notorious for taking on new and younger wives at the slightest increase in personal income. Raila has nothing to do with this.
Another aspect of the Luo psyche that I believe makes them prone to manipulation is their foolishly fanatical support of all things theirs. All you need to do to win a Luos trust is to praise him profusely .Raila knows this all too well and has used it to maximum advantage, he has managed to convince Luos that his course is theirs and that when he looks good they look good too.
Luos need to realize that it is their fanatical support of Raila that raises his political stature, remove that from the equation and he is just another ordinary mortal.
Raila is simply a well adapted political creature, one like a skilled predator on the savanna that knows how to spot weaknesses that are inherent in his prey and take advantage of the same.
That Luos are easy prey to such a predator is self evident

9:07 PM  
Anonymous shadrack said...

I cannot agree any more with the writer.It is a known fact that the odinga family(Raila included) is responsible for the many economic woes bedevilling the people of nyanza.Mzee jaramogi odinga led is people immediately after indepedence to the opposition when actually all the other communities where consolidating their gains in unity after the exit of the colonial masters.This made nyanza to be seen by the two successive governments as a roque state whithin the country. Many expected his son Raila to be more modern and lead is people back to teh fold but unfortunately he failed and instead concentrated on schemes to overthrough the gorvernment. He still thinks and talks about getting the government out today, never bothering to articulate the problems of the people of nyanza , that he so loves to control in terms of elective politics.The people of nyanza are waiting for the day when Raila will realise that economy is more important than schemes of who is going to be what in an imaginary future government.

Shadrack k. Muema
staff, University of Nairobi.

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I differ with the writer in the strongest terms. If you read the article in the Standard Othaya’s dream and illusion in East African Standard Dec 31, Where people from Kibaki's constituency thought that there would be economic prosperity because Kibaki became president. But that is not to be, Kibaki is a national leader, and so is Raila with a National vision, first analyze the developments when he was road minister, the drastic measures he took to ensure that the bypasses would be built . . . before his tenure was prematurely terminated. What has he done for Nyanza? That should not be the question, unless we wish to resort to regional politics. What Raila and the ODM are after now is a national vision and to correct especially the corruption evils that Kibaki has failed to curb. Kibaki has the power to conclude scandals like the anglo leasing, but the fact that he does not go after those involved shows his indifference towards fighting corruption. Even though he has made some strides in economic policies. Corruption that he seems to condone remains his nightmare and if he is not ready to tackle it then he should step down.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Gathara said...

Isn't it a displacement of responsibility to blame opposition MPs for economic malaise? Isn't the economy properly the province of government? You seem to be condoning Mo1's favorite phrase: "Siasa mbaya, maisha mbaya!" Just because the Luo exercised their democratic rights to vote for opposition figures doesn't relieve the government of its responsibilities towards them. Their poverty and neglect is an indictment of the Government, not an opposition politician, however powerful.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father always felt that Jaramogi and other Luo leaders like Mboya at the national level let the Luos down , his reason was whay couldn't they just shut up and eat or do wahtever it is everyone was doing. I sometimes tend to agree with him bcoz no one appreciates the people who fight for our freedom. Going by the current Domo word which is in essence what the author of this article was talking about, my understanding is that RAO should not talk about issues but rather join with the looters so the Luo are taken care of which is a big lie or go out there to the international community and seek for people to invest in projects in luoland??
It does not make any sense at all to me maybe i dont just get it??
Having watched many shows in the run up to Dec 27th, I'm left beleiving that the poverty in Nyanza is just as rampant as elswhere in Kenya.

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Zenia said...

I don't think the problems of Luos per se can be blamed on Odinga, the point is not many Kenyans have improved beyond the average Luo.
I think one of the biggest problems in Kenya is the Constitution and how people relate to the Government. Basically in Kenya there are no laws or people have no way to get the government to listen to them. One of the biggest injustices is the Provincial Administration that the British setup and is what Kenyatta, Moi and Now Kibaki have used to control the country.

Think about it, a PC or DC from Mombasa is appointed to run Nyanza Province, His home is in Mombasa, what does he care for Nyanza, When Development Dollars come by he really does not know what people in Nyanza really need, neither does he care. Another problem is All the tax dollars go to Nairobi and then Nyanza gets some small share of the Budget, If Nyanza was to get its fair share, I am sure things would be much different. The Constitution needs to be changed and the system opened up, that way if Kibaki is a federal president, and Raila is prime Minister and Kalonzo is Deputy Prime minister etc. No one has to fear "Eternal eating" The constitution must rip out the whole administrative system by the roots and bring back local control to the Provicial and District level, basically what it boils down to is:
Anyway as long as Kenyans are waiting for Odinga or Kibaki to deliver the bacon, they will have to wait for eternity as we have witnessed with Kibaki. Listen, Kenyans are smart people and the only way for Kenyans to progress is by taking matters into their own hands. Kudos on this blog, this is one of the best places to start, In US small blogs have made such a big difference highlighting the problems in this country... Democrats would not have won 2006 election without the bloggers and 2008 will be a landslide. Blogs are a simple smart way Kenyans can progress/help/learn from each other and highlight injustices. Now is a new time and a new place, Africa is slowly waking up and when we start running, the world will stop to notice.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all kenyans are not treated equaly thats why we are still poor, if 97% of kenyans had jobs who will have time to make kelele on the street,in order to improve life in kenya we must have a good economy first, so that we can share it with others who dont have nothing,you can not expect a new govt and the next day everybody has a job.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

luo people have to try by themselves to change there lifes they can not depend on one person to change there lifes. they have to talk by them selves to the president to help them not Raila i dont see Raila going to kisumu every month to see how they are doing. sometimes i ask my self who will they back if Raila was not elected an MP

5:35 PM  
Blogger Oduor Acholla said...

These are all lies of this author, sorry or it is just lack of knowledge. The author thinks that leaders should be like God and rain mannas from heaven. I am afraid myfriend you have to work for it. Nowadays even there are even no mannas in heaven, the jews finished them during Mt. Sinai trek

Kikuyus even though has had president, that does not mean they sleep all day waiting for heavenly bread, the kikuyus worked hard for it and the lazy one are still poor even in Gatundo, the backyard of president Kenyatta.

Kenya is a little bit behind because of people like this author who expect things to comes easily for them. Even in South Africa, their are these kinds of people who sit back and wait for the leaders to do everything for them while they complain about being poor discriminated by whites.

In United States we have these kinds of people too, majority of this elements are blacks. They grumble that leaders should take care of them since they suffured during civil right movement spearheaded by the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr and during slavery. Some expected Dr. King to do alot.

Alfred Oduor need to be hypermetropic and be his own man, leaders can just do abit while the rest is on you my brother. Raila Amolo has toil for long enough, not only for his people, luo, but to every Kenyan. Mr. Oduor needs to do some study about Raila. I will recommend you read a book by Babafemi badejo: "Raila Odinga:An Enigma in Kenyan Politic" before you write another myopic article this one.

I want to assure you that majority of Luos have benefited from Agwambo wuod gi Akinyi, please do research and prove me wrong on your next article.I may be wrong, may be you are the only who has gained fron Engineer Tinga's contribution, if this is the case, then I am really sorry.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Oduor Acholla said...

I think this author is amongst the people who hate Agwambo with passion. My friend it does not matter what you say, but what you can prove. Did you expext Raila to get a job to ever Luo in Kenya, of course a sober mind will not expect this to happen. Besides this will seem ethnocentric which Raila is not, but I think you are.

Everyone should toil towards his or her own niche. people like you are the parasites of the nation, you expect the leaders to feed you? I You wish you were born in a nation like USA where parasites like you are feed by the government and shun work. Goog luck

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Ken said...

It is now official that alot of ODM supporters are threatening to quit Raila`s camp because he failed to capture the presidency. They claim they had been promised prestegious positions in Raila`s government and now they fear they may never see those positions for a long time. Thousands of them had gone home for elections and now they are frustrated.

Should really educated Kenyans be playing games like this? Why are Africans so selfish and in particular kenyans? That`s why we lag behind in developing our rural areas.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Ken said...

Since 1975 during Mzee Jomo Kenyatta`s one man regime when Mr. james Orengo used to be in University, his life used to be in danger. When The tyrant Moi took over for 24 years of dictatorship and running the country to the ground economically, Mr. james Orengoo`s life used to be in danger and now during ODM and the elections thief rule General Kiguoya`s regime Emilio Kibaki Mr.james Orengo`s life is in danger. Can`t someone dpo something. Orengo a scare crow who survives on the public mercy and he is a propagada man. How comes he does not leave the country like his brother Githongo for his safety and seek assylum in UK or other western countries?

He should stop fooling Kenyans about being in danger and do something about it or someone will do something about it.Who is fooling who? kenyans now have matured and can not be fooled easily. All he wants is to be pocketing $13,000 dollars plus allowances as an MP per month for payukaring and doing nothing from Tax payers money.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why the writer choose an example of Luo Nyanza ( and to sign using a fake Luo name).

I hope we are not comparing Raila Odinga to Kibaki when it comes to leadership. Kibaki has failed as a leader and turn to ballot fraud. That´s not what Odinga had ever done.

About Nyanza. I have actually walked all over Kenya but this is my conclussion.

It is just ONE BIG SLUM that needs that calls for Raila style political emancipation

10:40 AM  
Blogger Emmanuel said...

Emmanuel Ochieng Kasera

Well, that's the rosy part. Now for the road leading to economic and political growth ODM/Raila has no option but to come out of these
without being selfish no matter how much they will have to give and take in the current political arrangment, this in turn will ensure he has
a firm grip on matters that will help and improve the wellbeing of the Luo community and the other pentagom members(western, coastal) communities as well, then
he will stand a better chance of achieving this, and avoid being seen as gloating...the kicks of a dying

Emmanuel Ochieng Kasera

10:16 PM  
Blogger geraldos said...

Actually i think that this leaders always takes us on a ride,although they walk to be seen as the public figures they are never concerned about our well being.The elected dictaters always plan on how to get our votes and they will run to plan for themselves.Today the situation is a whole proof,raila have negotiated and has gain power after the spill of kenyans blood he is know thinking about the primeir post and for us the citizens we can die in hell.PLan are underway for his office the salary and most probably a new home,as for the displaced for them i watch situation,sllepless nights and unforgettable memories,while for odinga's it's mombasa raha time.He has never at any one time vied for any post in nyanza but he still remains to be their king,the reason may be based on the fact you have pointed out plus more.
A mention of Nyanza always leaves many puzzled the problems underlieing on this provence are tough to the point that they scare away Raila to the capital.Raila always want to deal with national issue and the reason why he always vie for langata is due to the fact that there are no major responsibilty on this constituency,Since the donors seems to be concerned with the ongoing of the slums plus the are around is surrounded by the wealthier class.This with the continuation guess on you mind should give you a clue on how raila intelligence is always formatted to fit his own struggle.


8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raila is not responsible for problems in the Luo community. The Luos have the problem of heaping too much trust in the hands of one family, "THE ODINGA FAMILY", despite the fact that this family has never delivered any tangible development to Luoland. They (the Luos) worship this family like idol, making everyone in it little god who cannot be critized. They have blindly followed this family right into hell holes of poverty , diseases and lack of educational progress. The Luos have nothing to show for this kind of idolatry.

The Luos youth must find ways to breakaway from the Odinga's family spell because life is too short to be wasted worshiping one family who does not give a damn about whether/how you live or die.

There is a say when you make your bed, you must sleep in it.

Raila is busy taking care of himself and his family with sparodic criticisms against other African leaders, like Mugabe, at the requests of foreign leaders. He does not seam to realize that all African leaders, particularly, Sub-Saharan Africans are powerless. They bark when they are told to bark by the West; they slaughter their own citizens when they are directed to do so. They, however, have been unable to make any progress in Africa since they gained independence from their rulers.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i work with the world bank and i have had the priviledge to travel far and wide within the borders of your beautifull country kenya and this is why i want to differ with a contributor who said that nyanza is a big slum. i really doubt if that person has ever been past nairobi. youu cannot compare othaya or any town in central province or let me just say any other city except nairobi and mombasa with kisumu. kisumu is way, way ahead of all the other towns except the ones i have mentioned above. it is kisumu residents who have made that city what it is save for the pev kisumu was my destination of choice in nyanza and let me say it again by all standards kisumu is the 3rd city of kenya and that is not railas doing it is kenyans who've built that city not an individual also from nakuru,kericho,kisumu,kakamega and bungoma you can see the difference with other towns in kenya. so kenyans please i have been in this country for the past 17 years have even married a gacungwa from kabete and we've been blessed with 3 lovely kids who by the way are kenyans and i want to raise them here in this country coz i love it here and am not leaving so when i hear people lowering themselves to the point of attacking individuals i really feel bad. this country has been blessed with very smart and intelligent people who i've had the pleasure of working with, visiting with, sharing meals with, going to both weddings and funerals with even sometimes when i go to washington (which also happens to be my home), our bosses in the big office get amazed at the level of competence of my colleagues kenya is ranked very high as far as competent human resource is concerened. now the only problem that is bedevelling this wonderfull country is leadership. the leadership has failed-collectively lets not take sides odm or pnu. both of them have failed to provide a new direction for this country therein lies our problem so we can bicker all we want bit untill we learn that both odm and pnu are the enemies we'll never get ourselves out of this mess that our mediocre leaders have put us in. what we have in this counrty like mutahi ngunyi wrote the other day, this is a failed presidency and if the presidency has failed then the government has also failed. so what do we do about it country men and women?

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very sad and unfortunate for the way the writer thinks about Raila, Nyanza and Luo in general. Which one single community that does not follow their perceived leaders fanatical in Kenya?
The kikuyus rally behind uhuru, the kalenjins followed moi and now Ruto without a second thought. What has uhuru or ruto brought to their community that they should be followed . I can at least say without hesistancy write here that Raila fought and suffered for the democratic space we enjoy today. This is great achievement which warrants his people , the luos and other patriotic Kenya to follow Raila.

2:12 PM  

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