Opinion

Dear Kikuyus: Its time we vote Raila for presidency

Dear Kikuyus: Its time we vote Raila for presidency

By Daniel Njaga

The 2013 and 2017 General Elections rejection of ODM leader Raila Odinga in the presidential race was due to what late vice president Kijana Wamalwa termed as Railaphobia.

 I argue that it was less about Raila and more about the Kikuyu people.

Like in many political trends in Kikuyuland, Railaphobia defies all logic.

It unites the poorest with billionaires; educated with peasantry. We even have university lecturers who openly spew rubbish against Raila and the Luo.

The easiest lies to spread in Mt Kenya is against Raila.

The Kikuyu are fanatical about a person with a case in ICC stemming from killing and displacement of hundreds of Kikuyus in one of the most shameful chapters of our history.

 And the biggest object of their hate is a person associated with their liberation.

Kikuyus biggest antagonists have been the Kalenjins under whom they suffered great torment in 1992 and 1997.

Hundreds of Kikuyu peasants were brutally murdered in Rift Valley because the community agitated for more political parties and Kikuyu leaders competed with President Daniel arap Moi for power.

Kalenjins took it as tribal affront. Militias killed Kikuyus and destroyed their properties.

 It was being presented as a conflict between communities caused by multi-party politics.

To this day we use the term TRIBAL CLASHES which was pure rubbish. It was actually TRIBE CRASHING.

Moi had cautioned many parties would herald tribalism. He was determined to actualise his prophecy.

The leader of the youth wing (YK92) William Ruto, to whom these mayhems were attributed, is now the subject of the hysterical following in Kikuyuland.

While Raila, who fiercely confronted Moi’s tyranny (something Kikuyu leaders had tried and failed) is now the principal object of hate and divisive and maliciously false propaganda.

 To paraphrase PLO Lumumba, “I NEED TO BE PERSUADED.” Persuade me INDEED how all this came about.

Railaphobia is not natural. There is no historical antagonism between the Kikuyu and the Luo.

The two tribes have been great allies and produced the earliest nationalists.

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga rallied the nation against Uhuru without Jomo Kenyatta – “Kenyatta na Uhuru,” he coined the slogan.

In my childhood, there was no hostility. The Luo were highly revered for their role in the independence struggle.

They were also influential in government policies after independence.

Jaramogi Odinga, Tom Mboya, Ochieng Oneko etc. We even had songs in their praises.

There was that face-off between Kenyatta and Jaramogi in Kisumu. There was bitterness over the death of Tom Mboya.

This was a big crisis that later led to the oathing to solidify Kikuyu loyalty around “their” government. Led to marginalisation of Luoland by Kenyatta government.

Moi’s government entrenched isolation of Luo and Kikuyu lands, which only tied them together in victimhood.

They were the strongest protagonists of the second liberation.

The Luo were great heroes and Raila was a super icon – for his courage that defied his persecution by Moi.

Raila is perhaps the first person to call on Moi’s resignation. This sounds trite today. It was extremely radical at the time. No newspaper would publish Raila’s statement – it was published in Nairobi Law Monthly.

 We were reading it in secret and marveling at Raila’s courage.

Jaramogi and his son, Raila, were heroes in Kikuyu land. The region had suffered great marginalisation and economic sabotage.

There was so much poverty (which they have not recovered from). They were discriminated in government institutions and it was almost taboo to talk about it.

Kikuyu leaders had long been neutered by Moi, having served under him. When it got very unbearable, Ken Matiba and Charles Rubia threw their weight behind calls for reforms.

They were wealthy and influential and their voice was heavily instrumental in adding momentum for change.

The picture of Martin Shikuku and James Orengo daring police brutality to enter Kamukunji grounds on Saba Saba was a precious possession.

 We had cuttings of this picture and others in our houses.

We celebrated these great heroes; We adored Raila who had been detained with Matiba.

There was a remarkable case when there was a by-election in Nyandarua’s Kipipiri constituency.

 Kanu was desperate to at least get an elected MP within Kikuyu land and had moved state machinery to get this. But people in Central had vowed NEVER to elect anybody in Kanu.

Vote counting was shrouded in secrecy and people were barred from witnessing.

Until Raila arrived! He led people into forcing their way into the tallying hall where counting was taking place.

The Moi government was desperate for the seat and mischief was afoot. Raila changed it.

Raila and observers supervised counting which Kanu lost.

It was a big celebration. We talked about Raila for days on end, celebrating his heroism.

 I recall that famous Taifa Leo headline “KANU YAOJA PILIPILI KIPIPIRI.” This loss infuriated Moi so much.

The Moi government removed electricity poles lined up in the constituency to lure voters.

Most young people wouldn’t believe how backward leadership was then.

Around 1997, another round of violence happened targeting the Kikuyu in Molo and Kuresoi where no opposition leader dared visit except for Raila who visited the affected families and challenged the government to come clean on the violence and stop that nonsense of tribal clashes.

So far so good. No traces of Railaphobia anywhere. As I said earlier, I NEED TO BE PERSUADED. Persuade me how somebody we admired so much turned out to be a villain of politics in Kikuyu land? In the next thread, I will trace the source of this river of hatred against Raila

Note. Kikuyus have the RIGHT TO POLITICAL FREEDOM. They owe Raila nothing.

Here, I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THE NATURAL DIFFERENCES OF OPINION IN FAVOUR AND AGAINST PEOPLE AND IDEAS.

It’s about phobia – the paranoid and mass negative obsession with Raila. 


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