Raila Amolo Odinga - World Economic Forum Annu...

Prime Minister Raila Odinga / Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

Yesterday’s headline of a Kenyan newspaper read “My opponents are drunks, thieves – Raila”.  Today, another headline reads “Does Uhuru smokes bhang?” For the novice bhang is marijuana and Uhuru means freedom in Kiswhahili.

I did not buy the newspaper but in the latter case Uhuru must refer to one of the sons of Kenya first president Jomo Kenyatta.

His son Uhuru Kenyatta is a minister indicted by the International Criminal Court as a suspect for post-election crimes.

Raila Odinga is Kenya’s Prime Minister , a post conferred to him after the election chaos of 2007.

His opponent Mwai Kibaki, through votes rigging, was declared President and he selected a Vice-President and the members of his cabinet in less time than it takes to sneeze.

The election chaos turned the country into a mayhem which saw over 1300 deaths, innumerable internal displaced people and suffering.

A former Secretary General of the United Nations was called to diffuse the crisis, Mr. Odinga the presidential winner-com-declared-loser was sandwiched between the President and the Vice-President to the new post of Prime Minister.  The trio gave birth to a new style of African governance called coalition. 

The same type of Kenyan style government applied when Mad Bob Mugabe of Zimbabwe was unable to retain his parliamentary majority and formed a power sharing government with his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai.  

So, the Prime Minister of Kenya, inspecting-rallying-campaigning for 2012  at a bus station in a Kenyan town, stated that some of his political opponents are “drunkards, bhang smokers and thieves”.  While it is true that some of his opponents frequent the posh and not so posh watering holes of the country, are embroiled in alleged illicit drug trafficking and mind-boggling amount of misappropriation of government’s fund.

The Prime Minister words are reminiscent of Gaddafi’s to the anti-government demonstrators when he called them “drugged greasy rats” more or less under the influence of everything except fruit juice.

Kenya, bedrock of “freedom” of expression, until you look at the lining of the suit, has a Prime Minister who exercises his right with unpleasant preludes by mud slugging in the arena of the hot kitchen of Kenyan politic. The crowd cheers when he loudly voices what everyone thinks in their mind.  The opponents cry foul because he dared not to use metaphors to express himself.

In the meantime the government remains a swamp of corruption and is impotent in structuring the important issues needed to lift the mass out of the stagnation of their daily lives.

Kenya has an unemployment rate of 40%, the majority of the national airports have unpaved runways, and the electricity cost is prohibitive. The road infrastructure is mainly dirt roads and the paved ones are carpeted with such a thin layer of asphalt that they have more pot holes than craters on the moon. The currency is weakening but the economy for the few owning the majority of the wealth of the country has a real growth of at least 4%.

The real issues are sidestepped while the political elephants find a circus, an arena to voice their pseudo greatness.   The majority of the men and the few women in this political elites are very well-educated but isn’t Albert Einstein who said that “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school”, but in their case they have forgotten a great deal, they forgot what they were elected for.

In retrospective they are not elephants. They are parasites sucking the energy and the patience of the mass.



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