Kenya @ 50

Advertisements

An Open Letter to Raila Amollo Odinga

Dear Jakom,

raila-amolo-odinga-kenya

It might seem crazy what I am about to say but I hope you will take it like the soldier you have always been albeit for your own sake. Allow me to begin by expressing my gratitude to for the many years of leadership you have provided for the people of Luo Nyanza. Your personal sacrifices and commitment to our liberation and the fight for democracy are as admirable as they are appreciated by many. Over the many years you have been on the political scene you have inspired and motivated generations and the people of Nyanza and most of Western Kenya to believe in your course and to support you through thick and thin with the hope that one day you will clinch the tools of power and deliver the promise of development to a region that has been alienated by successive regimes left to wallow and die in poverty, diseases, prostitution and underdevelopment.

However, thrice we have gone into the ballot and thrice we have left the ballot bruised and disappointed and slowly the disappointment has grown into a state of despair and frustration which is now growing into discontent. I do hope that for your own sake you have your eyes open and your ears on the ground listening to the disgruntled voices of the people of Nyanza or that you can at least read the writing on the wall.

Sir, it should strike you and your advisers with a lot of concern that for the first time you were recently heckled in Kisumu. While my opinion is that your opponents and political propagandists have read too much from that ‘’Small’’ incidence it must be a course for concern for everyone around you that this time you couldn’t even charm your way into the hearts of the people of Kisumu as you always have even on subjects that are bigger and juicier than a mere sculpture. Jakom Kisumu is the bedrock of Luo Nyanza politics and when things go awry over there you should know that the rest of Nyanza is watching and warming up. Having said that I do not want you or any other person from Nyanza to be as ignorant about what happened in Kisumu as the non-Luo Communities on social media have been.

But what’s up in Kisumu? Why all of a sudden a city that has sung your praise would, almost worshipped you and said yes to everything you have said turn and heckle you and embarrass you in front of the whole nation? Where has the famous ‘’NDIYO BABA!!!!’’ phrase gone to? And has it bothered you that Kisumu treat you with such hostility over this small matter? I sit possible that there is more that the attitude of the people of this city than meets the eyes and if there is what could be the cause?

Baba, Kisumu like many parts of the country was a victim of the post elections violence that plagued the nation after the botched presidential election of 2007. Many lives were lost, property destroyed and people lost their jobs and homes just like it happened in other towns.

But the story is a little bit different for Kisumu, while victims of the PEV from other communities were helped by their politicians to get back to their feet and to their business. A lot of them received and continue to receive compensation because their politicians stood by them and argued their cases to the powers that be. Many of them returned their land and were helped to rebuild and the coalition between two of the main antagonists in the violence has brought some sort of unity between them.

But what happened to the PEV victims in Kisumu? They were abandoned by their politicians including you. They were left to eke out an impossible livelihood from the slums of Kisumu and in fact Luos who were chased or displaced from other town like Nakuru and Naivasha joined their kinsmen in the city to expand that cycle of misery. Of course this was from that ridiculous logic that all Luos are from Kisumu and so the government sent them all their and abandoned them in IDP camps that had littered the city. They were plodded there, left jobless with no means to survive and abandoned by the very politicians they were fighting for in the PEV. They have visited all public offices and local politicians to argue their cases to no avail and it seems their plight will never be addressed. The 2013 elections were to be a defining moment for the people of Kisumu. They had hoped that finally their son would ascend to power and quench their years of thirst for leadership but that did not happen. It should perhaps explain why some even committed suicide after the verdict from the Supreme Court.

What is happening in Kisumu now sir, is that the people want to chart their own course and determine their own destinies. They are not keen on leaving that in the hands of politicians any more as that has had very dire consequences for them and they would use a matter as ‘’small’’ as a statue to drive their point home.

Tread carefully with Kisumu sir. I would advise you take several trips to the city personally and engage in a one on one dialogue with your supporters. Listen to them for the first time and don’t impose things on them. Agree to let them vote in leaders of their choice those they believe will represent their interest and fight the stinging poverty facing the whole of Nyanza. Find means to empower them so they can break from the shackles that make them dependent on the events on the political scene. That way sir you will cement your legacy and remain a hero in the eyes of this people otherwise you will face scathing and this is just the beginning.

All the best in the process.

Kenyan Voter