African Press International (API)

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History in the making

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

By Kipkoech Tanui

The election week starts today. History is in the making. D-day is four days away 96 hours.

On the last Sunday to another milestone in the nations life, we today bring you more stories and features dedicated to the elections, the Kibaki presidency, power intrigues, and the twists and turns in the big race.

There is also plenty to read on the road Kenya has walked thus far, from December 30, 2002, when Kibaki was sworn-in as Kenyas third president and Commander-in-Chief.

It is the homestretch, and, therefore, much as the flames of passion, with its traditional ethnic flavour continuing to soar, the eye is on the glimmer and glamour of State House.

There is nail biting and anxiety and the big question is whether President Kibaki will clinch a second and final term. Or will he be the first president to bundled out of office at the ballot?

The anxiety of the moment is anchored to the fact that the Presidents main challengers Mr Raila Odinga (ODM) and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (ODM-Kenya) were his devout allies in 2002, but he sacked them from the Cabinet after the humiliating defeat at the referendum in 2005.

For Raila, who has led in seven of the controversial Steadman Groups fortnightly opinion polls, and Kalonzo who has stuck to the third position, the referendum was the culmination of the war against Kibaki over alleged betrayal in a pre-election power-sharing pact signed in 2002.

The Presidents side argues the MoU had to be trashed, because it was not going to give the country a Cabinet that is the face of Kenya. The Raila-Kalonzo axis argues that it was an act of betrayal and selfishness. The two, who themselves dramatically fell out and ended up on the ballot with varied symbol of the orange, are out to stake their claim.

If the President wins, his will be the last laugh, for he will not be in the 2012 race. He will have therefore vindicate himself, and reap from his campaign slogan kazi iendelee.

But if Kibaki loses to Raila, he will have been driven into the ignominy of defeat, by a man his side treats with suspicion and who will smile at his Waterloo.

A Raila win will be another chapter in the making of the nation, first because he will have surmounted the myth of unelectability because of certain cultural traits.

Secondly, after years of bare-knuckle struggle for basic freedoms, culminating in nine years in detention, he will have elbowed his way to the Executive.

On the road he walked, it shall then be written, are numerous stops at police cells, the fields of teargas, cudgels, and the haze of broken spirit and shattered family life.

It will be the pinnacle of his life, to achieve the dream his father, the late doyen of Opposition Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, had, but which died after he fell out with Jomo Kenyatta.

For Kalonzo it will be the ultimate miracle, the opening up of a gap between Kibaki and Raila – very much like the Red Sea for the Israelites in the Bible to allow him safe passage to State House.

It will be, it shall be written a diplomatic coup, in honour of Kalonzos role in regional peace-talks, during his watch at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It is history in the making. In Kibakis case, if he were beaten, it would be the end of a political career spanning decades and the opening up of a void in central Kenya politics. The political star of so many of his buddies from the days of the Democratic Party in the Opposition benches, will also fade, probably to pop up in 2012.

But for almost ten years he served as Vice-President, will he clinch a decade at State House?

To his credit, he has given his best, on air and on the ground. But the cord he has struck at every rally remains the voters verdict. It must also be noted that given the prominent role Raila played in Kibakis first triumph, a second term would probably break Raila the man he set off on the tracks is unstoppable.

The stakes are indeed high; history is beckoning in the Tenth General Election and the fourth after the restoration of the multi-party era. In all the first two Kibaki and Raila were in the Opposition, but not together. In 1997 they were on the ballot but lost to President Moi, who is now on Kibakis side.

In 2002, Raila was on Kibakis side, against Mois preferred successor Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. Uhuru lost to Kibaki whose second term he is now campaigning for.

Around Raila, under the umbrella of the Pentagon, are Mois last Vice-President Mr Musalia Mudavadi, and the politicians he gave the first-time card to the Cabinet Mr Joe Nyagah and Mr William Ruto.

Raila, too, first served in the Cabinet under Moi. That is the hand from which Raila, too, got the key to the Cabinet, setting off a series of events that eventually silenced the cockerel.

Thursday election will, therefore, be a duel between politicians whose paths have at one point or another run into each other. It is bound to change the political landscape, and history too, no matter who wins.

Between victory and vanquish, honour and disgrace, several axes will have been ground, and political scores settled.

The writer is the Managing Editor, Weekend Editions – Standard.Ke

Lifted and Published by Korir, API/APN

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