Despite their passion for politics, desire for political victory and unity to achieve it, the Luo are yet to occupy State House 50+ years after independence. Despite having been given the first chance in 1963 and having five other opportunities, including the 1982 coup, no Luo has ever been President. Why?
Unfortunately the current crop of Luo ‘leadership’ has remained fearful of discussing the reasons — even amongst themselves at a community dialogue level — lest the truth overpower and shame them.
The reason why a Luo is yet to be President is the community’s choice of presidential candidates. Luos have always presented ‘great warriors’ instead of ‘great leaders’ for the presidential contests. Warriors have no time for planning, negotiating, strategising and analysing facts, figures and intelligence. In the battle field they know one thing — fighting. They do not have the patience to wait or hide long enough for a successful ambush. Courage, is their first quality, their way is the resolute acceptance of death. They have no time for wealth, health or knowledge. As long as they can hear the war cries of their fighters behind them, they will move forward without looking over their shoulders. They love roaring crowds and in such circumstances they can end up in the battle field with guns without ammunition. They know of orders and commands only.
Leaders, on the other hand, strategise and plan, go for stealth and ambush, facts and figures. They consider advice and intelligence and analyse data keenly. Leaders listen and consider all suggestions. They care about their integrity. To them influence, and not authority, is key. They don’t demand loyalty, they earn it. Great leaders care about those they lead and unconsciously become role models.
It is common knowledge that winning any contest requires wealth, health and stealth. It requires good knowledge of self, opponents and the battle ground to employ stealth – a key ingredient in battle. So the current strategy of Luo leaders to ‘get the IDs and voters cards and take Baba to State House’ cannot qualify as stealth. It is laughable. Stealth is a strategy that Jubilee used perfectly in 2013. They secretly urged their voters to register to the last man. Unlike ODM’s current strategy, Jubilee employed resources and incentives. Currently ODM sycophants are just using it as a strategy to keep the voters hopes alive and get themselves re-elected, for these very sycophants are known to froth at the mouth as they call leaders from other communities all sorts of derogatory names without considering that the Luo vote is only 12 per cent of the national vote.
Most of the top 100 richest Kenyans today either worked for the government or did business with it. Yet in Luoland the consecutive warriors who have led us have always ensured that we believe that the government of the day is enemy number one and anyone who does business with it or has a big job in it is a traitor and must be treated as such. They have led the Luo out of every government at every turn. After independence in 1963, the Luo only stayed in government for a few years before they were led out by Jaramogi in 1966 and subsequently waging war against Tom Mboya, who remained without considering that the government is the greatest employer, trading partner and the custodian of our taxes. The Luo youth lost out on both employment and business opportunities. Moi who replaced Jaramogi as Vice President was patient enough, he lay low until he succeeded Kenyatta without sweat.
After Kenyatta’s death in 1978, the Luo regained favour in Moi’s government, however before Moi’s fifth year in office the impatient warriors tried a coup that put Luos at loggerheads with the Moi government again. The few who remained in Moi’s favour were never trusted enough by his government and were also seen as traitors by the Luo. They could not achieve much. However, at the end of Moi’s regime in 2003, the Luo harmoniously moved into Government with president Kibaki only to rebel a year later. In 2005 Kibaki dissolved and reconstituted the cabinet which all the Luo MPs who were offered positions rejected except Raphael Tuju. In 2008, the Luos again re-joined government with Kibaki and Raila on a fifty-fifty power sharing arrangement and before even the end of the first year they rebelled against the very government that they were part of. They remained in this government to the end but as an opposition from within. These sycophants’ main narrative to their followers is that the government is biased against the Luo, yet they are the very ones who declare those who choose to work with the government as moles and traitors. The “we are us and they them” slogan adopted by ODM in Luo Nyanza is worst form of tribalism, for it denies more Luos opportunity in government than the President does.