By Gab Oguda
Those people who keep lining up to greet Raila Odinga at Capitol Hill hoping their names would be included in the new Cabinet don’t understand the kind of game being played by Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Great Sun Tzu says, in The Art of War, and I quote, that; “What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.” This is Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy term. He wants to leave on a high, and would want his presidency to be remembered for good stuff. When he took the oath of office after the bungled elections last year, he had two political enemies staring at him straight in the eye.
On one hand was Engineer Raila Odinga; Kenya’s frontline pro-democracy spearhead carrying the hopes and aspirations of a ten million strong political constituency. He had the enviable record of being the most battle-hardened of the current political class; he came into the 2017 with a long-drawn plan of sustaining the fight for electoral reforms. Had he heeded the call from his supporters to lead a secessionist group of historically marginalized Kenyans, Uhuru Kenyatta would have been left with a shell of country to preside over; and there wouldn’t have been fun being President of a country smaller than my village granary.
He attacks Raila Odinga’s political strategy by playing into his famous Achilles Heel; the burning desire to follow in Nelson Mandela’s footsteps as the doyen of African statesmanship. Raila Odinga bites the diplomacy bait, heads straight to the Office of the President to sign a hurriedly patched reconciliatory pact; is given the trappings of power to soften his hard-heart, and the world interrupts normal programming to beam live images of a historical handshake badly needed but deeply concealed.
The most important role the handshake was supposed to play was not to build bridges, but to puncture Raila Odinga’s political momentum. The Jubilee government knew they might have had the trappings of power but all those meant nothing if half the country didn’t recognize the legitimacy of their government. A call is made through Raila Odinga’s secure line, they remind him that a Nobel Peace Prize is within his reach if he accepts to down his tools of political war. The offer is too good to resist and the chance to finish the war, that was almost being won, is lost.
They’ve already cornered the game, robed him of his political sting, and it’s time to toy around with his ego as they wait to sort out the other remaining political threat; William Ruto. You will hear of a looming cabinet reshuffle expecting Raila Odinga’s allies to make half the list and when the reshuffle does come, you’re left with a bitter taste in your mouth because the only Odinga ally you can pinpoint in the list is one miniscule ambassadorial posting to an outpost that requires the nominee to first sit for the Test of Mandarin as a Foreign Language (TOMFOOL).
Uhuru Kenyatta is playing chess with Raila Odinga, because he still needs him to help him kill off William Ruto; the crocodile he himself fed and nurtured hoping he would contain it when the time came. But as he has already noticed, William Ruto isn’t going down easily and not without the fight of his life. This leaves Raila Odinga with only two realistic options; Begin a vicious fight for your new-found space in government.
Or withdraw the handshake and restart the revolutionary war.