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Citizen Weekly

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Had things on Saba Saba day turned out the way some people within the establishment wanted, Kenya would never have been the same again. This because an earth-shaking incident would have occurred: the arrest of Raila Amollo Odinga.
According to intelligence reports just emerging, hours before the Saba Saba rally at Uhuru Park, President Uhuru Kenyatta was under pressure from his hardliners’ corner to order for the arrest of the Cord leader but, in his wisdom, the president declined. 
The plot to arrest Raila was hatched by a section of Jubilee factotums who told Uhuru that what Raila was engaging in was nothing but treason clothed as agitation for national dialogue. Treason is one of the highest crimes on the land and it attracts the death sentence. Uhuru however brushed aside the arrest-Raila-chorus choir and saved Raila from  embarrassment. Instead, it was agreed that the Saba Saba rally was to be given total blackout on television and radio so that Raila at the end resembled a man shouting in the wilderness where no one hears him. Others however say by refusing to lock up Raila, Uhuru saved his government as there is no telling what direction the arrest would have taken Kenya. Uhuru reportedly felt, although he did not tell the hardliners, that a Raila arrest would be playing into the hands of Cord’s regime-change headmasters abroad as it would spark riots that would reduce the country into ashes. Indeed, there are those saying that Raila is dying to be arrested and that he is deliberately engaging in acts that are openly subversive in nature to egg Uhuru into crossing the crucible.
Within Cord family word has it, the rally was sabotaged when powerful government officials met at Serena with key players in the media industry and struck a deal to black out the event.    Fear was that live broadcast would spread hatred moreso given that  warmongering by certain Cord operatives had characterised the previous rallies. Those at the Serena talks were legislators Jamleck Kamau, Ndungu Gethenji, Joseph Iringo and            Joseph            Ole      Lenku, David Kimaiyo, Masoud Mwinyi who is the police spokesman. Harun Mwangi of Media Council and Mwenda Njoka of the Office of the President were present. From the media side were Linus Kaikai of Nation, Sammy Shollei of Standard, Farida Karoney of Royal Media, Samuel Maina of KBC, Michael Mumo of Capital FM, Macharia Gaitho of Daily Nation, Wellington Nyongesa of Standard and David Ohito.
It has not been established whether the plot to have Raila arrested is what prompted him to hurriedly convene a meeting at the Crowne Plaza hotel attended by Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula and James Orengo. Those who believe the arrest plan resulted to the Crowne meeting say it is in the meeting that Raila’s co-principals having panicked as none of them have ever seen the inside of a cell convinced him to scale down the demands. This was happening as Raila’s driver was being arrested in Kisumu.
It was during this meeting that the earlier plan to call for mass action was abandoned and hurriedly replaced by that for calls for national referendum. The eleventh-hour decision caught some top Cord leaders by surprise.
It was during this meeting that the 13-point proposal that was to be used to call for mass action was turned into a call for referendum.
The million-march to State House to evict Uhuru from power was also binned much to the disappointment of the crowd that had to be told by Raila himself to go home after the meeting when it lingered about waiting for an order to storm State House. The crowd had been meant to think that after the Uhuru Park rally, Raila and Cord leaders were to march to State House.
Sources say Jubilee had not taken lightly Cord’s threat to mobilise a million people to march to State House to present a petition to Uhuru after he scoffed at their demands for the so-called national dialogue. The one-million march to State House sent the governing elite and the security agencies into a panic as it was being seen as a plot by opposition to overthrow the government. It was against these fears that Jubilee is said to have worked on counter plans and brought Senator Mike Sonko and Stanley Livondo to make sure the rally was poorly attended. Livondo’s base is Kibera and it is said those Cord gave Sh200 to attend the rally, he promised Sh1000 if they skipped.  Sonko on the other hand was in charge of Eastlands.
Back to the plot to arrest Raila, sources say Uhuru after considerations instead ordered Inspector General of Police Kimaiyo to offer Cord rally the necessary protection.
Analysts say arresting Raila could have led to bloodshed and nasty confrontation whose results would have been catastrophic to the Uhuru administration. They now say that Uhuru has of late become a clever political animal and has engaged razor sharp strategists and intelligence team that is tasked with studying the Cord’s each and every move and remark. After the rally, Uhuru is said to have laughed upon discovering almost all governors, senators and MPs allied to cord  skipped the saba saba rally.
Among Uhuru’s allies who were pushing him to have Raila locked up were MPs allied to the Jubilee coalition who believed that Raila was plotting to topple the Uhuru Government allegedly with the help of the US.
The first time Uhuru saved Raila from arrest was during his homecoming party after MPs allied to Jubilee told him to have Raila deatained at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on arrival from US after he claimed he was coming to unleash a dossier on how Jubilee rigged elections. The MPs feared that Raila might have solid evidence that could ignite animosity among Kenyans.
Sources say at first Uhuru almost bought the idea but was advised against it and a fresh plot to block the homecoming rally at Uhuru Park was hatched. This too backfired after word went round that Cord had vowed to go ahead with the rally with or without approval of the authority.
Jubilee operatives have been warning that the Cord rallies across the country are meant to incite Kenyans against the government and that Raila is out to grab power through the backdoor.
Although Raila has on many occasions claimed that his statements had been misinterpreted, he has remained defiant and combative.
During the Tononoka rally, Raila told off Jubilee leaders who had threatened to arrest him if he dared call for mass action. Raila said he would not yield to threats of arrest and prosecution.
He bragged that he has been arrested many times before and cannot be threatened with arrest or being detained.
After Uhuru declined to yield to pressure to arrest Raila, Jubilee operatives turned guns at Raila’s foot soldiers whom they also accused of making inciting statements during Cord rallies. 

The heat was turned on Orengo, Hassan Omar, Johnstone Muthama, Boni Khalwale, Elizabeth Ongoro, Junet Mohammed, Jakoyo Midiwo, Tom Kajwang and Simba Arati as well as Mombasa county women representative Mishi Mboko who were all summoned by CID over alleged hate speech. Raila later termed the move as a ploy by the government to intimidate and silence the opposition.
During the Cord rally at Masinde Muliro Gardens in Kakamega, he  said such tactics by the government will only erode its credibility and plunge the country into the dark days.
What is causing new panic in Jubilee is Raila’s call for national referendum. To begin with, Jubilee knows that once Raila and Cord hits the road ahead of the referendum campaigns, the government will have to divert its attention from administrative issues to handle the Cord demands and campaigns.
Sources say Raila’s gameplan is to keep the political fire burning up to the 2017 elections and by the time elections are called, they will have exposed Uhuru and Jubilee in a move aimed at discrediting their government and painting it black.
But those close to Uhuru say Raila and Cord cannot sustain the kind of campaigns they are engaging in and that they are likely to burn out midway. One school of thought has it that the Cord’s campaigns are premature and have woken up Uhuru from his deep slumber which can only work against Cord.
According to Raila’s plans, the referendum debate is to run through 2014 through late 2015 and that will be a whole year of politicking that he hopes will keep him politically relevant as he plots for the 2017 elections.
But the big question is whether Cord will remain united up to the 2017 elections. Sources say Kalonzo is likely to desert Raila midway as he is known to have little time for combative politics and being the diplomat that he is, chances are high that he might quit Cord.
What is even worrying is that even as Raila, Kalonzo and Wetangula continue to attract huge crowds during their rallies, majority of governors, senators, MPs and county reps elected on Cord ticket have been boycotting the rallies.
Cord leaders once told their supporters to take a keen note of those leaders elected on Cord affiliate party tickets who have been boycotting their rallies to be voted out.
Another headache Jubilee has to contend with is the fact that Cord has formed a team that is currently compiling a list of overpriced consumer goods that they will mark for boycotting to economically sabotage the government.
In its resolutions on Saba Saba, Cord threatened to boycott buying and using products from companies that have inflated prices of their goods to the disadvantage of Kenyans. Sources say Cord is targeting Uhuru’s milk companies.
We have also gathered that Cord has also threatened to call its supporters to boycott Safaricom if the company fails to withdraw from the Sh15b security tender.
Not that Cord does not have its own headache. Word within Jubilee is that Raila is fooling Kalonzo and Wetangula. It is said to deflect attention from his bungled party elections, Raila first flew out to save face and later decided to bring the Saba Saba issue to hoodwink the public. The strategy was, after going to America when ODM was split down the middle and with no solution not yet found, he had to find a new way out. Cord detractors  never tire to remind Kenyans that there were no pictures of Raila’s supposed lectures in universities abroad and the only one availed, they say, was of a dozen people and resembled a chama.
For now, Raila’s party is in shambles as those appointed to run it on interim basis do not see eye to eye. With the Saba Saba issue and the now referendum push, the infighting within ODM which had hit headlines and was likely to cost Cord unity has been swept under the carpet. As Raila prepares to fly for another three-week tour in Germany, his political backyard in Luo Nyanza is poised for a major political supremacy battle and realignment as four governors and several  county executives from his Cord alliance oppose calls for referendum.
Nairobi governor Evans Kidero and his Migori counterpart Okoth Obado led other governors and rebel politicians from the region to defy the proposed 13 contentious questions on referendum crafted by their coalition leaders. In other coalition strongholds, word has it key players were not consulted and that it was the brainchild of Homa Bay senator Otieno Kajwang.
Majority of ODM supporters argue that the new political song dubbed “Okoa Kenya” is misplaced and uncalled for, considering the fact that Raila and other Cord leaders have not stated a specific question for referendum.
During a mid week fundraiser former Ndhiwa MP Tom Obondo who is a close friend of the former total man Nicholas Biwott took upon himself to mobilise party brigades to attend the function that was presided over by Governor Kidero. Obondo, a former Kanu mafia turned sycophant solicited big amounts of money from the four governors purporting to use it for security arrangement. Among those who attended the function were Governor Okoth Obado,  Mp for Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno and Onyango Koyoo of Muhoroni. Others were Elisha Odhiambo, Patrict Ouya, Fred Amayo, Hillary Alila, George Okeyo who contested the Nyakach seat against Aduma Owuor and Mark Okang. As things stand, forces are realligning themselves in Luo politics.
At one point during the function at the Six Eighty Hotel drama unfolded when Obondo tried to block some ODM loyalist from entering the venue. Tension was high as the no-nonsense ODM men wanted to frogmatch the bulky Obondo out of the venue. Governor Awiti who was the host told the former Kanu mandarin to stop politicising the funeral.
Having emerged a wounded combatant from the last year’s presidential election and from his ODM party election’s fiasco at Kasarani, the opposition warrior in the son of Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga has completely changed his political tactics. The course Raila underwent in America was programmed in a way that the African political leaders are placed under strict condition to temporarily desist from actively engaging in any type of politics.
Early this year Raila had walked to Kasarani Sport Complex gymnasium for his ODM National Delegates Convention with a hope of weaving the concrete avenue through which he would redeem his seemingly floundering political fortunes and image which by then been the subject of varied interpretation by local and international political pundits.
However, the former premier did not achieved his goal on that day, as a gang in dark suits now popularly referred to as “Men in Black” said to have been ferried from different towns in the country raided the venue of the election at Kasarani immediate the voting started, destroying the voting materials prompting the party leadership to call off the exercise indefinitely. Raila has since admitted he knew some of the gang members who he said have been part of the ODM security. He said that during the interview with Boston based Jambo Radio.
 Raila came out from the shambolic National Delegate Convention at Kasarani somewhat bruised. His grip on the party was then noticeably battered by internal rebellion by some of his erstwhile closest allies who perhaps have started to appreciate the fact that Raila is in the sunset of his chequered political career.
At the end of the his stay in US, Raila was expected to be fully armed with the necessary political skills to enable him midwife his party’s and Cord recovery from the last general elections and from the chaotic bare-knuckle infighting and sibling rivalry which played out openly in full glare of the Orange local supporters and international friends and diplomats,
The death of ODM caretaker office crafted to solve the puzzle of the party’s uncertain future has worsened the situation. The ten members team that had Raila as its leader and was co-chaired by Hassan Joho and Wicliff Oparanya. Ababu Namwamba and Agnes Zani the two who bitterly contested the post of party secretary were joint secretaries. Others include  Aden Keynan, Josephat Nanok, Rosa Buyu all from Ababu’s side. Other members are Abdikadir Aden, Timothy Bosire and the embattled Kajwang.
Raila appointed Anyang Nyong’o as the acting party leader while he was away. Nyong’o was to supervise a five member taskforce of technical persons constituted to investigate the incident that saw the party fail to conduct a credible democratic election. The team was to establish why the party elections failed to take off hours after the outgoing official including Nyong’o himself had their positions declared vacant to pave way for the new line-up. The taskforce was chaired by Jonathan Nyakuri had replaced the hurriedly proposed team of  Florence Mutua,  Junnet, Joseph Nkaissery and  John Waluke.
It had Jonathan Arwa, Herold Kipchumba, Mtalaka Mwashimba and Isaiah Mwandala. The task force was to summon those they felt bear the greatest responsibility those who were adversely mentioned by the public, Kajwang, Reuben Ndolo, George Aladwa and ODM youth leader Rashid who was holding brief for a female nominated senator.
Combative goons in black suits raided the venue of the election at Kasarani immediately nominated MP Isaac Mwaura, jumped on top of the table complaining about some election material. Abisai was also   summoned by the investigation team.
According to deputy minority leader Jakoyo Midiwo who gave a wide berth to the function, the so- called “Men in Black” were ferried and facilitated by Kajwang. He claimed that Kajwang had told him  prior to the function that the exercise would be messy if Zani team did not carry the day.
Kasarani police boss Augustine Nthumbi confirmed that the ODM executive director Magerer Langat launched a formal complaint over the matter. Langat said the thugs comprising of some men well known for heinous crimes and assaults had planned to raid the venue by mid-morning that day but they held on due to heavy presence of police. They are said to have later roughed up Langat as they demanded to know why he had beefed the police security at the venue.
The news that Raila is taking another political break for a one month political curriculum programme course in Europe has again caught both Cord and Jubilee  with surprise with some wondering whether the former PM’s shenanigans aren’t bordering on the outlandish.