Protests: Is Raila pondering the Samson option?
Five-time presidential election contestant, Raila Odinga, has called for mass protests after losing in August 2022. He says his election victory was “stolen,” the cost of living is too high, and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)should not be reconstituted as per current laws.
He has been holding rallies in his Nyanza strongholds and informal settlements in Nairobi. This is his right under the Constitution.
To his credit, the rallies have so far been peaceful, not a single stone thrown. This is the maturity that must be made to prevail.
There are two disturbing issues arising from his calls for mass protests. First is the falsehoods in his claims.
He says that he knows he won the elections because he hacked into the IEBC system. Hacking is criminal. This shocking admission drew zero outrage from the usually hyper moral and governance police who have given President William Ruto no respite since the day he was sworn in.
This complicity, indeed, winking him along, is how Raila committed treason by swearing himself in as the so-called ‘People’s President,’ and paradoxically ending up a very powerful figure in Government. Ironically, the man who swore him in, Miguna Miguna, was exiled and deported.
The truth is that the Supreme Court ruled that he had validly lost to Ruto. Instead of entertaining his self-serving, false and disruptive narratives, the country should demand that he accepts that he lost.
Further, he claims that Ruto’s Government has failed to tame the cost of living. The President was sworn in barely six months ago, and only fully constituted his government three months ago. The genesis of the high cost of living are both international factors like the Ukraine War, but predominantly poor economic management through excessive borrowing, misplaced priorities and corruption.
Raila was a major player in the last Government when costs of basic commodities rose beyond the reach of many Kenyans. He said nothing! His protests over high cost of living now sounds like hypocrisy.
To give the current Government credit, they have stabilized the economy, and started walking back prices of basic commodities against very adverse economic circumstances they inherited and extremely limited fiscal space. They need time.
The reconstitution of the IEBC. The process of appointment of IEBC commissioners is very elaborate and grounded in the law. Raila wants it to be done according to his wishes.
Raila cannot be cherry picking which parts of the Constitution he wants to follow when it suits his designs on power, and which to reject when they don’t favour him. That is called impunity. Selective application of the law leads to lawlessness.
The second issue that is very disturbing is that to up the ante, Raila now says he will lead a protest march to State House. He and his allies assert that under the Constitution, this right to demonstrate is protected. Well, the very Constitution that protects rights to demonstrate, is the very one that gives the Government the authority to designate security installations as restricted, and forbid encroachment of any kind. Raila and his allies know this.
This so-called march to State House is meant as an act of extreme provocation. Is Raila intending to lead people into a bloody confrontation with the police to precipitate a crisis? Is he trying to bring the House down, otherwise known as the “Samson Option.?” That if I cannot have it, then none of us will?
What he needs to know is that should there be any lives lost, he will be held solely responsible for causing bloodshed through incitement. Again, amazingly, all one hears from the vocal moral and governance police is a deafening silence. Complicity? No wonder they long lost any credibility.
The whole country needs to tell Raila to stop these falsehoods whose intention is merely to provide an excuse for destabilizing the country. It is very selfish of him to decide that the country cannot be at peace if he does not get his way.