Raila rattles those who think it’s their turn to eat

Monday, May 20th, 2024 08:00 | By
ODM Leader Raila Odinga
ODM Leader Raila Odinga. PHOTO/@RailaOdinga/X

The trouble with our political class is getting power into their heads and using their positions for PR stunts even on serious issues. It is the work of elected leaders to hold the government accountable and ensure it provides the basics - food, shelter, health, education and security as the bare minimum – to its citizens.

MPs and PR stunt governors running around paying bus fare for schoolchildren and giving flood victims token food without a structured response to the crisis are monuments of embarrassment. Such actions are symptomatic of a government that has failed to provide the basics.

Then there’s the proposed motor vehicle tax, which is sneaky and essentially supposed to deceive the folks at the bottom of the pyramid that it is targeting the rich. Yet the reality is that it is likely to hit the insurance industry hard with job losses and certainly raise tension between the have and the have-nots, fanned by the overzealous political lot supporting the bill.

There’s also the proposed increase in the cost of bread, a decoy garbed around the populist move of withdrawing it in the interest of the people as it camouflages the proposed infringement on data protection so that KRA can spy on Kenyans’ data to identify potential areas of taxation.

As more and more Kenyans are rendered homeless and destitute because of  heavy rains and floods, Kenya Kwanza leaders are rattled by the most authoritative voice calling on the regime to provide the bare minimum for the people. Well, it now appears that the real motive for supporting Raila Odinga’s bid for the African Union Commission job is self-aggrandisement by leaders who clearly see Raila’s public interest campaigns as a stumbling block during this time that they consider their time to eat. 

But utterances by Kenya Kwanza leaders calling out RAO for his unwavering pro-Wanjiku stance on the ongoing suffering of floods victims is utterly shameful. Their action does put a lot into perspective. First, they are coming out as real self-seekers who would do anything that serves their interest even if it is at the expense of the people. With an emasculated Parliament, the only voice of the voiceless has remained the Azimio top leadership that is outside the House, and that voice takes a very powerful dimension with Raila in the picture or as the voice.

It does appear that these folks are rattled because their twin agenda of containing Baba and clawing on his political base in 2027 with the narrative of having given him the AUC job is not going well. But these folks lack the presence of mind to keep off embarrassing the president. They have let their secret out of the bag and they troop from one media house to another trying to explain the Finance Bill 2024 with hilarious reasons that the belabour to articulate.

Decent leaders don’t hold the hands of other leaders at the expense of the citizenry. Decent leaders serve the people and protect the lives of the led. A political class that consistently ignores expert advice, fails to plan, prepare, mitigate, and respond to disasters is a regime that we the people must hold accountable. That Raila Odinga is stoically calling out this regime, even at the risk of his AUC bid only reminds Kenyans of why he is Baba.

These folks speaking for the regime should address germaine issues like how we will recover from the floods, which now portend the grim prospect of food insecurity, as crops have been destroyed. They should be reminded that a government that neglects its fundamental duty to protect lives and provide for its citizens’ basic needs is failing on the bare minimum of what a government should do.

— The writer is a PhD candidate in International Relations

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