Mr Raila Odinga has dug himself into a deep hole and is still digging.
The wise thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.
Mr Odinga’s hole is the rally of July 7, known by one and all as Saba Saba.
Mr Odinga’s Saba Saba, however, is not as clearly defined as was Mr
Kenneth Matiba’s in 1990.
Mr Matiba masterfully propelled himself to the frontline of Kenya’s struggle for plural politics and an end to Kanu’s monopoly of political power.
Mr Matiba, much to President Moi’s chagrin, provided the much needed heavyweight leadership for the
popular rebellion against his beloved political party Kanu.
When he returned home on May 31 from his near three-month stay in the US, Mr Odinga drove straight into
a charged rally at Uhuru Park just before 3 p.m.
The thousands of young people who had been camping at the park since dawn expected him to order them
into an anti-government revolution march.
The decibels went a notch higher with the chant: Uhuru must go!
Mr Odinga did better: “It is you
who are saying that, not me,” was his reply.
Deciphered that meant; “you will play by my script;I will not play by yours.”
Then, he told the rally that before he left for the US he called President Kenyatta and briefed him about
That translates as “the President and I may be on opposing sides of the political divide, but we are not enemies and he is President.”
So Mr Odinga avoided ordering his troops into a much-anticipated, though futile, Uhuru-must-go march to the statehouse battle.
But a dalaying tactic sweetener had to be thrown in to keep the troops happy and time bought to ease the fever pitch tension.
So Mr Odinga demanded an urgent national conference to debate and decide Kenya’s future in the face of increasing insecurity, high cost of living,grand corruption and an all-inclusive government.
Mr Matiba’s Saba Saba rally was called to force Kanu to yield to the will of Kenyans riding, as it did,
on the crest of a tidal wave of popular unrest by a people who had been under a de jure (by law)
single party state since 1982.
The government responded in typical dictatorial fashion; it detained
Mr Matiba and his close ally Charles Rubia without trial.
Mr Matiba wanted to rally Kenyans against Kanu’s constitutional dictatorship.
He wanted the world to see that the majority of Kenyans wanted a change and that President Moi and Kanu were out of touch in a post-Berlin Wall world.
Mr Matiba’s blood-soaked Saba Saba was a revolt against an unpopular constitution, party and its 12-year-old government.
How about Mr Odinga’s Saba Saba?
Raila just demanded some unstructured national dialogue outside the laid down constitutional framework.
Absent this, he said, then a Saba Saba rally would take place.
With that, Mr Odinga dug himself out of one hole(the CORD troops high expectation for a political revolution on his #Railareturns Uhuru Park Rally) and into another; the crowd could not be too disappointed and now there was a rally to look forward to.
But since then Mr Odinga has been piling up the pressure on government with weekly demands for dialogue and threats of unspecified consequences come Saba Saba.
So, the most frequently asked
questions in Kenya today are: What does Raila want? What will happen on July 7,if Jubilee government does not agree to dialogue?
Mr Odinga is fighting against rampant insecurity,grand corruption, high cost of living and an exclusivist one-year-old two-tribe government.
He says Saba Saba will see Kenyans start the process of taking back their country, but denies he seeks to oust the government.
He says that sovereignty resides with the Kenyan people and on July 7 they could choose to exercise it directly rather than through constitutional instruments.
But he denies he is agitating for a
He says he wants to hear what Kenyans have to say about their country, which is unusual because Kenyan leaders tell their audiences what to do.
Lastly, he has declared July 7 a national holiday.
To some, this is a call for a national strike because Mr Odinga does not have the power to declare a holiday.
This is the conundrum that has been the subject of a polarising debate since the beginning of the month.
In 1990’s, Saba Saba galvanised Kenya against Kanu, 2014’s Saba Saba has divided Kenya against itself.
Mr Matiba was detained, but the struggle continued and Kenya returned to multi-party politics and, ultimately, a new constitutional
For Mr Odinga, there will be no
national convention, but Saba Saba is his.
What will it change?
Government will not be stampeded into proving itself incompetent,which is how the National dialogue call wishes to potray the Jubilee Government.
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