Contributor's Deng Vanang

Kenya’s battle of dynasties

By Deng Vanang,

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Raila Odinga at a past event. (Photo: file | NMG)
President Uhuru Kenyatta with Raila Odinga at a past event. (Photo: file | NMG)

August 11, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– Still with bated breaths Kenya and Kenyans haven’t yet finally crossed over what has been emotionally billed the battle of dynasties spanning well over 54 years. That period is the whole lifespan of Kenya’s independence since 1963.

The round two of Kenyatta and Odinga siblings’ rivalry ever since 2013 general elections has stirred up an intense trepidation that had rightfully sent Kenyans of urban stoke fleeing to their respective rural homes. This is also the same with foreign residents fleeing back to their long forgotten home origins.

With relatively negative market response that has seen bigger businesses and wealthy individuals having withdrawn and withheld their cash from circulation.

Simply to keep a reasonably safer distance than being caught in a melee like it happened back in 2007 between ex-president Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga himself.

In this battle of dynasties circus, which several opinion polls forecast-ed to be a tight race over 19.6 million votes, are lead characters in the names of Uhuru Mugai Kenyatta and Raila Amolo Odinga.

Others are six fringe Presidential candidates as well as 14,515 more battling it out for lower political slots.

The incumbent is the son of founding President Jomo Kenyatta, while challenger is the son of founding Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and both of whom have equally inherited their fathers ideological divide and rivalry of their respective ethnic groups.

Kenyatta of largest Kikuyu tribe and Odinga of fourth largest Luo tribe had their fathers differed over political ideologies back in 1960s immediately after Kenya had gained her independence from colonial Britain.

With Kenyatta family firmly entrenched in capitalist free market enterprise which Odinga family chastised as exploitative in favor of pro-poor communist command economics.

However, with capitalism swallowing communism in 1989, so is the ideological divide fizzling out and having been replaced by rhetoric of who between the two can best deliver interests lying in the hearts and minds of over 45 million Kenyans.

Although with a throwback to more divisive historical injustices that are as old but not as dead as their late fathers in case of the alleged countrywide illegal land acquisitions which have rendered generations homeless, endemic corruption that has deprived too many of much needed livelihood and runaway tribalism that has pitted Kenyans against one another every election year.

Those concerns are as well recently complicated by high unemployment, steady increase of commodity prices and shortage of Kenya’s staple food ‘’unga’’ which is enough to inspire what Kenyatta’s opposition popularly dubbed the ‘’unga revolution’’, thanks to the experienced drought.

And all of which, the old historical injustices and recent inadequacies, both elder and younger Odingas said to have been advanced by kleptocratic Kenyatta family and more enduring Kikuyu elite.

The race as always is high voltage and at time bloody that is not only marred by ethnic slurs, death threats, arrests, physical and character assassinations, but even more puts the whole nation at knife’s sharp edge at home as it equally sends the excruciating shivers down the spines of the jittery regional frontiers and beyond.

Given the country being the Eastern African region’s power house, both economically and politically.

That is besides Kenyatta being beholden to regional strongman Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and whose win shall live to cement the status quo of regional Geo-politics.

And so is Odinga as the blue eye boy of neighboring President John Phombe Magufuli of Tanzania alongside many others already aggrieved by Museveni’s toxic influence and his dating eye on Presidency of what will be fully integrated East African region a few years away.

With the win to likely go on to reverse that status quo which has seen the whole region shadowboxing in a tiny ring called Kenya.

As a flashback in 2013 younger Kenyatta either deservedly or wrongfully seized what was largely seen as younger Odinga’s birth right, the Presidency if age in an African politics is to be considered.

To reclaim that lost birth right isn’t any easier for Odinga this time around, which if he fails to do so, will definitely go down like his father Jaramogi in the annals of Kenyan history for being a serial loser following four times stab at Presidency- from 1997 to 2007 and from 2013 to 2017 finally.

Not just that, it will not only be younger Odinga failure to successfully relive the immaterial presidential dream of his late father, Jaramogi, but also that of general Luo fraternity.

Failure of younger Kenyatta to retain Presidency too shall not only earn him an embarrassing episode in along political comedy of being the first Kenyan President to go down in presidential battle without winning a second five-year term in the coveted office, but also a big loss to secure vast Kikuyu business largess e the ethnic group fears shall be rolled back by Odinga it regards as vindictive.

The vindictiveness Odinga denies. Since it is his father Jaramogi Oding who unexpectedly helped senior Jomo Kenyatta out of dingy British colonial prison up to the pinnacles of Kenyan presidency.

The same feat Raila repeated 40 years later when he helped Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu out of death bed as occasioned by fatal car accident in the middle of 2002 elections campaigns to the Presidency.

The said good gestures are still defaulted debts Kikuyus are yet to pay Raila, Odinga family and Luo tribe in general.

Than Uhuru’s win, that of Raila could be more inspirational to many having since 1980s not only struggled but also endured both incarceration and torturous humiliation in the hands of former President Daniel Arap Moi just to become Kenya’s President.

Deng Vanang is an author, journalist and political analyst reachable at: dvanang@gmail.com

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