You are here: HomeNews2017 10 11Article 589588

Opinions of Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Columnist: Mahama Socrates Samuel

Fathers and sons: A case of a political parody in Kenya

After the verdict was passed on the 1st day of September, 2017, Kenya's election has become an evergreen subject throughout the continent of Africa and the world at large.

For some time now, many commentators still cannot find the exact political definition for a country such as Kenya, and the reasons the families of Uhuru Kenyatta and Oginga Jaramogi Odinga have been at political loggerheads, yet the best of friends in private.

In order to understand the factors which animated the elections of Kenya, one ought to take a historical journey to appreciate the odyssey of Kenya's politics.

The East African country has over the years, produced a good number of nationalists and stalwarts in their wake to capture political Independence. Many who have familiarised themselves with the politics of Kenya, will remember the likes of Tom Mboya, Jomo Kenyatta, Harry Thuku, Odinga Oginga and many others. One would also remember the Mau Mau uprising which took place for a period of 8years (1952-1960). One must also be reminded of the 2months' Kenya crisis that took place in Kenya in December, 2007.

Our focus, however, shall be on the two political opponents. The two families, who have, in their quest to establish for themselves a "family political dynasty", become the topic for some political watchers.

Jomo Kenyatta and Oginga Odinga were the closest of friends in the early days of Kenya's Independence, to the extent that Oginga Jaramogi Odinga was made the Vice President of Kenya before suddenly parting in a huff.

Today, the "sins" of their fathers have since followed them, where Uhuru and Odinga (Jnr) continue in the same stead. Of course, it is noteworthy, that the two (Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga) had a good political relationship but have since destroyed it in pursuit of political power.

But as history would have it, the father of Raila Odinga, known as Jaramogi Oginga was met with a decision as to whether he would chose to lead Kenya in forming an Independent government as Prime Minister, or, clamour for the release of fellow nationalist, Jomo Kenyatta from detention.

He, however, had taken an entrenched decision and chanted to the mantra, "No Uhuru without Kenyatta". As was then, you could hear the voice of Odinga Jaramogi Oginga on archival tape recordings saying, Kenyatta is our second god". His release, he said, was necessary for the people of Kenya.

Jaramogi Odinga, who was then a bastion of Jomo Kenyatta will today be a worried man in his grave. Even as Vice President, he opposed the decisions of Jomo Kenyatta, which escalated to his defection, allowing Daniel Arap Moi the opportunity to become Vice President of Kenya.

The political dynasty still continues. With their Children, who are today political opponents just as their parents were, the two were very close, until Uhuru Kenyatta threw his weight behind President Mwai Kibaki in the 2007 election.

Many Kenyans, in their bid to tinker with the sour relationship between these two political opponents have called for a more united front devoid of tribalism. Kenya is known the world over as the most ethnic country in the world, where the Kikuyus root for the Kenyatta's, while the Luos also root for their own, the Odingas.

War drums looming

As was witnessed in 2007, this year's elections seem to have the same symptoms as the 2017 election that saw the violence. It also would be remembered, that, in 2007, Odinga stated that he wouldn't go to court, and that the courts were being controlled by Mwai Kibaki. Unlike 2007, the leader of NASA, this year resorted to the courts, and that was the best decision he could ever make.

Recently, the results were annulled and an order was given for the re-run of the election within 60 days. Inasmuch as there may be envisaged skirmishes regarding the verdict; nothing could be done about it, but to campaign for victory in the polls which comes off in a not too-distant future.

The problem which may emanate from this election is, or could be worse than that of 2007. I write as a columnist, not as a doomsday prophet. And with the foresight of a Jewish prophet, one can predict the actions of the Jubilee party when the results do not go the way of Uhuru Kenyatta. For the nation of Kenya to play the role of the devil's advocate would not be a bad decision.

Definitely, the inference of this election would be belligerent, if not chaotic, in the event power is wrestled from the hands of Uhuru. The NASA, on the hand, would have less to do if they lose the election. Because, they had their way through the courts and would not go to court for the second time for another verdict, since that decision would defeat the essence of common sense, and also would be politically unwise. Though, the court is the best place to go when there is a dispute.

Would the family political dynasty continue?

The issue of family political dynasty in Africa and the world has not been new. We have witnessed in Gabon with the Bongos, Togo with the Eyademas, the Democratic Republic of Congo with the Kabilas, Botswana with the Khamas, Equatorial Guinea with the Nguemas, Kenya also stands the chance of producing such political dynasties if the rivalry between the two families still continue.

The truth is, families have ruled in many countries and still continue to.

However, what should not shock the world is seeing a Kenya plunged in to crisis when NASA emerges victorious. It is important at this point in time, the people of Kenya will have to wake up and smell the coffee.

Mahama Socrates Samuel

Columnist, Political Researcher and

Commentator and Student of Law.



Join our Newsletter