Yet another “Harambee House” Handshake: Struggling to find meaning!


    By Jethron Ayumbah—

    What a week! Kenya never ceases to amaze as far as its politics are concerned. It was a week that started on a gloomy note of a country staring at empty coffers and penniless pockets (even though the Finance CS retracted). A country hitting rock bottoms because of financial decisions that seem not to have paid back and calls that threaten to haunt us at least for three generations to come. Blame the corrupt cartels and politicians with itchy fingers who are oiled by thieving capitalists eager to maximize investments through government dealings. From the ‘shameful spectacle’ of a naked Eric Omondi the comedian flashing his bare butt to the glare of cameras, whoever the cameraperson was, to what will go down in history as another ‘famous handshake’ at the entrance to Harambee House, the Uhuru-Odinga “out-of-the surprise book” meeting encapsulates the dilemma of a nation, ‘betrayal’ and the calculative character of the Kenyan politician.

    Although Uhuru and Odinga sought to elevate nationhood and ‘sacrifice for the social unity of the country’ as having been paramount in their reconsidered positions to work together, myriad questions abound. After the tough-talking, chest-thumping, the militarization of the police force and public demonization of the Odinga candidacy, is Uhuru’s surprise meeting with Odinga interpreted as a betrayal of the “kumira kumira” constituency? On the other hand, after the ‘swearing in’ and concretizing a resistance movement around the promise of electoral justice, a dedicated defiance by majority of opposition followers, and what seemingly emerged as a determination to break away from ‘a mockery of our democratic process, is Odinga’s surprise execution of a dialogue with Uhuru a betrayal to the “Nazarites” who were so determined to spend 400 years in the wilderness as long as Canaan remained a reality.

    I have carefully applied the word “surprise” in characterizing the meeting by the ‘two presidents’ because I believe that it was no coincidence and surprise at all. Perhaps it was a surprise to the co-principles if their whining is anything to believe and the general public but coincidences between the two top-most politicians in a country never happen…some people and I mean very powerful moneyed individuals must have worked behind the scenes to bring Uhuru and Odinga together. After all, the State, many times the world over, operates at the whims of these capitalist patrons who literally “own and prop” the politicians that camouflage and market themselves as populists believing in social justice. Ooh, excuse me! They are servants of self and their masters’ cum puppeteers rather than us, the populace.

    In all this debacle of “working together for the sake of the country”, I can’t help but ask; Did Uhuru Kenyatta consult his deputy William Ruto and his Jubilee Party ranks, in the spirit of promoting accountability and indeed working together for the country? Did Raila Odinga have the courtesy to engage the ODM top-branch especially his most fearless general, one Ali Hassan Joho aka Sultan and at least for the record, one James Orengo who many times has emerged as the only honest voice of reason on matters the constitution and a loyal servant? How does the meeting become crystallized as committed in the best interest of the country if the two leaders found it unnecessary to inform the team they work with? How nationally binding is it if William Ruto received news flash either on twitter or from the media, just like the condescending co-principles were awed to listen to Odinga’s statement from the doorsteps of Harambee House? How national and unifying is this ‘unity handshake”?

    I know statements have been released. I know the pro-Odinga NASA bloggers have been busy spinning all manner of narratives to castigate co-principles and poise Raila Odinga as a nationalist and the smartest politician ever to grace the political platform that is Kenya. I know Jubilee bloggers have equally done the same either posing Raila as outsmarted by Uhuru or technically putting it as the best thing for the country. Yes, it is good for the country but is it the right way to walk into unity for posterity? What about all the talk about electoral justice and the ‘crap’ about political accountability? Does Kenya gleefully become united and peaceful just because Uhuru toned down to meet Odinga and Odinga quietly walked into Harambee House to embrace Uhuru? We all know the goodwill Raila Odinga enjoys in the West and his ability to mobilize international support from a pro-democracy stand is unquestionable. Did Uhuru Kenyatta, faced with a country on the verge of financial collapse, make a call on Odinga, as a way of rescuing the sinking boat? I hope by posing these questions am not overstretching my imagination but I for one know that it is only when we question that we are bound to make headway towards the path of knowledge.

    I have been cautious in making my reference to one Uhuru and not the presidency and one Odinga and not the opposition enigma he is for by doing so I have aimed at isolating the honour of those coveted titles from the personalities holding them. This is so because the problem in Kenya has never been about the office or the law, it has always been the personalities charged with the responsibility of leading the country. Politics of personalities have denied Kenya its rightful position on the global map and aborted all the dreams for prosperity. Ethnicity continues to rear its ugly head many a time threatening to tear us apart into tatters because of individuals that ride on populist promises of castigating this against that and us against them. In retrospect, what of if it was Kalonzo or Mudavadi on the doorsteps of Harambee House? The optimist I say that as long as the vision is Kenya, Uhuru and Odinga can have as many handshakes as possible. I hope one William Samoei Ruto is for this ‘Harambee House’ handshake otherwise if he is not, prepare for a gruelling time going forward that will take more than handshakes to mend Kenya. More dialogues sewn in political honesty, accountability and personal responsibility will heal Kenya more than anything. Ooh! Picturing one Duale singing the Raila praise song. What a wonderful country Kenya is!

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