After the chaff has settled, and the noise has died down, you will all refer to that Robert Alai post and wished, with the benefit of hindsight, that you could have taken it seriously. Any foot soldier running errands for, or on behalf of, Jakom must now stand back and sieve the reason from the emotion.
Let me tell you something.
Raila Odinga is a political typhoon. On his own, he is capable of sweeping away anything that stands on his way to the Presidency. In the village, whenever the dry season was about to usher in the long rains, we knew we should start building dykes when that sandy whirlwind was about to break every tree branch on its way to the lake. There’s a saying in the village that‘Baba Pek Meli’. Those of us who had never seen a sailing cargo ship before could only replace Meli with the angry typhoon, ‘Apaka’.
The problem with the village typhoon was that you had a fighting chance to weather its devastation. The typhoon wasn’t that deadly if you knew how to manoeuvre your way around it. Legend has it that before a typhoon builds up to it’s devastating strength, if you have an open trough, you’d rush to the site of it’s source and cover the swirl before it grows heavy.
And if you find yourself unable to withstand the dirt particles coming at your cornea, the most plausible thing to do, at that helpless point, was to tightly clutch onto the nearest tree trunk and shake yourself with it, until the whirlwind snakes away to another point of destruction. If you survived a typhoon, we were told in the village, you could survive a running stomach, illiterate discussants, and hot porridge. The raging typhoon was the SI Unit of village survival.
Raila Odinga is still ‘heavy’. On a level playing field, none of the presidential contestants can touch him even with a six-foot pole. If elections were to be held today, without anyone tampering with the electoral process, from start to finish, Jakom would show these guys a clean pair of heels any given day. He is the Kenyan political tsunami, not even the current twins perching atop the Presidency can muster a response to his lethal clean sweep.
But why isn’t Raila Odinga winning?
This is a question everyone knows the answer to but refuse to be honest about. Over the years, those contesting against Jakom have found ways of disinfecting his political sting. They come to Jakom for valuable lessons then break ranks and apply the same with a slight hint of ruthlessness.
If Jakom was a footballer, he’d play in the fulcrum. The team would revolve around him, everyone will sing his name. But 21st century politics, especially in dark Africa, has no reward reserved for popular candidates. No one remembers the guy who dictated play, the one who supplied the killer through pass, the one who dug deep to drag the team out of the mud into the winner’s podium. Football has become so competitive that you are only rewarded for the goals you scored.
The World Player of the Year, since 2010, has revolved around two individuals – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Everyone agrees Andreas Iniesta or Xavi Hernandez (who won the World Cup with Spain) deserved it in 2010. But those two could only manage the 2nd & 3rd position. Same to Frank Ribery in 2013, and Manuel Nueur in 2014. No one cares who’s the candidate working up the crowds and driving the town crazy. If you cant win the elections, the ruthless way, you have no business contesting for political office. The end, in this country, will always justify the means.
What Robert Alai, and his ilk, are coming out strongly for is that you cannot do the same things over again and expect different results. Their tone might be condescending, their language unsavoury, their approach abrasive. But one common denominator remains, and this holds true for everyone working for Jakom, that if you continue approaching the 2017 elections as you did in 2007 – when we all went to sleep in our Christmas attire knowing Jakom would be sworn in the next day – and 2013 – when we were told CORD had a watertight petition and a platoon of highly-schooled counsels to overturn Uhuru Kenyatta’s win – then all we are doing here is no different from what we have previously undertaken to do. You don’t win election before you win elections.
I find no notable problems with Robert Alai and whoever espouses his line of political thought. Robert Alai is not an ODM employee, Raila Odinga has never signed a performance contract with him. I hold the considered opinion that anyone who thinks you are useful to their cause should find it within their heart to tie you down to a deliverable. The golden rule in business still holds true, that you should always put your money where your mouth is.
If Capitol Hill thinks Jim Bonnie or Robert Alai, or whoever have hitherto put their neck on the line for the party, are important towards the furtherance of Raila Odinga’s online presence, then Capitol Hill or Orange House should do the sensible thing and sign a contract with them. We live in a free world where freedom of political choice is an inalienable right.
If Dennis Itumbi, today, decided to cross over and join Team Jakom, I presume they’d welcome him with both hands. The same should apply to anyone who intends to change their political persuasion from time to time. William Ruto left ODM and is now in government. Kalonzo Musyoka broke ranks with Raila Odinga, ran away with the ODM-Kenya certificate, chose to side with Kibaki when Kenya was burning in 2008 and is now back to the fold with another outfit. I haven’t heard anyone telling Kalonzo Musyoka to go to hell, and not be around Jakom – for being a traitor back then. Same way we shouldn’t pillory Robert or Bonnie, or whoever chooses to shift either way.
Not many people are like me, or you. Not many people are sane enough to stand with a justifiable cause even if their backs are against the wall. And they shouldn’t be begrudged for it. Raila’s sister accepted an appointment to work for government, and I haven’t heard anyone crucifying her for signing a contract with Uhuru’s people. If ODM gave me a job today, I would want to believe it will be because I deserve the job and not because of being a party sycophant. If I were to be hired, by anyone, because they feel they’re doing a favour to me, and that there are better options out there, then my conscience will tell me to decline the job. I was raised to know my worth, and I would never settle for less.
Political parties are professional outfits and should be run like so. If anyone feels Robert Alai’s decamping to Jubilee means nothing towards the furtherance of their online presence, then why are you guys whining about it? I wouldn’t, even for a second, pick up a discussion with anyone I feel not worthy discussing anything with.
Robert Alai built his online image through blood, sweat and tears. His online accounts aren’t verified because he sat on the couch tossing popcorns waiting for the next scandal to talk about. Robert went out there, dirtied his fingers, rolled up his sleeves and became, for a long time, our most trusted source of harsh truths our mainstream media, and online commentators, shied away from touching. The brand did not build itself. If you hate Robert for everything he has said, at least be honest enough to appreciate his effort.
If you think Robert Alai is wrong, your job is to walk into Capitol Hill, or Orange House, and enlist for Raila Odinga’s online team. It is the only way you are going to make your noise count. Otherwise you’re just giving Capitol Hill a false sense of popularity which will immediately fizzle out the moment the presidential results start trickling in next year. Don’t let Alai say he was right and you were wrong. There’s nothing as painful as your opponent winning the argument online and on the ballot.
You know what to do. Time isn’t on your side.