The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

HE rise of Mom­basa Gov­er­nor Has­san Joho in the pol­i­tics of ODM has left tongues wag­ging. ODM leader Raila Odinga is once again faced with the chal­lenge of look­ing at his team afresh and whether such a team is ca­pa­ble of do­ing what needs to be done.

There have been calls for Raila to cast away the old guard and get a whole new team of fresh peo­ple around to de­fine his in­ter­ests for 2017.

I must say that Kenyan pol­i­tics is not de­fined by age or the kind of peo­ple one is sur­rounded with. Age does not at­tract votes in Kenya. To start with, Mwai Kibaki was sur­rounded by a fairly old crowd dur­ing his 10 years in power and went on to de­liver in a way that beat all his pre­de­ces­sors hands down.

A care­ful look at ODM does not re­veal an im­age of old peo­ple. James Orengo, Opiyo Wan­dayi, Junet Mo­hamed, Simba Arati, Janet Ong’era and Ti­mothy Bosire do not by any stan­dard qual­ify to be de­scribed as old. Bet­ter still, the Con­sti­tu­tion, the supreme law of the land, does not cap an age limit to in­volve­ment in pol­i­tics. One can play pol­i­tics un­til he or she drops down dead.

The peo­ple be­ing de­scribed as old, and hence should be dis­carded, have stood by Raila’s side in both good and bad times. They have earned his trust, and he, too, has earned their trust. In any case, most of them fall in an age gap that is the ma­jor­ity in the party. So Raila aban­dons them and re­places them with whom?

In my view, there is no need for the ODM leader to change the face of the peo­ple who sur­round him.

Be­sides ex­pe­ri­ence, most of these politi­cians are big as­sets and re­sources of the party. They oc­ca­sion­ally fund party ac­tiv­i­ties from their own pock­ets and, thus, they of­fer a bet­ter respite than bring­ing in young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced in­di­vid­u­als whose value is only that they are young.

Even if he re­ally wanted to change and bring in the so-called young peo­ple, Raila does not have the ad­van­tage of time. We are too close to 2017 Gen­eral Elec­tion and there­fore it would be a ma­jor mis­step if he were to start chang­ing the peo­ple around him.

Raila has lit­tle choice. He must keep on re­ly­ing on the peo­ple he knows best – the Old Guard around him.

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