RAILA-MOI: ONE AND THE SAME
The word ‘disciplinary’ connotes reprimand, chastisement and possible punishment. This, in my view, is indicative of the mood of both the leadership and the state of affairs in the ODM camp
All our main political players — President Uhuru Kenyatta, Cord leader Raila Odinga, Deputy President William Ruto and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka — are alumni of the Moi School of Politics. Raila was at some point the head-boy, albeit temporarily. President Uhuru, for the longest time, was the teacher’s pet and Ruto, who was often sidelined by the teacher, somehow worked the hardest and learnt the most.
So it is not surprising that, from time to time, these former students draw recipes from the ‘Moi Cookbook of Politics’ and apply them to their present day strategies.
Ironically, none of these students has so meticulously replicated these methods than that the self-declared democrat Raila Odinga. And nowhere is it more evident than in his brand of party politics.
When was the last time you heard about party investigations, summons and expulsions? In the 1980s — 1986 to be exact. This was when the infamous Kanu Disciplinary Committee was born. The committee was the political equivalent of being pulled by the ear to the school principal’s office.
This highly effective and terrifying use of humiliation as a tool of power-play made grown men cry. No one would have been surprised if Okiki Amayo, the then chairman of the committee, had asked the poor souls appearing before him to remove their trousers for a spanking.
Fast forward to 2016 and Raila, who later become one of Moi’s fiercest critics on the abuse of freedom and democracy, is applying the same methods.
In fact, just over a month ago, an article headline in the Star newspaper read, “ODM Disciplinary Committee Summons Defectors”. Probably to make them explain why they should not be expelled from the party.
And perhaps afterwards, ask them to go home and think about what they have done and write an apology?
The very word ‘disciplinary’ connotes reprimand, chastisement and possible punishment. This, in my view, is indicative of the mood of both the leadership and the state of affairs in the ODM camp.
Sun Tzu says that in a battle, excessive reward (by the general) is a sign of desperation, while excessive punishment is a sign of exhaustion. Is Raila’s reversion to patronising Moi-style party politics a sign of both?
Another method Raila has replicated is the projection of his own persona on party members. During the Kanu regime, Moi loved matching outfits for his ‘flower girls’. Red caps, red shirts and red, green and black striped ties. And just for extra smartness; a shiny red cockerel lapel pin. What he was actually doing was making miniature Moi’s out of his lieutenants. If they were very good, or higher up in the party food chain, they could hold a ‘rungu’ (a baton) just like his but made of Kanu coloured beads. Only Mois baton could be of a sleek ivory white inlaid with rubies.
Raila has taken up the Moi method of enforcing the display of loyalty to the principal, even through one’s own clothes. In his party, there are replica Railas in orange costumes and his own signature flat cap, or even better, caps with his initials on them, R.A.O.
What Raila is failing to recognise is that if your opponents are your former classmates, you cannot use the tricks you both learnt, even within your own party.
This is because they are reading from the same book, and will take advantage of the mistakes they know you are making.
They know that if these methods did not work for the professor of politics, who was the originator of patronising party politics, it will definitely not work for a ‘mini-Moi’ in the year 2016.
RAILA HAS TAKEN UP THE MOI METHOD OF ENFORCING THE DISPLAY OF LOYALTY TO THE PRINCIPAL, EVEN THROUGH ONE’S OWN CLOTHES. IN HIS PARTY, THERE ARE REPLICA RAILAS IN ORANGE COSTUMES AND HIS OWN SIGNATURE FLAT CAP, OR EVEN BETTER, CAPS WITH HIS INITIALS ON THEM, R.A.O.