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

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices - DAISY MAR­ITIM MAINA Po­lit­i­cal econ­o­mist

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.

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