Raila Odinga’s low road costs him

Raila Odinga prefers to take the low road. He op­poses every­thing the govern­ment has done and comes up with al­le­ga­tions, which have been proven wild at times

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - MACHEL WAIKENDA

When US First Lady Michelle Obama stood up to speak at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in July, no one would have thought she would give Amer­i­cans the an­chor to the pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns.

“How do we ex­plain that when some­one is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high,” she said

This has now be­come one of the defin­ing state­ments of a dirty and slan­der­ous US cam­paign that has seen Repub­li­can can­di­date Don­ald Trump lose sup­port be­cause of tak­ing the low road.

As Kenyans pre­pare for the 2017 elec­tions, there are two ways to cam­paign for the pres­i­dency — tak­ing the high road or the low road.

The high road should show how one can do bet­ter than the serv­ing Pres­i­dent by giv­ing clear ex­am­ples of one’s suc­cess, es­pe­cially if they have pre­vi­ously served in the govern­ment.

The low road is to op­pose every­thing the Pres­i­dent and his govern­ment does. To go to ex­tremes and crit­i­cise projects that one knows took years of ne­go­ti­a­tions with the World Bank or other lend­ing and donor in­sti­tu­tions to start. And th­ese are projects that will ben­e­fit the coun­try.

Even af­ter los­ing three pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, ODM leader Raila Odinga still prefers to take the low road.

He has, in the past three years or so, not only op­posed every­thing the govern­ment has done but also made wild cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions against the state.

For in­stance, his al­le­ga­tions about the Eurobond were mixed up and he ended up looking like he does not know what he was talk­ing about.

It started with the al­le­ga­tion that the money never got to Kenya. He then claimed that half of the Sh250 bil­lion was stolen. This “stolen” fig­ure then went down to Sh66 bil­lion, only to later rise to Sh125 bil­lion.

This is the same case with the claims he has raised on var­i­ous wa­ter projects in the coun­try. He started with Mu­rang’a’s North­ern Col­lec­tor Tun­nel. His claims have since been dis­missed by ex­perts and lo­cal lead­ers.

This is sim­i­lar the claims he made about the Mau For­est last week and where, in both in­stances, he has tried to in­sin­u­ate the Pres­i­dent’s fam­ily was the great­est ben­e­fi­ciary.

There are nu­mer­ous projects, in­clud­ing the stan­dard gauge rail­way, that Raila op­posed with­out looking at when and how they came to be.

He for­gets that most of the projects be­ing im­ple­mented by the Ju­bilee govern­ment are part of the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment blue­print — Vi­sion 2030. All th­ese projects mean well for Kenya and even if, which seems will never hap­pen, he be­comes Pres­i­dent, he will be guided by the same doc­u­ment.

So when he keeps op­pos­ing the govern­ment with­out ev­i­dence and through un­jus­ti­fied claims, Raila stoops too low. That’s why many Kenyans don’t trust him.

We must agree that Ju­bilee in­her­ited a na­tion that faced many prob­lems such as un­em­ploy­ment, poverty, in­equal­ity and a poor health­care sys­tem, among other short­com­ings. And the same way Rome was not built in a day, so­lu­tions to th­ese prob­lems will not come in a month or a year.

Kenyans trust the Pres­i­dent and Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto to steer this coun­try to pros­per­ity. They will not be dis­tracted by false­hoods.

It is, there­fore, un­for­tu­nate that Raila and other op­po­si­tion lead­ers are out to treat Kenyans to empty po­lit­i­cal rhetoric and mud­sling­ing.

We can­not op­pose things for the sake of it. We must be part of the so­lu­tions to help our coun­try de­velop and pros­per.

Oth­er­wise, we will stick with the Ju­bilee ad­min­is­tra­tion be­cause we have seen and ex­pe­ri­enced what it can do.


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