Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Will Raila win Langata this time round?

Despite leading presidential opinion polls by 11 percentage points (his closest opponent is Mwai Kibaki at 39%), it seems if elections were held today, Raila Odinga would lose his Langata seat, even by a landslide. What does this bode for his presidential ambitions?

Something sisnister has been going on in Langata, behind everyone's back: there is a deliberate attempt to ensure that thousands of people do not get to vote. This is further complicated by the fact that thousands of voters from Central province have been registered in Langata with the sole objective of ensuring that Raila does not win Langata, and consequently, the presidency.

And what has brought on this vendetta, you may ask? Flash back to 2005. Raila sets in motion a series of events to hand Kibaki his most humiliating electoral defeat since he decided to move his base from Doonholm in the 60s. The chain of events that followed the referendum clearly show evidence of bitterness and a hurried emotional decision on the part of the president that almost caused his government to come crashing down. You will remember that the usually laid back, make-no-hurried-or-drastic-decisions president suddenly made the unprecedented move of sacking all cabinet ministers and the country remained without a cabinet for slightly over two weeks. The move was an emotional one to show the enemy who was really in charge, but backfired badly when, to the utter shock of Kenyans, politicians did what they have never done before: they rejected their appointments. In fact, there was a time when it looked like nothing would save the Kibaki government until last minute horse-trading brought Musikari Kombo and Charity Ngilu back in line. Others, like Wangari Maathai, refused their appointments altogether.

It is clear that the bitter taste of those events has never left the president’s mouth and it is difficult for him or any of the PNU top brass to make any speech or public utterance without hurling a barb or two in the direction of Raila Odinga and ODM. In fact the president and his insiders blame every failure of their administration on Raila Odinga, and are very determined to teach the Langata MP a lesson he will never forget. What is now emerging is exactly what kind of lesson they intend to "teach" Raila.

But, true to character, Raila is always one step ahead of his detractors. Sources have intimated to us that there is a possibility that Raila will stand in either Bondo or Muhoroni. This completely throws a spanner in the works for Kibaki's team, because as we all know, Raila will be elected unopposed in any contituency he chooses in Nyanza.

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