Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why I Endorse Raila For Fourth President - Pheroze Nowrojee

"Kenya needs a tried and tested leader, not two
apprentices of the Likoni Ferry type - accidents
waiting to happen."
This is a serious country looking to a serious future. It needs a tried and tested leader. Not two apprentices of the Likoni Ferry type – accidents waiting to happen. And further distracted by their personal problems. I endorse Raila Odinga for President and urge that he be supported at the polls on election day.

There are three key issues – implementation of the constitution, reform (not just of laws but also of values in government and society) and devolution. There are three key qualifications – a track record, sacrifice, consciousness of the ethos of the new constitution.
I consider that on these critical issues and these critical qualifications Raila emerges as the candidate most to be trusted to implement the new Constitution fully and within its prescribed time frame. And his main opponent is the least trustworthy on each of these three issues.
Constitutions do not come into being of their own. They do not just happen. Raila is the one who has brought about the new Constitution. In 2000, it was Raila, not Moi, who brought KANU to the constitutional review process and facilitated Prof.Ghai’s chairmanship of the process.
After Moi dissolved Parliament in 2002 and halted the process, Raila revived it in 2003 and brought about Bomas. He did not walk out of Bomas, like Kiraitu and others. When Bomas was ended without its recommended Constitution, and a fraudulent substitute put to the country, Raila led the country in the Referendum of 2005 to reject it.
Raila was dropped from the Cabinet. After the 2007 PEV and the 2008 National Coalition, Raila again put constitutional review on Agenda IV. Raila and Kibaki then brought the Review law to Parliament in 2008, pushed the process through its many steps and campaigned the Referendum of 2010 to victory. Raila’s culminating point after 12 years of moving constitutional reform was the Promulgation on 27 August 2010.
This is the candidate who will best defend and apply the Constitution towards protection of the weak. No candidate can guarantee every right or fulfil every promise.
But Raila is the most experienced and able candidate in this election. This is shown by his purpose in the years he suffered. That purpose was others, not himself. Such suffering does not bring a person wealth. It was done out of a nationalist conviction. What nationalist or political conviction does any deed of Uhuru show us? None comes to mind.
This absence is also shown by his quick readiness to hand over the country to Ruto to run. Yet all Kenyans know that Ruto is against the Constitution, and that Kenyans in 2010 expressly and overwhelmingly rejected Ruto’s stand.
This is how persons without strong or any political convictions approach high political office. The vacuum in Uhuru’s beliefs and convictions will soon translate into a vacuum of power in government. This will then be swiftly filled by the exclusive ethnic elites in the Civil Service and ethnobusinesses pushing now for his election. This, and therefore Uhuru and Ruto, are I believe a major danger to Kenya.
In contrast, Raila’s persistence over 30 years on behalf of the people of Kenya has earned him respect from crowds in every part of the country. He was the motor in the elections team of FORD-Kenya in 1992, when FORD-Kenya emerged as the only political party to win a seat in every province of Kenya.
Raila has sacrificed for the country, and tested his ideas for the country. Firstly, through his detention, torture, prison and exile in the 1980s and 1990s. Secondly, through his sacrifice in placing Kenya above himself, giving up his 2007 election victory and agreeing in 2008 to come in on a National Coalition in the national interest.
It is Raila who has brought us to 2013 in a manner that is still holding Kenya together. Not Uhuru nor TNA nor their shadowy backers. Raila’s huge efforts to this end contrast with the failure of the same type arrangement in Zimbabwe. And show what we owe him.
What has Uhuru sacrificed for Kenya that enables him to claim the best right to prescribe for its future? Uhuru parrots only one answer : that it is his democratic right to stand.
Not any special fitness, experience or qualification. Nor has he grasped the irony that his democratic right to stand in a multi-party election was brought about by Raila and others and not by himself!
Uhuru’s standing with KANU in 2002 when he had kept mum throughout the Nyayo KANU years while fellow Kenyans were suffering greatly, showed that he was for the status quo and was not a man for reform. This is what Uhuru still is, though the new Constitution is for change and reform, of both structures and values.
Uhuru now pretends that he is for the poor, offering Waititu over the able Jimnah Mbaru. Raila shows that you can be for the poor and others, and still be experienced in administration and government and still respect everybody.
Uhuru has not been for the poor at any time before this. Raila has been for the poor in Langata for the past 20 years as MP, and for them for 30 years through prison, detention and exile. Raila’s has not been a Luo seat but a Kenyan seat containing all Kenyans. He did not hide in a safe seat, like Bondo, or Gatundu.
Uhuru’s is not the party of the poor. Not with launching a manifesto for the poor with American -style expenditure, music, lights, flags and confetti. Nor is TNA the party of the middle class. The Middle Class are protected and assured growth through rights, only through an implemented Constitution.
I believe Raila is the most reliable candidate to complete that necessary constitutional process. I will vote for Raila.

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