The grapevine is pointing to a 2012 Kenyan presidential race minus Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The move will definitely break the hearts of many of his followers but there lies a silver-lining for the man who was set to be Kenya’s fourth president after the 2007 bungled elections.
Kenya, like a large number of African countries, lacks a statesman. The next election remains Mr Odinga’s most viable chance to take up this enviable role. That is if he convinces his supporters that he does not have to be president to influence the direction that the country takes in the coming years.
As a statesman, Mr Odinga will have a chance to help redeem the country’s image which has been tainted by leaders who want to stay in power for years to end. President Kibaki had the chance in 2007 since he had promised his supporters in the political arena that he would serve a single term and retire to Othaya to look after his tea and coffee.
Kenya needs a leader who will influence the country’s agenda from outside government. A leader who both the citizenry and the government can look up to for counsel as has been the case of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. Mr Odinga has the chance to take up this role in 2012.
My conviction is driven by the fact that in the last six months, the PM has stood out to be a man of principal who is ready to look beyond what his political cronies are saying. He has made it clear that he is ready to move alone as long as this will be for the benefit of the larger Kenyan public.
I believe a large number of the close to 40 million Kenyans are ready to support Mr Odinga if he chooses to take this path and save this country. Kenyans have lost their faith in the political system and wish to have a leader who can influence the restructuring of the country’s institutions.
Who better to lead that cause than Mr Odinga who has served in both the Moi and Kibaki governments and understands fully how the opposition works in the country.
A statesman in the face of Raila Odinga is what Kenya needs to advance democratically and economically after the death of the excuse of a government the country has as the grand coalition.