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Did Kenyans have to first die for Uhuru and Odinga to reconcile?

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga last week struck a deal to ‘cease fire’ against each other.

Whereas what they did was laudable, we ought to question why it had to first take the lives of Kenyans and almost shatter the economy before these two ever-feuding gentlemen could come to the discussion table.

Odinga had vowed to make governance of Kenya very difficult for Kenyatta. He refused to recognize Kenyatta as president and declared himself the ‘people’s president’. He even took an illegal presidential oath.

The symbolism of Odinga taking oath at Uhuru (independence) Park in sheer protest of a government headed by one Uhuru was incredible.

The other three co-principals with whom they formed Nasa – Moses Wetangula, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi – skipped Odinga’s swearing-in function. This was the first sign that the centre at Nasa could no longer hold.

There were signs that the ruling party, Jubilee, had infiltrated Nasa. By taking an illegal oath, Odinga breached the constitution that he was ever claiming to protect; and that act alone was treasonable. However, he was never arrested!

Instead, the advocate, T. J Kajwanga, who administered the oath was arrested and questioned by the police. Another of Odinga’s officials, Miguna Miguna, was not only arrested but also deported to Canada.

As ridiculous as it sounded, the authorities claimed that Miguna did not use proper procedures to acquire his Kenyan passport. He has dual citizenship of Kenya (his country of birth) and Canada.

Miguna is one of the acerbic critics of Kenyatta’s government and describes the incumbent as a despot. Never mind that in 2012, Miguna published a book Peeling Back the Mask, in which he attacked Odinga’s leadership skills and his democratic credentials.

When Kenya’s Supreme court nullified the August 8, 2017 presidential election, Odinga set certain conditions for the electoral body before he could participate in fresh elections.

Eventually, he refused to participate and also urged his supporters to boycott the October 25, election. In some parts of Kenya, especially those affiliated to Odinga and mainly dominated by the Luo communities, voting was frustrated.

Odinga urged Kenyans to throng the streets and protest against what he called electoral injustice. Naturally, the street protests exposed the participants to police brutality. Some people were killed and others maimed, all in the name of defending Baba Odinga’s right to become president.

None of the big shots in Nasa were ever killed. Why does it take so long for ordinary citizens to read through the selfish interests of politicians? After all those lives are lost, Odinga has realized that he might never become Kenyan president.

So, he has decided to cut a deal for himself with Kenyatta and leave a legacy as a politician who is not interested in the presidential seat but in the higher cause of peace and justice!

I could not get the answer why people decide to throw stones on behalf of politicians. In his book The Tipping Point, Malcom Gladwell makes reference to what sociologist Mark Granovetter called “threshold model of collective behaviour.” Granovetter tries to distinguish between belief and threshold.

Granovetter says that a belief is an internal thing. It’s a position we have taken in our heads or in our hearts. He adds: “But unlike beliefs, thresh- olds are external. They are about peer pressure. Your threshold is the number of people who have to do something before you join in.”

Granovetter further makes two crucial arguments. The first is that thresholds and beliefs sometimes overlap. But a lot of the time, they don’t. He illustrates this with a teenager who decides to drive at 100 miles an hour at midnight with three of his friends [cheering him on].

It is not because he believes that driving 100 miles per hour is a good idea. In that moment, his beliefs are irrelevant.

His behaviour is guided by his threshold. The connection here is that ultimately, someone with a “low threshold” is more open to going with the group, whereas someone with a “high threshold” is more likely to do it their own way.

The argument then is that someone who is more open to being extremely forward-thinking in a setting that is steeped in traditional ways of thinking might also have a high threshold.

What is important is to recognize the culture of the group as well as the individuals. And politicians world over have exploited this interplay of threshold and belief to manipulate support and keep themselves safe in political positions.

So, now you know why Ugandan politicians have exploited boda boda riders. It is their low threshold that leads them to being used and crushed.

The author is the business development director at The Observer Media Limited.

 

Comments

-4 #1 WADADA rogers 2018-03-14 11:21
The last time i checked, the writer's name was Kitunzi, i want to believe that he knows that ensi egula buwanga, (not sure if that is the actual proiverb) literally meaning that peace is bought of blood
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+4 #2 Julius O. 2018-03-14 13:57
Wadada, you are becoming a cyber nuisance! So, who is Kitunzi!

With people who are too lazy to read and think like you, Museveni may rule us for ages! Every time and every where you comment, it's sheer garbage! Why? Help yourself out
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-1 #3 WADADA rogers 2018-03-14 19:52
I feel your pain Julius, unfortunately, the Museveni you are equating me to is not my relative but he is here to stay, your Besigye can only do the waiting.

On yr redundant question, i expect you to know that the writer's name is katunzi, if i write kitunzi, i expect you to apply your little common sense.
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0 #4 Akot 2018-03-14 19:53
Quoting Julius O.:


Museveni may rule us for ages!


Agreed!

He has already been on for +32 years & said "5 years is not enough to put in development projects"!

The dictator forgets he has been in post since 1986!

Ugandans don't seem to be aware museveni has been on for +32 years & at the end of this term, it will be 35 years!

UN saw 3 new bosses, Europe-USA at least 5 while Ugandans just have museveni!

Which dictator leaves power if not thrown out by a UNITED people?
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0 #5 Akot 2018-03-14 20:05
Yet, it's not surprising because Odinga-Kenyatta realised even for them, there will never be a tomorrow unless they make their stand clear - either they continue their family war game or think of the country & the people dying for them!

But this is not so for Ugandans: museveni has no tribal land in the country & does not care in what state he leaves the country & Ugandans!

If +32 years is not enough for Ugndans to understand the country is theirs' & they alone can bring change & in UNITY, then there is no need to go for next fake election organised-directed-run by the same musevnei with tribal leaders helping him keep the tribalistic system firm & there is no common opposition leader!

Whether it's tribal leaders helping the demon or, +1 opposition leaders, the result is the same: Ugandans are divided & will NEVER get their second independence!
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-1 #6 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-15 19:41
Quoting WADADA rogers:


On yr redundant question, i expect you to know that the writer's name is katunzi, if i write kitunzi, i expect you to apply your little common sense.


Mukwasi, there is nothing redundant about the question, you have been caught with your pants down, and you are trying to be a smart ass and spin your way out.

When you say the "the last time I checked" you imply that the man has changed his name, unless of course you do not know when the expression/phrase is used, which seems to be in this case.

Once in a while, a man who stood the IMBALU should have the humility and be man enough and admit when caught with pants down.
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-1 #7 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-15 19:56
LAMINA, it is ejakait again.
UNITY is not unity for its own sake.
For UNITY to be meaningful, its purpose must be defined.

FOR you just to sing UNITY UNITY without defining what we are uniting is like giving a person a bone without meat on it.

When me and my late brother Lafony Richard were organising to march on the high commission, we made it very clear what our mission was.This was before the cruel hand of death robbed him from our midst.

IF your mission is not well defined, what befell those who were trying to build the tower of BABEL will befall you.

And UNITY does and should not mean UNIFORMITY. YOU can be united in diversity.

What if you are trying to woo a person to your side, who is currently a supporter of the system but has a brother/relative/friend who is a chief.

Do you tell them they can not come to your side unless they renounce the chief?
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-1 #8 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-15 20:04
ALSO the reason I think you have something against the chiefs.

The religious leaders are just as much and sometimes even more in the pockets of M 7 than even the tribal/ cultural leaders.

And as for the religious leaders, whereas the tribal leader may be confined to a specific community, eg the RWOT is only for his people and is mostly influential with just one tribe, a religious leader goes across the whole country and pulls in all the tribes.

So who is more harmful if they are in cahoots with the powers that be.

And you fail to realize that most cultural/tribal leaders are the CREATION of M 7 ; the Sabanyala, Sabaruuli, Sabakooki, Kumbanya etc.

These are leaders that did not exist before and were made by M 7, so whom do you want them to be allied to.

SO differentiate these from those who existed before your countrymen the British came and are older than UGANDA itself. You just can not wish them away , and they do not eat your food, they feed themselves.
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0 #9 Akot 2018-03-16 18:57
Quoting WADADA rogers:
...Museveni you are equating me to is not my relative but he is here to stay, your Besigye can only do the waiting.


Agreed!

Every thing is in place for museveni to just go on: 'he is here to stay':

- Tribal leaders obedient in posts makign sure the tribalistic system is intact,

- parliament works for museveni,

- tax money in time & in peace,

- there is no opposition ledership,

- UN-EU consider Uganda peaceful prosperous & home for refgugees,

- We are at each others' throats instead of UNITING as the rest of the world does, for common purpose.

How can museveni not be there to say, more so Ugandans want him & no other?

Museveni is not a problem for Ugandans, but rather solution to their tribalism: he keeps them tribally divided just as they want & they won't UNITE to throw him out, but stay tribally divided to keep him on!
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0 #10 Akot 2018-03-16 19:30
Muteekani Katunzi,

I think of the positive part the unrest in Kenya caused:

*It kept refugees OFF!

Peaceful Uganda under museveni received/ receives refugees while foreigners want to buy land/properties in Uganda!

Ugandans must be very proud: they need no help from the outside world because museveni is doing just what they want!

Why would Ugandans UNITE to bring an end to the paradise they are living under museveni?

After 35 years, why would Ugandans bother to vote when it's still the same ruler who will NEVER be replaced, unless rejected in UNITY?

Museveni rules through a tribalistic system, does not accept opposition & controls every institutions!

Tribal leaders don't even know nor talk to one another, but make sure Ugandans stay tribally divided!

It's time museveni Reforms the Republic & be a real man!
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