An Open Letter To My Luo Brothers And Sisters
Dear brothers and sisters, fellow Luos, I hope you are fine wherever you are. Allow me to skip the pleasantries and address your primary concern i.e why pick on Luos of all Kenyan tribes? Simple, charity begins at home and being a Luo, it was important I addressed us first before attempting to advise anyone else. Secondly and most importantly, we have invested in politics more than other Kenyan communities combined. Politics, it seems, has become our way of life…we are willing to throw away our lives for politic’s sake.
I wouldn’t want you to see me as one standing on a pedestal to lecture you. No, this is your son and brother talking to you…explianing the state of things and sharing what he believes to be the best way forward.
Current State of Affairs
Why write to you now? Why not several years back or in a few months to come? My brothers and sisters it’s because our community is at a political crossroad. We, as a matter of urgency, must make some hard choices. So, this couldn’t wait.
Let me admit that I know your pain. That I perfectly understand what it feels like to see all you’ve worked for disappear. The associated hopelessness and how easy it is to be swayed when in that state are things I’m familiar with. Trust me, nothing makes a man more irrational than haplessness. In such a state, everyone who doesn’t share in your pain automatically becomes an enemy. I know all that, I’ve experienced it. It’s a feeling/state I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
The truth is that Luos have tried, for more than 50 years, to make an Odinga president. I was part of this project too. I, like you do now, believed that a president Odinga would change things for the better (especially for the Luo Nation). The realization that such a day may never come is not only hard to internalize, but one that births anger.
In your version of democracy (a version I started having problems with several years ago) an Odinga is so universally loved that it’s impossible for him to lose in a local election…not against “unpopular leaders like Uhuruto”. It’s this twisted belief that feeds your rigging mentality. To you, the only way an Odinga can lose an election is if “forces of status quo” conspired to rig him out.
While that’s just silly, I don’t want to challenge your beliefs…this piece cuts you all the slack you’ll ever need.
Actions Vs Reactions
But how far should you go to express your outrage against democracy? How are you to deal with the ugly truth that the time for an Odinga presidency is not in the near future? You are disappointed, obviously, but how should you handle disappointment? Remember…
It’s how you handle your disappointments that defines you as a person. If you get up after the fall or just lay there in defeat
Let’s look at how you’ve handled political disappointments and what reactions your actions got…
1. Some of you resorted to looting and or destroying properties of suspected supporters of Uhuruto. Was this the best cause of action? Did it make your candidate of choice the president? No, the best this action got you is hatred from your neighbors. In fact, in most estates, you ended up living in fear of retaliatory attacks from the people whose property and lives you ruined.
By the way, how do you benefit from barricading your own roads? Imagine sealing off a road in Migori or Kisumu?You think Uhuruto lose when businesses in Luo Nyanza remain closed because you are protesting this and that? It’s called self-sabotage. You destroy your livelihood thinking it affects your so called enemies. Pathetic is what I call such shortsighted moves.
Verdict: Looting and or destruction of neighbors properties is irrational and can only attract unfavorable outcome.
2. A majority appear to be in support of outright anarchy. Living as if Kenya had no government or laws in place. In fact, most of you are singing the “not my president song” and encouraging Raila to form a parallel government. But what has lawlessness given you in return? My brothers and sisters, what have you achieved by disregarding police orders…going to outlawed political rallies and conducting illegal swearing in for instance? Whenever you decided to stone the police, barricade roads and torch matatus, what has been the outcome? Let me answer that..the rallies have failed, Luos have been injured and in some unfortunate cases, lives have been lost.
Would you preffer confrontation with law enforcers only to later on run to social media to cry about police brutality? Of what benefit is trending #LuoLivesMatter?
Verdict: Confrontation with law enforcers is at best suicidal and can only result in injuries and or loss of lives.
3. What about the people’s assembly bills and the agitation to form a parallel government (by swearing in your leader) or seceding? Which law supports any of these? Aren’t we a community that takes pride in fidelity to the law? The law is clear…To be Kenya’s president, you must win an election and be declared so by IEBC. But that’s not all, you must wait for the Supreme Court to uphold your victory (in case of petition). Then the winner is sworn in by the Registrar of the Judiciary as The Chief Justice bears witness. You then become the C-I-C. Anything else, is treasonous.
You chose an illegal swearing in and now refer to a civilian as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Force. How is this move beneficial to our community seeing that all it gave birth to is arrests as you wail and play the victims? I find it self-defeating at best
Again, no county is autonomous. So, passing 1000 bills to say you don’t recognize the president is akin to insulting the crocodile while you are still in water. You can’t rebel against a government that pays you.
Verdict: Parallel government or secession isn’t just taking a bad joke too far, the consequences are so dire I’m scared to type them.
I write to you because I believe it was time we, as a community, made some hard choices. We either choose:
1. Sanity and accept the ugly and bitter truth that the political ambitions of our defacto leader (Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga) and our tribal ego cannot not be greater than the posterity of Kenya (a nation of more than 44 tribes) or
2. Insanity by heeding the calls of inciters…those who insist people must die for our Raila to be president…those who ask us to be ready to die in the “struggle to liberate this country”…the ones who remind us that the tree of democracy is watered by the blood of patriot.
Each choice, my people, has consequences. Choice #1 will bruise our tribal ego, but will ensure our safety. Luos, like other Kenyans, will resume normal duties and address challenges using available laws.
Choice #2, on the other hand, will massage our already bloated political ego and make us feel special (i.e fearless liberators). But, as you already know, no violence is devoid of casualties. Our sons and daughters will get maimed and some may lose their lives. The rest of us will then litter social media with the usual #LuoLivesMatter hashtag and outrageous demand to secede. Our inciters will be calling hourly pressers to “condemn police brutality” and even shamelessly parade our deceased brothers for the media…as they urge us to go on with “the struggle”…claiming the regime can’t kill us all.
In my informed view, I urge us to go with choice #1. My brothers and sisters, however entitled we may feel, the political leadership of this country is not worth bearing the brute force of the police after every election. The fact of the matter is, for a long time, those who incite us to violence don’t suffer when and as we do.
For instance, we’ve seen them ordering us to the streets only for them to fail to show up hiding behind busy schedules. And on the very rare instances they showed, they were in armored (top of the range) vehicles…under tight security. The Luo elite, whose kids barely speak our language, simply show up for the cameras and to motivate/radicalize the poor. This explains why none of those who incite us or their families has ever been injured following running battles with law enforcers.
What about secession?
If it were up to me, this is a topic that should be contemptuously ignored. But since it’s something some of you are erroneously passionate about, allow me to chip in.
And I have this to ask, on what grounds will you be seceding? Don’t tell me that you don’t find it shameful forming your country so that your tribal leader and his family can lord over you forever. That more than petty if not so backward.
If you asked me, you should imagine secession when your region is deliberately deprived of development and crucial government services. For instance, you could think (not advocate for) secession if:
- Luo Nyanza counties were deprived of the devolution fund.
- Luo Nyanza was marginalized that we had no medical facilities, no schools, no roads and without electricity
- Our people were not part of the public service…if the government had a hiring freeze on Luo professionals
Not because our man (Raila) has vied for presidency 4 times without success hence the need to create him a country where his election is guaranteed.
My brothers and sisters, follow Luos, I know this will shock you but…
it’s not a constitutional requirement that a Luo becomes president.
So, even remotely thinking about secession on such ground is just stupid (for lack of a mild term)
Read Also: Political Realities Luos Must Accept
The Unwanted Truth
Here’s another fact; an ugly truth we’d rather run away from. Our candidate, Hon. Raila lost both the 2013 and the August 2017 elections fairly and squarely. The problem with our leader is that he feels that the political system has to adjust to accommodate him. He wants to introduce a new strain of democracy where the minority have their way as the majority are held hostage.
In some cases, unfortunately, our leader’s actions have led to bloody bath. Lives have been lost, Luo lives in most cases. It ought not to be my people.
I know the above paragraph may be seen as “lacking respect for Baba” but we must call a spade a spade…the future of our community is at stake and sugarcoating things is no longer an option.
Come to think of it…
- Raila went to the Supreme Court and had the presidential election nullified, but instead of embracing the repeat poll…
- He refused to campaign, coined unrealistic demands (aka irreducible minimums) and withdraw from the race. But he neither withdrew legally nor with decorum..
- Raila did sabotage elections in Luo Nyanza through violence and open intimidation. Only…
- To go to court through his proxies in the civil society to demand the nullification of the October 6 election (pointing to violence and poll failures in Luo Nyanza)
- When everything failed, he chose to disregard the same supreme court and went ahead to swear himself as president.
What if it was Uhuru who acted thus, would you have taken him seriously? Encouraged him to undermine the legitimate government? I don’t think so. Like I said, it’d be overstretching a sad joke.
Read Also: Why Raila Is Yet To Be President
Agwambo once said…
you go out and vote and leave the rest to me… I won’t come back to you to say that I was rigged out!
What happened to that promise?
Today, it’s Luo youth on the streets with a few people cheering us on. We are deceiving ourselves that the whole country, save for Kalenjins and Kikuyus, is tired yet they are moving on with their daily chores as we cannibalize ourselves in the name of fighting for Raila. Is this the ideal brand of politics?
Read Also: Odingaism defined
The truth is that, Kenya is not divided as some would want the world to think. It’s case of our tribe, the Luo being used by selfish Luo elite, cheered on by Luhya elite, a few Kamba elite and a handful of Kisii elite…as political opportunists like Joho enjoy the spoils.
It is a case of Luo slum dwellers being used as a weapon of war. You now understand why incitement rallies can only be held in Kibera, Jacaranda and Babadogo.
What is the way forward? Without mincing words, swallow your political pride, accept that project ‘make an Odinga president’ has flopped. You wont die in doing so. Instead, it’ll give you the chance to find a new obsession. I suggest that obsession be economic dominance. For once you have the financial power, political power comes naturally.
It’s hard what I’m asking you to do seeing that ‘you are willing and ready to die for an Odinga’, but this is the safest way forward. I know this may be the last advice you are looking for, but it’s the one you should listen to.
I’m simply talking to you my brother/sister. To hearken to or ignore me is a decision only you can make. Otherwise, thanks for your time.
I’m your humble son/brother