Maandamano: Kenyan man’s hilarious reason why Uhuru and Raila shook hands
On March 9, 2018, former president Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Amollo Odinga shook hands in what signified the end of their political differences.
The truce came as a shock to millions of Kenyans who had watched Raila Odinga keep president Uhuru Kenyatta on his toes as he exposed corruption and underhand dealings within the government week after week over several months.
The handshake also came after a turbulent time of Raila Odinga opposing former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory at the Supreme Court and winning, only to lose again to Uhuru after a subsequent presidential election was days later.
This handshake saw Raila Odinga accorded some level of respect by the government of the day; even as Uhuru Kenyatta saw to it that Raila Odinga was appointed to the African Union as the High Representative for Infrastructure Development. Uhuru Kenyatta also went as far as appointing Raila’s allies to top government positions to appease the opposition and their supporters, saying that the interests of Kenyans had to come first.
Well, as soon as William Ruto won the 2022 presidential election, Raila Odinga returned to the Supreme Court of Kenya to oppose the victory, saying the election had been stolen after the difference in votes between himself and the victor were around 200,000. He lost the petition and this was one of the three pillars that spurred the opposition to announce the return of opposition demonstrations against a sitting government.
Uhuru Kenyatta endured these demonstrations during his tenure and his successor, President William Ruto, is currently enduring the same after Raila Odinga announced Maandamano Mondays where opposition leaders and supporters will take to the streets and demonstrate against Ruto’s presidency, the runaway high cost of living that the President promised and failed to arrest within the first few days in office as well as the openning of the computer servers at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to show who actually won the election whose tallying was shrouded in mystery.
These Maandamano Mondays returned weeks after Raila Odinga asked to leave his African Union High Representative job due to challenges that prevented him from carrying out his duties any further. Raila said that by leaving the AU job, he had been freed to pursue other pressing and urgent matters. It is believed that one of these challenges to carrying out his duties is the hostile relationship between himself and President William Ruto which was occasioned by former president Uhuru Kenyatta backing Raila’s presidency instead of William Ruto’s (then deputy president) as promised.
With the return of the opposition demonstrations, a section of Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) attempted to rationalize why former president Uhuru Kenyatta kept Raila Odinga busy while serving his second and final term at State House.
“Kitu nime learn kwa siasa ni, an Idle Raila is a dangerous Raila. Uhuru hakumpa handshake juu ya kutaka. Hapana. Huyu ni mzee wa kupatia shughli one million. Leo ako Egypt, kesho unamtuma London. Akirudi, mkutano nne Serena, Muthaiga, unamtuma Joburg. Usimpe time ya kutulia (The thing I have learned in politics is that an idle Raila Odinga is a dangerous Raila. Uhuru did not shake hands with him because he wanted to. No. This is an old man whom you give one million tasks. Today he is in Egypt, tomorrow you send him to London. When he returns, he has four meetings in Serena, Muthaiga, you then send him to Johannesburg. You don’t give him time to rest),” Shoba Gatimu hilariously reasoned on Twitter.
Mr Gatimu added, “Hata si lazma anything ikuwe official. Unaongeza chase car tatu na occasional use of chopper. Akitoka, unajua. Akirudi unajua. Unamwita Harambee Annex mkutano kidogo. Kidogo unamtuma Far East. Ukiwacha atulie aanze kupewa stories na kina Sifuna na Junet, utaumia. (It’s not even a must for anything to be official. You just add Raila three chase cars and the occasional use of a chopper. When he leaves, you know. When he returns, you know. You call him to Harambee Annex for a small meeting and then you immediately send him to the far east. If you let him relax and have time on his hands to be given stories by Sifuna (Nairobi Senator)and Junet (Suna East MP), it is you who will get hurt).
In response to Gatimu’s sentiments, several other KOTs stated the possible reason why President Ruto is currently dealing with a free Raila Odinga is allegedly because the President shouldn’t sabotaged Raila’s duties at the African Union.
“Pushing @RailaOdinga to the streets was a wrong strategy. What do you expect when you throw a tortoise into his water?” asked Jeff Komonge.
Others alleged that the freedom Raila now had and being surrounded by vocal and controversial politicians including Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina, Makadara MP George Aladwa and others was something that President Ruto will live to regret.
“Sasa mzae ako na time mob. Anaamka asubuhi kama ameitisha dossier za serikali. (Now the old man has plenty of time on his hands. He probably wakes up in the morning and asks for the dossiers on the government,” went on Mr Gatimu.
The first Maandamano Mondays demos were held on March 20, 2023, and are set to take place every Monday and Thursday henceforth until President Ruto meets Raila Odinga’s three conditions.