Prime Minister Raila Odinga is a man who can charm crowds. I know it and I love him strictly for the entertainment value. Nothing more. Even if he went to sell mandazi in Kibera, I'd still love his political humour. But then, this does not in any way translate into votes. Mine is just one and he has millions of followers!
But I digress. I went shaving my head over the weekend at Ochieng's Kinyozi just near where I stay. Now, if you shave in this 'base' barbershops, you'd know why I love to talk with these people. They have some raw logic in their understanding of politics and at times they can make you shudder.
So as Ochieng's shaving machine slashed my hair off my head, he recalled what some guy who was shaving said upon seeing Raila's weekend statement that he made somewhere in Butula deep in western Kenya, close to the border town of Busia.
This is the statement: "Kila mtu atafute bunduki na risasi. Bunduki ni kitambulisho, na risasi ni kadi ya kura. Hiyo wakati ikifika, nikisema ni about-turn, tunapiga about-turn, left turn, ni left turn, right- turn, ni right turn, forward march, ni forward march... hiyo ndio mambo itafanyika katika jeshi ya Agwambo!"
Basically, the statement is that Agwambo (Raila's nickname, which means 'the 'indefatigable') was telling people to look for 'guns and bullets' in the form of "an ID card and a voters' card" to get ready for his word come the 2012 elections. (I hope I did not oversimplify).
So where does Ochieng' come in?
Ochieng wondered if there was a mic hitch, say a power outage just after he said "Kila mtu atafute bunduki na risasi" then the power came back on after a few seconds and found him saying "Hiyo wakati ikifika, nikisema ni about-turn, tunapiga about-turn, left turn, ni left turn, right- turn, ni right turn, forward march, ni forward march... hiyo ndio mambo itafanyika katika jeshi ya Agwambo!", Raila will be Hague material.
Funny? No. This is serious and it can happen. Now that Raila has the knack for repeating his political jokes ---like the one of Kibaki sleeping in a goal post and him scoring the goal only for Kivuitu ( the then electoral commission chairman) to declare Raila's goal offside-- the PM should be wary of the statements he makes in public.
When the 2012 elections come, careful editing of those utterances will make for beautiful political propaganda. And this is the last thing that Raila should be handing to his political competitors. An activist he may be; a rebel even, but should not look like a war monger.
And Mr Odinga's choice of imagery just after the post-election violence should tell you something about my fears on the country's stability as we shuttle towards the 2012 elections with so many unhealed wounds. And perhaps, it should tell you about his thinking.
Ken Wafula of Eldoret will tell you that people are buying arms, KTN investigated and the pictures plus the story are just not funny. Talking to people in the abandoned Mau Summit and some parts of Eldoret, you get to know that there is alot of hatred in there.
You go to Kenol, just here in Murang'a, you see the shreds of hate.
In Mumias where I was brought up, it is virtually a no-go zone for some tribes (and those are the prospective life time partners, sijui nitahama nao ama nitawaficha wapi?).
But perhaps Raila was just preaching peace by telling people not to go for the bullet but the ballot. Hopefully, no writer from the Economist or the Newsweek was around to 'misquote' the PM.