Murathe’s backing of Raila, chance for new voters

Friday, August 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli and former Jubilee Party vice-chairman David Murathe. Photo/PD/FILE

Recent public endorsement of Raila Amollo Odinga by Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe, has elicited many reactions.

A lot has been made of why Murathe endorsed him  at this time of heated political discourse on revenue allocations.

Interestingly, there is a generation of Kenyans, who already have a concretised opinion about Murathe and his friend, Francis Atwoli’s endorsement of Baba. 

It is not so much about what Murathe said as it is about the issue he raised and the current generation of millennials and digital natives.

Going forward, track record and fight for the common mwanaichi is going to be key because many new generation of voters know little about the current crop of front runners that distinguish them.

But the agenda Murathe has raised is likely to push them to a level where Raila stands tall. 

Granted, the next generation of voters will predominantly  be millennials and digital natives born after 2000, with little understanding of the Second Liberation struggle and Raila’s pre-eminent fight for a just society that we have today. 

While folks will be talking about what Murathe has said, for these digital natives are likely to be introduced to a Raila they have not encountered in our public domain.

Most of them have seen Raila alongside other political players in a fairly democratic and liberal space that does not distinguish him.

However, with Murathe’s endorsement, it should not be lost on us that this is not a generation that will take such endorsements and move with it or follow traditional pathways led by tribal leaders.

No way. The y are too inquisitive, and studies show they have a high affinity for enjoyment and progress. 

Murathe has raised their curiosity and they will want to find out what Raila has done that needs rewarding.

What has he fought for and what were the prevailing circumstances during his long fight and what price did he pay for his fights for a just and liberal dispensation. 

These folks access a wide array of information and will meet a plethora of details of Raila’s long tradition of fighting for the common mwanaichi.

Chances are they will encounter a Raila who will deserve more than the reward Murathe is talking about. 

They will situate that within context, there can only be one outcome. They are likely to make a more informed opinion and perhaps better choices regardless of Murathe’s intention in his endorsement.

Where that will put Raila is anyone’s guess, but I guess they will find a past that speaks of the possibility of a just and more prosperous country with Raila at the helm. 

For the first time, we have a leadership that has begun the conversation of bringing Kenyans together and they are doing it in a fairly people-driven fashion.

No cabinet appointments, no power sharing, just a return to the people through a consultative process likely to usher us into a brighter space.

For the optimist and pessimist alike, if this consultative process called Building Bridges Initiative ushers us into a new prosperous dispensation the possibility of Murathe’s endorsement morphing into a big day for Raila cannot be gainsaid. 

Knowledge is power and the endorsement has given the tech-savy next generation of voters and digital natives the impetus to gain that knowledge about Raila.

What they will find coupled with the current deconstruction of ‘the system’ and ‘deep state’ will most definitely rally most of them around an insurmountable Raila candidature in the run up to the 2022 elections.

That is if he presents himself as a candidate.   — The writer is a research associate at the Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications

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