"We only have stones!"
This cry, from young man amidst a battle with GSU paramilitary police in Kisumu, captures the current tragedy in Nyanza in the current electoral crisis. In the Rift Valley we have read of the dreaded GSU personnel being detained by locals at roadblocks; in Kisumu, unarmed kids are practice targets of some police officers, as a recent TV footage doing the rounds on the Web taught us. What makes Rift Valley different than Nyanza? The answer is that unlike Rift Valley, Luo Nyanza is irrelevant to the nation of Kenya: it is farflung and landlocked; Anyuongi has killed navigation and fishing on Lake Victoria; Kisumu is in ruins, sugar can be imported; no other ethnicities live there; only her electoral vote matters to any politician after every five years. The Gov't forces will continue to operate in Luo Nyanza with impunity to teach the locals to "vote otherwise" next time.
Which way Luo Nyanza?
Would this election be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back in Luo Politics?
I believe so.
If Hon. Raila Odinga fails to sit on the covetted seat (the Presidency), or fails to agitate for and get the Premiership before 2012, most Luo Nyanza voters will sit out the 2012 elections, and it will not matter who runs in ODM, which will have died anyway.
I'd rather watch Gor Mahia FC matches, commiserate with fellow elders than vote again in a fatally-cursed process that only generates anguish and gnashing of teeth among the people. We were there before in the '60s and '70s, and may survive it, again. But if not managed well, this elctoral mess may be the last straw that broke the camel's back in Luo Nyanza because pride to the point of apathy is a virtue, at least in a Luo psyche.
Ask yourself this: why are there no Luo names in Kibaki's National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee? The answer is that Luo Nyanza is irrelevant to his political schemes; he never campaigned there anyway.
Joseph R. Alila
(Author: "The Wise One of Ramogiland," ISBN 978-14303-2554-3)
Read this for AE Standard, Kenya ....