DP Rigathi Gachagua and the Luos of Kisumu

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The Luos of Kisumu yesterday welcomed Rigathi Gachagua, cheering him on as he addressed them at the historic Kondele bridge.

This same Rigathi Gachagua was one of the most toxic, bigoted, hatemongering Mt. Kenya leaders who told his people how Uhuru diverted their development to Luo Nyanza.

His toxic anti-Luo hatemongering won his side the vote in Mt. Kenya but did little in improving ethnic relations and understanding in a country where ethnicity is a disease.

The welcome he received in Kisumu should torment him to never go so low to win an election.

Rigathi flew to Kisumu International Airport, an airport President Uhuru massively expanded and modernized in the last five years because he understood that it was the right thing to do.

Between 2013 and 2017, most roads in Kisumu had been frozen, with the first Jubilee government not building a single new kilometer. The port was dead, so was the railway. This changed post-handshake, with President Uhuru increasingly paying particular attention to development in Kisumu in particular, and Nyanza more generally.

These are the things which made President Uhuru unpopular in Mt. Kenya, where characters like Rigathi made the Kikuyu believe Uhuru diverted development projects meant for their region/people to Luos.

The campaign is over. The election has been won. We are not bitter. Yet this much is also true…in places like Mt. Kenya, UDA ran a toxic bigotry-filled, ethnic hatemongering targeting the Luo to win the vote.

Many Kikuyus voted for UDA with hearts filled with hate and rage. They rejected a vision of Kenya where ethnic favouritism in national development has no place. They rejected a historic moment to move the country forward. There will be more to write about this…

The Luo expect Rigathi and Ruto to develop Mt. Kenya so much so that they don’t feel bitter and hateful when they hear that a ship is being built in another region, or a road is being opened in another region, or some money is being set aside for clean water, etc.

Mt. Kenya people must learn to live in a Kenya nationally developing because that’s the only pathway to national prosperity. The alternative will be isolated islands of prosperity in a sea of poverty.

Only in a developing, modernizing country will they then realize things like oaths taken years ago mean little. Only in a nationally prospering country will they stop relapsing to past pathologies.

Until every region of Kenya move beyond petty jealousies and embraces every region of Kenya, there’s scarcely any hope for national progress.

Be that as it may…

We have maintained that the Luo society has no business opposing Ruto’s government. We have nothing to gain by doing so.

We also know that if this government fails, it will not fail because they had no opposition. Having an active opposition does not make any government perform.

Then there’s the expectation that the opposition must come from the Luo. This is the challenge the Luo society faces. While some Luo politicians still want to drag the community into the Opposition, the Luo society is completely uninterested.

Welcoming Rigathi Gachagua (just weeks after his toxic anti-Luo bile won him the vote in Mt. Kenya) to the public sphere at Kondele is the clearest indication of the intention of the Luo to hunker and bid their time.

We may not be in government because we can’t force ourselves to be.

But we are also not interested in being in the opposition.

To the Luo, I say; patience, and shuffle the cards.

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