Thursday, January 10, 2008

Will Raila Link Derail Obama's Candidacy?

I have this eerie sense of foreboding that Kenya's troubles will have significant negative impact on US presidential contender Barack Obama. As an Obama supporter, I am concerned because I think the link could possibly ultimately derail his campaign, or at least put it into major damage control mode. I don't think that Kenya's post election problems, in and of themselves, would have had a negative impact on Obama -- Americans recognize that everybody is originally from somewhere -- had it not been for Raila's recent assertion that "Obama's father was his maternal uncle". Those are words that Obama will come to regret deeply.

The level of scrutiny that US presidential candidates are subjected to is totally and unashamedly intrusive. (Not anything that Raila could ever imagine.) Every pup journalist in the US (and an old dogs or two around the world too) wants to break the next big story. By claiming kin hood to Obama, Raila has opened himself up to this same scrutiny. He will wish that he had not. Everything about Raila -- his education (in communist East Germany), his businesses (oil trading as Minister of Energy), his son's name (Fidel Castro), his Hummer, his wealth (so how exactly does a politician in one of the poorest countries in the world become that rich, there are reports on the internet claiming that he is worth about US$60 million), even the odd thing or twenty that Raila himself may have long forgotten -- is going to be uncovered in the next few weeks. Probably most concerning to the American populace will be his MOU with the Muslims and his endorsement by NAMLEF (National Muslim Leaders Forum) supposedly because of Kibaki's "renditioning of Muslims to Guantanamo, Ethiopia and Somalia".

There are things that Raila has done, I am sure, that, while they may not be illegal or even unethical in Kenya, would not be kosher in the US, and the US media and blogosphere will measure these actions with a US yardstick. (American's are not renowned for their empathy.)

I think this is unfortunate, even if they truly related -- more than the sense that all Luos are related or all Gikuyus are sons and daughters of Mumbi -- Obama should be evaluated on his own merits. But Obama has built a relationship with Raila (or vice versa) and when Obama was in Kenya he was often seen in Raila's company. I can see it now... Raila and Obama are cousins, Raila studied in East Germany and named his son Fidel Castro, Raila is friendly with Muslims and thus against the War on Terror -- his supporters even burned women and children in a Christian church -- (a stretch I know, but they will say it), Raila and Obama are not just cousins, they are friends, Obama's middle name is Hussein, therefore Obama is not going to continue the War on Terror. Not logically sound, but brace yourselves ... expect it.

The scrutiny has already begun.

On the Kenya front the newly disclosed kinship may similarly work against Raila. The US presidency is far bigger than anything Kenyan -- after all the US has about 25% of the world GDP. I expect that Raila will get a more than gentle nudge from his dear cousin to settle this post election impasse like yesterday even if he has to acquiesce. "Come on cuz, if I win this far bigger thing we will settle this Kibaki thing once and for all, trust me."

Oh, things are getting more interesting by the moment.


At Friday, January 11, 2008 at 1:00:00 AM EST, Blogger Shiroh said...

I don't even think Kenya as a whole would like this analysis. I really love Obama i would hate to see him lose.

At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 4:32:00 PM EST, Blogger Lazaro said...

REpublicans and a lot of white people(not me) will try to do anything to avoid a Black House!Obama's ideas are fantastic ,and that is what the new world needs.We don't need another Vietnam veteran with old ideas ,and living with post war traumatic stress disorder!!LONG LIVE OBAMA TO MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE!!!!!


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