Monday, December 10, 2007

Raila’s oratory dismal

For a man working overtime to convince the Kenyan electorate that he’s the ‘people’s president’ for real change, Raila’s public speaking is increasingly getting dull and uninspiring. Opinion polls may be deluding him to take it for granted that he will be the next president and therefore sees no need to polish his act. That is unfortunate because I believe that persuasive oratory should be among the key tools for an agent of change aspiring to sway to his side a progressively enlightened and skeptical populace; more so, in a political field plagued with dishonest players spewing forth strange policies that they neither understand nor believe in.

That Raila has a poor grasp of the Kiswahili language is no excuse for him to resort to his droning formal speeches, written most probably by Anyang Nyongo. The way he labors through them belies his ownership of the content and puts him in an impossible position to display his passion for the issues at hand. No wonder sections of his entourage shamelessly doze through his performance while most of his weary audiences patiently wait for his abridged comical version in Kiswahili. Fortunately, he seems to have a well organized network of cheer leaders who serve to raise decibels with every faltering pause in his speech. To his credit though, his buffoonery on the podium has lessened in recent times, but I suspect that even he himself does not flatter himself about the effectiveness of his oratory. Maybe that is one reason why he is endlessly addressing crowds with no rest for reflection, resulting in clichés and pretentious rhetoric.

So what change will the ‘people’s president’ bring when connecting to the people is clearly such a daunting task? The past three presidents fell in the same category of poor orators and indeed many of the dubious ‘changes’ they brought about were attributed to wicked judgment of their advisers, the mysterious ‘people around the president’. These are the people on whom the task of interpreting presidential speeches fell on. Is Raila not treading the same path? Can the citizens draw inspiration from him or shall we have to look elsewhere like, say, Barrack Obama (remember Raila’s sheepish grinning as he displayed photos taken with Obama)? Or do we need to study the life and times of Mahathir Mohamed, PM of Malaysia (whom Raila recently declared as his hero)?

1 comment:

Eef Dee Eye said...

I hear you, I thought I was the only one who noticed, but what is the option since Anyang Ny'ongo is not running for presidency?

Guide us please!

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