On Saturday July 31 , 1982 at around 7.30 pm exactly 35 years ago the phone rang and my Mum answered. It was my Uncle Lt Col Owino, then head of Kenya Army Signals. He urgently wanted to talk to my Dad. Being a weekend, he had gone to take his Tusker in Westlands. It was unusual for my Uncle to call at that time. Since there were no mobile phones, he left Kahawa Barracks to pick my Dad in Westlands and brought him home. Being a Military man, he just came and said that no one should leave home, and left.
At around 11 pm, we were woken up by sporadic gunshots. By the time we woke up on Sunday 1st August… The gunfire was deafening. Since VoK, the only TV Station then used to go off air at midnight and open at 2 pm on Weekends, the only channel of broadcast was VoK Radio and only music was playing before the famous “Serikali ya Kenya Imepinduliwa”
August 1st turned out to be the longest Sunday in Kenya’s history. It was the bloodiest Sunday in our History.
I’ll not go to the gory details. But the one week later, details of who was behind the aborted Coup. It emerged later that Raila had first approached Senior Luo Military Officers like my Uncle- who in 1982 was one of the highest ranking Soldiers from Luoland. But they simply told him off, and actually reported the strange demands to their superiors. At that time, senior intelligence officials laughed off the matter, and nobody took it seriously.
Unknown to many, after failing to bring senior Kenya Army officers to his side, Raila decided to do the dumbest of the dumbest thing… he approached the junior most officers:- Privates and Corporals of the Air force. Ordinarily, junior officers do not have the capacity to organise something as logistically challenging as a Coup. To make matters worse, the Air force cannot mount a ground challenge without Infantry Units from the Army. Only a totally dumb person would do that. Raila managed to cheat the Luo Soldiers that he had backing from Tanzania, and as soon as they started, help would come from Tanzania.
The entire Kenya Army, including Luo Officers turned against the small number of Luos that Raila had confused in the Air force, and there was bloodbath. Raila effectively sent a bunch of naïve young Luos on a Suicide Mission.
After the Patriotic senior Luo Officers of the Kenya Army led by Lt Col Owino rejected his overtures, Raila has never ever forgiven the Kenya Army for frustrating his plan of taking power.
35 years later, Raila is still at it. Hating the Army. Because of his advanced age, he has no way of concealing his deep seated loathing for the Army, the unit he blames for stopping his march to State House.
My biggest worry is that Raila plans another bloodbath, by using another group of naïve Luos to go for a suicide mission.
He is encouraging them to “protect” votes by physically storming Polling Stations. This will only mean one thing….. Confrontation with Security Forces. Just like in 1982, he is confusing the bitter naïve youth that help will come from Tanzania.
As we commemorate 35 years since the dumb Coup failed, let pray for another group of naïve Luo youth , who like the 1982 young Airmen, are being sent to die on a dumb Suicide Mission called Adopt A Polling Station.