It has been a while since I wrote about Kenyan politics and this is an omnibus of my thoughts as I see it.
Last Sunday saw Uhuru launch TNA’s I believe experience campaign (I am told that this was not the party’s launch and he did not launch his presidential bid) amidst pomp and colour. TNA appeared to set a new standard of political activities in the country but also unveiled Uhuru as the latest “party-hopper”.
There has been so much hype in Kenyan over the changing of parties by politicians ahead of the elections. Some term the “new” phenomenon as “political immorality” and keep throwing blame at IEBC and the Registrar of Political Parties.
Party hopping ahead of elections in Kenya is not a new thing but this does not make it right. However, as long as political parties are election vehicles, no law will ever kill this party hopping ahead of elections. I squarely blame the political parties which have failed to “deem” their members as have resigned and therefore use the Political Parties Act to kick them out of the party an eventually from Parliament.
Back to Uhuru and TNA. It is now more than clear that the DPM and Ruto have every intention to be on the ballot regardless of the ICC. I do not think that Uhuru can use so much money and even invite his family to a political function where he is the key speaker, without the intention of going all the way.
Some of the people behind TNA are my friends and while I congratulated them for a well execute show, I reminded them that most of us Kenyans are like gold fish – we forget so fast that it hurts. TNA’s success in delivering its promise of a transformative leadership will be anchored not on the launch that was Sunday but what kind of roll out the party embarks on.
It has to be careful and not head the UDF way. UDF appeared well choreographed until politicians including Mudavadi finally took over the show. UDF now has to carry the burden of the politicians associated with it from now on since they have let it. With Mudavadi as its “big man”, UDF will now have to contend with being ODM’s number one enemy taking over from Ruto’s URP.
Sticking with Mudavadi, he has so far tried to be his own man but I see him breaking sooner than later. Reason being, as argued in a previous post, he was doing G7’s dirty work of weakening ODM and leaving Raila with minimal chances. Therefore, G7 has no room for him just in the same way it has no room for each other and will only move together as long as Raila is a common enemy.
G7 has only two people who are totally interested in the presidency – Uhuru and Kalonzo. Eugene may be interested in being deputy president but also wants, like Ruto, to be a kingmaker and stay close to the next government as close as possible.
For Kalonzo, Uhuru, Eugene, Ruto, Duale, Mwakwere and Magara, the key question is how they can keep the President, Deputy President, Leader of Majority, Speaker of the Senate and Speaker of the National Assembly within the camp. Any agreement they make must capture this and of course, how the Cabinet will be shared.
Back to UDF. Even with the greatest intention, UDF has also to contend with the fact that the MRC issue at the Coast has been politicized and despite the party’s ideals of equality, politicians will use the matter to their own “advantage”.
MRC is not a small issue that Kenya can seek to wish away. The government has to be firm on the group even before promising to sit and discuss the issues affecting its members – which are not unique to the coast. The issues of marginalization affect a large number of Kenyans with the growing youthful population being the most marginalize group in modern Kenya.
If given the proper chance, devolution as envisaged in the Constitution can help Kenyans deal with not only marginalization but the ghosts of historical injustices. That is why I find it worrying that the issue of County Commissioners has been politicized. In our hypocrisy, we pretend not to know that the provincial administration has been a “department” under the office of the President.
The argument that the County Commissioners will conflict with County Governors is neither here nor there. Looking back at the previous Provincial Administration structure, when did the role of District Commissioners clash with that of MPs. If the drafters of the Constitution did not envisage the County Commissioners, then they would not have said that the P.A be restructured and would not have put in place the fourth schedule that specifies the roles of various levels of government.
Finally, turning to election preparation, I don’t know why Kenyans have to be pessimistic and assume that IEBC has a grand plan of stealing from the public coffers when they ask for a large budget. I think we should be more focused on what ideal budget can deliver a free, fair and transparent election. There is infrastructure that IEBC would wish to put in place today that will be used for subsequent elections and I do not see why they should not be allowed.
Even when comparing the IEBC budget with other countries, it is important for use to reflect on the last election and the loopholes that existed and not give the Commission reason to blame lack of funds on any failure that may arise at the next one.