“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”– Thomas Jefferson.
The razzmatazz of the race to succeed Mwai Kibaki has now taken shape; coalitions are being formed right, left and center as if the world is about to end. We have come to grips with the fact that Jakom was right when he famously declared the farasi ni mbili spectrum. The brick-and-mortar is set; alliances are shifting and we are in the throes of a predictably very polarized and dirty gladiatorial campaign season. The rest of the field (Pundas) will be decimated in the battle by the horses. I have nothing personal against any horse any Kenya, neither Raila Odinga nor Uhuru Kenyatta. In fact I wish them well in their journeys, wherever they may take them. However, I take an issue with the manner in which these two Trojan equestrians practice politics, politics devoid of principles and sound ideology. The Chutzpah of the political union between Uhuru and Ruto gave birth to an issue in the name of Uhuruto & Mudavadi while that between Raila and Kalonzo brought forth Railonzo all their game plans being based on politics of divide and rule, not democratic or ideological principles. Inasmuch as politics does not have permanent enemies, only different interests this is a new low whereby quality and integrity is sacrificed at the expense of tribal-political alignment. This is a catalyst for the propagation and continuation of skewed implementation of the development agenda in Kenya. These coalitions are not re-inventing the wheel, but a mere repeat of 2002 duel between Uhuru’s KANU and Kibaki’s NARC, it is still the same script with a minor change of actors whereby Raila replaces Kibaki.
For those who pin their hopes for the rebirth of this nation on any of these politicians or their ilk can only cry for their beloved country to paraphrase Alan Patton. We the people and our interests do not feature in the scheme of things of the politicians. We will have skunks in our house, we will hang our heads in shame come March, 2013, where will we hide our faces from the scorn of the world. The Panel of Eminent African Personalities Koffi Annan and Benjamin Mkapa are doing a stellar and commendable job urging us and our politicians and judges to try to live, act and behave as humans. Let us have faith in them as their overtures seek to ensure that the March 2013 General Election is a free, fair, transparent and violence-free. Their work has not been a walk in the park, they are overtly facing resistance from those, whose bread is buttered by impunity and the big man syndrome, but all peace-loving and commerce oriented Kenyans ought to hearken unto the voice of these gentlemen, they do not have vested interests in Kenya, but they are messengers of hope and rejuvenation fronting for an idyllic Kenya. We should be blind to those who are against the welfare of the masses, because the sun will not stop because they are talking.
Amidst all the deliberations, none of the teams has come out with an economic blueprint for this country for the next five years, but they all have a way of sharing out political and tribal power. This is shortsightedness and careless of the highest order. There are many reasons as to why these coalitions do not augur well for the people, top on the list being that the revitalization of the economic aspirations of the people has not been a key plank in their formations but power sharing has been topmost, this explains the reason why Uhuru’s blue eyed boy at the Treasury Njeru Githae is very keen on raising taxes on poor Kenyans and both Raila and Uhuru remain mum. This is reciprocated at Afya House where Prof. Anyang Nyong’o wants to add more load on our weary backs through the NHIF with the implicit approval of Raila and Uhuru. At the Central Bank of Kenya, Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u is not doing much to reign in banks, manage inflation or seek ways of reducing the high interest rates; the buying power of citizens is greatly hampered by the policies of the Central Bank. This is not a happenstance but a decision with a lot of support from the powers that be in the establishment, a spectacle that would not be entertained in America where one of our exports cousin Barack is fighting a tenacious battle to protect the lower-income earners from the perils of high taxation. Only a heartless beast would raise taxes in an economy teetering on poverty, where recession is perpetual and an order of the day. But we shouldn’t expect much from people who formed a government based on the bloodletting of 200-2008. This man eat man society is taking a toll on the livelihoods of Kenyans.
Secondly, tribes and regions have been balkanized by the main pretenders to the thrones as exclusive chattels owned by the key political kingpins. Hypocrisy and tribal groupings have replaced real and true democracy. In the topsy-turvy politics of Kenya, Raila is the modern-day Genghis Khan, in western civilization, Alexander the Great was a prolific military strategist, but Genghis conquered almost four times the lands of Alexander the Great because of his ruthlessness. politically brilliant but ruthless in execution of his wishes, neither morality nor conscience stands in his way. It is another act of desperation that Raila has agreed to hook up wit Kalonzo despite the well-known fact that Kalonzo is a flip-flopper per excellence and Mutula Kilonzo is another Moi reborn (Raila is known for consistently calling Kalonzo a Judas Iscariot of Kenyan politics, I hope I don’t get to hear any of this reform crap from them although Raila just needs to kick Moi out of Mau Forest to seal his reform credentials as he claims to have them). Raila apparently cares about political survival and relevance than the interests of the masses. That’s why you will hear the talk of North Rift being under the wraps, Luo Nyanza being under the belt and Central being secure ground. What we are not being told is that this zoning is being done with a view of turning neigbours against neigbours; the message is far removed from the common aspirations of the people. Instead of building bridges that will see Rift Valley prosper in peace, it sends a message that you have to join the bandwagon to be assured of your security. This is what Koffi and Mkapa are against. Why the leadership of Mungiki which is notorious for beheading and skinning people had to be welcomed on board is gimmick which epitomizes blind leadership.
Thirdly and finally, where is the future of Kenya in the event that Uhuruto ticket wins? What are our prospects? Bright or dim? Uhuru Moi’s 2002 failed project has been all over the airwaves lecturing the west about Kenya’s sovereignty and competence but in actions, he has been pandering to the same “imperial” west that he has been besmirching at every opportunity. He is high on speaking patriotism but low in being patriotic. The folly of doublespeak is clearly evident in his actions. His legal counsels at the ICC are western, his election consultants are British (rumoured to have been retrained at a cost of US$16 million), his living standards and social leanings are western. There are no special or peculiar sets of circumstances which render Kenyans incompetent to do these jobs being done by “imperialists”. This is a classical example of preaching water and drinking vodka. Ruto refused the olive branch offered by Raila because in his terms “Raila betrayed the trust that existed between them” earlier by firing him. Uhuru’s presidency may significantly have a devastating impact on incentives on work, finance, investment and jobs creation. We need trade and trade bilateral agreements with the rest of the world, we still need the World Bank and IMF even if we hate them, they have come to our rescue so many times and we still owe them. And given the fact that Hillary Clinton and William Hague have told us to be wary of voting for Uhuruto, will Kenya become a pariah state like Sudan? What will become of our economy once our trading partner stake off with their pound of flesh? These and many questions are apt to disturb those of us who know that Kenya is what it is because of the respect it has hitherto commanded international compared to other countries in the region. If we are to be hit with sanctions and economic embargoes, it will be us the mass who will suffer, not the political elites.
Let us have no illusions, our worst fears may just be about to be confirmed, some of these luminaries and their mandarins would kill us in their quest for power, they are the proverbial two wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for dinner. As politicians are hunkered around tables dividing up the country, we must muster the will and courage to remain united as a people. Let us be our brothers keepers because the politicians won’t talk about in/security Therefore I will once again call upon Kenyans to register as voters, say the course and be vigilant, be purveyors of peace, peaceful and vote based on their conscience, not their tribal leanings or affiliations. God bless and have mercy on Kenya and grant us peace during and after the campaigning and electoral periods. And come March, 2013, may we have “a wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned” in the words of Thomas Jefferson as we listen to Édith Piaf’s, “Non, je ne regrette rien”.