…there are no equals in the coalition
Kenya is marketed widely as a democracy. But it isn’t. Kenya is an argument state resembling a democracy somewhere in East Africa. Whereas we begun the independent republic with two parties and saw political expression curtailed into a single party state then blossom into multi-party expressionism after much tear gas had been fired into public gatherings we’ve somehow gone back to something much worse than the original dual representation.
We now have a tyranny of numbers and a clueless, identity averse opposition. Take the ruling party for example; they began as an uneasy coalition held together by the determination to keep the opposition out of power. They’ve endured infighting from the constituent parties with URP constantly demanding more representation and respect from the coalition and a potential split on the horizon once President Uhuru Kenyatta is (presumably) done with his second term in office. But the infighting has always been contained and handled. It’s never spilled over into the public arena where it becomes a matter of speculation as to who will leave who and who will stab who in the back. The coalition standpoint was always well defended in public despite the infighting. Right or wrong, Jubilee coalition was committed…wako pamoja.
It’s no wonder then that as we head into the election period due in August the only spot of bother for them will be nominations for the lower seats. Their candidates for top office are securely backed by the ‘tyranny’.
On the other side of the aisle, we have the increasingly unhappy union recently branded NASA. I shall not focus on strong man Raila Odinga’s previously failed bids to clinch the presidency. That coffin is firmly in the ground. Let’s focus on his today and the mess unfolding at NASA.
Kenya is marketed widely as a democracy. But it isn’t. Kenya is an argument state resembling a democracy somewhere in East Africa.
You must first concede the thought that Odinga has not joined NASA so that he can bring his influence over to win most seats in Parliament. He’s got his eyes on the big seat and we know that if he fails now the age limit set out in the constitution locks him out from another go. So at all cost he must be the coalition flag bearer. So who does he pick for his running mate out of Moses Wetangula, Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka?
Which of them will agree?
Remember that Kalonzo has his eye on the big seat too. And even if this mild mannered man were to cede ground to Raila his party officials (Wiper) have made it increasingly clear that if he is not the presidential candidate they will abandon the coalition to a certain death.
Mudavadi is equally determined to rest his worries at the presidential candidate. To this end he avoided joining his Amani Party to the CORD coalition until it was painfully inevitable. And by this point he had already spread his agenda across the country as a candidate for the top seat.
Wetangula has simply crashed and burned. After being the first to launch a presidential bid in the country (as chaotic as it was) he has been eclipsed by Mudavadi’s command of what pundits call the Luhya vote. Should NASA win, the best he’s looking at is a reward for his loyalty. Besides that, I’d advise that you count him out of this race except as a stand in to make the dias look full.
NASA has tried to keep their presidential pick secret by releasing the names late…early March in what is seen as a hold-over from the CORD strategy. But there are no equals in the coalition. Raila will be the presidential candidate…and chaos will ensue as Kalonzo tries desperately to walk out of the coalition. Why Kalonzo? What has he got to gain by staying? It is Wetangula who was passed over when Mudavadi joined the coalition indicating that even CORD strategists recognize the importance of Kalonzo to their chance of winning the election. But CORD allegiance will always revolve around Raila as the leader and Raila in turn will always place the unity of the Western region (Nyanza and Western) above coalitionist policy and promises. Passing over Mudavadi to pick Kalonzo might cost him the Luhya vote so he will pick Mudavadi for running mate over Kalonzo.
Why can’t a party be made up of people from every corner of the country and reflect the face of the nation?
So Kalonzo walks away with Wiper to cause a disturbance in the force. NASA becomes CORD in Western Kenya and without the Kamba vote fails to unseat the duo of Kenyatta and Ruto. In the aftermath political scientists analyze the mess and tell us how we should have seen it coming.
I on the other hand welcome a split in NASA, especially if Kalonzo should step out and go his own way. Why are we afraid of options in our politics? Why can’t a party be made up of people from every corner of the country and reflect the face of the nation? The Jubilee party has attempted this but remember that it was born out of a coalition geared towards power more than representation. At its roots it was an amalgamation of tribal interests and in some ways continues to be.
I hate coalition politics because they revolve around tribal based politics. NASA coalition is the grouping of the Luo vote, the Kamba vote and the Luhya vote, not the Kenyan vote. But if Kalonzo walks out with Wiper he can begin forming a national party. He can begin selling his agenda for Kenya rather than a Raila presidency or a Uhuru presidency. He can stop being a pawn to attract tribal based rationale to vote on fear. He can avoid the fate of quietly forgotten Wetangula should someone present a better attraction for the Kamba vote.
So let him free himself before he becomes wasted talent, forgotten to the coalition mechanisms that have eaten up good potential presidents and leaders such as NaRC, ODM and now CORD.