BY ERICK MOKUA
During the agitation for multi-party democracy, one of the disadvantages that former president Moi correctly foresaw, was the disintegration of Kenya along tribal lines.
Correctly as he put it, immediately after repeal of section 2a of the then constitution of Kenya in 1991 that paved way for Kenya to be a de jure state, a number of political parties came into existence. With time the major political parties turned out to have strongholds within respective regions where the leaders of the parties came from.
Many local and international leaders have credited Kenya’s performance in respect to the socio-economic factors as enshrined in vision 2030,however there has been general consensus that Kenya still suffers and remains under the threat of corruption and tribalism. Just like Pope Francis, both former United States President Barack Obama and Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli have expressed their disappointment about the high levels of tribalism and corruption in Kenya.
It’s therefore in the interest of Kenyans for both the opposition and the government to embark on mechanisms that will ensure tribalism and corruption are dealt with combatively.
The recent attempt by President Uhuru Kenyatta in amalgamating government friendly political parties into a single outfit called Jubilee and the ongoing mobilization of several opposition political parties into one coalition; the National Super Alliance (NASA) presents another hopeful attempt of re-uniting the country and pursuing a national agenda that is pegged on ideology as opposed to ethnic balkanization.
While Jubilee has already determined its flag-bearer who is President Uhuru Kenyatta, the opposition candidate is yet to be named on the basis of the recommendations of a committee whose membership is drawn from constituent parties of NASA. Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga, Moses Wetangula and Kalonzo Musyoka have seconded their staunch loyalists to put a strong case before the committee in support of their respective candidature.
In consideration of various factors, the 12 member National Coordinating Committee(NCC) comprising Senators James Orengo (ODM, Siaya) and Johnson Muthama (Wiper, Machakos), Bonnie Khalwale (Kakamega, Ford Kenya) and Agnes Zani (nominated, ODM) and MPs Sakwa Bunyasi (ANC, Nambale) and Eseli Simiyu (Ford Kenya, Tongaren), Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini, Ford Kenya) and Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba, ODM) is not expected to come up with any surprise since all parameters that determine the most credible opposition candidate are already in public domain.
For NASA to win the 2017 general elections, careful considerations on every candidate’s financial resources, ability to mount a national campaign, ability to unite Kenyans from different ethnic groups, and commitment to fight corruption must be demonstrable in the court of public opinion.
- Hon Moses Wetangula
It will be time wasting to consider him since he is very far from even commanding his own Bungoma backyard. Despite the fact that he was a Co-Principal in CORD, Wetangula was unable to marshal Bungoma County to vote for his Presidential candidate Raila Odinga. Wetangula’s own victory in 2013 was shrouded in controversy that forced the courts to nullify his election leading to a by election. In his own County, Wetangula’s party and coalition lost the gubernatorial seat to Jubilee affiliate New FORD Kenya. It is widely believed that his victory during the senatorial by election in 2013 was majorly influenced by Raila Odinga. Apart from the national headquarters, Ford Kenya has only two known operational party offices in Bungoma and TransNzoia. About financial resources, machinery or facilities that can mount a serious Presidential campaign, its public knowledge that Wetangula cannot match any of his three supposed competitors in NASA. The threat of Jubilee under the influence of Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and the overbearing nature of FORD Kenya’s coalition partner ODM make Wetangula’s political clout amount to naught even in his own backyard of Bungoma.
Wetangula in the eyes of majority of Kenyans is a perpetrator and beneficiary of corruption. The Tokyo embassy scandal during his days as Minister for Foreign Affairs and the BAT scandal projected him as a corrupt person who cannot be entrusted with managing public resources. Of the four NASA stalwarts, Kenyans perceive him to be the most corrupt.
- Hon Kalonzo Musyoka
Apart from having influence in his region as a tribal kingpin of Ukambani, Kalonzo is not known to command political following anywhere else in the republic of Kenya. His support base does not go beyond the Counties of Kitui, Makueni and Machakos. He however has better ratings than both Wetangula and Mudavadi given the fact that one million Kamba votes are tightly under his reach and grip. Kalonzo’s other undoing apart from lacking national following, is his lack of financial resources to mount a national campaign. His critics consider him a weak leader and they keep pointing out that he performed dismally despite his long tenure in cabinet. He has been mentioned in a number of scandals including the Yatta National Youth Service land. Kalonzo is widely believed to be a weak willed leader incapable of making firm decisions.
- Hon Musalia Mudavadi
Having inherited his parliamentary seat and cabinet position from his late father Moses Mudavadi, Musalia has never been known to put up or initiate his own fights for survival. He is considered a political cerellac baby who always expects things to just go his way. In his own Vihiga backyard, he faced a serious challenge from Raila’s ODM in the 2013 Presidential votes. Most of his 2013 Presidential votes came from Bungoma because of the support he received from Eugene Wamalwa whose New Ford Kenya party controlled most of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties. In 2013 his UDF party only won one gubernatorial seat; Lamu County out of 47 in the whole republic. In his own Vihiga County, Mudavadi’s party lost both the Senatorial and gubernatorial seats. Mudavadi has never been known to fight his own battles and this is not the first time he is being politically revived by Raila. Mudavadi was mentioned in the infamous Goldenberg, cemetery and the Anglo-Leasing scandals.
- Rt.Hon Raila Odinga
Raila Odinga’s credentials and consistency as a crusader of reforms during the second liberation put him in his own class as a leader who is committed to transform the lives of Kenyans. Of the four, Raila stands out as the boss. He is the only one who can be acceptable to Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetangula without any threat of fallout within NASA.
Having lost three elections and finishing a strong second in the disputed 2007 and 2013 elections, puts Raila as an automatic bet for a NASA victory in 2017.Apart from his home counties of Homa Bay, Kisumu, Migori and Siaya, Raila’s nationwide following and influence is undisputable. Raila has vast financial resources evident from his previous presidential campaigns and the presence of his ODM party in almost all parts of the country is demonstration that he stands out ahead of the pack and deserves to be supported by the other three leaders to ensure a NASA victory in the 2017 general elections. Of the four Raila is the only one whose influence goes beyond his native Luoland and has demonstrated capacity and dedication to fight corruption.
Mokua comments on Socio-political issues