I have always told you that if you want to know who Kenyan politicians really are, listen to them describe each other. Since the start of the voter registration exercise, it has been a brutal no-holds-barred contest between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. It is an all-out war between them. And with good reason. They seek to rise to the top of the tribal arithmetic hierarchy. The voter registration has a direct impact on their ethnic numbers and serious consequences for the tribal political narrative they push to Kenyans. They are leaving nothing to chance. It is a bare-knuckle fight for the soul of Kenya, each seeking to emerge the tribal-overlord supremo with the tyranny of numbers come 14th February 2017. You would be forgiven to imagine that 14th February is the election day. It is not. But Raila has loudly declared that it as the day the election will be won or lost. Once the ethnic census is in. And that is the basis of the political madness you are witnessing. The politicians have taken over the voter mobilization exercise. Just like that, the patients have taken over the asylum!
The gloves are off.
Raila has finally said what he has been implying for the last 4 years. That Uhuru is the patron of graft cartels, the godfather of the system ya majambazi.
Beyond looting the Country, he has accused his government of using all sorts of thuggery to upstage him in the voter registration and steal the 2017 elections. We have been told of NSIS registering voters, of Ethiopians and Ugandans being registered and of IDs registering multiple people. He is calling Uhuru a “thief”.
On his part, Uhuru and his attack dogs have been going around his “strongholds” saying that the kimundu is coming, and he is a nuisance and a lawless demagogue who does not mean well for “the country”. He has called him a tribalist, a bully, a coup-plotting mutineer, a dictator, a liar, bad for the economy, a nuisance, a disturbance. In one word he has described him as an “anarchist”.
I do not know whether for the people he is talking to, their concept of “the country” extends beyond Central province, but that is a story for another day. He is asking “his people” (not “the people”) to help him get the “anarchist” off of his back.
From where I am seated, both are right.
Voter registration has become ethnic jingoism per excellence, a battle royale between the tribal kingpins, a showdown between the “anarchist” and the “thief”. Their supporters have joined the fight. They agree with both about each other, and then settle for the “devil we know”. The leading consideration being the devil that speaks my language, or the devil that is in bed with the tribal warlord that speaks my language.
Ooooh, Cry my Beloved Country!
How did we end up here? How did the Country end up a captive of the two most undeserving individuals? Billionaire political wheeler dealers, who think that they own Kenya and the rest of us are squatters and at best cheerleaders? How is it that the people only see their choices as the lesser evil, the devil you know? Just by listening to Raila and Uhuru, we are forced to ask, how did our choices end up being between the “anarchist” and the “thief”?
The least qualified person to demonize Raila should be Uhuru Kenyatta. In an earlier article, I said that he has re-invented Raila post the 2014 ODM men-in-black circus in Kasarani. Had he not run such a thieving, clueless and visionless administration, Raila would be political history. Raila has nothing to tell the people. He has nothing to sell apart from a doctored past of “fighting for democracy”, sanitized by the transgressions of Jubilee. It is these sins of Jubilee that give him a resurgence of relevance. In the “father of democracy” narrative, he proclaims himself a defender of democracy and forgets to mention that the first Ford-K elections ended up in anarchy reminiscent of men-in-black. He forgets to mention that he was also an opposition sell-out, a beneficiary of Moi and KANU excesses. He was part of the blood-soaked coalition government which was stealing quietly since all the pigs had their snouts on the trough. And now he passes himself off as a democrat and protector of the people.
Hadn’t Uhuru given him the rope to hang Jubilee, the only thing he would be running around shouting about is that he “fought” for democracy and that the 2013 elections were stolen. One year after the 2013 elections, he was a completely deflated man. He had run out of ideas, alternatives and more importantly he had run out of vitendawili. The end had come when the self-styled democrat stole his own elections in Kasarani using men-in-black. He had nothing to tell the world. Uhuru needed not tell anyone about the “anarchist”.
And then Uhuru and Jubilee goofed, big time, handing Raila a sack-full of sins, (literally) with which to redeem Raila’s dwindling career.
Uhuru presented a list in parliament in an ill-thought, fickle and doomed attempt to fight corruption. He admitted that his government was irredeemably corrupt and then admitted that he could not do anything about it. And just like that, he handed Raila a lifeline. Now, the Moi-political -orphan, Raila the KANU Secretary General, Raila of the molasses plant, Raila of KKV, Raila of Maize scandal, Raila of the 41 vs 1 2007 formula, Raila who runs around with some of the most corrupt, unscrupulous and alleged drug-lord Governors in the Country, Raila who steals his own elections in broad daylight is the self-appointed crusader against corruption. Uhuru by running a tribal, incompetent and corrupt administration gave him this lifeline. And then he calls him an “anarchist”.
Likewise, the least qualified person to go around the country threatening all of us with chamtema kuni if elections are “stolen” is Raila Odinga. Yes, Uhuru may be running around with thieves and maybe the patron of graft cartels. Kenyans can point several thieves in Raila’s entourage. Yes, Uhuru may be planning to “steal” the elections. But Raila is not the person to lecture us and threaten everyone about it. He steals his own elections in broad daylight. And then proceeds as if nothing has happened. It is the perfect case of the cooking pot calling the kettle black. When asked, he says that at least he has tried to have elections and no one else has. In Raila’s world, you are better off as the guy who steals your own elections, than the guy who never held any. The only person with the license to steal elections and get away with it is Raila Odinga. Everyone else owes him and the thieves around him free and fair elections. And to him free and fair elections means the ones he wins. In Kenya, there is no truth. There is only truth according to Raila Odinga. I demonstrated his duplicity in an earlier article where he declared that the election will be won on 14th February after tribal calculations of the voter register.
He expects us to believe it because it comes from him. When the same argument was made by other people in 2012, he dismissed it.
His duplicity does not end there. He has spent the last 4 years vilifying Jubilee because of “Tyranny of numbers”. Jubilee has a majority in both houses. It is called “democracy”. Jubilee has not always used this majority for the benefit of Kenyans. He has been calling it “tyranny of numbers” to show people how bad Jubilee is, and how untrustworthy it is. He said that the IEBC issue could not be solved in parliament because Jubilee had the “tyranny of numbers”. He made his supporters believe that “tyranny of numbers” is a very bad and evil thing. Now he is gallivanting in his strongholds telling the people to come out and register to vote en-mass in order to give him – brace for this – “tyranny of numbers”.
So, it turns out that this thing called “tyranny of numbers” was not a bad thing. It was bad because Raila Odinga did not have it. And now he wants to have it, and once he has it, he will call it democracy. If “tyranny of numbers” is good for him, it is good for Jubilee.
And there you have it. Two uniquely unqualified individuals demonizing each other, and telling you to choose between them. One calls the other the “thief” and the other in return calls him the “anarchist”.
More importantly, none of the them wants an election. They want a tribal census. That is why they have been urging people from their “strongholds” to register. Uhuru calls them his “jeshi”. Raila has told you that the election will be won on 14th February 2017, once the tribal numbers for each ones “jeshi” are in. They assume that you and I have no minds of our own. The only choice we have is between “your” tribalist and “my” tribalist, either the “thief” or the “anarchist”. Sadly, for so long as the political space is ruled by their ethnic narrative, this is true.
That is why I have argued that the only option for a new dispensation in Kenya is a new non-ethnic political narrative that will inspire the country differently. Without a new non-ethnic political narrative, the elections will be won on February 14th 2017, through the tyranny of tribal numbers, by either the tribal kingpin Raila calls a “thief” or the tribal kingpin Uhuru calls the “anarchist”. Take your pick!