On Christmas eve, my wife was reading one of the dailies which had a feature on some of the vilest things that Hon. Duale has said. She asked me, “Why do these politicians hate each other so much?” My response was instinctive, “Because they know each other well, they oscillate between being friends and enemies according to their political ambitions. They are frenemies”.
Her question brought me back to two points that I have continuously made, and which I will continuously make.
One, CORD and Jubilee are not different. They are the same political class predominantly driven by the politics of ethnicity, impunity and mediocrity, siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi. This works for so long as they are together. When they fall out, it is nasty, very nasty. They are frenemies.
Two, if you want to know who the fellows in the rotten CORD and Jubilee tribal political class are, just listen to them describe each other, and believe them. They know each other well. Very well.
The most serious indictment of all the frenemies in the political class like I have said comes from themselves. I have quoted Musalia Mudavadi, himself a mild politician not given to insults saying that CORD and Jubilee are a “mockery”, “political gangsters” who are holding the country hostage. See http://profmichaelwainaina.com/yes-mr-mudavadi-tribal-kingpins-jubilee-clueless-moi-men-prince-without-kingdom.html
Recently, this position was confirmed by Kalonzo in a shockingly candid manner in his memoirs when he says:
The trouble with Kenyan politics is lack of values and principles. I believe that for one to be a true nationalist or patriot, one must have certain basic beliefs and commitments. Kenyans believe that politics is a dirty game and there is no honesty, truth and faithfulness. That only those who are conniving, cunning and liars can prosper. I do not think it has to be like that. Until leaders learn to sacrifice, cast away self-centredness and selfishness, greed and lust for money, it will be difficult to provide Kenya with the kind of leadership it deserves.
In 2013, we were told that the presidential race would be a two horse race between two frenemies, Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta. They know each other. So listen to them when they describe each other. After all they were in KANU. One was a Chairman and the other the Secretary General. They were also together in the “No” campaign against the Wako draft. They know each other well. They fell out badly when Uhuru led KANU to PNU and Raila “lost” the 2007 elections to them. Now they run around cynically calling each other “my brother” while saying the vilest of things against each other.
In the fall out, Uhuru seems to be more unhinged than Raila. Raila is happy to vilify the whole Kikuyu community for the sins of Uhuru Kenyatta and the Kikuyu political class. It is a devious and diabolical way of reaping political capital out of his Kikuyu frenemies and rekindling his 41 against 1 tribal narrative which he gladly rode in 2007. For him, a NASA line-up that does not include the Kikuyu (and the Kalenjin) is “national”. That is why he would be rather comfortable claiming that in the 2013 presidential elections, “2 million votes were stashed in ballot boxes in Central province”. The coded political message is clear for all of his supporters to see – and believe.
Uhuru on the other hand is on record as having stated categorically that his beef is not with the Luo community. It is with the person of Raila Odinga. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oBPeYrASTM. I do not know there is any love there. He has uncharacteristically gone overdrive in his expression of frustration and angst against Raila. I say uncharacteristically because I am told he is a nice guy, who isn’t inclined to nastiness. Even Martha Karua, one of his frenemies, an enemy now turned ally, said so recently. Uhuru has called Raila a bully, Kimundu, (How do I translate this into English? Let me just say in Kiswahili it translates into “kimtu”), an anarchist who does not believe in the rule of law, muguruki (madman), liar, dictator and hypocritical among other unmentionables. Just like Raila’s followers believe his narrative around Uhuru and the Kikuyu, Uhuru’s followers believe his assessment of his frenemy.
Raila’s bile against Jubilee leadership is largely reserved for the Deputy President, Wiliam Ruto. There is bile here people! And with good reason. Ruto’s friendship and political alliance brought Raila within a heartbeat of the presidency. Ruto and his tribal constituency felt slighted by Raila when he formed part of the blood-soaked coalition government. Having an unbelievable sense of entitlement, they felt that they had not received a share of the nusu-mkate government commensurate to the strength of the tribal vote they had brought in.
As if that is not enough, Raila went on to mount a half-hearted fight against corruption that was so jaundiced that it seemed more of a political attack on William Ruto than a genuine effort against corruption. Like Jubilee after him, Raila knew that he could not fight corruption and survive the fight. Things would fall apart when Raila, in his characteristic inconsistency and connivance flip-flopped on the issue of the ICC. Consequently, the ICC suspects were able to convince their constituency that ICC was Raila’s making. I personally do not believe that Raila threw the duo under the bus at the Hague. However, he was and has been so inconsistent, contradictory and manipulative about the issue that no-one can tell you where he stands. If you ask 10 people where Raila stands on the ICC issue, you would get 10 different answers. All correct. With such inconsistency his Jubilee frenemies made him the villain. And it stuck.
Raila and Ruto seem to have graduated from frenemies to sworn enemies and they reserve the worst for each other. While Raila is on record as calling Ruto “the high-priest of corruption”, Ruto’s choice of language to describe Raila is laced with a dose of madharau (utter contempt) that reflects deep seated aversion and revulsion. Initially, he only used to refer to him as “yule jamaa wa vitendawili (that guy of riddles). It graduated to abunuwasi (a comical, conniving but largely good-for-nothing trickster folklore character) and now it has graduated to “yule mganga”, (that witchdoctor).
Folks, there is something here. Deep and ugly.
There has been talk that the hard-line and contemptuous stance that Jubilee often takes against ODM/CORD and Raila has Ruto written all over it. If this is what he feels about Raila, there could be some truth in it.
And then there are the CORD frenemies. Kalonzo Musyoka describes his relationship with Raila as “interesting and intriguing, full of drama and controversy”. This is so apt a definition of frenemies if ever there was one. He should have also said full of insults. They were in LDP together and formed the NARC government after the 2002 elections. They were also in the orange-banana referendum in 2005 and formed ODM-Kenya thereafter. Kalonzo describes the political class in Kenya of which he and Raila are at the top as “self-centred, greedy and lustful for money”.
He is right.
These are what ate into their relationship with Raila in the run-up to the 2007 elections. When Kalonzo joined Kibaki after the acrimonious elections, Raila Odinga called him Judas Iscariot. Besides Raila, Ruto and Uhuru, no frenemies have had rockier a relationship than these two. They are now pretending to work together. And again here Kalonzo is right, the Kenyan politician is conniving, cunning and lying.
Kalonzo is rather candid when he says that at the core of their fallout in 2007, was “our mutual mistrust and disagreement on matters of principle”. He should have said on matters political. The two have no principles. And it is not me who has said that. It is Kalonzo himself. Nothing demonstrates this better than the pretense that these two frenemies can work together. Fate brought them together in 2013, not love for each other.
This relationship of mutual distrust was forced on them in CORD when Kalonzo was thrown under the bus by his younger KANU siblings in Jubilee in 2013. While he has stayed away from attacking Uhuruto at a personal level, he has unconvincingly tried to depict them as corrupt, incompetent and illegitimate. Again he has worked with them before and he knows them. Uhuruto on the other hand seem to have some contempt for Kalonzo. They depict him as an underdog, indecisive, opportunistic and a wannabe. They feel he has no qualifications for national leadership, and that he has often ridden on the patronage and goodwill of others and on opportunistic katikati moves which portrays him as untrustworthy. They are right about him, so is he about them!
And then there is the prodigal son, Musalia Mudavadi. I have written enough about him in the past. Suffice to say that he has made himself a boy-toy of his frenemies. Ever since the departure of Moi from the political scene, he has been in and out with everyone. To his credit, he either is a naturally mild fellow or he does not have much invested in these relationships. He is happy to be used and dumped as the frenemies feel fit. As quoted earlier, he has referred to all of them as a “mockery”and “political gangsters”. He seems to have been left with the short end of the gangsterism.
In an article he did in one of the dailies, , he said this of his frenemies in CORD and Jubilee:
There are three threats in implementing the Constitution; those who seek to retain the status quo, reverse the gains or manipulate the implementation. The culprits are spread across CORD and Jubilee.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000211496/mudavadi-trust-me-to-do-what-jubilee-has-not-done.
He adds, “A Kenyan leader professing a certain ideology is a liar”. This is a good summative assessment of all the frenemies in CORD and Jubilee. They stand for nothing, and it is one of them who has said it. So do not be surprised when those who are allies now fall out when their political interests collide, and they start spilling the beans about each other. Also do not be surprised when they form the most unlikely tribal alliances that may look anathema now. It is said that those who stand for nothing can fall for anything. Any political combination and alliance among the frenemies in CORD and Jubilee is possible. The only thing they have in common is that they all stand for nothing and as Kalonzo has said in his memoirs, in the current political space “…only those who are conniving, cunning and liars can prosper… Until leaders learn to sacrifice, cast away self-centredness and selfishness, greed and lust for money, it will be difficult to provide Kenya with the kind of leadership it deserves”. His frenemies will dismiss him and call him watermelon.
Unless we get a new non-ethnic political narrative to inspire the country differently, me and you are stuck with the self-centered, selfish and money-lusting CORD and Jubilee frenemies. You heard that description from Kalonzo, or is ti watermelon?