One of the advantages of being a political analyst on TV (I am the resident analyst on KTN’s Morning express from 6-8am, Monday through Thursday), is that one is able to actually meet with the politicians and ask them questions. One question that I have consistently asked CORD/NASA politicians is, why, having the control of 24 Counties, they have not implemented any of the things they are saying they will implement “when they get into government”.
Granted, there are things that can only be implemented by the government in power that sits in Nairobi. For those, Jubilee will have to answer and Kenyan’s are generally agreed that Jubilee has failed in most of them.
But CORD controls 24 Counties meaning that the values and policies that they are shouting about now should be evident in those Counties. They do not have to wait to be in government to do some of those things. They should have used the 24 Counties to demonstrate that their proposals work and use them to show the people of Kenya what they would do if they got into power in the Central government.
Unfortunately, one cannot tell the difference between CORD Counties and Jubilee Counties. I remind these politicians that CORD Counties are equally corrupt, nepotistic, tribal, wasteful and mediocre. By failing to use the opportunity to demonstrate that they are different, and by continuously making noise at Jubilee for the same ills in their Counties, CORD has failed to demonstrate that it is a government-in-waiting, they are simply idling, dancing and rubble-rousing waiting to be government.
What is the difference between waiting to be government and a government-in-waiting?
A government-in-waiting articulates alternative policies and implements them in the local governments it controls. It does not just criticize government, it does not just give alternatives, it is itself an alternative in word and deed. On the other hand, waiting to be in government means sitting around, loudly criticizing the government in power while not positioning yourselves to be the alternative, by being, articulating and to the extent possible implementing alternatives. One could as well be playing cards waiting for five years to end so that they can make a claim on power. CORD/NASA has proved to be the latter in the last four years.
They have been shouting that they have been putting the government on toes. I don’t even know what that means. And one would ask why have they not been keeping CORD County governments on toes too, whatever that means. It is easy to criticize government. The next guy on the streets can do that quite well. It is harder to be an alternative and to demonstrate using the governments you already control that your solutions work and you are a government-in-waiting.
When asked, they say that they want to fight corruption. Yet Counties controlled by both Jubilee and CORD are the new centers of graft and impunity. It can be said that the Jubilee Counties take the cue from the Central Jubilee government. But when CORD Counties are as corrupt, they loose the opportunity to demonstrate that they have “zero tolerance” to corruption as they have been shouting.
I have heard them saying that, to fight corruption, a CORD/NASA government will stop its elected officials from doing business with government. If they were really serious about this and were acting like a government-in-waiting, they could already have done it. Nothing stops them from asking CORD elected leaders not to do business with the Central and County governments. But they cannot do this. You will remember that some CORD members were mentioned in the NYS scandal. It tells you that tenderpreneurs are as alive in CORD as in Jubilee. CORD/NASA is waiting to be government and make up for lost time where they have only had the remains of the nyama after Jubilee had eaten the best parts. They, in the meantime cannot forgo even the remains. That is why they cannot implement a claim that is implemetable now but are lying to Kenyans that they will implement it when they get to power.
Worse still, they have rushed to the defense of CORD affiliated governors who have been accused of graft, or simply looked the other way. When a certain County government was accused of harassing and extortioning a foreign investor who has invested billions, CORD said nothing. One of its principals and his relatives and associates were mentioned. As always, they dismissed it as “propagnada”. More damning, it has been alleged that some of the tribal kingpins at the head of affiliate parties in CORD/NASA have been beneficiaries of the graft and extotion that goes on in Counties and that is why they have been very fast at defending governors who have been accused of the same. It is for instance believed that one governor with a myriad of allegations of corruption now and in the past is a key financier of one of the affiliate parties in NASA.
A mark of a “government-in-waiting” is that is has real alternatives to the government in power. In a devolved system like Kenya, it has an opportunity to demonstrate some of these alternatives in the regional governments and show its capacity to run government. Such a “government-in-waiting” cannot be all talk. The claim that CORD/NASA does not have the instruments of power to check graft in the Counties they control is their typical defense.
Is this a valid defense? No.
The truth of the matter is that the same argument can be made for Jubilee. After all, when the President asked governors implicated in graft to step aside, they refused and CORD did nothing about it. They seemed to gloat in the fact that it is Jubilee’s problem. If they were behaving like a government-in-waiting, this was a good opportunity to demonstrate alternatives in the Counties they control. They had none.
On maters elections, they have been gallivanting all over the Country threatening Kenyan’s with “mtakiona chamtema kuni” if they deem the next elections not free and fair. This is the other area where they should have demonstrated they are a real alternative to Jubilee. Unfortunately, they run briefcase parties that have never had free and fair elections. The one that tried had their elections run by men-in-black to deliver a result that the party demagogues wanted. They are the least qualified people to shout to Kenyans about free and fair elections much less threaten us with dire consequences.
All they have been doing for the last four years is demonizing Jubilee and painting it as an evil government for the same sins that their own Counties and political parties are guilty of. These issues are now coming to light since the County governments are up for re-election and their competitors are exposing the rot, incompetence and wastage of County governments across the board.
It is very telling that for the case of the governor I mentioned, who seems embroiled in scandal after scandal and whose delivery has been judged by the people as dismal, he seems protected from competition in the Party he comes from. Could there be some truth in the fact that he is said to be the Party’s financier? Given his poor development record and serious perceptions on corruption, is it conceivable that there is no insider interested in unseating him while almost all the other governor positions are going to be hotly contested from within CORD/NASA? Is this a case of a party keen to protect the corrupt? Are we seeing the same culture of “sacred cows” when it comes to graft that the NASA brigade has been accusing Jubilee of? Can they then turn around and tell us that they are different from Jubilee who have corrupt “untouchables” who steal with abandon and get away with it? If they can cavort with the corrupt when they are not in government, how can they claim to be a government-in-waiting that has alternatives and will do things differently? Evidently they have not real alternatives, they are just waiting to be in government and continue with the corruption and ethnic politics of Jubilee.
They have been shouting about tribal exclusivity practiced by Jubilee. Being equally tribal, they see exclusivity in tribal terms. As a government-in-waiting they should have re-defined exclusivity to encompass gender and youth and they should have demonstrated inclusivity themselves on the three, i.e. ethnic, gender and youth inclusivity. Instead, they run equally tribal parties that have zoned the country along tribal lines. They have failed to meet the third gender threshold set by the Constitution in their own constituent parties and in the Coalition. Not to mention that their parties and coalition leadership is of political dinosaurs who should have retired from politics in favor of younger, brighter and need I say cleaner and more modern minds?
When I wrote Yes, Jubilee is a clueless tribal duopoly, but NASA is equally a power-thirsty tribal trilogy, some CORD/NASA supporters were very annoyed. They were however unable to prove the ‘national’ character of NASA. I heard some of the most ridiculous arguments in defense of the fact that NASA was tribal, some of them include: Kenyans are tribal; there is no other way of political mobilization in Kenya; Jubilee has two tribes but NASA is less tribal because it has three; Tribalism is a means to an end, they will become “national” once they have power ( this one is a laughable one).
I reminded the authors of these arguments that the same arguments could equally be used to defend tribalism in Jubilee and therefore nullify NASA’s claim and characterization of Jubilee as uniquely tribal. They both are. Evidently, the tribal character and modus operandi of NASA is undeniable. No amount of calling me a Jubilee idiot will change that fact. It would remain true even if I was actually a Jubilee idiot which I am not. Granted, I may be an idiot, but not a Jubilee one.
It is evident that when it comes to alternatives CORD/NASA is as clueless as Jubilee and hopes to ride on the same siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi in order to gain power. Instead of articulating and implementing alternatives and demonstrating they are an alternative government-in-waiting, they are sitting on the same siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi, idling, dancing and rubble-rousing, waiting to be government.