I read an op-ed titled “Uhuru, Raila should put their act together in 2017”, in one of the dailies that I would like to respectfully but strongly disagree with. I have always said that for us to save ourselves and our country, we must correctly diagnose what our problem is and prescribe the right solutions. If we do not, we will never solve our problems and the CORD and Jubilee tribalists will rule us and ruin the country for the foreseeable future. I therefore take it upon myself to set the record straight when I see either a misdiagnosis of our problem, or a wrong prescription of the cure or both. As far as a wrong prescription is concerned, it does not get as wrong as that article. It calls for a response.
It is incorrect for someone to tell Kenyans that:
As we prepare for elections next August, Raila and Kenyatta will be at it again. These are the choices we have. Let’s stop wishing that we had better politicians. Instead, we should demand that these two individuals get their act together.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000216268/uhuru-raila-should-put-their-act-together-in-2017
I disagree. Completely.
I disagree with the proposition that the choices for 2017 are Raila & CORD and Uhuru & Jubilee. I disagree that Kenyans should stop wishing that we had better politicians and I disagree that the two can be prevailed upon to change. They cannot change. Let me deal with the three issues separately.
First, I deal with the claim that the choice we have in 2017 is only Raila and Uhuru. Says who? This is how powerful but baseless political narratives are developed, sold to the people and they become “real”. We know that Uhuru has been endorsed by his party to run for the presidency. Raila has not. He belongs to a coalition that does not even know how to pick a presidential candidate without imploding. Even if he had, we have thousands of Kenyans who are qualified to run for the presidency and we cannot make the conclusion that we have only these two candidates, until the IEBC declares that only two candidates will be on the ballot. Kenyans fought for multi-patyism to usher in a new era called pluralism. This does not just mean a multiplicity of parties, it means a multiplicity of ideas and actors. We cannot then claim that our political space is limited to the politics of two Moi-men, entitled princes who subscribe to the same politics of ethnicity, impunity and mediocrity, siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi.
I have been told that my stand is unrealistic and naive. But those of us who believe in change refuse to believe that human options a closed. I can understand those who talk of “face the reality” like the author of this article. The problem with reality based communities is that they believe that solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality. They don’t. They emerge from imagination. The ability to think of things that are not as if they were and then will them into being. Obama told us when he came here that the problem of tribalism is a problem of the imagination. We are stuck with tribalists, whom we are now being told are our only choice because we are unable to imagine an alternative, preferably a non-ethnic political narrative to inspire the country differently. Our inability to do so is reaffirmed by such writers telling us that we only have the same “choices” and that we should stop wishing for another. I disagree.
Uhuru & Jubilee and Raila & CORD are not “choices”. They are part of the same political class that is driven by politics of ethnicity, impunity and mediocrity, siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi. One is on the inside and overeating “meat”, and the other is on the outside, “salivating” and obviously very angry and overshouting. If the tables were turned, we would have the same thing. I have made the point over and over again that the choice of CORD and Jubilee in 2013 was the choice between the bad and the ugly. We chose one. I don’t know which one. What I know is that since 2013 the bad has gotten badder and the ugly has gotten uglier. God forbid that the only “choices” we have in 2017 are the “badder” and the “uglier”.
And this brings me to point two. How, with the prospect of the “choice” between the badder and the uglier can we Kenyans stop hoping that we have another real choice? How can we sit down and believe that our only hope is to replace one tribal kingpin with another tribal kingpin, one tribal coalition with another tribal coalition, one band of corrupt politicians with another band of corrupt politicians: How can we resign to the fact that our “choice” is either the NYS & Eurobond thieves or the KKV & maize thieves and men-in-black? How can we accept that our “choice” is between the merged tribal duopolies on one hand and outfits run by men-in-black? Which people in the world faced with such “choices” should not wish they had others? We are busy arguing about which type of misery and mediocrity is better for us, the CORD type or the Jubilee type. We forget that misery and mediocrity are not our permanent condition, we are better than that! It is unconscionable for someone to tell us that given such “choices”, we should stop wishing that we had better politicians!
Finally, it is the issue of change. That we should just hope that CORD and Jubilee and their tribal leadership will change. That they will see the light; embrace good governance; denounce tribalism and the tribal coalitions they have worked so hard to form and keep together; denounce and drop their corrupt associations and associates and have them locked in jail and they throw away the keys; embrace accountability, inclusion, democracy, rule of law and while they finish all that kiss and make up. Then we can all sing kumbaya with grateful faces facing the heavens! This is the stuff that vain thinking is made off. Throughout the world and throughout history, regimes do not transform themselves from the degenerate corrupt ones to progressive and accountable ones. It is the people who eject such regimes from power and replace them with new progressive ones. Longevity in power does not lead to an epiphany of righteousness and holiness on the part of corrupt regimes. It is Frank Herbert who said:
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class — whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.
The longer Jubilee and CORD endure the more tribal, corrupt and mediocre they will get. They cannot change. Or put it differently, if they will change, they can only become worse, not better. This is already evident. In 2013 we were dealing with the bad and the ugly. In 2017, we will be dealing with the badder and the uglier. We cannot therefore seek to change them. That is a waste of time. We must seek to eject them and replace them with a new order. Burkminster Fuller advises this about change:
Never change things by fighting the existing reality, to change things build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
CORD and Jubilee cannot be fought and cannot be changed. We the people have to build a new model that will replace the model of ethnicity, impunity and mediocrity that is the hallmark of CORD and Jubilee. I have argued in this blog that we need a new non-ethnic political narrative to replace siasa ya ukabila ukora na upuzi. This new narrative cannot come from Jubilee and CORD. The old one is working for them. Why would they want to change it?
A prescription that tells us to accept Uhuru & Jubilee and Raila and & CORD as our only options in 2017 is unfortunate, reactionary and counter intuitive. To go further and tell Kenyans to stop hoping and working for an alternative is even worse, and to imagine that Jubilee and CORD can change for the better it to engage in idle wishful thinking. Jubilee and CORD tribalists cannot change. We the people must eject and replace them.