You have heard of an emergent reference to a third force in Kenyan politics and the concept is gaining currency. The concept is however a mis-reading of the current political dispensation and is misleading Kenyans. For us to have a third force, we must have a first and a second. That is simple mathematics. The talk of a third force assumes and validates the existence of a first and a second force. It is wrong. There are currently no two forces in Kenyan politics that would justify a third. There is only one. A singular Kakistocrasy of former Moi-men calling themselves CORD and Jubilee. They are not even siamese twins. They are a hydra that grows different heads every election year. Moi-men who have mutated into tribal overlords and who stand for nothing apart from the acquisition and preservation of power.
The tribal configurations that these Moi orphans form come by many names, and that is where the misreading comes from. Because they are currently presenting themselves in a frivolous divide called CORD and Jubilee, those talking of a third force have assumed that these are two distinct forces. They are wrong. This is only the current configuration of the power hungry KANUnnites. The configuration changes, the players remain the same. The objective remains the grabbing and preservation of power and the method is, has been and will always remain ethnicity, impunity and mediocrity, siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi.
Changing Tribal Configurations
In 1997 the configuration was KANU, DP, NDP, FORD- Asili, FORD-Kenya et al; Post 1997 elections, NDP was swallowed by KANU and vomited in 2002 as LDP; In 2002 the regurgitated LDP joined NAK to form NARC and went to the elections against KANU; in 2007 the configuration was ODM and PNU, and in 2013 the configuration was Jubilee and CORD. In all instances, it was the same players who changed from one configuration to the other with ease. In 2017 the tribal configurations will change depending on the possibilities of grabbing power. I suspect that Jubilee will stick together because of incumbency, CORD will most likely disintegrate as dirty money from the incumbents entices its hungry mongrels who have been five years out of power. Only Jubilee has the chance of going into the next elections together to protect incumbency, it will disintegrate soon after, evaporate and condense into different tribal and corrupt political outfits by the next general election in 2022.
The question is why is it important for us not to mis-read this situation, as is being done by the third-forcers?
Why the third-forcers are wrong
First, you cannot solve a problem which you have mis-read and misunderstood. The third-forcers having mis-read the situation are therefore misleading those Kenyans who want change. By assuming that CORD and jubilee are two forces, some Kenyans are lost in the debate of who is better than the other. This is a useless debate. The current political set up are the same monkey with two heads, the same coin, and unfortunately it is tails on both sides. I have consistently made the argument that the discussion of “better than the other” does not apply to these two. I have made the argument before that in 2013 the only choice we had was between the bad and the ugly. Since the 2013 elections, the bad has gotten badder and the ugly has gotten uglier. See http://profmichaelwainaina.com/2016/03/07/of-a-feckless-jubilee-and-cord-kakistocrasy-and-the-optimists-alternative-narrative/ and also http://profmichaelwainaina.com/2016/06/04/this-is-what-a-divided-nation-looks-like-and-this-is-how-things-fall-apart-we-urgently-and-desperately-need-a-new-non-ethnic-political-narrative/. To make a distinction between CORD and jubilee is to tell Kenyans that given the choice between the badder and the uglier, there is a better choice. This is unfortunately the message being inadvertently sent by third-forcers. It is incorrect.
Second, pushing the third force argument is also validating the “devil you know argument”. I have consistently pushed the argument that there is no difference between CORD and Jubilee. Some of my responders agree with me, but based on the ethnic background of the responder, they will tell you “better the devil you know’. Unfortunately the devil in this argument is decided by ethnic alliances. Those from Jubilee prefer the devil who shares their name and language and those from CORD prefer the devil who shares their name and language. Like some pundit once said, “If your choice is between the lesser of two evils, you will only get the evil of the two lessers”. If you do not get the tribalism, corruption and status quo of Jubilee, you will get the tribalism, corruption, anarchy and discord of CORD. The devil is the devil. By pushing an argument that assumes a difference between CORD and Jubilee, the third-forcers instead of becoming the alternative they imagine themselves to be, they are validating “the devil you know” argument. They are undermining themselves.
The political class VS The People
This buttresses my argument that the third-forcers have mis-read our situation. They fail to discern that the configuration of politics in Kenya is not CORD Vs Jubilee. It is the political class (CORD & Jubilee) Vs the people. What is needed is not a third force, it is an alternative; a non-ethnic pro-people force to counter the current political class in CORD & jubilee. I see the forces interacting as illustrated in the diagram below:
So, where is the force that the third-forcers have been preaching about? If you were to split the current political class in to two forces, how will the attributes change between CORD and jubilee? The attributes that define CORD are the same ones that define jubilee. How can they be two distinct forces? The political class are co-conspirators in all the ills that bedevil the people and they are guilty of imposing these ills on all of us. They are the problem. Together. Trying to categorize them as a first and second force is to imply that part of them are the solution. They are not. The only hope is an alternative political narrative through which a new political dispensation will emerge.
For us to provide a solution to the long suffering Kenyans, we must have the right diagnosis of the problem. The third-forcers have missed the diagnosis by a mile.
My argument of an alternative non-ethnic narrative to mobilize against the current political class in CORD & Jubilee has been dismissed before. Not because of its implausibility, but because of its perceived improbability. Where my detractors agree that it is desirable and that it is not impossible, they look at the madness and noise that has been created by the KANUnnites in CORD and jubilee, the threats being issued, the apparent hopelessness and helplessness of the people and they conclude that a successful new non-ethnic political narrative is improbable.
It is Sherlock Holmes who said, “When you remove the impossible, whatever remains however improbable is the truth”. And a new non-ethnic alternative political narrative however improbable is the truth. I have been called a dreamer, an idealist and even an idle ivory-tower theorist.
Politics is the art of the possible and everything that is plausible is probable. Our problem in this country is not the political class, it is inability to imagine the alternative, the probable. The third-forcers make it impossible to conceptualize the alternative by first mis-reading the problem and misleading the people that what is needed is a third force. There is no second force. What is needed is an alternative to the current political class. It is our responsibility to imagine it. That we cannot or will not does not mean that it is not the solution. It is.