Capital FM (Nairobi)

30 December 2012

Kenya: Columnist Erred On Uhuru-Mudavadi Fallout

opinion

Peter Kagwanja's article in the Sunday Nation of December 23, 2012, headlined Mudavadi's exit leaves Kenya a potential 'rogue democracy' cannot go unchallenged.

From getting the date of the Armageddon predicted by the Mayan calendar wrong, Prof Kagwanja's would-be argument goes all the way downhill and is a festival of woolly thinking and inept phraseology.

In speaking up for Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi's slovenly attempt to displace fellow DPM Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta from the leadership of the Jubilee Alliance, Kagwanja is trying to defend the indefensible and clutching at a lost cause.

The stunt Mudavadi tried to pull in seeking to supplant Kenyatta in the Jubilee Alliance was an attempted Trojan horse gambit of the worst kind.

It was an amateur, indeed juvenile, manoeuvre with neither sound tactic nor strategy. In fact, it was wishful thinking and a political wet dream.

And, contrary to Kagwanja's assertions, it had nothing whatsoever to do with Kenya's image in the community of nations nor was it a stain on Kenyatta's reputation or a hurdle in the Jubilee Alliance's unstoppable march to the post-Kibaki State House.

Mudavadi's misadventure concern only himself and his newfound Central Kenya handlers, including political consultants of Kagwanja's bumptious ilk.

When Kagwanja writes "But the 'Uhuru wave' in the aftermath of the September TNA victory in Murang'a and Kajiado has bitterly split Central Kenya between those who back Mr Kenyatta and those who want Mr Mudavadi as a compromise presidential candidate", he seeks to peddle the absolutely false impression that there is a discourse on the ground, at the Central Kenya grassroots, about Mudavadi being a viable alternative to Kenyatta.

The only place where such a scenario is being considered is in night meetings behind closed doors and over glasses of brandy, amid thick cigar smoke, by dodgy political consultants hired by ageing power brokers who hope to remain in office after President Kibaki has retired.

Thus, when Kagwanja opines "Central Kenya hardliners who expect to ride to power on the 'Uhuru wave' in the elections are the immediate winners of the Uhuru-Mudavadi fallout", he is putting the cart before the horse and his remark would be hilarious if it weren't so seriously wrong-headed.

It is precisely the Central Kenya hardliners who are already in power, and who hope to perpetuate themselves in office for as long as possible after Kibaki exits the scene, who sponsored the dismal Mudavadi charade.

In fact, the Uhuru-Mudavadi fallout is no bad thing at all. Uhuru righted his course and rescued his cause in the nick of time after being coerced into a dumb deal by the real hardliners who are incumbent in high office.

When Kagwanja resorts to accusing the Jubilee Alliance of flaunting the "wealth, power and ethnic numbers of the Gema and the Kalenjin nations" and "thwarting any effort to forge a multi-ethnic alliance based on the principles of democracy, meritocracy and experience", he descends from a bad joke and into a political farce.

There is no question that the Jubilee Alliance is a multi-ethnic political formation, with leaders, officials and members who make up a crucial face-of-Kenya unity-in-diversity factor.

Accusing the Jubilee Alliance of lacking democracy, meritocracy and experience is a brazen untruth. Characterising Mudavadi's exit from the Jubilee Alliance as being tantamount to emboldening the rival Cord and "giving it a competitive and moral political edge" is yet more foaming at the mouth by the good professor.

The unalloyed truth is that Mudavadi brought nothing to Jubilee and left with even less, period.

When Mudavadi pleaded during a prime time news interview on TV, saying he wanted Mr Kenyatta to just honour the no longer secret pact between them, many Kenyans wondered aloud about the quality of adviser and advice available to him.

If even only 25 percent of Musalia's newfound Central Kenya handlers are as blinkered as Prof Kagwanja is in his opinion piece, then the DPM will cry himself a river between now and election day - and its immediate aftermath.

The Jubilee Alliance, whose engine room is Mr Kenyatta's The National Alliance (TNA), is one of Kenya's all-time most remarkable political formations. Youthful, vibrant, confident, forward-looking, Jubilee is not only the face of Kenya but also of Kenya's future.

Kagwanja huffs and puffs about the fact that Jubilee Alliance leaders Kenyatta and William Ruto have cases to answer at the International Criminal Court. So what?

(Waikenda is the TNA Director of Communications).

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