Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Games and more games.

December 4th came and went with a bang! Kalonzo Musyoka, who'd been playing coy with Raila Odinga finally led his Wiper Democratic Movement into an alliance with ODM. Moses Wetangula and Ford-Kenya received second billing and only because he is a Cabinet Minister. Musalia Mudavadi led Peter Kenneth and Raphael Tuju down the garden path but eventually settled for his 2002 boon mate, Uhuru Kenyatta. By tying his United Democratic Front to Uhuru Kenyatta's The National Alliance, he has resurrected the losing 2002 ticket. William Ruto, as always, will play the brides-maid, and all that it entails; if the TNA/UDF/URP ticket is successful, Mr Ruto must give up his presidential ambitions for the time being, defend his Eldoret North seat and take his place as Majority Leader in the National Assembly, assuming of course the alliance commands a majority.

The Big Story though, is Raila Odinga's and Kalonzo Musyoka's apparent rapprochement. These senior politicians have had a poisonous relationship since Kalonzo Musyoka decided to take control of ODM-K way back in 2007. Raila Odinga saw it as a betrayal and he did everything in his power to paint Mr Musyoka as the traitor of the Orange Movement that gave Mwai Kibaki's Banana Team such a hiding during the 2005 referendum for the much-loathed Wako Draft Constitution. The few scanty details available about the deal demonstrate that these two are yet to trust each other politically; they will contest the leadership of the alliance and whoever wins will be the top of the ticket. No mention has been made of what the loser gets. Running mate? Majority Leader? Speaker? And what about Moses Wetangula? Though a no-hopper in the presidential contest, he must be allowed to dip his beak, as Italian Mafiosi would have put it: his cohort of Western Kenya MPs, should they be elected, will expect some sort of quid pro quo from the winning ticket.

Much column inches of newsprint is dedicated to analysing how power will be shared by the winning tickets. Most forget that there has been a radical shift in the political calculations that prevailed. Previously, though 2007 demonstrated that even this was at an end, the President had a free hand to appoint Cabinet Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, heads of diplomatic missions, state corporation head-honchos and sundry other appointments. That particular trough is gone. For the President to get his way, not only must he lead his alliance to victory, he must ensure that the alliance commands a sufficiently large majority in Parliament so that it may rubber-stamp his choices of senor government officials, from the Cabinet on down. So far, the opinion polls have conflated the popularity of presidential candidates with that of their parties; this may be a grave error. 2013 may end up with a divided government: the winning alliance may take control of the Executive branch but the another alliance may control Parliament and, by extension, the appointment of senior government officials. Maybe the campaigns will demonstrate whether an alliance will control both the Executive and Parliament.

Today, the effect of the ICC indictments against Messrs Kenyatta and Ruto has been largely discounted on the face of it. Their supporters seem confident that they are innocent, that they will win in 2013, and that their relationship with the ICC will not poison the political environment or the diplomatic relations of Kenya. Their supporters' faith will be tested in 2013 and I fear that it will be shattered when it becomes apparent that not only will they lose the election because of the ICC, but that their only hope of escaping the clutches of the ICC is for the winning candidate to strike a deal that lets them keep their freedom. Raila Odinga has demonstrated that it is never too late to have a second act in politics; all they have to do is pay obeisance to Raila Odinga and he will do right by them, though probably not for the hundreds of thousands of the victims of the PEV.

1 comment:

Francisco Castelo Branco said...

Listen to what Gen Z is saying. Hear them.

Kenyan Gen Z seized the moment that was made for them and threw down the gauntlet at the feet of the Kenyan State. With the memory of the bi...