Thursday, December 06, 2012

More pot-stirring.

I thought that the political situation was just about settled yesterday. Alliances-cum-coalitions had been crafted to ensure that this, that or the other would secure a first-round victory in the 2013 presidential slug-fest we mistakenly think of as elections. Tank God for the likes of Kereke Mbiuki and Rachel Shebesh. Every time we think the bar for political chicanery has been set very low, their ilk come along and remind us that the bottom of the barrel is still a ways away. According to these two, and their fellow-travellers in the TNA bandwagon, there is "pressure from State House" to impose Musalia Mudavadi as the top of the ticket in 2013, with Uhuru Kenyatta being "coerced" to bide his time while he settles the small matter of the ICC indictment hanging fire over him. Ms Shebesh, in typical bouffant, is having none of it. She is adamant: if Uhuru is locked out of the ticket in 2013, unspecified hell will descend on poor Musalia's head and not only will he lose the presidential vote, he will do so because the entire party will be against him (and by extension, the entire Mount Kenya region). Mr Mbiuki's warning is more dire: if Musalia is "imposed" on TNA, "all roads will lead to Bondo." Two days ago, Musalia Mudavadi was the cat that swallowed the canary; in the coming days he will need to keep his Cheshire-cat grin hidden in his chubby cheeks and work hard to persuade the Rachel Shebeshes of TNA that he can be trusted to lock out Raila Odinga from State House. If he doesn't, his will be the shortest stint at the top of the ticket in Kenya's history.

Meanwhile, Kalonzo seems to be entertaining overtures from his former bug-bears in TNA. "Taking afternoon tea" with the likes of Shebesh and Gidion Mbuvi aka Mike Sonko this afternoon is bound to keep Raila Odinga and his ODM cohort on their toes. Raila Odinga pulled a fast one on the Vice-President when he kept the imminent arrival of Charity Ngilu, Kalonzo Musyoka's bete noire, hidden from the Veep during the colourful alliance-signing ceremony at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. Only the willfully naive will ignore the fact that the Veep and the Water Minister cannot stomach each other. There isn't an acting school in the world that will train the pair to smile politely at each other during the coming months leading to the election if the two remain in the ODM alliance. The Veep's afternoon tete-a-tete must be seen as his most subtle (well, subtle as a sledgehammer) indication that his options remain open until the final ballot is counted and the Prime Minister had better remember it if he is to succeed in his eternal quest to spend a night at State House as the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Forces of Kenya.

In the other main alliance it seems that Gideon Moi and his rump of KANU are being viewed as interlopers, unwelcome guests in the Uhuru/Ruto love-in that has been six months in the making. Chepalungu's Isaac Ruto is not amused. In his eyes, Gideon Moi and KANU are up to no good and are unwelcome in his party's alliance with TNA. Mr Moi knows that Kenyans will never elect him president; he is happy enough to keep giving his former party-mates sleepless nights as he makes his minor political moves in the Rift Valley. While his party is barely visible nationally, Mr Moi knows that the Moi name commands significant loyalty in the Rift Valley and he is making his play at this time to remind Uhuru Kenyatta and his URP allies that their will not be a walk in the park unless they accommodate some of KANU's deepest desires.

This Christmas is going to be an interesting one. Now that we know that alliances and coalitions are really not worth the paper they are written on, it remains to be seen who will be the first to cross the Rubicon and dump his allies in favour of either going it alone or supporting some dark horse in order to frustrate the ambitions of the firsts-among-equals. The likes of Ms Shebesh, Mr Ruto and Mr Musyoka will keep the pot boiling for as long as possible until every single political promise has been extracted to their benefit. If not, they will simply tip over the pot and let what will be, be. Kwani, Wakenya mta-do?

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