Wednesday, March 02, 2016

2017 is a-coming

By my count, these are the men and woman who have decided that they think the presidency is a sweet deal and they'd like a piece of it in 2017: Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang'ula, Martha Karua. There are those for whom speculation puts them at the will-they-won't-they stage: William Ruto, Alfred Mutua, Evans Kidero. These people must have seriously inflated senses of themselves because come 3rd August 2017, Uhuru Kenyatta will be the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces. You don't need a crystal ball to tell you that.

Everyone elses office is on uncertain terrain. Raila Odinga would do us a great deal of service if he remained the "unofficial" leader of the Minority party, outside Parliament with an eternal axe to grind, bitching about every single tender and sacred cow. As the perennial bugbear of the Kenyan Establishment, Mr Odinga has accomplished more for this country than any other man, president or not. Whether we want to admit it or not, without Mr Odinga shining a light into every nook and cranny that took his fancy, NYS would be ten times the size of Ango-Leasing.

The less said about Messrs Wetangula and Musyoka, the better. It is instructive, though, that both are lawyers. As is Ms Karua, though she is a whole other ball of yarn. For smarts, few come close to the Iron Lady of Gichugu. For guts, she has no equal, not in Government and not in the Minority Party. For stubbornness, she has demonstrated that sometimes, running water will not erode stationary stone.

If you are still living under the illusion that one day, maybe not in 2017, Dr Mutua and Dr Kidero will take their place among the pantheon of Presidents and Commanders-in-Chief, well, I have a bridge in London that I think yo might be interested in acquiring. It is only Mr Ruto whose ascendancy should be considered post-2017. He has come a long way and accomplished a great deal to get to a heartbeat's distance from the Big Chair. He is at his most vulnerable. He is also at greatest risk of going too far to secure his future.

Kenya is not the United States where there is an elaborate pantomime to winning the nomination of your party in order to run for the presidency. In Kenya, there are no parties, at least not as a Yankee would understand it, and the people don't get to weigh in on the choice of candidate nominated by the party. The best they can do, and it is the only thing they can do, is to cast a ballot and vote for the least odious candidate on the ballot. Mr Ruto need now worry about the coalition, alliance or party; all he need worry about is that he may not be the only deep-pocketed candidate post-2022 and the 2013 and 2017 campaigns may not be replicated with the same success in 2022. Unless, of course, Mr Kenyatta finds a less polarising running mate in 2017.

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