Monday, June 27, 2016

The one-hundred year rule

When Uhuru Kenyatta conceded defeat to Mwai Kibaki after the 2002 general elections, Kenya embarked on a short-lived political transition that it has never recovered from. The defeat of KANU should have coincided with the defeat of KANU-ism; instead, what President Moi prophesied as a hundred-year KANU rule seems to be coming true.

Many Kenyans point to the 2007 general election and the 2007/2008 crisis as the turning point in Kenya's politics; I believe it is the appointment of the likes of Kiraitu Murungi and Peter Anyang' Nyong'o to Mwai Kibaki's Cabinet that set Kenya back in terms of political maturity. The co-option of political malcontents into the maw that is the Cabinet has ended in disaster. Instead of steering the ship of state into calmer waters, we find ourselves foundering on jagged rocks.

The principal goal of any government is its continued stability. Since Mwai Kibaki's first Cabinet, stability has been seriously lacking. President Kibaki fired half  his first Cabinet after it defied him and actively campaigned against a draft constitution that the President favoured. The referendum was lost and President Kibaki canned his Ministers. His second Cabinet spent so much time raising money for the 2007 general elections, no one noticed when a few rogue members set out to make the peace as ungovernable as possible.

His third Cabinet was beset by the fallout from the Post-election Violence and never cohered while the nusu mkate Cabinet was a study in backbiting, backstabbing, infighting, intrigue and great corruption. Kenyans hated it. The legacy of Kibaki's governments has been visited in Uhuru Kenyatta's, where the principle objective is not stability but re-election. It is why the president and the deputy president have spent great treasure and time attempting to corral a parliamentary majority that has never cohered and has never seen the forest for the trees.

KANU-ism lives on in the political divide-and-conquer that empowered Mwai Kibaki and continues to empower Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in their co-presidency. It is revealed in the patronage politics that has shared and re-shared the spoils of war, from high positions in the securocracy to vice-chancellorships in Kenyans burgeoning higher education sector. But the common thread that links the KANU-ism of the the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, the 2000s and today is the great corruption that robs the people of their innocence and faith in their nation and government.

Jomo Kenyatta had his Million Acres Programme. Daniel Moi had the well-orchestrated collapse of the Kenya National Assurance and Goldenberg. Mwai Kibaki had Anglo-Leasing and Triton. Uhuru Kenyatta has had a revolving-door policy regarding the anticorruption commission and the eyesore that are the Standard Gauge Railway and LAPSSET contracts. Corruption is the glue that binds the KANU-ist ancien regime to its modern day incarnation. Corruption fosters neither stability nor longevity. Corruption hollows out the institutions of legitimacy and authority. Corruption is a poison that slowly kills the body politic.

KANU's defeat in December 2002 was not a true defeat; it was a tactical retreat. Three months after the Uhuru Kenyatta concession speech, KANU-ism regrouped and KANU-ists tooks steps to reassert their political dominance. Kiraitu Murungi will always embody the worst of KANU-ism with his hyperbole that neither matched his actions nor the outcomes of his policies as justice minister. The next governments, regardless of who their heads will be, have their characters cast in stone. KANU, the party, might be dead but KANU, the ideology, is set to rule for a century, just as Baba Moi predicted.

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