From the days of the Kanu Youth Wingers of the 1990s, anyone who thought that criminal gangs masquerading as political party militias were behind us has not been paying attention. The recent "alliance" between Azimio Tours, Safaris and Dynasts and the "outlawed Mungiki sect" are proof that what is old is new again and no one should discount the expediency of alliances that, in the fullness of time, do not amount to a hill of beans. Never have, never will. The only people who pay for the hypocrisy of the political classes are the Wanjikus of today.
In wildlife conservation, poaching is a considered a serious crime, and the penalties are quite severe. In politics, poaching is neither frowned upon nor punished. In the immediate aftermath of the repeal of section 2A of the former constitution and the re-introduction of multi-party politics in Kenya, it was the rare Opposition MP who crossed the floor to the ruling party side. The political classes, even as they flexed muscles and deployed "youth wings", respected each other enough to devise strategies that led to actual floor-crossing. Those who crossed the floor, resigned their parliamentary seats and sought a fresh mandate from their electors.
In 2023, no political party and no elected representative respects the rules of the road. One may constructively cross the floor from the Minority Party to the Majority Party without going to the trouble of resigning his seat and seeking a fresh mandate from his constituents. Each and every one of them seeks to profit, often in explicit monetary terms, from abandoning his political party without seeing through the abandonment as required by the written law.
So when a political party that has encouraged constructive (rather than actual) floor-crossing, suffers the ignominy of having its elected representatives poached by the other side, and has no viable strategies for retaining its members on-side, it is faced with the prospect of being a spent force four years before the next presidential election and has to do something that runs counter to its stated political ideals :ally itself with an organised crime organisation that has been responsible for hundreds of murders, billions of shillings in extortion, and has survived three presidencies despite dozens of members of its senior cadre being assassinated in un-prosecuted extra-judicial killings by police and intelligence community death squads.
What I find truly astonishing is that despite knowing what the Mugiki are, what they have done, and the death and mayhem they wreaked, even stalwarts of the Second Liberation, whose credentials we thought were beyond reproach, have desperately chosen to align themselves with the organised crime organisation because the President and the Majority Party have poached the weakest members of their coalition. No one believes for a second that the unscrupulous and dishonourable parliamentarians who have thrown their lot in with the Kenya Kwanza coalition have the political heft to win an election without the backing of Raila Odinga. They are minnows. They have the political stature of unremarkable, decrepit pygmies. They are nonentities. Without the Right Honourable Raila Odinga backing their political play, despite their perceived wealth and power, they are nobodies, obscure footnotes in the political history of Kenya.
But it says something of the "advisors" Raila Odinga has surrounded himself with that he does not see the danger in supping with the devil that is the Mungiki without bringing a long spoon to the dining table. No good came of it the last time he found himself on the same side as Maina Njenga. No good will come of it this time round. Wahenga have a saying: a leopard does not change his spots. The Mungiki were a murderous organised crime organisation back when Chris Murungaru and John Michuki waged a scorched-earth war against them and they are a murderous organised crime organisation today. Mr. Odinga has listened to the wrong counsel in his alliance with Maina Njenga.
There's is plenty wrong with the politics of Kenya Kwanza but regardless of its poor legal choices, it has not yet crossed the line into the excesses of the Kenyatta-Pére-Moi-Kibaki-Kenyatta-Fils of extra-judicial murder. It is a political agglomeration of unlikely allies that can be peeled off and turned around. To prevail against it, it is not necessary to truck with murderers and extortionists. That Raila Odinga can't see this, or doesn't seem to care, is an indictment all of its own and demonstrates that Kenyans can no longer count on the Minority Party to do the right thing by the people any more. We are, truly, on our own today.