Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Tunasikitika to Announce the Political Death of Mheshimiwa...

1.0. Nicholas Biwott is in the Political ICU

To say the very least, it has been confounding to contemplate the hand-wringing vituperations of one,

Nicholas Kipyator Biwott the alleged political murderer-shady tycoon as he carps about poll irregularities following his well-deserved failure to capture the helm of the blood-soaked, corruption prone vehicle of the Kenyan ancien comprador con-men that we all know as KANU-the Kenyan Alliance of Neo-Colonial Underlings.As he sat down before the country's media surrounded by a bunch of mediocre has been will never be again political yes MEN, the figure he most readily evoked, at least to my mind was the ghost of the late unlamented don of the New York criminal demi-monde. Yes, the TOTAL MAN complaining about being rigged out at Kasarani was the Kenyan equivalent of

John Teflon Gotti grumbling about the nefarious activities of the Mafia in the Big Apple. Biwott railing against lack of democratic safeguards in the just concluded KANU elections is akin to the

late Idi Amin denouncing a spate of burgeoning bludgeonings in Kampala by the sinister full time employees of the

State Research Bureau.

In one of my digital essays unleashed late last year on the day after the Big Ass Wedding over at the Raila Odinga Karen Mansion I echoed widely held national sentiments that Biwott (along with Nyachae) were going to be present at their own political funerals. The dimunitive pocket demolition machine of yesteryear has been on the ropes for the last few months being walloped by one political set-back after another. His adverse top billing at the Akiwumi, Goldenberg and Ouko Commissions of Inquiry should qualify him for the undisputed title of the Top Kenyan Gangster of the Last Forty Years. Dr. Njoroge Mungai(with the deaths of Mboya, Muthiora, JM Kariuki and possibly Kungu Karumba on his dubious CV) was dastardly enough but the TOTAL MAN would emerge gleefully triumphant with a unanimous point decision were they ever to go head to head in a winner takes all face off for ruthless Machiavellianism in the Kenyan domain; Dr. Chris Murungaru who is trying so darn hard to be the Biwott of the NAK outfit has some lessons to learn from the former Energy supremo. As far as I am concerned, it is Biwott hands down if Kenyans want to crown the most feared personality on the national stage.

What is astounding is to imagine that Nicholas Biwott was so full of himself to the point where he confidently expected that once again his ill gotten lucre would purchase the allegience of the toadies who litter the ranks of the former ruling party.

Even Daniel arap Moi, who knows one or two or three things about rigging elections, arranging politically motivated clashes and swindling the national treasury was realistic enough to embrace the fact that a Snowman had a higher chance of living for six months in Maseno than for his former confidant and side-kick ascending to the apex of KANU.

Had I been retained as a paid consultant for the Kerio South MP, I would have filed a confidential report marked "For Your Eyes Only" in which I would have encouraged my client to open his nostrils and smell the kahawa, pointing out that once the American imperialists designated him as a persona non grata, his goose was essentially cooked- a clear manifestation that his net worth as a neo-colonial mover and shaker has plunged to minus zero. I would have urged him to purchase a replica of those dark designer Ray Bans that Will Smith and What's His Face don in Men in Black, accessorize those with one of Garth Brook's hats, book a midnight, mid-week flight to Melbourne from where he would proceed to that quiet Australian farm that he may or may not have purchased in the land of his in-laws over the years.

2.0. Uhuru Kenyatta Wins an Analog Mobile Phone

The son of the country's first Prime Minister finally won something of substance when he trounced his pint-sized rival in a very one sided two horse race.

The victory of UK speaks not only to the power of big money and adept political cattle-rustling tactics- more poignantly, it points to the emergence of KANU Scions 2.0., a veritable changing of the old neo-colonial guard in the former ruling party. The parvenu bosses in the Official Opposition are in their forties and thirties- Uhuru, Ruto and company.

The defeat of Biwott is a setback for the unreconstructed Rift Valley Mafia and the assertion of a more pragmatic pseudo-nationalist stratum composed of cosmopolitan comprador bourgeois players who predicate a KANU restoration on savvy cross-country alliances of Kenya's elite. The Uhurus and the Rutos recognize not just the futility, but the inefficiency of crude tribal alliances and that is why they manage to deliver that stinging repudiation and rebuke of Biwott's Kalenjin chauvinist agenda for KANU.

Ironically, Uhuru's triumph is also a stinging defeat for the myopic ethnic calculations of the Mount Kenya Mafia coterie revolving around the Murungaru-Kiraitu-Kibaki axis. These NAK tribalists would have been more comfortable with a KANU led by a Kalenjin head honcho with whom they would seal an ukabila pact to act as a counterweight to the other regional and ethnic alliances being mooted between LDP, FORD-Kenya, the NPK and the loose bargaining lobby of wanna be heavyweights known as the "Progressive Third Force". As it is, NAK has now to contend with the reality that Uhuru Kenyatta is MORE likely to forge a marriage of convenience with forces allied to the man who vanquished his Project in '02-Raila Amolo Odinga.

Like a jogoo waking up at noon from a changaa hangover, KANU stalwarts from Uhuru on down are crowing very prematurely about an inevitable march back to Ikulu.

UK should wake up.

The next elections in Kenya are going to be fought over three things- land, constitutional reforms and the state of the economy. Mzee Junior is still one of the country's largest land grabbers and his leadership over constitutional reforms has been mediocre at best. His credibility as someone who can solve Kenya's economic problems is almost non-existent, at least to my eyes because he is part of the problem Kenyans are trying to solve and I seriously do not expect to see him cutting his own throat on live national television saying something populist like an announcement that he has given up ALL the land his mother and father grabbed from peasant farmers across the country.

That is why I was likening his victory to a sweepstakes winner who gets the first prize which turns out to be a clunky 1980s style mobile phone instead of one of those dainty 21st century digital beauties complete with camera and other built in gizmos. In historical terms, capturing the KANU leadership is politically IRRELEVANT for a very simple reason-KANU is a party of the PAST, not the FUTURE.

3.0. Tribal Arithmetic on the Mainstream Political Terrain

Many people ignored the side-shows in the KANU stand offs. Not me. It was intriguing watching the inevitable race to bring up the rear waged so valiantly by the Okemos, Mutulas and Otienos.

These people are not stupid exactly. They knew from jump street that it was going to be either UK or NB.

So why did they waste so much of their own money, time and other resources gunning for the top seat?

It was precisely because they were banking on their defeat.

It is kind of like a throwback to the era when a start up would be launched with the express intention of being gobbled up by a Microsoft, Sun or IBM.

There is a sense that the real long time winners of the KANU polls will turn out to be the three most prominent losers apart from Biwott.

Chris Okemo, Mutula Kilonzo and Dalmas Otieno are today MORE POWERFUL political players than they were before the polls. And this goes beyond the positions they secured or did not secure at Kasarani. For better or for worse, Chris Okemo is today a powerhouse in Luhyialand within KANU; Otieno has consolidated his pedigree status among Nyanza's non-NARC major league players and Mutula Kilonzo now has a calling card that allows him to set power breakfast appointments with Mama Rainbow and Kalonzo Musyoka.

Unfortunately for the trio, their eventual ascendancy to the NATIONAL political stage does NOT depend on them, but rather the ramifications of the fallout raging on within NARC.

Before they make their moves, they have to see how the division of the livestock shapes up among the cattle rustlers in FORD-K, LDP and NPK.

It is safe to say that Okemo cannot really do anything without hitching his wagon either to FORD-K or LDP; Dalmas Otieno must know from rueful experience about the Raila Factor in Nyanza politics; Mutula Kilonzo recognizes the respective clout of Charity Ngilu and Kalonzo Musyoka.

I think that the balance of mainstream political power is shifting from the Rift Valley, Central Province and Nyanza to Ukambani. In terms of the mainstream contestations for political power, no one can succeed without the Akamba bloc- a force that is consolidating and uniting at lightning speed.

What remains to be seen is who prevails in Ukambani-Charity Ngilu or Kalonzo Musyoka.

Charity Ngilu has the NAK baggage to offload and it will be an uphill task for her. Nevertheless her charisma, chutzpah and organizing acumen may eventually bring her on top of the pile.

Kalonzo Musyoka in the meantime is the Crown Prince in waiting with

Raila Odinga playing a svengali Paul Kagame like king maker role via remote control in the wings. If the Kamba petit-bourgeois and comprador-bourgeois elite coalesces around Kalonzo then Charity Ngilu may very well prove to be playing the role of those talented long distance pace setters that Kenya is famous for- wearing out the opposition only to step aside as the real victor powers home with a fresh set of legs in the last kilometre. Mutula Kilonzo and Kivutha Kibwana are both bit players who have both been discredited and tainted by the association with two venal outfits-KANU and NAK. They will have to humbly swallow whatever crumbs are swept from the political high table.

What could happen within the next year and a half is the emergence of a new alliance consisting principally of two of the five factions of the old KANU( I am talking about the Uhuru/Ruto faction and the LDP; the other KANU factions are Biwott's rump, Nyachae's FORD-People and Kibaki's DP). Does Uhuru want to be President? I do not think so. Does Raila want to be President? Again, I do not think so. But Kalonzo Musyoka wants to be President and Musikari Kombo is lusting afterthe VP's slot. So there could be a deal whereby we are looking at a President Kalonzo Musyoka, a Vice President Kombo, a Prime Minister Raila, a Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

That is one combination that makes the WILD ASSUMPTION that

Charity Ngilu DOES NOT want to be President and has learned to trust Raila Odinga- neither of which I think are remote possibilities.

There is another scenario:

The Kamba elite saying:

Screw these Gikuyu, Luo and Kale players! We can do this on our own. Listen Mama Rainbow, why don't you be Prime Minister and leave the Presidency for Kalonzo Musyoka? Work out an alliance with the Luhyia, Kisii and Mijikenda/Dawida elite and force the Big Two(tribes) to dance to our tune? Throw something to the Maasai, the Kales, the Somalis and the Waswahili....

4.0. Oloo Chooses None of the Above

Some of us sincerely believe that the days of ethnic horse trading belong in the past. The Kenyan wananchi may turn out to be real X-Factor in all these wranglings for power. I have been arguing for the last two years that progressive Kenyans should look beyond 2007, beyond tribal alliances and create a true progressive national party that does not depend on these crude tribal alliances.

Will this alternative, patriotic, progressive, national and non-tribal vision ever take root in Kenya or we fated to watch with despair yet another round of musical chairs on the Kenyan political landscape?

Onyango Oloo

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