A Digital Essay by Onyango Oloo
The current infighting within the National Rainbow Coalition in Nairobi provides a clear pointer that the Kenyan government is headed for collapse within the next few months. Important as it is to dissect the various power plays from the mainstream political heavyweights, far more crucially, in the opinion of this writer is how these struggles can deepen the democratic spaces outside these in-house moves and counter-moves. Onyango Oloo continues to decry the lackadaisical reactions of the Kenyan Left in forging a national democratic movement that could provide not only a counterweight to the opportunistic flip flops within NARC, but more importantly contain the nucleus of a future Wananchi's government. He ends up by reiterating the need for Kenyan progressive social forces to move decisively and fill the subjective void on the Kenyan political landscape.
1.0. Deja Vu at Serena and Why History Does NOT Repeat Itself
The Kenyan government is facing its most serious crisis to date, according to the Nairobi dailies.
On Wednesday, January 19th, 2005 Kenyan health minister
Charity Ngilu boldly threw down the gauntlet by reaffirming her official position as the Chairperson of NARC to underscore the fact that NARC is a COALITION of constituent political parties rather than a motley crew of power vampires trying to cobble together another quasi KANU one party juggernaut. Coming on the heels of the recruitment drive directive from the
the Kiraitus, it brings to the open the simmering feud between the increasingly discordant "partners" of the current dysfunctional Kibaki regime.
Today, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 we saw reports of a riposte from Njeru Githae speaking presumably at the behest of his boss and my former lawyer, Kiraitu Murungi.
All this is taking place against the backdrop of Amos Wako's dramatic nolle prosequi that saw Standard journalist
Kamau Ngotho walk scott free from a potentially censorious criminal libel case that was reminiscent of those creepy Biwott law suits of yesteryear. As if NARC did not have human manure on its soiled hands, Kibaki has to deal with the potentially devastating embarrassment of the special shady favours and waivers by the Mwirarias to the Ndwigas of the NAK kitchen cabinet. There is the creepy throwback to the KANU era as we read of Ndwiga's supporters threatening to torch copies of the Standard newspaper.
In the meantime, it would appear as if the Western donors are about to take off the soft gloves and punch Mwai Kibaki viciously in the mouth with bare knuckles. Despite the confluence on overall class and ideological interests, there is a divergence between the imperialists and the local neo-colonial farm managers when it comes to administering their plantation called "Kenya". Britain, Canada, Germany all know that Kibaki, Kiraitu, Murungaru Ltd have the requisite political resumes that qualified the bunch for the job in December 2002. They may wondering however if the trio will make it past the probation period.
You see, it is not in the interests of world monopoly capitalism for Kenya to be politically unstable. The regional geo-political stakes are very high. Here is why:
A peace agreement has just been cobbled together for resource rich Sudan. The interim Somali government is headquartered at the 680 Hotel or whichever hotel Colonel Yusuf issues his directives from. Kenya has leverage with Yoweri Museveni and General Paul Kagame and maintains relatively decent ties with the junior Kabila in Kinshasha giving the NARC government potential honest broker status in working out something longer than a truce in the long-running Congolese conflict. Our proximity to the Seycelles, Mauritius, Malagasy, Reunion AND Diego Garcia puts Kenya in a very strategic commercial and military vantage point, especially with news of the recent discovery of oil off the Kenyan coast. The counterrorist terrorists in the second Dubya White House need Kenya's help in pursuing their war on terrorism. The IMF and World Bank would of course want Kenya to be their Ghana of the 21st century in the sense they need yet another African "success story" for their privatization and liberalization madness.
All of these imperialist bilateral and multilateral forces and institutions are watching with disbelief as the Othaya MP stumbles from one fumble to bumble in a seemingly never ending soap opera of political gaffes, miscues and screw ups.
Forget about the Kenyan voters- Kibaki's real bosses are in Whitehall, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Ottawa and Washington.
It is my view that the withdrawal of the criminal libel case against Kamau Ngotho had more to do with some heavy breathing and leaning on the phone from one or more foreign envoys in the Kenyan capital more than any lingering liberal principles from Daniel arap Moi's loyal attorney general, Amos Wako.
This next sentence is pure conjecture on my part at this point, but I also think that Charity Ngilu and Musikari Kombo would not have the courage to go and kiss and embrace Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka so openly if they had not seen clear signals that the Western donors are fed up with Kibaki, Mwiraria, Kiraitu, Murungaru, Kimunya etc.
Some of my impeccable sources indicated to me months ago that the Langata MP enjoys the largesse of some very influential circles in the capitals of international capital. These imperialists know, that contrary to the puerile fictions that litter Kenyan internet forums that people like Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and all those so called firebrands in the LDP would actually be quite amenable in boosting the neocolonial project in Kenya working hand in glove with the World Bank, the IMF and the major Western donors- forget about those fantasies of Raila being ati a "communist rabble rouser".
The big bourgeoisie are nothing if not pragmatic. As long as it suits their political, military and especially economic bottom line, they will work with ANYONE no matter how "militant" or "radical". A good example points to the cozy ties between monopoly capital in the United States and the mandarins in the Chinese Communist Party. Even a pro-life nutbar like Pat Robertson SUPPORTS Chinese regressive one child policies because he makes tons of money doing business with China.
There is simply NO ONE within the present NARC government who qualifies as a socialist. We have some SOCIAL DEMOCRATS like Professor Anyang Nyongo, but no socialists in any way shape or form. Knowing this, the Western donors know that they can switch their support from the NAK faction to the LDP faction if they are convinced that by so doing they can guarantee political stability in Kenya for their own geopolitical interests.
This basic fact of Kenya real politik seem to have eluded the deluded schemers and weavers in the Kibaki kitchen cabinet. It is simply grotesque to see Lucy Kibaki try to reprise the macabre role of Imelda Marcos without having the former Filipino First Lady's guile and blood thirstiness(not even mentioning her extensive foot accessories). To see Murungaru locked in a secondary boarding school brawl with Njenga Karume over OFFICE SPACE of all things leaves me reeling with utter befuddlement. if I was a member of the Mount Kenya Mafia, I would be doing everything to close ranks among all the andu aitu colonels and major generals rather than embarking on bizarre fist fights over who should be occupying that plum corner office; I would not be wasting my time to humiliate the tycoon from Kiambaa by making him cool his heels for hours instead of ushering him directly into the presence of the nation's most prominent mediocre golfer.
Having said all that, one must also acknowledge that the current courtship between the big cheese at LDP, NPK and FORD-K looks to me very much like a second date from hell.
Was it not just a month ago that Musikari Kombo was calling Raila Odinga a shameless liar? And was it not too long ago that Charity Ngilu unleashed a stream of obscenities against the Roads and Public Works minister during a cabinet meeting? And who was that, if it was not Raila Odinga denigrating the upstart Mungatana?
Mainstream Kenyan politicking is underscored by its shameless opportunistic flip flops. These guys were born without a political backbone I tell you. Sometimes when I look at these wanasiasa, they remind me of cattle rustlers who assemble at three o'clock in the morning near River Yala to divvy up the livestock they stole from neighbouring villages. So in a sense Ngilu, Raila, Kombo, Mungatana and company are trying to decide how many goats are going to Bungoma, how many donkeys are going to Tana River, how many sheep are going to Bondo and how many bulls will end up in Ukambani.
Quite simply, these Kenyan politicians- Raila, Kombo, Ngilu etc- distrust and cannot stand each other. Kombo was probably the most honest when he publicly stated that he does not trust the de facto LDP leader.
Why are they then coming together NOW?
Let me speculate for a second and feel free to shoot me after that.
Mwai Kibaki is increasingly becoming irrelevant to the the power plays in NARC- otherwise he would not be so publicly snubbed by one of his own ministers- Charity Ngilu. Not too long ago, Musikari Kombo was being lined up as a possible replacement for Moody Awori and that is why it is significant that the FORD- K supremo is hitching his wagon to the allegedly neutralized LDP stallion. Duncan Mungatana who was crowing with delight about how the crocodile had swallowed the fish seems to have become a sukuma eating vegetarian overnight.
Like I have been stubbornly and publicly stating for the last two years, Kibaki's growing political irrelevance is directly related to his health. When I say that the man is very likely to drop dead before the end of this year I am not being sadistic or morbid- I am just telling Kenyans that they should be prepared for the inevitable. We all die, sooner or later, but I think Kibaki picked a number ahead of a lot of Kenyans.
I would like to suggest an additional reason for the shameless primitive accumulation of personal wealth that has characterised some of the leading lights of the Kibaki kitchen cabinet. These guys need a war chest for what they see will be a very bitterly fought succession battle once Kibaki expires. The stalling on the constitutional front may have a lot to do with the fact there is NO OBVIOUS and UNANIMOUS SUCCESSOR to Kibaki within the ranks of the DP. With all his tribal mindset, someone like Njenga Karume is far more realistic about the political horse trading, the give and take that will be necessary if the Central Kenyan comprador bourgeoisie hope to remain anywhere NEAR the corridors of political power within the next three to four years. Chris Murungaru and Kiraitu Murungi in their insufferable arrogance are not encumbered by any such pragmatic considerations, mistakenly and myopically assuming that their shaky hold on the levers of state power is enough to shut down their cabinet rivals. I find it incredible that these two guys especially have somehow remained completely insulated from the palpable resentment felt all across the land.
How serious is the sabre rattling from Mama Rainbow, Agwambo Tinga TInga and Dereva Kombo Mwenye Sukari Bila Usukani? Can they mount an effective challenge to the NAK power maniacs from within the cabinet? How about if Kiraitu drafts a pink slip dismissing the three and delivers it to Kibaki to read on national television? Can the rebels call the Justice minister's bluff when he goes ahead with his threat to deregister Ford-Kenya, LDP and other parties come March 31, 2005?
2.0. So What Should Kenyan Leftists Do?
Personally, I do NOT CARE what happens within NARC anymore. That ark has a hole in and all the animals in it are going to be swept away by the coming people's tsunami- unless they jettison that leaking vessel fast.
What I do care about however, is the emergence of a left-leaning Kenyan national democratic movement.
Instead of rehashing what I said before, why don't I just direct you to two links giving my views on this subject?
Here is the first link.
And here is the second.
Friday, January 21, 2005
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