Kenya’s Politics of ‘Eating’ Unfolding

It is now an open secret that Kenyan politicians are adjusting to suit the incoming government that will be formed by Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.

Politicians who in the past did not see eye to eye with Raila Odinga are with no shame kneeling before him asking for forgiveness and switching allegiance to him. In return they are scheming for slots in an incoming government- the Raila-Uhuru power axis.

Odinga’s Capitol Hill office has become a very busy place as Odinga is meeting several politicians and lobbyists mostly allied to Deputy President William Ruto that has recently been openly dumped by President Uhuru.

Kenya’s most aggressive opposition politician Odinga enjoys almost 50% of support from voters and controls the central region that has been a headache to President Uhuru.

However, realizing the possible benefits of the Raila-Uhuru power axis, Catherine Waruguru the Laikipia Woman Representative is said to have met Odinga at his office with possible pleadge to bring her entire constituency to support the new joint venture between Uhuru and Odinga.

“In politics, people are driven by choices and interests. As allies of Ruto, we wish Waruguru well in her new journey. She was among the vibrant leaders we relied upon and we hope she will soon come back as she will not fit in Kieleweke team,” Kiharu lawmaker Ndindi Nyoro observed.

On Thursday, Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina also met Odinga and pledged support to the new joint venture. Sarah Korere the legislator for Laikipia North also was seen at Odinga’s office.

“I am no longer in the middle ground but firmly in Uhuru’s corner. There are clear signs that we no longer have to sit in the middle on those matters,” said North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood.

Ruto’s ally Mithika Linturi (Meru) describes the visits to the ODM leader as desperate attempts intended to create a political perception against the reality.

However, the wave is gaining momentum and there seems nothing to stand in its way.

“We will get all these fellows behind the president in a matter of days. It is no longer a question of if but when. Some of them are beginning to confess how they were misled but we have no problem allowing them back into the fold,” said Irungu Kang’ata (Murang’a).

Now that President Uhuru has for all practically clipped the feathers of his Deputy William Ruto, there is no doubt he and ODM leader Raila Odinga will have Building Bridges’ initiative (BBI) easily passed and promulgated into law.

Kenya is supposed to hold general elections in 2022 but constitutional experts argue that under the coalition between Odinga and Uhuru the elections may be held much earlier in 2021.

Constitution states the President’s election shall be held on the same day as a general election of MPs, which is given as the “second Tuesday of August in every fifth year, or in circumstances contemplated in Article 146,” a provision that deals with vacancy in the Office of the President.

Raila Odinga (centre) hosts Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere (right) and Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina at his Nairobi office

What is contained in BBI

Uhuru-Odinga joint venture believes Kenya government operates without Ethos so they seek to have a country built on a foundation of national ethos.

“This can only be established by common goals and aspirations. We need to build a common vision of Kenya and formulate the goals we want to pursue as a nation.”

Responsibilities and rights: This venture wants a Kenya that has a comprehensive bill of rights to protect the rights Kenyans have fought for before and after independence.

“We do not have a healthy regard for our responsibilities as citizens to promote our rights and those of others. We must realize that we are the wenye-nchi and take responsibility for our country.”

Ethnic antagonism: Kenyans have suffered misunderstandings and conflict resulting from backward ethnic divisionism that politicians continue to exploit.

However, the Uhuru-Odinga joint venture argues, “We need to find ways of managing our diversity particularly during the competition for power otherwise it will lead to our collective ruin.”

This iniative is also considered as an antidote against divisive elections, “Elections in Kenya have become a curse. One year before every General Election, Kenya becomes tense, unsafe and economic activity stops. After every election, violence breaks out and lives are lost.”

Meanwhile, this joint venture claims that Kenya is not all embracing and has left out some tribes, clans or groups from active participation in the affairs of the state.

“To build a stable nation, it is important that all people individually and as communities feel as part of the national life and feel included in the management of the country’s affairs.”

The new initiative argues that for the past 56 years, Kenya has done better than her neighboring countries but it remains one of the world’s poorest countries and also one of the most unequal.

“Prosperity is one of our national goals. We sing in our national anthem “raha tupate na ustawi”. We say “tuungane mikono pamoja kazini” to underline our intention to share our prosperity.”

In this initiative it is argued that Kenyans believe the system is rigged and that it rewards cronyism and corruption as opposed to production and hard work, “tackling corruption is the single important mission Kenya has today.”

The Uhuru-Odinga joint venture argues that the current devolved system of government was aimed at decentralizing power and increasing access to services across the country.In terms of creating a major departure in governance in the country, it has largely been a success.

“However, it is frustrated by serious challenges which if not addressed will raise questions about its political and economic viability.”

Under this initiative, the new joint venture seeks to tackle challenges of safety and security in Kenya which has suffered grave incidences of terrorism.

“Kenyans argue that they do not feel sufficiently safe and secure. From those who represented victims of terrorism to others victimized by domestic terrorism, mistreatment at the hands of security personnel, and a lack of trust in policing, millions of Kenyans do not feel as secure as they should.

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