Nation 5th sept.
In December, Kenyans go to the polls to elect MPs and an imperial President.
The elections are important because another Government, other than the former ruling party Kanu, will, for the first time in independent Kenya, organise the polls. The elections also come at a time when many Kenyans are still waiting for the benefits of the supposedly new dispensation and are disillusioned with the euphoria that greeted the Narc victory in 2002.
Kenyans’ interest is whether a reform-minded Government will be elected or it will be business as usual. Even more important is the question of who will assume power in January. Answers to these questions can be found in an analysis of the Kibaki Government in pre- and post-referendum period.
While President Kibaki as a person and his administration cannot pretend that they have a better vision for Kenya other than what is, the post-referendum period has seen the Government shift from indecisiveness to political conservatism that has defined the President over the years.
The post-referendum period has seen the reinvention and sanitation of wheeler-dealers associated with past violation of human rights and financial scandals. The re-appointment of Mr Kiraitu Murungi and Mr David Mwiraria to the Cabinet and marginalisation of pro-reformists in the Government suggest that Kenya is not about to see substantial reforms in the near future.
Kanu has regrouped under the Kibaki Government and the opposition in different political outfits. The next elections will not have any impact in the way the country is run whether Kibaki wins another term or his political opponents come to power.
The Government has not found any reason to reconfigure the State in a progressive manner, while his opponents are not about to embrace reforms because the status quo is the glue that holds the political class together. The grand corruption that is the hallmark of the previous and current Government is the driving force that might get Kibaki re-elected, but not the Government’s partial success, better economy or a polarised opposition.
Kibaki’s supporters comprise the Democratic Party members who form the second layer of Kenyatta’s Kitchen Cabinet and Moi’s political machinery reflected by the grey-haired men and women occupying and aspiring to occupy key positions in this and the next Government.
A clique of selfish kleptocrats congregating around the Kibaki campaign seek to consolidate power, and their legacy is reinventing political tribalism. Powerful ethnic barons have conglomerated around the so-called Government of National Unity (GNU) to polarise and misled Kenyans that the other tribe is the cause and obstacle to their development and this can only be remedied through having one of their own at State House.
For example, ODM-Kenya, ODM and GNU have and are mobilising Kenyans on the basis of ethnic fears and aspiration. Kibaki believes, and rightly so, that even if there were 100 Goldenberg scandals, he has pocketed the Gema block vote, while Mr Kalonzo Musyoka has learnt and perfected the art of reconstructing the Kamba identity and historical marginalisation into a personal campaign.
Other ethnic barons have followed suit and the result is that they have reproduced the powerful Kanu State machinery that has seen Kenyans get more ethnic in thinking as analysis of political, economic and social problems through ethnic lenses has shown.
The winner will have mastered the art of instrumental ethnicity, is wealthy and can mobilise the poor using a tribal platform and then deliver the votes to the highest bidder. Political wheeler-dealers will probably have the last word