For years – before he called it a day – independent Kenya’s most celebrated political analyst, Mutahi Ngunyi, penned down what turned out to be the best political opinion articles ever run by local dailies.
Simple, thought-provoking, candid and highly intellectual , ‘Ngunyi’s Last Word on Sunday’ column pieces – published by the Sunday Nation newspaper – remain a must read for any true patriot.
For the next several weeks therefore, I am dedicating this space to a re-run of Mutahi Ngunyi’s best opinion articles ever published; pieces that largely shaped my political ideology.
Definitely, I would be guilty as charged if I let our current and future generations miss out these oracular works!
Here is the first of Ngunyi’s finest.
Could a Raila fall bring healing to this country?
By MUTAHI NGUNYI
December 5 2009
This week did not make sense to me. Kofi Annan arrived on an irrelevant mission. And then he said nothing new. All he did was whine about a local tribunal. And on this, the man does not get it. We have said no to a local tribunal. Period.
But if he is unhappy with us, he is free to set up a “local tribunal” for Kenya in “Kumasi” or wherever he comes from. It is that simple. Then there was the constitutional review debate. This one is dying. For some reason, it did not even pick. It has no oomph, no energy! And I blame the lethargy on the draft constitution.
It has no legs; no future. But in the razzmatazz of the week, two things stood out. One, the Raila-Ruto “cat fight”. Two, the looming shadow of Moreno-Ocampo and his expected announcement before Christmas. If the week was confused, it is because of the two things. And, in my view, they are related.
Allow me to explain.
Raila Odinga is a slow-punctured revolutionary. And the tragedy is this: He is in denial. But on this, I do not blame him. The brother is keeping it real!
As the Chinese say: “… if you want to shrink something, you must first expand it. If you want to get rid of something, you must first allow it to flourish”. This is the “Odinga tragedy”.
As Prime Minister, he is ‘‘expanding’’ and flourishing. Unfortunately, he has become a balloon. Bloated, flighty and full of air. Soon, he will be popped. And, in my view, this is deliberate.
Even in the Holy Bible, they fattened a lamb. The fat lamb believed it was the best until they sacrificed it. The ancient tribes did the same. They looked for the finest human being. Then they fed him, oiled him and elevated his ego. And when the time was ripe, they offered him to the gods.
Like in ancient times, Mr Odinga is being fattened. The tragedy is that he is enjoying the “fattening”. Soon, they will present him to the “gods” as a sacrifice.
And William Ruto will be the happy “High Priest” to perform the ceremony. In sum, the Raila-Ruto “cat fight” has its owners. Mr Ruto is just a front; a mere hangman.
But if this is true, who are the owners of this ‘‘fight’’? There are two layers of owners. The first is vicious, the second is cautious. The vicious layer has nothing to lose “except its chains”.
This is the group mentioned in the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights report. On this list we have Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr William Ruto and Mr Najib Balala.
If Mr Moreno Ocampo relied on this report, the three have reason to panic. And in panic, it is only reasonable for them to form a “brotherhood” of sorts. The “Mau rebellion” is therefore an excuse; a platform that brings them together.
Unfortunately, Mr Odinga is in denial. He cannot read the ploy. Yet in the scheme of things, he is the target; the fat sacrificial lamb to be offered to the political “gods”. But why do I say so? I have two reasons.
One, he is seen as a traitor by the Kalenjin Nation. If they fought in 2008, it was because of him.
But when Moreno Ocampo came to town, he disowned them. And for this, they can no longer call him “Mibei”. The fond nickname is no more. In fact, the fallout between him and the Kalenjin Nation is total.
Now they must send him to the gallows. And their hangman is Mr Ruto. The second reason involves others: those afraid of the “Ocampo process”. Their options are few.
To buy time, they must destabilise the coalition government without collapsing it. And the best way to do this is to bring Mr Odinga down. The tool for doing so is a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
This vote requires 112 MPs. If the Mau harambee could summon 56 MPs overnight, it can double the figure in a month or so.
But what does such a vote mean? Would it collapse the government? Would it lead to an election? Zero! The option for a snap election was removed. It is not in the Accord; not in the constitution. If the coalition government collapses, President Kibaki takes it all. No election; no contest.
Similarly, if Mr Odinga is removed, ODM would have to look for a new party leader. Constitutionally, the new leader would be appointed Prime Minister. And if they fail to get a new leader, the President can decide to do without a Prime Minister. After all, Mr Moi operated without a Vice-President for eight months. In sum, if Mr Odinga is sacrificed, the country would move on!
Let us consider the second layer now. In this group we have everyone Mr Odinga has betrayed. And when you summon the evidence, he has betrayed almost everyone. In political science, we love such people. In real life, however, they get killed; sacrificed to the “gods”.
Beginning with the president, he would love to sacrifice this man. If he was not a decent man, he would support a vote of no confidence in the PM. This would declare him the “winner” of the 2007 election rather late. It would bring an end to power sharing constitutionally.
The vice-president would support this to settle an old score. Mr Odinga betrayed him when he decided to run for president in 2007. As for Mr Kenyatta, the Prime Minister is a foe. He betrayed him in 2002 when he left Kanu to join the Rainbow Coalition. If he had not done so, Mr Kenyatta would be president today. The wounds of Mr Ruto and the Rift Valley MPs are still fresh. Their betrayal is “now”!
They would support such a move. And the question to the prime minister therefore is this: where are your troops? My reading is this: He has none. If this is true, he is being fattened as a sacrificial lamb. Like a good sacrifice, the sins of the post- election violence will be forgiven if we sacrifice him. This is why he must be afraid. Very afraid!