Guest blog post
By James Mwangi
Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.” – Winston Churchill.
Yesterday’s swearing in that installed Raila as Peoples president heralds a new phase in our politics. Whilst most would tend to overshadow the event with negativity, I look at it from within a positive and strategic prism.
First, the event births a new kind of scientific politics dispensation. Raila’s ‘inauguration’ is good for opposition politics and its future discourse.
The opposition can now have a moment to enthrone its leadership. It is kind of therapy that assure their voters that we are watching, we are with you, we shall represent your interests fully. This is great for this country as rather than election loses bearing anarchy, they can bear closure. The ruling Party also had a chance to reinvent its approach from the confrontational politics using the police to an adaptive approach that disarms the enemy by being onlookers.
The only blot being the pulling of the plug on the live broadcasts by media stations. But all in all, the fact there was no violence is progressive. Yes, that was a master-class change of tactic by Jubilee. Truly a scientific politics era is here!
But in everything there must be winners and losers. The biggest beneficiary of the ‘swearing in was one Deputy President William Ruto.
By chickening out, Kalonzo, Moses Wetangula, Musalia Mudavadi betrayed the new scientific politics oriented agenda. They failed to grasp and appreciate that the politics is evolving to a different script altogether. They were swallowed whole. They unknowingly sacrificed their political future to benefit one Ruto. Neither the Luhya nor Kamba communities urged them to boycott the event. Their explanations however factual will be moot.
Facts rarely work in politics, perceptions rule. A new chapter of leadership in Kamba and Luhya has been birthed by this strategic political miscalculation. Oparanya, Magaya and Mutua are now at the best to rise. So might Ndii rise within his community. Politics isn’t a Church choir. It is about creating, capturing, maintaining, spreading and controlling certain perceptions.
Raila’s rush to be ‘sworn in has permanently dismembered his co-principals. It was near public execution. His consistency has now endeared him in both Western and Kamba ‘Nations.
Ruto now is running for 2022 unopposed. Raila knows it. His recent pronouncements recently whilst attending a burial in Kalenjin land was not a miscue. It was most likely a premonition of this future. Or do they have a done deal already? The future will argue that one.
Perhaps a Ruto presidency will signify an end of the age old “system”. Of note, Ruto and Raila exhibit the same political qualities of being courageous, focused, smart, shrewd, cunning and assertiveness.
Another key thing is that post 2007 election, its Ruto who pushed the ODM dream to the fullest. He was a core part of its body and strategy. He didn’t betray it, he was betrayed. It will be curious to see if the Raila follower-ship will reward him with a payback. And this might be the most likely scenario.
Ruto possessing the same “hakuna kuondokea” quality as Raila would be a more sellable candidate to Raila’s base than the three escapees. Also, at the back of many Raila supporters they might ask, if Ruto was for us, would he have bolted out of our most important coronation? Raila might quote 2007. To reignite the flame. On this it will be purely about interests. Raila seeking to preserve his political legacy’s future, Ruto seeking to capture a destiny. A Nilotic bond will be whispered.
The most important scenario is what would happen if Raila and his lieutenants decided to throw their weight behind Ruto. That would leave Kikuyus in a fix. It would confine them to being in the opposition. And possibly agonizing on how to organize a possible swearing in post 2027. Perhaps that is the question many Kikuyu pundits roving in the vernacular stations should be asking. They might also ask, if Kalonzo or Mudavadi had inherited Kibaki, would they have stood with their son during the ICC cases?
James Mwangi is the Chairman of Kenya Coalition For Political Progress lobby group