Willy K Rotich
Over the last 30 years, manifestations of reform in Kenya have come haltingly, painfully, violently at times, often just scratching the surface. There is little indication that we are about to experience sea change of “reform” even after next year’s supposedly transitional election.
At this point we are confused about what reform really is. This notion has been bandied around so casually for the last three decades that is has become clichéd insipid.
We are no longer sure what the reform “Nirvana” would look like, were we to chance into it tomorrow. We don’t know if at all we have such a collective national destination as our objective anymore and if we do, what it really is and what we think it is are progressively starkly at variance.
Actions and rhetoric
The political class long associated with reform agenda has unwittingly helped in obfuscating our understanding of the notion of reform by their actions and rhetoric. The protagonists in the reform “conflict” have changed places so many times, in a monotonous show of politicking. In fact anybody can stand up today and claim that title!
Little wonder then that the reform ticket has lost the election every single time since 1992, save for the marginal gains in 2002 and 2007. In real sense, the nebulous reform platform(s)) in the past several election cycles have never really gotten its hands on the levers of power in such a way that they could definitively demonstrate “reform”.
The fact that the most potent ticket in the political landscape right now is that of “suspects” says a great deal about how far our hard fought for reform agenda has progressed.
What is likely to happen next year is that coalitions of parties and individuals — mainly at variance with reform — with deep roots in the old body politic will hold sway. These coalitions will then ease through various confirmations, whichever cast of characters suitable for their purposes. As a consequence, whatever status quo the reformists have been railing against will remain largely intact.
We can’t pass the buck to the Kenyan electorate for losing sight of the reform agenda. Let us point a finger at the doyens of opposition and reform politics because they are the guiltiest parties in obfuscating the objectives of the struggle.
Dyed-in-the-wool reformists of yester years continue to confuse voters about the substance and spirit of reforms, thus making the striving for these ideals not only convoluted, but also virtually a mirage. Look at our present body politic. Kiraitu’s “Bus” is an apt epitome of this continued confusion of the electorate.