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Adan Duale wrong to insult Isaac Rutto in public over referendum push

By Alexander Chagema | Sep 20th 2014 | 3 min read

Different forests, same apes. This is an apt summation of Kenya’s political arena whose theatrics are anything but mature and ideological.

Days on end, we are treated to scenarios by elected leaders that either leaves one embarrassed, seething with anger or resigned to fate. The tragedy is that we elected and are stuck with them until 2017 when we shall either correct or repeat the same mistakes.

From independence, Kenya has had four regimes; that of Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki and now Uhuru Kenyatta. Synonymous with the first two regimes, were names like Mbiyu Koinange, Joseph Kamotho, Mulu Mutisya, Ezekiel Bargetuny and Shariff Nassir. These gentlemen were staunch defenders of the government of the day, under the single party system of governance that brooked no nonsense. Those were the days when citizens and lesser politicians lied low like envelopes.

Other than their unflinching, overzealous defence of the establishments, most of them had little formal education. The latest entrants to that elite club of system defenders are Kithure Kindiki, Moses Kuria, Kipchumba Murkomen and the most vocal of them all, Aden Duale. Unfortunately for these well educated men, circumstances have changed and blind allegiance, intimidation and insults do not work any more.

At a function to mark the Mara Day celebrations in Narok on Monday, the usual drab politics of knights and villains played out. Kenyans have learnt not to draw too much inference from utterances by politicians, but Mr Duale went out of his way to debase not just himself, but Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto.

By virtue of his position as the chair of the Governors’ Council, Rutto is in the limelight for championing the county bosses’ demands for more monetary allocations to counties. He represents the sentiments of other governors, even those who cannot stand their ground on matters of principal. It was, therefore, irresponsible for Duale to insult and ridicule him at a public function.

Not more than a month ago, the governor lost his mother. It was the most insensitive thing ever for the National Assembly Leader of Majority to make reference to Rutto’s late mother while challenging him on the pesa mashinani referendum drive.

W ile not holding brief for Rutto or the governors, the Pesa Mashinani initiative should be allowed to run the full course to its logical conclusion. I do not fathom why it raises opposition unless the government has something to hide. Because Kenya is a democracy and the referendum is constitutionally provided for, the country’s citizens must be allowed to exercise those democratic rights without coercion from leaders who epitomise nothing other than self-aggrandizement.

If it gratifies Duale to aggressively defend the system while singing himself hoarse with praises for the president and his deputy, so be it. That is his constitutional right but he must desist from dragging everybody else to his line of thinking. Holding divergent views on national issues and maintaining civility about it are the hallmarks of mature and objective politics, for in that diversity of thought, a common ground for the good of the country can be found.

It might serve to remind leaders that Kenyan politics are tribal, and will remain so into the un-foreseeable future unless the electorate undertake drastic surgery. The URP to which Rutto and Duale belong is having problems. If  Duale continues to insult Kalenjin leaders with abandon like he did with Alfred Keter and Charles Keter earlier in the year, he will be accelerating the collapse of the party and with it, Deputy President William Rutto’s chance for a shot at the presidency.

Garrisa holds a lowly position in county rankings with a poor development record in terms of schools, hospitals, roads and education, but this does not seem to register with Duale. If his governor had enough money, he could use it to improve standards in the county while combating banditry as well.

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