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ODM should toss mavericks overboard

ALEXANDER CHAGEMA
By Alexander Chagema | July 7th 2016

I once read somewhere that if you have to ask the price, you probably cannot afford it. By the same token, garrulous leaders threatening to quit their political parties unless certain conditions are met don’t have what it takes to shake the ground on which they stand.

They strive to bestride the political landscape like colossus yet in actual sense they intimidate no one. The Orange Democratic Movement party must call the bluff of party rebels intent on weakening it.

Party leader Raila Odinga must not allow himself to be betrayed or appear indecisive at this critical time. It must never look like the mutineers have a handle on him. Paper tigers never hurt anybody; they are a creation and a marvel of the media, except that they lay too much stock in their own infallibility.

The much-hyped declaration by which Funyula Member of Parliament Paul Otuoma announced his resignation as ODM vice chair while Namwamba dithered but resigned yesterdaywas a big flop inasmuch as it had no impact. It was swallowed up whole by more important national concerns.

It was an antithesis, an affirmation that the options the waverers have at their disposal are less attractive. Jubilee is a full house with its fair share of political jokes. Newcomers with ambition may not find the going rosy after all. Somehow, the declaration made me recall one of the Kaka Sungura stories I used to find so captivating in primary school.

A story was told of Kaka Sungura feeling hungry, walking around and finding a mango tree heavy with ripe fruit, but they were out of reach. Having tried repeatedly to bring some down but failed, he found consolation in saying ‘who needs the mangoes anyway. They are all rotten’.

As we head into the harbour at anchorage 2017, the ODM ship is labouring under excess weight. The captain has the option of jettisoning some luggage to stay afloat or tempting fate and either manages to steer the ship to port or succeeds in sinking it. The trouble with ODM’s ship is that there is too much junk and many stowaways aboard.

The seafaring world has very little regard for stowaways and the best way of dealing with them over the centuries has been to feed them to the sharks. That actually lessens the weight burden and saves food supplies which the stowaways keep pilfering.

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Stowaways in ODM must be tossed overboard. It is however suspected the sneaky fellows have an inflatable lifeboat tucked somewhere on the side of the ODM ship. Thus dunking may not actually cause them death by asphyxiation, but making it to the coast in a lifeboat from the deep turbulent sea is dicey business. Those lucky to survive the retching and rough seas will be so haggard they will take time to find their breath, by which time the ODM ship will have docked into several harbours and perhaps even pick them up as paying passengers on the return trip before docking into anchorage 2022.

If ever there was an indication Ababu Namwamba and Paul Otuoma are starring political oblivion in the face, it is their intention to vie for the Busia County governorship in 2017. I won’t talk about the other rebels whose names I can’t even remember.

Incumbent Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong shows all the signs of hanging on, having had a headstart as the pioneer governor and definitely having all the advantages. Realistically, both Namwamba and Otuoma, or one of them, will have to cool his heels for at least five years.

But just in case they are compromised, salvage may come in the form of appointments to key government positions should Jubilee win. Already, Jubilee mandarins have us believe 2017 is taken. Such assertions are subject to whatever interpretation.

Either, given incumbency and the spirited campaign to hold onto a thoroughly discredited electoral commission, Jubilee has laid out elaborate plans to pad the figures in 2017 or, as the complaint goes, has infiltrated the opposition and is attempting to weaken it in its strongholds. The surest way of doing this would be latching onto individual leaders with price tags to their heads and with such light conscience if it landed on a fly’s egg with a thud, it wouldn’t squash it.

The mavericks don’t need reminding the reality of our politics is that political parties make the individual. There are individuals in Parliament who, in a fair competition based on ideology, charisma and vision, wouldn’t make it as far as the door to the County Assembly hall in their respective areas.

They simply got carried along on the crest of their party’s euphoria waves. Talk about a third force, whatever that means, signifies desperation and lack of fore and hind sights. It is not as if there is a paucity of political parties out there, but do they count?

As it has come to be accepted, only Jubilee and CORD count in the immediate sense. That said, what baffles me is why highly educated; suave, decorated, eloquent individuals would be so near sighted as to go chasing phantoms, goaded on by ego. There is ambition, yes, but there also is myopia.

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