Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale is, generally, a man with the fabled gift of the gaffe. Whenever the Garissa Town MP opens his mouth, and this happens with the frequency of days in a calendar year, the Opposition and most other apolitical Kenyans are always assured of irritation. Mr Duale is not known to placate those he considers opponents, nay, competitors, in his politics.
But recently, Duale said something that was out of character. And had it not been the seriousness on his face when he uttered the words, many would have been forgiven to read sarcasm in what he was saying. In fact, those with telescopic political eyes are debating whether or not Duale and the political grouping he is allied to have begun new alignments for 2022 and after.
The man who leads the Jubilee side in Parliament, the side with an overwhelming majority and one which would ordinarily celebrate a passive opposition, went out of his way to shower the National Super Alliance (NASA) with praise.
He told the world how important the Opposition, and specifically NASA, was to the country. Duale said the alliance, some of whose members have been reluctant to accept and recognise Jubilee’s electoral victory in the twin elections last year, was crucial for the progress of the country.
In spite of all the shenanigans preceding, during and after the 2017 general election and the two presidential elections, the Raila Amolo Odinga-led National Super Alliance and all its constituent political parties is an important player in the country’s life that not even its harshest critics can just wish away.
The alliance has such a huge countrywide following that any administration’s attempt to ignore or force it into blind submission would be counterproductive, if not outright defeatist and therefore unwise.
No effort should be spared in getting this significant part of the nation on board as we chart the collective destiny of the country and the world. But the role of getting everyone on board should not just be left to the ruling Jubilee Party! The dissatisfied NASA should equally play a role in getting itself and the people it represents on board.
NASA needs to realise that it is only through moving on with the rest that it can get its dissatisfaction understood and possibly rectified. The leadership of the alliance must start listening to its followership as it engages in the politics of the day so as to avoid the progressively growing disconnect.
There is an increasing impatience among supporters of the Opposition and if their grievances are not acknowledged and addressed fast, what holds them to the movement will soon dissipate. Human beings are not tailored to stick in the same place for so long, both emotionally and physically, and leaders are better advised to always keep this in mind.
Leaders are so-called because they provide a hope and direction for a way forward, all the time. It is that promise of a better place that keeps the human flock together but once the flock realizes that that promise is a mirage, it disintegrates and each member breaks away to find another promise.
And that’s why NASA should henceforth forget about the mirage of swearing its duo of Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka into offices that do not exist and instead lead their membership to something more tangible and beneficial.
Among its leadership, the subject of swearing-in is still divisive. In fact, there is doubt whether anyone, including Raila and Kalonzo, are so keen to have the ceremony conducted. What is apparent is a hostage situation where the two leaders and their co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula have found themselves without options to offer their followers.
But this ought not to be the case. Kenyans are generally an intelligent and realistic population. With proper communication, even the most ardent supporter of Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula will realise the futility of an office-less, powerless oath and the benefit of a stronger opposition movement in the growth and development of the country.
What Mr Odinga and his fellow Opposition leaders need to do is reorganise their house and play watchdog role over the Government as they seek opportunities to engage President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee party on the best way to move the country forward, including electoral justice.
Mr Mugolla is a high school teacher in Busia [email protected]