New political outfit takes on ruling party and 'lax' opposition

Some of the young politicians seeking to edge out the old folks. [File, Standard]

A team of MPs drawn from the main political parties including the ruling United Democratic Alliance, Orange Democratic Movement, Jubilee and Wiper have vowed to chart their own political path by replacing ‘the lax opposition’ and keep the government on its toes.

The political formation calling itself ‘team ground’ also seeks to push a narrative of generational change through political rallies, protests and meet-the-people tours. The six-member caucus include UDA’s Gathoni Wamuchomba (Githunguri) ODM’s Babu Owino (Embakasi East), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), Catherine Omanyo (Busia), Wiper’s Charles Nguna (Mwingi West) Jubilee’s Amos Mwago (Starehe) and Mark Mwenje (Embakasi West).

The leaders will represent Central, Nairobi, Western, Nyanza, Eastern and the youth interests respectively even as they pledged to oppose ‘autocratic leadership’ of President William Ruto.

The plan, according to the leaders, will include raising voices of dissent over what they consider punitive policies and Bills sponsored by the Kenya Kwanza administration, a role they have decided to take after realising laxity in the current opposition.

“We will be giving political direction and this is because we have seen laxity in the opposition. We will traverse the country to take its rightful position and push for the welfare of all Kenyans including through street protests,” said Owino.

Owino, a member of Raila Odinga’s party, ODM, co-founded the caucus at a time when Raila has focused on clinching the African Union Commission chairperson job with his remarks on laxity in opposition interpreted to mean he is aiming to join the group of politicians seeking to succeed Raila in opposition politics.

Raila has also been quiet on putting the government on its toes and has rarely raised his voice on the ongoing fake fertiliser scandal. On Wednesday he raised his voice on the health workers strike, but not as regularly as he used to.

In an interview with The Standard, Wamuchomba said the team has lined up strategies that will help them push the Kenya Kwanza administration against its ‘punitive tax regime’ including raising their voices of dissent both in Parliament and outside.

“The team, which brings together like-minded fellows will change the political narrative. We have decided to rise above our parties guided by democratic principles as enshrined in our 2010 Constitution,” said Wamuchomba.

Given the nature of Kenyan politics where those to be elected is decided by a few leaders who own and control the political parties, Wamuchomba said that did not worry them as their interest was to fight for rights of Kenyans ‘for now’.

“We believe the power of leaders emanates from the electorate. I’m a trusted delegate of my electorate and if my people feel they don’t want taxes, I speak on their behalf. We can actually consolidate ourselves to vie as independent candidates if that will be the available option,” she said.

However, a source told The Standard that plans were underway to form a political party for the new outfit to use in 2027 elections. “We want to take advantage of the disquiet among Kenyans on the misrule and bad governance to build on a strong opposition that will then mutate to a new political party,” the source said.

The caucus members seek to advance the generational change narrative, a tribeless, like-minded politicians and an alternative form of government to woo Kenyans.

The team has also started issuing hard hitting statements against the government including on Wednesday issuing a seven-day ultimatum to Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha to deal with the medics’ strike or face a censure motion.

The team has demanded a review of the Privatisation Act, saying such policies were thoughtless and lack concern for future generations while demanding that government withdraws the fake fertiliser and seeds from the market and issue legitimate products.

“The Privatisation Act was a forceful tool and the Bill was voted by force and now we have reached a point where our national assets are being sold,” Wamuchomba told The Standard.

“National Bank of Kenya has been sold to another bank allegedly from Nigeria and my question is if we start selling these assets do we care about our children and grandchildren, do we care about the future of this country. We demand that 10 per cent of whatever is being sold, be retained as generational wealth,” she added. 

Pundits said the coming together of leaders from the main parties, should not be underestimated. “That move may breed revolution because the youth don’t care about ethnic rhetoric that has sustained regional leaders. But such a political movement may attract fear from main players who may use every card to disintegrate them,” said political analyst Charles Njoroge.

He added: “Sometimes the youth can be lured to a trap and I wonder whether the new outfit will sustain the movement as they can be bought easily. He however said if the youth may keep their self-interests aside, they may bring a revolution and even produce a young president just as the case of Senegal’s Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who was sworn in on Tuesday, becoming Africa’s youngest president.