Kalonzo’s horror of parties that signed what they didn’t know

Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka speaks to the media at his Tseikuru home in Kitui county. [Philip Muasya, Standard]

Like Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, I had hoped that Wiper Democratic Party leader, Kalonzo Musyoka, would post something in social media with the tag, “fake news.”

It cannot be true that the 15 or so political parties that signed the Azimio la Umoja Coalition agreement did not understand the covenant? Mr Musyoka returned from the signing to report that he did not know what the agreement was about.

He could swear that none of the party secretaries-general who signed for their parties understood the agreement that they signed. He has indicated that the covenant should be discarded. A new one should be negotiated and signed.

This is a horror story. The alligator has returned from the sea, to report that the crocodile is unwell. We must believe him. They signed an agreement about the future of Kenya.

But they do not understand the covenant. The message bearer is a very senior lawyer. An alpha politician. Beyond that, he has appealed to a retiring President, Uhuru Kenyatta, to negotiate an agreement between him and the ODM leader, Raila Odinga, whom the lawyer does not trust. 

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Azimio la Umoja presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga at Jacaranda Grounds, Embakasi, March 12, 2022. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The script seems to be straight out of Moliere’s 17th century satirical drama. Yet it is not. It is a true-life story from an African nation that claims to be a regional democratic powerhouse. Whatever the agreement is about, it is signed and sealed.

The only remaining business is to execute it. It could be about selling the country to Martians. If the confusion around it is a statement on how contracts have been negotiated and for Kenya in the past, then the country should be afraid. The agreements are not even read. The attraction to sign seems to sit in other benefits.  

At a time when the country’s foreign debt is variously placed between Sh6.2 trillion and Sh9 trillion, Kenyans should be afraid. Whenever Kenyans ask for details about the country’s sovereign debt, the people at the very top get very angry. In these debts, did they also sign up on what they did not fully understand? Could it be that they too do not understand what they have signed?

But Mr Musyoka said something else that must also disturb us. He complained that Kitui Governor, Mrs Charity Ngilu, did not want him “to get anything” in the Azimio pact.

Her hostility towards him, it turns out, was one of the reasons Wiper delayed the signing of the Azimio accord. What was being parcelled out and shared at the high table? Were the people who assembled around this table statesmen and women, deliberating on the future of the country, or were they influence peddlers and hucksters, gambling with the destiny of the nation? 

Moreover, the frenemy focus on Kalonzo by the three Akamba governors Prof Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Dr Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Ngilu (Kitui), underscores the evolved dangerous devolution of political parties. Each of the three governors is a party leader. Each claims to bargain for the Akamba people. The truth, however, is that each is an influence peddler. They each think that they can use a section of the Akamba to buy space for themselves at the next State banquet. 

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Governor Alfred Mutua (Machakos), ODM leader Raila Odinga and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) in Machakos, March 5, 2022. [John Muia, Standard]

Kalonzo threatens the Kibwana-Mutua-Ngilu axis by attempting to overlap all three as the overall kingpin. He must, accordingly, be coaxed to come in.  Once in, however, he must be locked out of the loot. Ngilu, therefore, followed ODM’s Raila everywhere he went, to ensure that no separate deal would be struck, away from the one she understood before the arrival of Wiper. The image of the country as an antelope to be eaten could never be clearer. 

The antelope will, however, not be eaten by everybody in the tribe. The ethnic communities are only the cannon fodder for those at the high table.

They are relevant only when the hostile bayonet reins at the table. At all other times, they are tools in the bargaining games; weapons of mass destruction and instruments of balance of terror and power among the big eating chiefs. Their role is to sit back, watch and wait for the bayonet moment, regardless that it is the ballot or the bullet. 

Dr Muluka is a strategic communication adviser.