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BBI proponents have failed unity test in Kibra

By Alexander Chagema | October 31st 2019 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Violent Kibra Constituency parliamentary by-election campaigns have exposed the fallacy that is the foundation on which the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rests. BBI is premised on many things, key among them the bridging of political divides that give succour to tribalism and with it, violence that is for the most part uncalled for.  

The fights that have erupted during campaigns, the mistrust, invective, blame and counter blame fly in the face of the much-touted BBI which, we have been informed, is the magic wand that will unite Kenyans.

If those spearheading BBI are completely unable to make the tiny Kibra Constituency a model of their design, it is inconceivable how they hope to unite Kenya. Kenyans are almost resigned to the fact that our leaders lack the comportment to campaign on a platform of ideas as so often happens in mature democracies.

The stoning of Jubilee candidate MacDonald Mariga’s convoy and the eventual torching of one of his vehicles, later followed by the stoning of Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and ANC candidate Eliud Owalo’s convoy resulted in fingers pointing at some Orange Democratic Party (ODM) leaders and rowdy followers.

That ODM had earlier stormed IEBC offices on some obscure charges only illustrates its desperation; a condition in which individuals are capable of doing anything.

It is not in the interest of ANC to stir trouble, not when its candidate is a favourite despite the playing field not being level due to the high level of intimidation. The same cannot be said of Jubilee whose candidate elicited such ridicule and opposition among netizens; it will be interesting to see how he fares on.

 Causing trouble

Jubilee cannot plead innocence in the violence experienced in Kibra so far. Dishonesty is part of the political game, which would make it injudicious for anyone to put it past Jubilee to dredge up some mischief, purposefully to portray ODM in a bad light and discredit it.

From my perspective, Ford-K poses the least threat to the other parties and, lacking the numbers, might not be keen on causing trouble. That leaves only two culprits; Jubilee and ODM, mega hailers of BBI goodness. Kibra has also exposed the National Super Alliance’s (NASA) façade, which should hasten the disbandment of the NASA pretence. It is embarrassing to see brothers fighting each other after dismally failing to upstage Jubilee. NASA serves no political purpose today. Even then, the rivalry was evident from the outset with some principals objecting to Raila being referred to as the ‘opposition leader”.

The BBI concept is an anti-climax in the current matrix. Whether what it seeks to achieve is of primary or secondary importance remains academic, yet there are tell-tale signs it is merely of secondary importance.  

In my estimation, BBI serves a covert purpose that is in the interests of a section of the political elite; it was never about Wanjiku who must, by design, remain in political and economic bondage as a guarantee to serve as stepping stones for the rich, mighty and powerful.

  Brisk leadership

A country of paupers is more useful to the ruling class than a contented middle class living a comfortable life with little interest in political shenanigans. BBI advocates took a break to pile pressure on DP William Ruto who, on his part, showed his hand too early, antagonised many through his brisk leadership style and has never shied away from burning bridges.

It never occurred to him that the need to turn back would be overwhelming at some point. Given the number and calibre of the opponents he has created, Ruto stands very little chance against the forces that have been gathering under the BBI banner to pulverise him. Interestingly, Ruto has shown his aversion for BBI.

In a way, Ruto appears to have mellowed. Either he has withdrawn to restrategise or he has accepted his fate and is playing out his time until 2022, hoping something will happen to shake the world of politics and force fresh realignments.

His most loquacious supporters, whether in the Rift Valley or Central where he seems to enjoy a huge following, have gone mute and are missing in action.  His forays into Western Kenya have all, but fizzled out.

The assault on Ruto is a pointer that a parliamentary system in which an Ogiek stands an equal chance of becoming the Prime Minister with a Kikuyu, Luhya or Luo is unlikely to be proposed by the BBI report.

The team could still come up with generic versions of either parliamentary or presidential systems that fit a specific design and push it down Wanjiku’s throat. Subjecting the report to a referendum would be a mere formality because the outcome of a referendum can be manipulated without anybody getting wise about it. The Government refused to open IEBC servers in 2017 and that was that.
Mr Chagema is a correspondent for The [email protected]


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