Opposition within Opposition's strategy to tame Uhuru, Raila

Azimio leader Raila Odinga and former President Uhuru Kenyatta address a crowd gathered at Uhuru Business park in Kisumu city. [Michael Mute,Standard]

The strategy by the Opposition within the Opposition in Jubilee Party was first to isolate, embarrass and dump former President Uhuru Kenyatta together with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. But that approach must have hit a dead end. So the goal within the Opposition in Jubilee has been revised. Drag Uhuru to the Opposition within the Azimio coalition so that “he can bloat out our guilt”. The argument is simple. “We shouldn’t dump our own. Let us ensure he comes over so we do not look like we are fighting him. As for Raila, we have done our bit with him.”

If this revised approach works, Uhuru will have basically rubbished his Handshake comrade as someone he only needed to complete his 10 years in office. The net gain, for the Jubilee defectors to Kenya Kwanza, will be to go back to where they were prior to last year’s general election, namely in government albeit with a changed name, Kenya Kwanza. As a government with its well-marked stakeholders – by all means true – looking at the width and breadth of the appointments since the regime came to power, the Jubilee defectors will contend with “development for our people” leftovers they gather from the ruling system.

On their part, the Opposition within the Opposition in the Azimio coalition raises our political spectacle to a new level. The ODM defectors not only want to ditch Baba but also, to be louder, they have formed an anti-Raila movement, according to media reports. Fine, but what is the constructive goal of this well-choreographed political scheme?

What is evident though is that when the job is done, if successful, Luo Nyanza will have outperformed their counterparts in Mt Kenya. They would have brought down their own aging political maestro by isolating, embarrassing and condemning him to an anticlimax political career. I am not sure the young defector-enthusiasts know where history will place them with such an act. But that is their business, anyway. They surely know better what they are doing.

It is very difficult to imagine how this strategy, mooted by the Opposition within the Opposition, will achieve political mileage barely six months into a new five-year regime. Unless there is a scheme beyond the words we hear, or beyond the interpretation we make of what we see in the media, the political realignments at this point leave voters at a crossroads.

The urgency with which the political onslaught on Uhuru and Raila is boiling points to a deeper scheming whose ultimate goal is not publicly evident.

As I have argued here before, it will make sense if the splinter Opposition was targeting the government, for that is, perfectly justified in the Constitution. Piling pressure on the government is exactly what a solid Opposition is about. For this Opposition within the Opposition, shooting from outside into its own hermitage is an expedition.

Whoever stands to gain from this internal Opposition warfare must be smiling. The implosion seems imminent.

Since Kenyan political scenario changes overnight, very soon, the defectors will realise the political warfare they have begun has not moved them as far as they are imagining. Indeed, they would have moved anyway no matter the distance covered. From a distance, this strategy would have sounded strategic were we a year or two to the next general election.

I strongly doubt Raila will run for presidency again in spite of appearing to suggest so. That means a new Opposition formation going into the next general election. Both Uhuru and Raila will surely regroup, rebrand and politically attack. While there is no guarantee they will win, the defectors will find they are not shareholders in the regime and their place is well marked at the far back dark corner. Kenya Kwanza, was very clear even during the election campaigns that it will not have a “mongrel government”. Seriously, how do Kenyans benefit from this political drama?

Dr Mokua is executive director, Loyola Centre for Media and Communication