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Who’s next object of love and hate after Raila?

By By KIPKOECH TANUI | June 21st 2013


The elections are long gone. The new government is settling fast. Mr Raila Odinga, the object of our hate and love, has been defeated. It is time to look at a new horizon. Even President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto have stopped donning same colour of shirts, ties and even suits.

So what next for Kenya?

Very simple really; it is the turn for reality check.

That is the reality that follows every euphoric wave that sweeps us off the feet every election year.

It is not hard to imagine for example what is going on in the mind of the over 40 Permanent Secretaries — including the hawkish blubberer Bitange Ndemo who had turned himself into some kind of Government Spokesman — who this week packed their belongings and bade bye to their lofty offices. I am sure most of them voted Jubilee but that is not one of the considerations factored when it comes to retention.

‘Project Uhuru’

It may just be instructive for them to consider what is common among the three PSs who found their way to Uhuru’s nominee list of Principal Secretaries — Mr Mutea Iringo, Dr Karanja Kibicho, and troubled Prof Japheth Micheni Ntiba.

To answer the question what next for Kenya after the defeat of Raila, the love and hate object of 2013 elections, we need to go back to January 2002 after National Rainbow Coalition whitewashed Kanu and crashed retired President Moi’s ‘Uhuru Project’ — of course with the help of Raila. As the mud-balls thrown at Moi during the handover ceremony on December 30th showed then, with the defeat of Project Uhuru, and with the Old Man being goaded by the likes of Mr Kiraitu Murungi, to go and sit under a tree in Kabarak, and watch how government should be run, we all wined and toasted to a new Kenya.

You see Moi to the Opposition had come to represent all that was bad with Kenya; corruption and tribalism. Problems such as rising poverty levels, unemployment, decaying infrastructure and even diseases, all seemed to have a common denominator; remove Moi and abracadabra! all our problems would be solved in a magical flash!

Then what followed?

Of course after the dust raised by our victory stomp at Uhuru Park, and all our major towns, we woke up to another reality. Which is? Again of course, that life has to go on, we have to work harder than we were and that the only predictable thing in transition from governments is always the mere change of faces.

Before the Kibakists kick me in the teeth, I would just remind you of how the chase after the stolen Goldenberg billions ran out of steam, or to put it literally, was choked of support from the top.

Then came the Anglo Leasing twin scandals, in which the top cream of the incoming government signed deals with ‘ghosts’.  I say ghosts because no one ever told us the names of the people who sat on the other end of the table, but somehow still billions changed hands in 18 shady contracts, mainly related to security, communication and immigration. 

But as disappointment set in with the gradual dawn of reality that just like after Independence as described by Prof Ngugi wa Thiong’o in one of his books, what changed was only the colour of the oppressor. In fact he was shocked to find when he was detained in Kamiti Maximum Prison, that everything remained in place after the colonist left, including the grey walls and barbed wire.

Kibaki loyalists

After Independence the shocker was how the powerful personalities around Mzee Jomo Kenyatta acquired huge tracts of land buoyed by unbridled greed and forgot the freedom fighters. I have no doubt that in Mzee’s mind, this would not have been land grabbing, but a smart career move. Why? Because as he once told Bildad Kagia, with whom he was detained but who died a pauper, only a fool wouldn’t go for a mugunda (shamba).

With Mzee Kenyatta’s ascension to power, the hate figure that had to be banished was the Mzungu; when it came to Moi, the enemy-within was perceived to be the high-ranking Kikuyus, and then when Kibaki came, Moi himself was the object of our collective love and hate.

But once Kibaki was in power, with a secret MoU between him and Raila trashed, the target of venomous tongues around him was Raila. So the objective of Kibaki loyalists was from the word go Tinga.

And you ask why? Of course he was the only bankable impediment between their man and a second term.

What are we saying?

Labour Day 2013

That today, nine weeks after Uhuru came to power, the honeymoon is over and two realities are taking shape. One, is that the victory was not a key to some treasure cove; we shall still have to work hard and grapple with the problems of life as it were.

But secondly, and more importantly, you must have started hearing about a second term for Uhuru. Yes, on Labour Day some cantankerous speaker frothing in the mouth prayed that Uhuru rules Kenya for 10 years.

Now therein lies our next object of collective love and hate in Kenya. So very soon politics will get interesting as we are subtly goaded to direct our anger towards one man (I don’t see a woman who shall be in this awkward position) with the result that his diehards will treble their love for him.

Now don’t tell me you can’t guess who it shall be. Just to let you know, it would be someone who played the role Raila did for Kibaki and also be the one who can make a second term harder for Uhuru.

But don’t wait for the announcement of who it shall be for it won’t come. Just listen to the political grapevine. 

The writer is Managing Editor, The County Weekly  at The Standard.

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