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If DP Ruto’s bottom-up model is bogus, give us a better idea

OPINION
By Michael Ndonye | July 30th 2021
Deputy President William Ruto acknowledges greetings from traders along Rabai Road in Burururu on July 23, 2021. [Rebecca Nduku/DPPS, Standard]

The Political Chessboard has okayed Kalonzo Musyoka, the enduring Ukambani political honcho, to print and distribute his 2022 one-point agenda of sinking William Ruto’s State House dream.

Unsurprisingly, this has been the goalmouth of politics for as long as I can remember-it’s only that Mr Kalonzo is downright honest with us.

He is actively passing a political statement that the rest passively proselytise during political gatherings. They tell us that Ruto’s bottom-up strategy cannot work, is a decoy, and a very bad idea-but they fail to give us an alternative.

The Political Chessboard is allergic to this old-fashioned politics of sabotage. Eleanor Roosevelt opines: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events, while small minds discuss people.”

We must acknowledge that the political earth in 2022 is harder than post-Moi and Kibaki eras. 2022 will be the end of an error for all presidential hopefuls who had qualified for the same in 2002.

More painful is the fact that the generation that has votes today were toddlers in 2002, with the youngest voters born in 2004. They know not about telephone booths, political exile, or agrarian economies. They do not know our loyalty pledge. They don’t see the importance of standing still when the flag is being hoisted, neither are they nostalgic for patriotic songs.

They need better convincing than politics of sabotage and counter-attacks. These fashionistas are used to modelling where every model comes on stage one at a time, display their wares and exit. They prototype politics in those terms.

Unforgettably, Kalonzo has been a piece and a player in such political chess games. After 2005, his handsome star was shining brightest, brighter than that of Raila Odinga. Some opinion polling was used to rank the then young good-looking Kalonzo first among equals.

It was not long before Raila read the palms of the pollsters and discovered that their methodology was based on looks.

Raila and Co. then argued that the pollsters analysed lips, noses, faces and complexion of the 2007 presidential hopefuls—a methodical approach that landed Tinga far behind Kalonzo, Najib Balala and even Joe Nyaga, a self-proclaimed handsome man from my village. I think between 2002 and 2013 was an era of political handsomeness face-off.

As such, Raila’s plan in 2007 was first to tame Kalonzo through the ‘Pentagon’ and then fall PNU’s president Kibaki. See, the main agenda of politics is usually to replace a regime by kneeling its political high priest. Period! Kalonzo reviled the ‘Pentagon’, and his main goal was to frustrate Raila for betraying him with ODM-Kenya.

Actually, it was the reason Kalonzo, after splitting the opposition vote and seeing that he had achieved his goal, rushed to Kibaki, quickly negotiated to be second in command and then quickly turned to Raila and asked him: “Who is laughing now?” He reminded them that he had said all along that ‘atapita katikati yao’.

When Raila negotiated for prime minister, he and Kalonzo spent their entire coalition government tenure playing Tom and Jerry.

Fast-forward to 2013, Cord aimed at shutting down the ICC Ocampo Six, specifically UhuRuto, from ascending to power. Cord was a coalition of convenience - they had a common enemy.

Uhuru and Ruto, having a shared fate, realised during their trips to The Hague that they had to unite and live or perish separately. Their marriage of convenience saw them form Jubilee.

In 2017, Cord transformed into Nasa, whose blueprint was ‘kuwanasa hao’, and it missed its aim by a whisker.

Therefore, before we throw stones at Kalonzo, we must ask, what if he is right. What if the political futures of Kenya depend on the doctrine of crippling Ruto and turning his bottom-up strategy upside down? Think about it, ridiculously!

Dr Ndonye is an economist

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