Thursday, February 21, 2008



By Jerry Okungu

Politicians cannot give up entertaining Kenyans in this era of multiparty politics.
Perhaps Moi was right after all that multi-politics would bring confusion and hatred among Kenyans. Perhaps Kenyans deserved Moi’s 24 years of authoritarianism.

We have pulled and soiled the ideals of multi-party politics. We have not learnt to form parties based on our beliefs and ideologies. We see parties as vehicle to be used and dumped at our convenience.

For this reason, Wekesa’s motivation for rattling Charity Ngilu is because he feels that the President is desperate for a political party; which obviously is not the case because Wekesa does not think or decide for President Kibaki. In any case Wekesa is not even a confidante or political adviser of President Kibaki was we know it. Kibaki has his own qualified strategists. Unless of course Wekesa knows something we Kenyans don’t know.

The behaviour of Noah Wekesa in relation to Charity Ngilu’s party reminds me of Johann Goethe, a 19th Century German poet who once said that in politics as on the sick bed, people toss from one side to the other thinking they will be more comfortable.

There is a fundamental truth in Kenyan politics that Noah Wekesa is pretending not to appreciate. It would appear that at his age, he has not been listening to Moi all these years. Just before Moi vacated the big house in 2002, he told all those other candidates that thought they were qualified to succeed him to forget their extravagant dreams.
He reminded them that KANU had its owners! And like KANU, every party has its owners in Kenya.

To be blunt to the honorable minister, he has a stake in Ford Kenya; the party that joined the Narc Coalition. It is in that party that he has unsuccessfully vied for the chairmanship twice since Kijana Wamalwa’s death and twice he has lost to the amiable Musikari Kombo. If Wekesa now claims a stake in Charity Ngilu’s Narc, how does this sit with his presence in the constituent party Ford Kenya? Why, at the time Kibaki pronounced all Narc affiliate parties dead, didn’t he follow Dr. Kulundu’s example by disengaging himself from Ford Kenya?

As KANU belongs to its owners, every political party in this country has its owners. Some are paper owners; busy body opportunists who append their names to registration certificates in order to defraud their sponsors at an opportune time for cash.

If you look at Ford Kenya; it belongs to Musikari Kombo and his close associates.
Those who differed with Kombo like Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi have had to find accommodation in other platforms. If this is what Wekesa is trying to do after trying so many times to own Ford Kenya then he is not doing it the right way.

As Ford People belongs to Simeon Nyachae and his clique; so do ODM-K, Shirikisho, Safina, National Labour, Mazingira and even New KANU have their owners.

In Kenya, ownership of a political party has nothing to do with position in government.
It has nothing to do with self-aggrandizement or the feeling of self importance. All it needs for one to own a party is to carry papers in a briefcase, do a search in the Registrar of Societies offices and chance on a name that resonates well with the political mood of the time.

If you look at the parties that have performed well in recent times; they were registered by busy bodies and lay-abouts but they came in handy for charismatic politicians that catapulted them on to the national scene.

Such parties in include SDP of Charity Ngilu and Prof. Nyongo in 1997, NDP of one Mr. Oludhe that Raila Odinga transformed into an election machine the same year, LDP of one Mr. Kodhe that the KANU break away group used in 2002 and now ODM-K that is the sensation of Kenyan politics today.

In the last four years, Narc has never really existed as a party. It has remained a coalition after President Kibaki’s pronouncement that all affiliate parties were dead was vigorously resisted by LDP and Ford Kenya.

When Kibaki failed to kill the affiliate parties, there was a stalemate for awhile, with only his DP willing to dissolve. However, as days and months passed by, some of the President’s men thought they would reorganize Narc without the participation of Ford Kenya and LDP. In order to do that, they thought they would hold party elections for Narc, ease Ngilu out and entrench themselves in the party. That attempt was also thwarted by Mama Rainbow.

At that time Noah Wekesa was too entrenched in Ford Kenya to think of Narc, with the illusion that he would become the next Ford Kenya chairman after Wamalwa’s death.

It is true Noah Wekesa played some role in bringing about the 2002 coalition; unfortunately he was not the only or main player. He was Kijana Wamalwa’s errand boy taking care of Wamalwa’s interests. Without Wamalwa behind him, he would be nobody.

This was the reason Noah Wekesa was left out of the Summit line up when the MoU was signed. This was the reason Noah Wekesa was left out of the Kibaki government in 2003 and 2004. And had it not been for the magnanimous Musikari Kombo, Wekesa would today be still languishing as a back bencher in Parliament. The President never thought highly of him then; not now either.

Which brings me to my next point; why is Wekesa so obsessed with finding a party for President Kibaki? Why this obsession with Charity Ngilu’s Narc? One would have thought that if this man loved Kibaki so much, he would work hard to strengthen his Ford Kenya and offer it for the President in readiness for elections five months away.
He is not doing this. Instead he is busy meddling in other people’s parties. Or is it because he knows Ford Kenya is a no go area with Musikari Kombo as a possible presidential candidate? If so, why be busy with another presidential candidate of another party other than his own? Who has told him that Kibaki is interested in Narc anyway; a party that has endorsed Charity Ngilu for the presidential race? Or is this the case of an outsider crying more than the bereaved?

If you compare Noah Wekesa and Charity Ngilu as politicians, the latter is more charismatic, more pleasant and more strategic. Ngilu has run for the presidency in the past and did extremely well for a first timer. She has experience in organizing and running political parties. Narc is her third party to take care of. She has been in the Cabinet longer than Noah Wekesa. And lastly, she has a formidable constituency in Ukambani and elsewhere in the country. Finally, even President Kibaki and other leading politicians admire and respect her. Wekesa has none of these qualities and chances of acquiring them in the near future do not appear bright.

If Kenyans were given an opportunity to choose between Charity Ngilu and Noah Wekesa, they would take Mama Rainbow any day. The more reason he can continue giving the lady ultimatums every week and Mama Rainbow will simply continue calling them empty threats.

If he has forgotten, let him ask John Michuki what happened to John when he rattled the girl from Mbooni.