Sunday, August 31, 2008



August 31,2008
Sunday Standard
By Jeeh Wanjura

Unless he believes in some political here-after where his labours will be rewarded with a mythical heavenly bliss, Omingo Magara should either quit politics or sue Raila Odinga for frustrated expectations.

The South Mugirango Member of Parliament has good reasons to feel seriously short-changed.

It would need a heart blessed with immeasurable fortitude and perseverance to feel otherwise. And rather than waste emotions in rationalisation the Cabinet can only be so big to accommodate so many, Magara must personify his political woes in the name of the Prime Minister.

He seems to fair worse than an investor in a collapsed pyramid scheme. At least in the latter, the sheer greed for unworked-for riches mitigates the pain of the loss. But for Magara, his is a classical example of reaping far below what you sowed.

Isn’t it amazing how some purported promotions can knock life off a hitherto exuberant presence? How would it possibly feel to have suffered so much for daring to be a political renegade only to be rewarded with so little? How can a painstakingly laboured-for political prominence be eroded so soon? Just how did Magara bring this cloud to his life?

Before we saw him making the most of a seemingly Mickey Mouse assignment recently, there had been many days gone by without seeing, hearing or even reading a word from him.

That is unusual considering Magara otherwise vocal public presence and love affair with the Press. Until the latter quoted him from Naivasha recently on a fence-mending mission with a certain winery that feels, with good reasons, unloved and unwanted by the Government, few guys in Keroka or even Kisii would have known the MP was an Assistant minister.

The loss of publicity must rank as a major climb-down for Magara. Not so long ago, even some politically-conscious mothers were contemplating naming their eighth and ninth borns after him. In the last Parliament, it was trendy to name promising young bulls in South Mugirango after the MP in appreciation of his admirable courage to lock horns with Simeon Nyachae.

May be it had something to do with his walking style too. Magara prefers a firm, slightly askance foot on the ground like a stout bull going downhill. Even when not in a rush, his step is quick, almost military if it were straight and rhythmic. With eyes on the ground, like a barefoot walker negotiating a thorny section, also as if looking up might result in a face to face encounter with Nyachae or perhaps Henry Obwocha.

Perpetual graduations

Magara merited the accolades. True, he had arrived in Parliament in the increasingly popular but appalling hand-me-down political inheritance where parliamentary seats are retained within the family after the death of the incumbent.

But having assumed the mantle of South Mugirango from his brother, Enock, the younger Magara proved to be worth his salt.

Initially, he was eager to read from the Nyachae political bible.

But with time, Magara seemed to have been stuck by the impatience of a young he-goat unhappy with age-determined herd’s mating order.

So he began testing the waters of rebellion against Ford-People, cautiously at first. But egged on by a hard nose for Nyachae gathering political Alzheimer, the splash graduated into a splurge. Before it happened, that kind of insurgency seemed unfathomable.

In a way, political winds were sanguine to Magara.

He made the most of chairing the Public Accounts Committee when the Anglo Leasing genie escaped the bottle. But never mind the fairness or the accuracy of the report. Magara had done his part. His image was on the high and soon, the impresario was feeling sufficiently entrenched to venture ODM political sorties beyond South Mugirango. And what initially felt like a misguided circuit outside Nyache orbit started assuming the ramifications of a radical shift of the political totem pole in the region.

It made him many powerful and vengeful enemies. Nyachae, for instance, took it personal in words and deeds. He did his best to unseat Magara.

Yet after weathering such a formidable onslaught, what does the poor guy get? An Assistant minister lost in running petty and boring errands!

That is patently unfair to Magara. If the coalition forced marriage cannot be stretched enough to create, say, a Ministry for Bananas, then Raila and ODM should sack one minister and hand the seat to Magara. Alternatively, the guy should just quit the laughable appointment and find himself something visible to chair.