Sunday, December 21, 2008



Published on 19/12/2008
By Wanyonyi Wambilyanga

In October 2002, political temperature reached fever pitch. The country was in the throes of political change that precipitated under-cutting deals, shenanigans and charade.
Nairobi’s Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, was equated to Satan’s private chamber. "Kasarani ni Kisirani" was the phrase and ‘kusaliti’ was the vocabulary.

Indeed, I sympathised with Prof George Saitoti when he asked Kenyans to read his lips, that "there comes (sic) a time when the nation is greater than an individual".

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, then blue-eyed boy of former President Moi, was asked to take over the secretary-general’s position in Kanu and Joseph Kamotho with his ‘dossier’ felt cheated.

The last straw was the endorsement of Uhuru Kenyatta as the party flag bearer in the General Election. Connivance and insincerity led to the fallout in Kanu. The afflicted leaders preached democracy, openness and a need to change the status quo but that was simply because their boats were being rocked.

On Thursday, Forestry Minister Noah Wekesa forlornly read a statement on TV saying he is stepping down in favour of Internal Security Minister Saitoti and that he is willing to serve in any other capacity in the interest of his Party of National Unity. This made a good laugh. While it is dignified to shelve personal ambition for the good of the majority, it is a smack on the electorate for political leaders to insult our intelligence. Why didn’t Wekesa find it befitting to revamp Ford-Kenya as its director of elections and senior politician? Is quitting a reassurance of a bargaining chip or soft landing?

After nights of caucusing and campaigns, ODM pulled the rug from under the feet of grassroots leaders who wanted to contest national party positions by giving their MPs a head start at the constituency level. It is not any better that the party’s delegates were mere rubber stamps at the conference.

Sham polls
The two political heavyweights (PNU and ODM) have done a disservice to the country and to democracy by conducting their elections in the most deceitful of ways. Whereas politics is said to be a dirty game, the politicians should respect our intelligence.

When the 2002 Kanu breakaway convinced us Kasarani was the biggest sham of a national delegates conference, we thought they would do better. But judging from the recent nominations, our politicians believe in nothing and they stand for nothing. In 1988, the mlolongo system of voting was branded the worst in the country.

The politicians, in the name of reforms, upgraded the mlolongo to boardroom ‘caucusing’ and compromises.
After all, what is the difference between blatant cheating and cheating with your eyes closed, thinking no one is seeing you?

It is politicians’ character to cry out in anguish when their backsides are on fire only to wallow in mirth when it is an opponent’s.
However, they should not think by closing their eyes no one is watching.

The recent party nominations have further exposed our politics as a play of cronyism where principles and values do not matter.