If an affidavit can imperil ruling Jubilee coalition, what can’t?

The question to be asked now is whether the planned merger of Jubilee coalition parties will work.

Sunday February 28 2016

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale addresses the media at Parliament buildings on February 24, 2016 where he denied taking part in the National Youth Service scam after he was mentioned to have taken part by sworn affidavit by former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.  PHOTO | JEFF  ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale addresses the media at Parliament buildings on February 24, 2016 where he denied taking part in the National Youth Service scam after he was mentioned to have taken part by sworn affidavit by former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GITAU WARIGI
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“He who brings firewood infested with maggots should not complain when lizards start visiting him,” goes a West African saying. The wobbly Jubilee house has been violently shaken by Ms Anne Waiguru’s latest accusations. Even if the house survives, its weak foundations of corruption, mistrust and back-biting have been badly exposed.

For a coalition whose members like to crowd together like excitable pigeons when they call press conferences, it was interesting to see Aden Duale, alone and lonely, venting his rage at Ms Waiguru.

He didn’t do himself any favours with the vulgarity of his style and the personal insults he threw. In contrast, Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who also read his statement alone, was tactful and mature in his comments.

The only point of convergence was when they accused the former Cabinet Secretary of targeting the URP wing of the Jubilee coalition.

The question to be asked now is whether the planned merger of Jubilee coalition parties will work. There is also the question of how long – not if – the coalition can possibly last. This is not merely about Ms Waiguru. There are deeper undercurrents. Kericho County and its impending by-election gives an illustration.

Kanu’s resurgence in Kericho is being felt because its campaigners have convinced many locals that URP bigwigs are selling their members short to an amorphous party which they don’t understand.

That argument, incidentally, is what has pumped up Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto since his break with the other Ruto, the Deputy President. There is a very strong grassroots sentiment that URP should not be folded up so as not to deny the Kalenjin tribes a homegrown political platform.

The Central Kenya rank and file have their own doubts about the merger. And these have seeped up to their leaders. When the region’s MPs – a majority of who are in TNA – met in Nyeri a few weeks ago, something unexpected happened.

NOT SMOOTH SAILING

The merger deliberations reportedly were not smooth sailing. One MP from Kirinyaga – perhaps speaking for the rest – even went public with loud complaints about the proposed party and how everything was being done in the dark. I am told the general feeling was that the merger business with URP should be put on hold until the results of the Kericho senatorial by-election are out. The underlying message was clear.

One reason Central Kenya is worried about developments in the Rift Valley is because it does not want to be saddled with an ally who gets reduced to feet of clay, assuming Kanu makes serious headway. The Kericho result will obviously be a key marker. A loss for Jubilee will seriously reduce William Ruto’s bargaining strength within the Jubilee coalition.

Misgivings about the merger have long simmered under the slick PR surface presented for public view by the coalition parties.

Few get to know the hypocrisy and make-believe that surrounds the enterprise. The whole idea was ill-conceived and hurriedly pushed. It did not help that the merger plan came as a top-down directive which only involved the grassroots peripherally. Lately I have been hearing hitherto pro-merger cheerleaders in TNA start to say that their party and URP should remain separate “for the time being”.

I can’t help but feel amused as I watch well-known wild-eyed Jubilants who can barely contain their fury with Ms Waiguru for going public.

AFFIDAVITS FLYING

They are not at all interested in whether there could be merit in the affidavits flying all over. Their sole concern is to maintain the veneer of normality in what is a threadbare coalition. I call this moral cowardice.

An alliance crafted on a lie is not worth having. The sooner it died the better for everybody, most of all for the partners themselves. There are always alternatives.
On Thursday, after Mr Duale and Senator Murkomen spoke, TNA officials gave their piece: Those mentioned adversely should regard themselves as individuals and not attach their problems to parties or coalitions. Let them face the investigators as individuals, said the party secretariat. I wholeheartedly agree with this position.

There is another thing. Those party enforcers intimidating others to shut up are doing Wanjiku a disservice. How else without the story-telling would we know how deep the rot is in the system? I say let the affidavits keep coming!

That is not to say anybody is being deemed innocent. All what the public wants is to get to the truth. If it means using a thief to catch another, what’s the problem with that?

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