It’s a load of disguised propaganda

Wednesday April 19 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta at Muthurwa market in Nairobi on August 19, 2016. PHOTO | PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Muthurwa market in Nairobi on August 19, 2016. PHOTO | PSCU 

By WAFULA MURUMBA
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Wachira’s Maina’s recent article in the Saturday Nation was a load of barely disguised propaganda.

It shows that as we approach the August 8 General Election, some intellectuals will have no qualms about sacrificing their reputations for their favourite political side. 

The article was replete with errors, padding of facts, and poor reasoning. Wachira claims that those who voted for President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013, described as gullible “tea, coffee, maize and dairy farmers”, expected payoffs after his victory.

This is the first time Kenyan voters are being credited with any reasoning at all. Maina, David Ndii and other opposition analysts remind us at every opportunity that Kenyans vote along ethnic lines.

It is, therefore, surprising that these voters are portrayed as thinking people who made their electoral choice based on a rational calculation. He says the President’s “base expected him to invest generously in smallholder agriculture”. But did he really make that promise?

SUBSIDISE FERTILIZER

A review of the Shared Manifesto of the Coalition Between The National Alliance (TNA), The United Republican Party (URP), The National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), and The Republican Congress (RC), has no such a promise. 

Jubilee only pledged to subsidise fertiliser, encourage schools to start model farms, and make it easier to rent farmlands, among others, that the government has kept. The projects Jubilee promised were large-scale ones, such as Galana-Kulalu.

These projects were part of the Jubilee effort to “establish a vibrant national irrigation scheme to open up more arable land”.

Most of these are in Opposition-controlled areas. Jubilee supporters will wake up early on the morning of the polling day, vote and go back to feed their animals, or to their kiosks and other businesses, while Opposition supporters, a good number of whom did not bother to register as voters, will join goons around polling stations to shout that a miracle has taken place and that their man has inexplicably won.

NEW SUPPORTERS

The claim that the President’s “investments elsewhere have gained him no new supporters” flies in the face of evidence provided by recent opinion polls. His approval ratings are almost twice those of his closest rival, Raila Odinga. 

I was recently told of a gubernatorial aspirant in central Kenya who went to a shopping centre with the intention of “greeting the people”.

A few layabouts gathered to demand money for illicit liquor. The politician pushed for a deal. “I will give you Sh500 if you scream so that all those women picking tea can come to find out what is happening.”

The women abandoned their bags full of tea and came to the trading centre and listened to the politician, whom they eventually told: “We will still vote for you but please stop wasting our time with funny speeches.”

That is the kind of voter you find in central Kenya.

SINGLE SOURCING

There is also the allegation that the government is engaging in “frequent single-sourcing; constant padding and revision of contracts already signed”.  

This claim conveniently avoids telling us that single-sourcing is often necessitated by the spurious lawsuits instigated by the Opposition.

In the case of the IEBC, single-sourcing was a last resort after the Opposition torpedoed every tender award through litigation.  And in this deal, the IEBC actually saved money by awarding a firm for Sh3.5 billion instead of those that had quoted more than Sh7 billion.

One of the mistakes President Kenyatta is alleged to have made was “squandering the post-election honeymoon” by “launching mega-projects designed to impress rather than benefit the people”.  

The Opposition has created an erroneous myth that mega projects are not good for the country. The countries we all admire derive part of their gravitas from mega projects.

MEGA PROJECTS

If the UAE was all desert and no mega projects, nobody would admire it. If the US was all prairies without turnpikes, dams, huge cities, railway lines, and airports, it would not occupy a slot in the first world.  

Wachira also made an attempt to drive a wedge between the Jubilee duo. This is to be expected. After failing to stop them from ascending to leadership through indictment at the ICC, their critics will stop at nothing, particularly during this election.

Sample this: Towards the end of the article, the President was described as “charming,” and “cool,” while some nasty epithets were reserved for Mr Ruto, who was described as “divisive” and “mired in personal scandals”.  

A couple of paragraphs earlier in the same article, both were described as “joyous,” “twins,” “fun,” “gregarious,” and “admirable.”

Wachira is not only keen to separate the two, he is also, like Ndii (who has termed Kenya an abusive relationship), happy to divide their supporters. If his article is any guide to the Opposition’s media campaign in this election, we are in for a lot of lies.

Mr Murumba is a management consultant. [email protected]