Kudos to Nasa, a competitive election is good for the country

Thursday April 20 2017

Nasa principals from left: Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga, Isaac Ruto, Moses Wetang'ula and Kalonzo Musyoka at Bomas of Kenya on April 20, 2017 during the coalition's meeting. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nasa principals from left: Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga, Isaac Ruto, Moses Wetang'ula and Kalonzo Musyoka at Bomas of Kenya on April 20, 2017 during the coalition's meeting. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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I was watching the rather up-beat National Super Alliance rally in Nairobi and chuckling to myself.

Not because of the brave promise by the coalition that it has dealt with all its outstanding issues and is ready to announce Brother Raila Odinga as the candidate on April 27, but a cheeky political thought just crossed my mind.

Swimming in an endless current of content, watching history unfold at relatively close quarters, smoking out the shenanigans and calling out the jerks, living through moments of overcoming and of defeat are the perks of the news business in which we have spent our lives.

Then there is the endless fun of watching an arrogant twerp run into a brick wall of reality.

I always knew that turning 48 was going to be a problem.

This must be the way the sun feels at 1pm; suddenly there is the hint of sunset.

What happened all the time? And the promise? Is this it then?

Well, I’d like to bring to the attention of the House, with your kind permission, Mr Speaker, that it is still possible for a fat middle-aged man with a broken arm to have some fun in this life.

So here goes. Suppose President Uhuru Kenyatta is not a total milk sop and that below the dub, something is exploding in there and shifting a piston or two.

Now, unless he has become an angel, there is very little reason for him to be particularly fond of Mr Peter Kenneth, the Murang’a politician who is being rammed down the throats of Nairobians by sections of the presidential court.

First, when the rest of central Kenya politicians answered Mr Kenyatta’s challenge to unite behind him in March 2011, Mr Kenneth was notable in his resistance, maintaining that there was no place for “regional champions” in politics, that Kenyans were looking for national champions.

It wasn’t a bad, rational argument, actually.

Mr Kenyatta had warned any politicians who dared not fall in line to consider their careers over.

Second, though his support was fickle – he got 900 votes to Raila Odinga’s 5,000 in the presidential vote in his Gatanga constituency – Mr Kenneth would not agree to make way for Mr Kenyatta, insisting on enforcing his right to seek office. Again, who can blame him?

And when the rest of Kikuyuland was shedding at least crocodile tears over Mr Kenyatta’s tribulations at The Hague, I can’t remember Mr Kenneth being particularly sympathetic.


In fairness, I couldn’t find in the library anything he said to make the Kenyatta family weep, as alleged by his rivals.

But it wasn’t thorough research. And the European bloc – rightly or wrongly – said to be sympathetic to Mr Kenneth’s political ambitions had lent every support to Mr Kenyatta’s prosecution.

I don’t know whether Mr Kenneth attended St Mary’s.

So by every conventional measure, Mr Kenneth should be the last central Kenya politician whose career Mr Kenyatta would be expected to nurture with care.

Suppose, just suppose that Mr Kenyatta does not support Mr Kenneth at all and that he has cruelly raised his hopes and encouraged him to run in Nairobi as a means to laying a deliciously Machiavellian career-ending trap for him: run in the nominations against Senator Mike Sonko confident that the funny senator would convert the urbane Mr Kenneth into political mince meat?

I am wrong, of course. Maybe Mr Kenyatta truly respects Mr Kenneth, wants him to be Mr William Ruto’s running mate in 2022 and the rest of us will stand and say, ‘Amen!’ But, what a thought! Only Monday will tell.
I guess congratulations are in order to the folks in Nasa for reviving the Pentagon and cutting a deal amongst the five of them on how they will share the spoils of power.

I take great pride in rarely making a correct political prediction.

I recently wagered that Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump like a drum. There was beating, though not of Mr Trump.

I think Mr Odinga will be the Nasa presidential candidate.

It’s a bit odd for a 54-year-old president to be succeeded by a septuagenarian, but this is Kenyan politics we are talking about, anything is possible.

I think the addition of Mr Isaac Ruto to the Nasa line-up evens out the race and makes it really competitive.

A mammoth rally at Uhuru Park, which they are quite good at putting together, will give them a lift, will constitute the right optics and present Nasa as a credible, electable, popular force in the election.

What does this mean? Well, Jubilee will have to sing harder for their dinner.

A competitive election is good for the country, in terms of debate, because the politicians will have to make more concessions to the electorate.

I do hope that the politicians will agree, for one, to delete that abomination called Government Advertising Agency and send my former acting teacher, Mr Ngari Gituku, to our friendly newsroom to serve as a copy editor under the loving tutelage of our boot.