OPANGA: Night goings-on will be made public in the day - Daily Nation

Night goings-on will be made public in the day

Saturday May 29 2010

 

By KWENDO OPANGA

A meeting of politicians last week asked politicians to divorce the drive for a new constitution from the 2012 presidential campaign.

It was politicians Kiraitu Murungi of PNU or PDM and Anyang’ Nyong’o of ODM who headlined the news conference at which this call was made.

Rubbish. Murungi and Nyong’o know that they and other politicians have from the outset seen the quest for a new constitution as inseparable from the ambitions of individual politicians and their parties.

Politicians know that come 2012 the roles they played in the enactment or rejection of the proposed constitution will form a major plank in the platforms of parties ad their presidential flag-bearers.

The Bomas constitutional conference failed because ministers allied to President Kibaki would be at the conference during weekdays and rubbish its deliberations in night and weekend meetings and whispering campaigns.

These politicians saw the Bomas process as both favouring Mr Raila Odinga and populated by delegates they believed were allied to former President Moi and Kanu, the country’s oldest political machine.

When the Parliamentary Select Committee went into caucus over the harmonised draft constitution by the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Reform in Naivasha, it was mainly split into ODM and PNU camps.

The result of Naivasha, which is what we have as the proposed constitution, was seen by most in the political class and beyond as a defeat for ODM, especially Prime Minister Raila.

It was also greeted as a triumph for PNU and especially the KKK alliance of Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and battling Education Minister William Ruto.

And then the unexpected happened and not only turned the taste of celebration insipid in the mouths of the K troika, but forced Musyoka, Uhuru and Ruto to rethink their positions.

Where Raila was supposed to slowly and carefully mount a spirited offensive against the proposed constitution, the man surprisingly wholeheartedly embraced the document and ran with it as if it were his own.

Worse for the anti-Raila forces, President Kibaki, who had previously publicly embarrassed the PM and caused the K troika to laugh at Raila in both private and public, publicly backed the document.

Raila lost out in Naivasha but quickly changed gears and allied himself with the public, which wants a new constitution and wants it yesterday.

Kibaki, who is desirous of a positive legacy to wipe out the disastrous start to his second term in office, firmly walked into the Yes column.

Finding themselves in the same column as Raila, stumped Musyoka, Uhuru and Ruto and subsequent pronouncements by the Christian faiths and President compounded their discomfiture.

The Cabinet met and endorsed the proposed constitution and also asked those opposed to it to resign. Uhuru was forced into taking out newspaper adverts to announce he was for the proposed constitution and then went quiet.

Musyoka, clearly counting on his faith and the faiths to stand him in good stead for a stab at the presidency in 2012, has wavered and waffled. He is still calling for dialogue between faiths and politicians.

Taking advantage of the V-P’s predicament somebody rented a mob to heckle Musyoka 16 days at the inaugural rally called to call the Yes troops to order and battle.

Not surprisingly, but in keeping with 2012 in view, Musyoka blamed the heckling on Raila. Unfortunately for the V-P last week, he seemed to go back on his position not to share campaign platforms with the PM!

Ruto has nailed his colours on the No mast and is now indeed the de facto leader of the campaign. He has, therefore, sent a clear message to the country that there is no such nonsense as strategic ambiguity on the matter of the referendum.

And it emerged last week that an increasing number of PNU allied ministers are, as was the case at Bomas, supporting the drive to a new constitution by day (in the open) and opposing it in night (clandestine) meetings.

The problem for these leaders is that what happens in the night will be made public in the day.

And, more importantly, these revelations will have a bearing on the way the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections are conducted.

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