Why coalition politics is here to stay

Wednesday March 15 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto with some of the Coast Opposition leaders who defected to Jubilee on March 12, 2017 at Tononoka Grounds. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto with some of the Coast Opposition leaders who defected to Jubilee on March 12, 2017 at Tononoka Grounds. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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As the opposition pushes to end Jubilee’s apparently failed leadership in the August 8 elections, it is evident that at the core of the current bad governance is not only incompetence, but also political immaturity. The leadership got into power while clueless about how to run the country -- a political accident!

The Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto regime has all along been dogged by mega corruption. The best evidence of this “project corruption” is the government’s unwillingness to prosecute some known corruption suspects such as the National Youth Service (NYS) looters, who have very close links with the top leadership.

The weakening of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the distraction of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), undermining its capacity to handle corruption investigations and the harassing of the Auditor-General are all but part of a plot to protect the thieves.

The country is suffering the consequences of allowing into power some individuals who were not fully prepared for national leadership. This is evident in the presidency’s failure to finalise the implementation of the 2010 Constitution to tackle the runaway insecurity and the endemic cattle rustling in the arid and semi-arid areas and in the Kerio Valley, and the failure to stop the resurgence of banned militia groups such as Mungiki/Sabaot Land Defence Forces (SLDF)/China Squad/MRC.


Other manifestations are the runaway corruption in the public sector, and failure to support reforms in the governance institutions, including the Judiciary, police, the electoral commission and the Human Rights Commission.

The leadership has also failed to address the public sector workers’ grievances, hence the long and badly crippling industrial unrest in the country, including the doctors’ strike, the recent teachers’ and nurses strikes and the failure to promote national cohesion.

However, the above failures are now a glaring manifestation of the wasted four years of the Jubilee presidency. Today’s confusion within Jubilee as the various groups jostle for space and roles in their attempts to ensure a UhuRuto re-election, come August 8, smack of some clumsy political guesswork.

Recently, in readiness for this year’s General Election they folded Mr Kenyatta’s TNA and Mr Ruto’s URP, alongside nine other political parties and the leaders boasted about forming a united front that would easily defeat the opposition, which has, all along, preferred to go into the August poll as a coalition of various parties.

But just a few months down the line, the Jubilee leaders are back to square one, embracing the coalition arrangement they had discarded and demonised.

Firstly, Meru Governor Peter Munya and Ms Martha Karua have defiantly stuck to their PNU and Narc Kenya parties, respectively, refusing to disband and join the Jubilee Party, but pledging to support President Kenyatta’s re-election.

Then came Kanu’s Gideon Moi and Maendeleo Chap Chap of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, who have been chaperoned into supporting Jubilee, by President Kenyatta himself. There is also the small Ababu Namwamba-led Labour Party of Kenya (LPK), which has thrown its weight behind the President’s re-election bid.

Despite pretences, UhuRuto have been forced to crawl back into coalition politics. Instead of the behemoth of an all-conquering national Jubilee Party, they are now saddled with a coalition that includes Chap Chap, Kanu, JP, PNU, LPK and Narc Kenya. Others could be on the way. It is a classic case of UhuRuto being compelled to operate outside their designs. This trial and error approach to political organisation was evident from start.

The URP brigade tried to take over the United Democratic Party but failed after the owners rejected this in 2012. They then hurriedly formed URP, only anchoring it on tribal support (Kamatusa).

For his part, Mr Kenyatta took over TNA from the Onyango Oloo and Johnson Sakaja group and sought Gema support. To cement the Kamatusa-Gema union, they denounced the ICC trials and fellow Kenyans. Today, Jubilee’s guesswork political mobilisation is built on quicksand and anchored on incompetence and negative ethnicity.

Mr Bosire is the ODM National Treasurer and the Kitutu-Masaba MP. [email protected]