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Monday, August 21, 2017

Opposition lack proper leadership

Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka in Kinna, Isiolo County./COURTESY
Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka in Kinna, Isiolo County./COURTESY

On one Saturday afternoon, three boys went hunting for hares in the forest. The eldest said they needed to silently walk through the forest and avoid dry twigs that could scare the hares away.

On two occasions, the younger boys scared the hares away and their eldest friend got so annoyed and told them not to follow him. The two decided to walk in a different direction but they kept, scaring more hares away.

When they got back home, the elder boy had two hares but the other two arrived empty handed. Feeling so disappointed, they started crying. They had not caught any hares because they moved in a clueless and disorganised manner in their hunt.

The last three weeks have been interesting to watch for any political observer as President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party continues to raid what was in the last election, opposition strongholds. Governors, senators, MPs and MCAs have either joined Jubilee or pledged support for President Uhuru’s reelection.

While this may be somehow unprecedented, it is not in any way surprising. We have a government that is keen on ensuring t all Kenyans experience the transformation that is ongoing across the country.

And on the opposite side, we have a team of individuals who Deputy President William Ruto once described as “clueless, rudderless, leaderless, planless, and disorganised”. That is what clearly defines the opposition today.

When Ruto gave this description to the Jubilee Party delegates and aspirants at the launch of the JP smartcard in January, it resonated beyond the ruling party to the heart of the opposition. In particular, it hit home in the swing areas most of which had opposition leadership from governors, MCAs or MPs.

Since January, the swing areas have been falling into Jubilee in droves. Pastoral areas of Wajir, Garissa, Mandela, Isiolo, Marsabit and Samburu have now refused to be part of a political grouping that has no signs of leadership.

The same is being experienced in three of the six counties of the Coast region – Taveta, Kwale and Tana Rive, which have totally refused to be in the opposition. Even those that still have opposition governors, such as Mombasa and Kilifi, have seen some of their elected leaders and deputy governors decamp to the Jubilee Party.

In the North, the regional leadership has been able to negotiate direct entry into the Jubilee Party or through newly created affiliate parties that are being used as Special Purpose Vehicles as an alternative route into government.

And they have not been disappointed by the manner in which they have been moving to Jubilee or support the President's reelection. These discussions on defections to Jubilee are being handled at the highest level of the ruling party by President Uhuru and his Deputy President Ruto.

They have in turn left behind a wreck of havoc on the opposition as the mopping of the 13 swing counties by Jubilee spreads like wild fire.

While this is happening, competing interests within the opposition has left the National Super Alliance mutating into an opposition within an opposition. No Kalonzo, No NASA or No Mudavadi, No NASA are the regular chants with Wiper now saying the 2013 MoU with ODM must be honoured.

As things look, it is no longer a matter of if but when the opposition will disintegrate into pieces due to the lack of leadership. It seems that the lessons of the past have been of no use to these veteran politicians.

In 2002, when retired President Mwai Kibaki began gobbling up the opposition into one strong force he created a clear hierarchy of the triumvirate of Kibaki-Wamalwa-Ngilu with him sitting pretty at the head of the table.

Narc became a behemoth driven by Kibaki that got over 65 per cent of the vote only because the leadership was very defined. This is something that NASA lacks and hence the exodus from the party as well as the reaping by Jubilee.

(The writer is a political and communications consultant. Twitter @MachelWaikenda)

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