Who Are The Dogs In TNA Colours?
This last weekend I was in my home county Nyeri and had a chance to visit with several friends during the long Madaraka weekend. Of course the primary question I had to answer was what comes after the highly successful Limuru 2B, as well as what is my relation to the eagerly awaited Mkenya Solidarity party to be launched this coming weekend. (This I will discuss next week)
However, a social discussion that I encountered everywhere was on comments attributed to Hon Lewis Nguyai in Ol Kalou a week ago. The MP for Kikuyu constituency is quoted as saying that The National Alliance (TNA) would rather support dogs wearing TNA colours, than work in a coalition with other parties in Central province. Media reports say, according to Nguyai, TNA would prefer dogs that will do as they are told (in Parliament) rather than independent thinkers.
Interestingly these comments eerily mirror statements once attributed to Nguyai’s late father Hon Amos Ng’ang’a. He was Kikuyu MP and an assistant minister in President Jomo Kenyatta’s government.
During the Kikuyu oathing sessions of 1969 Ng’ang’a is quoted as having said that any Kikuyu who refused to take the oath binding himself to President Kenyatta would be eaten by rabid dogs. These dogs were popularly referred to as ‘T9’ and some mischievous fellows conversant with this history have now taken to referring to the TNA party as T9! As is to be expected, TNA national officials have said Hon Nguyai’s comments were unfortunate. But the party boss’s silence has led to Hon Kiunjuri saying the Kikuyu MP could very well have been speaking on behalf of his boss. GNU party officials have stated that they do not intend to close shop for anyone.
DP and the Alliance Party of Kenya have also come out strongly to condemn TNA’s attempts to bully others into their party. Several young aspirants who do not belong to TNA across Central Kenya region have also held press conferences asking the party to tell them who their ‘dog’ is in each constituency or county! I am impressed that we still have a few politicians in the Mt Kenya region able to stand up to a party associated with the region’s preferred presidential candidate, and tell them off for trying to bully the entire region.
All those spreading the message that all of Central Kenya must get into one ‘bus’ as the only way ‘one of our own’ will become president must realise that it has never happened that way. When Mwai Kibaki was running for President in 2002 it was against candidates that included Uhuru Kenyatta; and Kibaki still won by a landslide. On the two occasions that a Kikuyu has become president his chief lieutenants have been from other communities, and the candidate was more popular outside his community than within.
I doubt Kibaki would have won if he had bullied all Central Kenya MPs into one ‘bus’. More specifically the Kiambu political elite behind these tactics must be reminded of great trouble they got the entire Gema region into the last time they tried to bully us to support their political position. At the time they were trying to circumvent the constitution of Kenya to stop Daniel Moi from ascending to the Presidency. They did not succeed.
However, as the community came out as a united opponent to Moi’s government for the entire 24 years of his rule, suffering great political and economic marginalisation in the hands of a president who felt this resistance; this small clique quickly jumped ship and changed political colours immediately Moi became President. They became his primary ‘supporters’ and individually benefited from his presidency, with no interest on the tribulations of their co-tribesmen.
Finally, all politicians must accept that Kenyan politics has changed. Today it is the interests of the voter, rather than the interests of the politician, that determine the position communities will take. Not many voters think in terms of losing their land or government contracts under the ‘wrong’ president. They want to know, will you continue Kibaki’s socio-political and economic advancements, or compromise them? Will you respect democratic space, or curtail it? What do you have to offer the majority poor and unemployed youth?
Ngunjiri Wambugu comments on topical issues.