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December 14, 2018

The ‘development’ bait

Development
Development

Governor Alfred Mutua of the Maendeleo Chap Chap Movement is yet to board the Jubilee ‘development’ juggernaut, even as politicians who think like him scramble for the carrot. Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba is yet to find landing space, even as Jubilee makes a pitch for politicians who crave ‘development’.

Jubilee wants these ‘development’-conscious MPs to board the wagon when there is still time and space. A number of the party-hopping MPs, some with records of misusing the National Government Constituencies Development Fund, scrambled for space in the Jubilee house of development. The MPs claim Jubilee holds the key to their constituencies’ ‘development’. Never mind their legislative role in approval of the national budget.

Defecting governors have also fallen for the Jubilee ‘development’ bait, even though they control billions of shillings annually from the National Treasury. Kwale’s Salim Mvurya quit ODM to seek ‘development’ in Jubilee. Marsabit’s Ukur Yatani and Bungoma’s Kenneth Lusaka have discovered the highway to ‘development’.

The ‘development’-conscious governors control about Sh7 billion, allocated directly as counties’ annual share of the national revenue. This money is defined by the constitution and is party-blind. The devolved governments also retain local revenues.

The defectors’ spokesman Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro confessed during the Saturday parade at Kasarani, “I used to be on the other side, but we have seen what the President and his deputy have done for this country in terms of development. We do not want to be left behind.”

Namwamba hopped out of ODM, where he was secretary general, in July but he is yet to find his bearings in the confused political landscape. He left for want of love. The man wanted recognition beyond what he had. He is still stranded, apparently running out of choices that could guarantee him anything close to the visibility he once enjoyed in ODM as a top party official.

The choices include the freedom to return to ODM, after discovering he is now a ‘general’ without troops as well. Namwamba’s fellow voyeurs have since made up their minds, after weeks of wandering and wondering.

Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, Namwamba’s temporary co-driver while the defection limelight lasted, has since changed his mind. The former ODM Busia county chairman has retreated into eloquent silence. Otuma has declared he will not follow a general without direction, a strategy and bullets. He knows he is safer guarding his political career in ODM - the dominant party in Busia.

The ‘Third Force’, which Namwamba peddles to spite ODM, is booked and locked. Ekuro Aukot, former secretary of the defunct Committee of Experts that worked on the final draft of the 2010 constitution, is flying the Third-way Alliance Kenya banner. For now, anything ‘third’ is out of reach for the lonely Namwamba.

After luring the Budalang’i MP out of ODM as DP William Ruto claimed, Jubilee does not seem to have room in its party ‘development’ budget for sulky party hoppers. The grinning man has since slowed down on his idea of Mulembe Consciousness as well.

Sirisia MP John Waluke did not want to wait for the elusive Mulembe Consciousness or the troubled Third Force to land and provide opportunity for ‘development’. Waluke has jumped on the Jubilee wagon, which is said to be headed in the general direction of ‘development’.

While defecting MPs are citing ‘development’ and marginalisation of their people to justify their defection, the opposition has a different narrative. The opposition maintains it’s devolution, which is working. This Jubilee ‘development’ is a trap for gullible politicians.

The bait rekindles the politics of patronage and handouts, perfected during the 24 years of the Nyayo rule. This other ‘development’ is a throwback to the Kanu years of weakening the opposition. These MPs have fallen for the politics of brown envelopes.

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