A lot of people are wondering why ODM deputy leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has all of a sudden become such a vicious enemy of Jubilee. He has launched onslaught after onslaught against the ruling coalition, supported political forays into Nairobi, Eastern and Western, and made scathing personalised attacks on the top Jubilee leaders.
I’m convinced it has everything to do with the latest political slogan in town; ‘Siasa ya kukula nyama na kumeza mate’. I have seen many people trying very hard to make this about ‘eating’, it is not. It is a political ideological contest, and it is currently being fought at the Coast.
Let us first unpackage the ‘kukula nyama’. We know that the majority of Jubilee supporters do not eat meat; at least not daily. So this is not about money, wealth and land as David Ndii and other opposition supporters would have us believe. If it was, Raila Odinga, Joho, Senator Moses Wetang’ula and a host of other opposition leaders would be right at the front of the ‘wakula nyama’ brigade!
‘Kukula nyama’ is about the benefits that come with being in government. Simply put, it is about having the power to decide where government invests its national resources, and more often than not being a beneficiary of these resources. The ‘kumeza mate’ side of this ideology is the opposite. It is when you are not in power and all that you can do is stand aside and watch.
This brings us back to Joho and his fight with Jubilee.
In 2013, Joho managed to carry the Coast vote literally to Raila. He sold the narrative that Raila was their ally and was poised to become the fourth President. Joho assured the region that a Raila presidency would sort out all the issues that had bedevilled the region for decades.
One of these issues was land, and Joho made it clear that Raila’s opponent Uhuru Kenyatta could not solve this problem because of the Kenyatta landholdings in the region. (Even I could not see how Uhuru could genuinely deal with this issue when it involved his family interests).
However, just as he did recently when he signed into law a bill limiting bank interest rates, despite his family’s banking investments, Uhuru has proven that when the choice is between his own personal interests and those of the nation, unlike most of us he is able to put national interests over personal interests.
First the Kenyattas let go of 2,000 acres they owned at the Coast. Then Uhuru resolved the Waitiki land issue that had been the cause of violent conflict for years. Then his government dished out title deeds to residents, who had waited for them for decades. But that is not all.
Coast has received thousands of new electricity connections. Multitudes of young people are employed at the various national projects launched in the region. The region’s landscape has visibly changed due to the infrastructural makeover going on.
The security system in the region is the best in the country. The Jubilee government has rebuilt its international standing, which has revived the tourism industry. Coasterians ‘wanakula nyama!’ This is the source of Joho’s discomfort.
We are heading into the 2017 general election and the Coast people can see he was wrong about Uhuru. He cannot accept that because it might end up costing him the governorship.
So he must fight, even where there is no need to fight. He will, therefore, continue misrepresenting the facts on what Jubilee has done at the Coast and even lie blatantly about the effects of some of the developments. The political silly season is here with us.