There’s no person loathed in the Democratic Party circles in the United States than Ralph Nader. Nader earned his stripes as one of the most despised Americans by Democrats because many believe he was a spoiler in the 2000 elections that cost Al Gore the presidency.
Nader is hated because he was asked not to vie because his being on the ballot would make it that much more difficult for Al Gore, the Democrats nominee, and make it easier for George W Bush, then a little-known governor of Texas, notwithstanding the fact that he was son of former President George H W Bush.
Obstinate and adamant, Nader ended up garnering 97,421 votes in Florida, which decided that year’s elections by a margin of 537 votes — the number of votes Bush had more than Al Gore, when the US Supreme Court stopped counting of the votes and essentially announced Bush as the 43rd US President.
We have seen this movie in Kenya before. In fact, we know when President Daniel Moi was not busy stuffing boxes with fake ballots, he was enjoying and actively involved in making worse an already splintered opposition such in 1992, during our first multi-party election. Moi was 'elected' president with only 36 per cent of the total votes announced as cast.
You have to subtract from that number the fake votes to determine what the real and genuine votes cast for the man were — probably 20 per cent, yet he went on to be sworn as president and again 1997 only for Kenyans to wake up in 2002 and resoundingly reject him and his then project — Uhuru Kenyatta.
While a splintered opposition in 1992 and to a lesser extent in 1997 can be understood in the sense that those vying in the top tier had a genuine reason to vie, the same cannot be said of the elections in 2007 and 2013. This is because in the latter two elections, we know there were people vying simply as spoilers.
Let’s be clear on this: Neither Kalonzo Musyoka nor Musalia Mudavadi had a shot at even coming close to winning the presidential race in the years they vied. These men stood in those elections simply as spoilers, or at least in the hopes that if President Mwai Kibaki was elected in 2007, Kalonzo would be appointed Vice President. Mudavadi, having been misled to believing he would be the anointed one by Jubilee in 2013, only learnt too late it wouldn't happen.
Musalia saw the light and his every move since then has always been “please forgive me", written all over him.
Although he has curiously apologised for supporting Uhuru in 2002, he has not done so for 2013, when everyone knew he was a Mt Kenya project, for which his actions since then beg for forgiveness.
He is accordingly forgiven and welcome to the opposition, where his participation will be helpful in ousting Jubilee from power.
There’s no need to revisit dismissal of Kalonzo as a traitor by everyone except PNU following the tragic elections of 2007 when Kalonzo hurriedly agreed to be Kibaki’s Vice President, even as the country was in flames, rather than standing firm on the side of democracy and justice in demanding that the illegitimate government not be sworn as it was.
Kalonzo would later be discarded by those scheming Kibaki succession.
He, however, did the right thing to rejoin Raila Odinga and the opposition, where he has significantly erased much of the traitor label but there are rumblings the man is yet again being wooed to abandon Raila or NASA.
The human experience tells us his conscious must be telling him no; not again!
Kalonzo you would do yourself good and serve the country better by listening to your conscience. It is also the right and only thing for the Christian, you profess to be, to do and must do.
Samuel Omwenga is a legal expert and political commentator in the US.