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January 17, 2019

Tower of Babel that is NASA

NASA principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang'ula, Musalia Mudavadi and Raila Odinga during their rally at the Masinde Muliro Grounds in Huruma on March 24, 2017. /Jack Owuor
NASA principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang'ula, Musalia Mudavadi and Raila Odinga during their rally at the Masinde Muliro Grounds in Huruma on March 24, 2017. /Jack Owuor

The confusion surrounding the NASA presidential ticket would be comical if it weren’t a potential tragedy of good intentions. The alliance partners set out, and they have often repeated it times without count, to find a new leadership and a partnership of purpose. One that would address national interests.

Whoever gets the NASA ticket, the principals have often said, does not matter so long as the ideological orientation of the movement is right. Now it looks as though whoever wins the ticket matters.

Individual players are being ranked above the super goal of liberating the people from want, wanton impunity, and soaring social and regional inequalities. The clash of egos is getting intense. The era of ‘steak holding’ is not about to end.

Forget the bridges devolution was expected to build. Leadership is still about ‘them’ in power, and the majority watching from the fringes. There are nyama eaters and wameza mate, as was remarked President Uhuru Kenyatta, last year in Narok, the clime of beef lovers.

The metaphor was a statement of official exclusion, and the intention to sustain these iniquities and inequalities. The owners of this ‘turn to eat’ are not about to let go.

The discontent among supporters of those who may miss the opposition lead baton is ominous. The ruckus may be ‘friendly fire’, but even incestuous military shots kill, just as own goals count in football.

The discontent may be genuine, but it’s the tribal hue that should worry citizens looking for responsible national institutions. A more tolerant and accommodating national establishment.

Initially, it was the minority leader in the National Assembly, Francis Nyenze, calling out the sulking shot, “No Kalonzo, No NASA.”

Later, a constellation of Kamba leaders around former Vice President Kalonza Musyoka said they don’t want another era of routine exclusion in leadership. For them, the time for a Kamba President has come.

Last week, a well-planned roadshow emerged, with protesters chanting, “No Mudavadi, No NASA.” The tribal hue was unmissable. Mulembe consciousness had come of age. And there would be no retreat. Time, they said, was right, for a Mluhyia to take up the mantle. And they sounded pretty serious and passionate.

At this rate, protesters may pop up somewhere in Kisumu, wielding posters reading, “No Jakom, No NASA.” Afterall, ODM is the pillar, anchor and nexus of the opposition formation. And the Luo have waited for far too long amidst historical justices.

The injustices include former President Mwai Kibaki using state agents to seize victory from the jaws of defeat. And Martha Karua, who was Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister in 2007, knows this. She waw briefing opposed, but has since returned to the cradle.

Another demo could pop up in Bungoma, declaring, “No Weta, No NASA.” The former Foreign Affairs minister and Bungoma senator, they would say, has waited for far too long. And his moment of glory may have arrived with NASA.

A Bukusu, the largest single Luhya community, must claim right of residence in State House. The late Wamalwa Kijana, as Vice President, came close to fulling the prophecies of the Ingo legend, the late prophet Elijah Masinde. The Bukusu may not want to wait for a man from the lake to hand over the baton to a Mulembe man.

There is a rush for a rendezvous with destiny. Someone sane is needed to tame the ambition of the many destiny kids in NASA. Signs are none of the principals is going to declare “Nani Tosha!”

The discontent may also be the work of malignant forces bent on derailing the nascent alliance. Unless NASA leaders muster the will, those forces have the motive to subvert attempts to recast public governance.

You may have heard Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery say nyama won’t be snatched from his month as he watches. Other Cabinet Secretaries have taken the cue. They have personal interests to safeguard. The panic is raw.

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