Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula is still simmering with bottled-up anger, even as handshakes and hugs cascade across the land like floods in Mai Mahiu. But after the National Prayer Breakfast, Wetang’ula has no reason to claim only ‘one person’ supports cessation of post-election animosities.
Weta would probably have caught the apology fever if he had attended the prayer meeting. Other critics of post-election amity, Deputy President William Ruto and NASA co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka, have since shifted to the right side of history.
They have understood the amity is not about creating executive positions and power-sharing. It is not about edging the Deputy President out of the front line in the succession of President Uhuru Kenyatta. It is not about betraying Kalonzo’s 2022 presidential ambition.
Neither is it about betraying the Luhya nation, after fervent support for ODM leader Raila Odinga. Weta’s revenge is a plot to keep Raila and ODM out of Luhyaland by merging his Ford Kenya party with Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC.
The Madaraka Day eve breakfast at the Safari Park Hotel was a moment for reflection on national challenges. Better still, it should have been a time for placing the national interest, permanently, above personal craving for power.
Former Prime Minister Raila captured the thinking behind the hugs: “We have said never again shall a Kenyan die because of an election. Never again shall a Kenyan deprive a fellow Kenyan of his birthright because of an election. And we will also fight corruption together. This is the meaning of the handshake.”
But the prayer fell short of expectations. No apologies were made for sins against the country and the people, like the thunderous plunder of public resources to fund shoddy elections. Generalised sins were cited, but nothing was said about electoral fraud — the reason for perpetual post-election violence.
Politicians found a forum to release years of bottled-up anger against their colleagues. But the politicians lacked the courage to apologise for muddled elections, police brutality, and desecration of human rights.
Wetang’ula is an angry man; he is also hungry. Any average person in his position would also feel spited, what with the loss of perks and pork that come with being Senate Minority leader. He had occupied this position for five years. Nothing had prepared him for the abrupt loss of status.
Wetang’ula was on the sixth year, and hoped to count a decade of leverage, clout, and steak that come with the office. But he had sat there, helpless, angry, as the goodies were clawed from his jaws.
How else would you expect an average politician to respond when enhanced pay, fuel-guaranteed official cars, bodyguards, office and staff are taken away?
But Weta is not angry with his colleagues who ganged up against him after the belated discovery he was not up to speed. He is angry with NASA co-principal Raila for not restraining the majority ODM senators from lynching their prefect.
Raila is the leader of the opposition outside the National Assembly. Weta had wanted Raila to tether his ‘dogs’ — to protect a co-principal from baying senators.
Because Raila did not successfully protect a beleaguered NASA co-principal, Weta held him responsible for his eviction from the feeding trough. He has been sulking and crying betrayal for months, promising a “noisy and messy” divorce.
Wetang’ula has been trashing the handshake to spite Raila for not protecting him from Siaya Senator James Orengo — his successor in the Senate leadership.
Weta had clung to the Senate and the minority leadership through cheek. He contested for the minor position, even as he expected promotion had the NASA presidential candidate won. He craved the best of both worlds. Now that the bird in hand has fled, he is angry — very hungry —for a personal cause.
Wetang’ula risks living in the past if he continues to sulk over a minor, personal, setback. When he does, his good days would lie in the past, now that the rest of the country is moving forward.