SOCIAL JUSTICE

Coalition making: Is One Kenya Alliance a post turtle?

One Kenya Alliance has chided ODM to ship out of the BBI handshake agreement

In Summary

• You know the turtle did not get up there by himself; he doesn’t belong there; he doesn’t know what to do while he is up there; he is elevated beyond his ability to function.

• You wonder what kind of cruel person put him up there to begin with and you just want to help the poor thing come down.

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka drum up support for Agnes Kavindu, the Wiper Senate candidate for the Machakos by-election, on January 26. Kanu and Ford Kenya party leaders Gideon Moi and Moses Wetang'ula were present.
ONE KENYA: ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka drum up support for Agnes Kavindu, the Wiper Senate candidate for the Machakos by-election, on January 26. Kanu and Ford Kenya party leaders Gideon Moi and Moses Wetang'ula were present.
Image: MUSALIA MUDAVADI/TWITTER

In 2008, Sarah Louis Palin was nominated by the Republican Party to run for vice president of the United States.

She was to run alongside the presidential nominee John McCain, who was the then Arizona senator.

Palin was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major political party, and also the first Republican woman to be selected as a vice presidential candidate.

In the same year, a 75-year-old Texas rancher sought medical services after accidentally cutting his hand on the gate of his ranch as he was herding cattle. While the doctor sutured the cut, they struck up a conversation about the national politics.

The doctor was curious to know what the rancher thought about the Republican vice presidential nominee. To his surprise, the rancher called her a post turtle. Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what he meant.

The old rancher went on to explain that when you are driving down a country road and you come across a fence, where you see a turtle balanced on top of the fence post, that is a post turtle.

You know he did not get up there by himself; he doesn’t belong there; he doesn’t know what to do while he is up there; he is elevated beyond his ability to function; you wonder what kind of cruel person put him up there to begin with and you just want to help the poor thing come down.

In recent weeks, a new political coalition called One Kenya Alliance was launched. Its current leadership comprises of Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, and Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya.

During their announcement, they informed the country that their caucus was a breath of fresh air, whose aim is to deliver a new alternative to our current toxic politics, through a unifying and transformative agenda that seeks to create equal opportunities for all Kenyans.

In reaction, their most ardent critic has been the ODM party. Their jibes have been passionate and overt, bordering on being derogatory. ODM has described the One Kenya Alliance as clueless, devoid of any plans on how to run a country.

It calls them a group of village tribal kingpins who are mere joy riders, intent only on what they can extract, and take credit from the sweat of others.

On their part, the One Kenya Alliance has chided ODM, saying it should  ship out of the BBI handshake agreement if it is uncomfortable with President Uhuru’s endorsement of the new coalition.

These exchanges of spats follows what is perceived as a fait accompli — betrayal of ODM party leader Raila Odinga by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the rocky BBI journey.

Elsewhere, the One Kenya Alliance leadership has been described as one that cannot stand on their own, and has to be propped up by political heavyweights to have any national political significance. This sentiment has earned them the moniker ‘cerelac coalition’ or the ‘niachie alliance’.

Begs the question, is the One Kenya Alliance a turtle on a fence post? Did they form the alliance all by themselves without any political backing? Are the political leadership positions they hold through merit, or an upshot of political patronage?

Do they know what to do in those positions, or have they been elevated beyond their ability to function? And do you wonder what kind of incompassionate person or persons propped them up on that fence post?

I submit that it is the One Kenya Alliance’s inalienable right to dream of a better Kenya, and more importantly, for them to persuade other Kenyans that equal opportunities are not in the realm of impossibility, if we trust them with the presidency.

In political-philosophy-speak, the ideology that the One Kenya Alliance is advocating is called social justice. This is a theory that asserts that all people should have equal access to wealth, health, justice, privileges and opportunities, regardless of their political, economic, legal or other circumstances.

The non-sequitur of One Kenya Alliance political ideology is that (a) things are not right due to our toxic politics; and (b) that when they form the next government, they will make them right. Sadly, this is a gateway drug to a blank cheque for government power.

In light of their political patronage that has facilitated the opportunities they and their progeny enjoy today, can they claim to be authentic social justice warriors? Implicit in the social justice doctrine is the idea that improper imbalances in wealth and privilege must be corrected. But how?

In a recent interview, Kalonzo, who is one of the leaders of the alliance, was asked what he would do in his first 100 days as President. We waited in anticipation for him to prescribe what actions and policies his alliance would use to mitigate these unequal starting points. His solution was, grow Kenya. Go figure.

Proponents of social justice demand that the government ought to treat all people equally in spite of the fact that they are inherently very unequal. This is an oxymoron because to make everyone equal, you will have to treat them differently in order to place them in the same position. You would have to apply Robin Hood economics where you rob rich Paul to pay poor Peter. And that is not equal treatment.

Is the leadership of One Kenya Alliance, being among the privileged one per cent of this country, willing to lead their coalition’s ideology by example? In economic-speak, social justice is the redistribution of wealth, income and economic opportunities from groups who are economically, socially and politically privileged to those who are oppressed.

Hence, is this leadership willing to be the first to redress through redistribution, the improper political and socio-economic imbalance and privilege they currently personally enjoy? And can they put their money where their mouth is prior to being elected in office? You be the judge.

Finally, my unsolicited advice is to ODM. Volenti non fit injuria. To a willing person, injury is not done. If you willingly place yourself in a position where harm might result, knowing to some degree that harm might result, you cannot bring a claim against the other party. Likewise, stop crying foul on the handshake betrayal because history is a good predictor of the future.

The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority – Will Durant

(Edited by V. Graham)