TWIN YEAR

2020: Remove political deceit to pave way for political hygiene

2020 the year the President will cement his legacy and his place in history.

In Summary
  • The easiest way to kill a national project is to sacrifice it at the altar of personalisation, sectarian advantage, political brinkmanship and competitive oneupmanship.
  • We must all move together. The convoy must move at the speed of the slowest ship.

“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel . The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment . What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”—Philippians 1:15-18

Nothing defines the Kenyan situation in general and the Building Bridges Initiative in particular than these words that Paul wrote to the Phillipians. Indeed, if Paul would come to Kenya today he would quickly identify the two groups—those like President Uhuru Kenyatta who support the BBI out of genuine love and concern for Kenya.

Paul would also be quick to discern the deceit and devious machinations of others who would want to proclaim the BBI, not out of love or concern for inclusiveness, peace, national values and ethos or even shared prosperity, but as a trophy they won and which they exclusively own.

This was succinctly clear from the words of Junet Mohammed to Kipchumba Murkomen during the Bomas launch of the BBI report in November. The message was vivid. “This BBI baby is ‘ours’. It is not ‘yours’. You even talked ‘badly’ when we were in labour giving birth to the BBI, so stay as far and as clear from Baby BBI as possible”

Yet other deceitful vibes are not as overt. What the ‘Excusive Owners’ of the BBI are not telling is that the reason they would want to own it exclusively is because it confers upon them political advantage which they want to deploy in the 2022 general election. The cat was let out of the bag in Kibra.

The second risk is the false illusion that one can stop politicians from taking political positions. The nature and history of politics does not permit that. You cannot stop the political sun from rising in the East and setting in the West.

As Edwin Sifuna was throwing the infamous 1:59 Challenge to Bonny Khalwale, Didmus Baraza and Malulu Injedi, his party leader, a presumed neutral BBI co-midwife, was parading the Tsunami Coalition that would sweep a clean hat-trick of goals. The hat-trick the Tsunami Coalition would score are one, Kibra, two, BBI referendum and three, 2022.

As we launch the last year of the second decade of the second millennium, I proclaim 2020 a twin year. It’s the year of the BBI and the year of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Why so? Uhuru is genuinely desirous to leave the legacy of political hygiene. To do so he has zero opposition.

In as much as the stated BBI objectives are concerned, no one in the right mind would oppose them. 2020 is the year then, that the President will cement his legacy and his place in history alongside nationalists like Nelson Mandela, Julius Kambarage Nyerere. Mahathir Mohammed and Lee Kuan Yew.

Having said this, let me be quick to point out three major risks that may kill the BBI baby unless a serious and urgent ‘Beyond Zero’ intervention is applied.

The first is personalisation of the BBI project. That should be avoided at all costs. The easiest way to kill a national project is to sacrifice it at the altar of personalisation, sectarian advantage, political brinkmanship and competitive oneupmanship. This is what maimed, if not killed Vision 2030 when the internal rebels within Narc dismissed it as a ‘Kibaki Project’ not a national project.

Never mind that some heavily to the Vision, which they were later to disown in the run-up to 2007 general election. If the opposition then had not sacrificed Vision 2030 at the altar of expediency, the Big Four Agenda would have been achieved eons ago, long before the Jubilee government. BBI can avoid this trodden path but only President Kenyatta alone can save it from that perilous path.

The second risk is the false illusion that one can stop politicians from taking political positions. The nature and history of politics does not permit that. You cannot stop the political sun from rising in the East and setting in the West.

It calls for throwing away taboos such as regional and international trade protocols that continue to imprison our people through cheap imports of milk, eggs, poultry and maize. You do not continue harassing small traders and expect them in the same breath to support BBI no matter how noble it is.

If you do this it can only be to confer advantage to one party over another as we find out in Joshua 10:13 where Joshua, as leader of the Israelites, asks God to cause the moon and the sun to stand still so that he and his army might continue fighting by daylight. God further assists Joshua by calling up a powerful storm to bombard the Canaanites with rain and hailstones. It was purely a partisan game. If we do it with the BBI, let us not be deceitful or pretentious about it. Let us be open with it like Joshua.

Finally, we ought to be realistic about the economic environment within which we will implement the BBI. Much as there is no opposition nor argument about the BBI objectives, we must be cognisant that we are implementing the BBI at a time when Kenyans are undergoing a lot of economic pain and strain. Granted, this cannot be an excuse to delay the BBI but nonetheless it's instructive to note.

It calls for all of us to undertake the BBI project in tandem with an all-out war to improve the economic lives of our people. It calls for throwing away taboos such as regional and international trade protocols that continue to imprison our people through cheap imports of milk, eggs, poultry and maize. You do not continue harassing small traders and expect them in the same breath to support BBI no matter how noble it is. You do not report our students to the IMF for defaulting on HELB loans and still hope to co-opt them in this vital national project

Finally, and more importantly, 2020 is the year to talk with each other not at each other. Never before has humility been needed in our nation than in 2020. We must all move together. The convoy must move at the speed of the slowest ship. The BBI chain will only be as strong as the weakest link. Let’s bend backwards even for the most stubborn sceptic and doubting Thomas.

Happy 2020 Kenyans.