MUTUNGA: Kenya needs radical party to exploit alternative politics

This is a political opportunity that must be taken.

In Summary

•It is likely that the radical young people who ran for political positions, won or lost, could be the nucleus of the new political formation.

•Although the 2022 election was not going to give us democracy and freedom it seems it may have given birth to more freedom fighters and democrats.

Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
Image: / FILE

One of my relatives in the past elections devised a scheme that I  know has been replicated in other places.

He would make sure he got the T-shirts of the candidates running for political office from the different political parties.

Being a brilliant composer and singer himself, he would compose a song of glorification that he could sing to any of the candidates or their respective agents.

He would change his T-shirt after one circus has left the market, where he camped, and wait for the next circus to show up.

He would then be wearing their T-shirt.

Same song, different names of the candidate and party.

He would shake down all the circuses for cash.

He would then go home with an extra supply of campaign memorabilia and handsome cash.

He would change the locations but stay in the same constituency. Nobody bothered to report him to the busy circuses.

I was intrigued by this ingenuity of my relative.

I did not like it and told him so. So, he proceeded to educate me.

“None of the circuses represents my material interests. I know all they do is give promises. Indeed, I have never registered to vote. Shaking the circuses for cash is my revenge for broken promises. I will stop this when I see candidates who are not liars. I will then register to vote.”

Is the low turnout in the 2022 Elections a protest vote against our lying elites, their local and foreign cartels who rule after the people have voted?

Does the low turnout herald the beginning of the end of divisive and monetized politics in favour of politics of issues envisioned by the 2010 Constitution?

 Activists vying for Office

I know of fellow activists who ran for elections as independent candidates or under the nomination of other political parties not associated with the comprador/baronial/ bourgeoisie.

Faith Kasina (independent for MCA Matopeni/Spring Valley in Kayole), Sefu Sanni (MCA at Woodley, Kenyatta Golf Course Ward on Communist Party of Kenya ticket), Tony Mboyo “Kasmall”(MCA Riruta Ward on Communist Party of Kenya ticket), Ndungi Githuku (MCA, Kabete Ward as an independent candidate).

Omtatah Okiya won his senatorial seat in Busia and replaces Hon Amos Wako.

Okiya is well known for his Public Interest Litigation.

At the Judiciary we used to call him “Citizen Omtatah”.

He was in our courts to glorify the sovereignty of the Kenyan people under the 2010 Constitution.

I have no doubt he will take that activism to the Senate.

These were not the only activists who ran for political office.

The others were Ruth Mumbi, Esther Mwikali, and Nato in Chaani Ward in Mombasa.

In Kabete Ward where Ndungi Githuku ran as an independent candidate, the winner was Grace Hinga (UDA) garnering 3667 votes, and Githuku garnered 2765 votes.

Hiram Thume, another independent candidate garnered 2421 votes.

The math here shows the independent candidates' vote won.

How many of such losses were victories for alternative politics at the grassroots?

Revolution in Kenya began from the grassroots with young women and men who share radical and progressive politics vying for political office.

Some of these young women and men were behind the mass action calling for material interests in water, housing, food, controlled prices and rent, right to health, education, security, and other freedoms and rights.

Unga/Njaa revolution has been one of their radical clarion calls for fundamental change in society. The politics of issues is germinating in this country.

Birth of Fighters and Democrats?

By the time this article is published either Azimio or Kenya Kwanza will have won the presidential election.

I have fellow intellectuals on both sides of this political divide. Azimio has had two political narratives.

The first is that they are the lesser of two political evils.

In my books evil is evil, so I did not have a choice, really.

The second narrative is that both Baba and Martha have had a radical past that they will resurrect against the status quo.

That is true, but it is also true that they have reinforced past dictatorships.

Whether they will have the political will to resurrect their past activist politics will depend on whether the economic forces that have supported them, the real rulers, will allow them that choice.

I doubt they will have that choice.

I have, however, given them the benefit of the doubt and I will sit and watch what they do in the first hundred days of their administration.

Kenya Kwanza's (KK) hustler narrative has captured the imagination of the real hustlers.

Indeed, my friend Dr Ndii chided me that since the Mau Mau Land and Freedom Army, and the Kenya People’s Union, the radicals and the revolutionaries in this country had not been able to mobilize and organize politics on the basis of social classes.

We, therefore, owed it to Ruto’s populism that the politics of class struggle was back on the political agenda in Kenya.

There is no doubt that KK’s populism has captured the imagination of the downtrodden about their material interests.

The fact that KK will not deliver on its promises will give radical politics a shot in its political arm.

What is still lacking in Kenya is a radical political party that can take advantage of the alternative politics that seem to be germinating.

The United Progressive Front of UKWELI PARTY (UP), UNITED GREEN MOVEMENT (UGM) and the COMMUNIST PARTY OF KENYA (CPK) did not survive when the CPK joined KK (Chama cha wavujajasho kikanunuliwa na Chama cha wavuna jasho) and UP was going through a leadership transition. Only UGM was left standing.

It is likely that the radical young people who ran for political positions, won or lost, could be the nucleus of the new political formation.

This is a political opportunity that must be taken.

Although the 2022 election was not going to give us democracy and freedom it seems it may have given birth to more freedom fighters and democrats.

Let us wait and see.


* Willy Mutunga was Chief Justice & President of the Supreme Court, 2011-2016.

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