MWANGI G

Imagine what a truly different Kenya would look like if we gave it a chance

Wouldn’t it be great to make a completely fresh start?

In Summary
  • Imagine if we the people had been faithful to the law instead of to the tribal demagogues?
  • I am hoping that this is the year that Kenyans allow themselves to imagine a future without any of these people in office or in power.

Back in 1993, I wrote a side by side profile/opinion piece about Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka.

The first multi-party election in 26 years had just been held and, as would become the norm with election in pluralist Kenya, disputed. In the end the opposition, which had been so divided in the run-up, decided to accept the result and President Daniel arap Moi formed a new government.

Mudavadi and Musyoka were appointed to the powerful positions of Finance and Foreign minister respectively and as I argued at the time, this was a sign that they were destined for bigger things. The president seemed to already be trying out his potential successors for size.

Mudavadi was a political neophyte who had inherited his father’s parliamentary seat at a by-election in 1989 and Kalonzo had proved himself the perfect Nyayoist and party apparatchik in 1988 when as Kanu National Organising Secretary and Deputy Speaker (posts he had risen to rapidly after entering parliament in 1985) he sung the party tune louder than most others.

Both men were relatively new faces and both had baptisms of fire in their new jobs Mudavadi dealing with the fallout of Goldenberg and a ruined economy and Musyoka having to defend the government at international fora at a time when Kenya was no longer the blue-eyed boy of the West, and in fact hadn’t been for some time.

By the way, imagine not just a future without all of these men whom we were gifted by President Moi, who in his infinite wisdom (sarcasm in case you didn’t get it) at one point or another made them his pet projects in Kanu, but a future where all their acolytes and people who think like them were in the minority, if not completely non-existent.

Today, 27 years later, they have had their moments in the sun. Both have been vice president (Mudavadi very briefly, though he made up for it with his deputy premiership in the post 2007 government) and while neither holds office any more, both still harbour ambitions for the most powerful and prestigious office in the land (either the Presidency or the Premiership depending on how things go in the next year)

While they and all the others, including Raila Odinga, William Ruto (whose metaphor for marketing the Kanu rooster in his YK’92 days was mistaken by many to actually mean he was selling chickens at the roadside) and rumour has it President Uhuru Kenyatta himself, have every right to want to lead, I for one am tired of these same old names and faces from the past who have let Kenyans down in so many ways at so many times.

I am hoping that this is the year that Kenyans allow themselves to imagine a future without any of these people in office or in power.

By the way, imagine not just a future without all of these men whom we were gifted by President Moi, who in his infinite wisdom (sarcasm in case you didn’t get it) at one point or another made them his pet projects in Kanu, but a future where all their acolytes and people who think like them were in the minority, if not completely non-existent.

Wouldn’t it be great to make a completely fresh start? Imagine if that was what we had done in 2013 to accompany our then still minty fresh new constitution. Imagine if we the people had been faithful to the law instead of to the tribal demagogues? Imagine if we gave that a chance beginning now.