BLIND KITTENS, ATTACK DOGS IN JUBILEE

Tangatanga and Kieleweke: Useful idiots or allies?

Jubilee factions probably waging a war whose end game they're not privy to.

In Summary

• Despite conjecture that the bromance between the President and his deputy has fizzled out since the handshake, they have never directly confronted, insulted or disrespected each other in public.

•  Instead, their self-professed political foot- and keyboard soldiers have designated themselves the roles of attack-dogs.

Team Kieleweke and Tangatanga members get rough at a church in Murang'a on Sunday, September 8, 2019.
CLASH IN CHURCH: Team Kieleweke and Tangatanga members get rough at a church in Murang'a on Sunday, September 8, 2019.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

There was once a Russian student whose cat had a family of kittens.

When asked to write a paper for her class, the student wrote about the mother cat and her kittens. The next day, she read her paper to the class. In it, she told about how these kittens were born. There were five of them, and they were all good little Communists. The teacher liked the paper very much.

One week later, a Moscow inspector visited the school. The teacher, proud of her student, asked her to read her paper again. When she came to the part about the kittens, she said there were five kittens and two of them were Communists. The teacher was quite surprised at the unforeseen change of narrative. After the inspector left, the teacher asked the child why she had changed her story. “Well”, the student answered, “three of them have since opened their eyes.”

This has been a week of many unforeseen narratives. It started with the arrest of the Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria for allegedly assaulting a woman who confronted him for what she called disrespecting all women;  police tear-gassed the legislators who tried to secure his release; the locking out from a presidential function of  Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika.

To crown it all, there was the dismissal from the Cabinet of Mwangi Kiunjuri, who had been Agriculture CS.

It has been widely hypothesised that the common denominator they all share is that they are allied to Deputy President William Ruto, and are in support of his presidential ambitions. This has led many of their critics to be unsympathetic to their tribulations because they have been labelled insolent for not heeding President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to stop politicking.

Subsequently, they have publicly admitted, that like the Russian kittens, they have opened their eyes. They have seen the light. This is in response to their previous political opinions when those in opposition were subjected to the same disproportionate treatment they have recently experienced.

Begs the question, is it really their moment of epiphany, or are they useful idiots in a well-choreographed script?

A useful idiot is a term used in political discourse to describe a person who is a susceptible propagandist for a cause or purpose whose goals they are not entirely aware of; they are used cynically by the leaders of the cause. Useful idiots unwittingly support a cause they naively believe to be a force for good.

The term was used to refer to Soviet sympathisers in Western countries. The implication was that although the people in question naively thought of themselves as allies of the Soviet Union, they were actually held in contempt and were being cynically manipulated and used by the Soviet leaders.

 

It is instructive to note that despite all the conjecture that the bromance between the President and his deputy has fizzled out since the handshake, they have never directly confronted, insulted or disrespected each other in public. Instead, their self-professed political foot- and keyboard soldiers have designated themselves the roles of attack dogs.

If indeed a falling out has occurred, I presuppose that Ruto has the latitude to be as insolent as a bear, given the President does not have the constitutional power to fire him. So why does he refrain from direct retaliation? Is he exercising self-restraint? Or applying the golden rule — do unto others what you would like them to do unto you? Or is he simply being a well-mannered gentleman?

It is also atypical of the brazen humiliation Ruto and his allies have been subjected to. If media accounts are accurate, these include disobeying court orders in the case of Kuria, citing orders from above in the case of Gikaria and Senator Kihika, locking out Ruto from his official residence in Mombasa, and finally firing Kiunjuri. Is the intention to provoke him to resign? Or is it to test his patience as a covenant keeper? Or is it to break and dissuade his presidential ambition?

It is an open secret that politics is war by any other means. And as the Chinese general and military strategist Sun Tzu posited, all warfare is based on deception. So when you are able to attack, you must seem unable; when using your forces, you must appear inactive; when you are near, you must make the enemy believe you are far away; and when you are far away, you must make him believe you are near.

DECEPTION IN POLITICS

In the domain of war, deception is a deliberate enterprise. It is information and actions designed to manipulate the behaviour of useful idiots by inducing them to accept a false or distorted presentation of their environment.

Deception is valued for its ability to construct decoys that draw enemy fire with the aim of making the enemy expose himself, and run out of ammunition. It is also engineered to induce misperception for tactical, operational or strategic advantage.

The deception planning process is a backward-planning procedure that begins with the desired end-state or the objective in mind. Once this has been determined, the target(s) aka useful idiots, are identified, the desired response outlined, and the ‘story’ that needs to be told is crafted.

Admittedly, deception is a double-edged sword; lethal when wielded competently, dangerous if mishandled. If the returns of deception are high, then the means employed know no limit.

I am willing to eat humble pie if my hypothesis is proven wrong.

But I submit that the elephant in the room is someone is being managed, either with their full cooperation or unknowingly. And to sustain this state, it is highly possible that the rest of us are being entertained with a montage of a political falling out, but the bromance is still alive, though closeted until an opportune time.

It is also probable that the useful idiots in the Tangatanga and Kieleweke factions are fighting a war whose end game they are not completely privy to. It is additionally conceivable that we are all pawns in a high-stakes game of political chess. You be the judge.

Finally, my unsolicited advice is to the useful idiots. In politics, trust is the biggest liability of all. So always stay neutral when in conflict so that you can sell supplies to both sides.

He who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived- Machiavelli.