BBI HIJACKED

Seating order of ethnic lords on reggae dais tells where you’ll belong after BBI vote

Watch out for breaches in endless deception, betrayal, grudges and revenge before 2022

In Summary

• A narrative is created that the country was trending toward an apocalyptic ethnic war caused by communities’ resentment of being 'excluded' from power.

• Inclusivity has been 'hijacked' as the underlying fissure to mask the fact that it’s not communities that feel 'excluded' and require accommodation, but ethnic kingpins.

Party leaders Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetang'ula (Ford Kenya) with other leaders during the BBI launch at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday, November 27, 2019.
Party leaders Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetang'ula (Ford Kenya) with other leaders during the BBI launch at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday, November 27, 2019.
Image: PSCU

A habitual inquisitor and my former journalism apprentice last week asked, “Do you think some leaders want to hijack the BBI process for the sake of 2022 election?”

Why ask “do you think”, I thought. She assumes I don’t think? I mused, buying time to 'think' through an appropriate answer befitting a teacher to his radiant student.

I have since recollected that I twice partially dealt with this question in the Star edition of June 20, 2020, under the headline 'Why Handshake coalition a crude homemade bomb that could explode at any time' also addressed the issue on July 19, 2020, headlined 'Recent ODM-Jubilee tussles reveal tenuous Handshake built on quicksand.'

Come to think of it, 'Why invest in anything if it doesn’t pay dividends' would’ve been rude and autocratic. But therein lies the truth.

BBI is an electoral investment for 2022. There are those who’ve invested in it as a powerful mobilisation tool, while others are speculative vendors hoping to cash in on BBI crumbs.

The restricted and personalised ownership of the BBI process leading up to the insistence and defence of the Referendum Bill 2020, deflects and above all,  betrays the 'hijacked' nuance that the report is weaponised for 2022.

Another 'hijacking' is how the BBI policy and legislative proposals that carry more benefits to Kenyans if implemented have receded in memory. Instead, the more politically edible referendum Bill has taken centre stage.

Among the 'speculative vendors are the odd cheerleaders — the Atwolis and Murathes, each for own pecuniary reasons — who have all but sold BBI as a groundbreaking workout for Raila 2022.

Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli is a master of comic relief, canvassing for President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga and Senator Gideon Moi.

David Murathe’s attempt to substitute the iconic 'Mandela moment' with a Raila one fell flat, exposing his limited understanding of history.

The other 'hijacking' is a scheme deceptively woven around a receptive President Kenyatta as the anchor, with perceived dissenters pilloried, labelled anti-inclusivity or saboteurs and banished to the sidelines.

Not that Uhuru is an innocent bystander. As it is, if anyone thought they’re playing the President, they’re in for a rude shock. BBI belongs to the President, who has surreptitiously ensured BBI ringfences the premiership and leader of Opposition for Central Kenya.

You can shout, 'Heresy'! The essence of ‘equality of the vote’ in the distribution of the 70 additional seats and the manner the gender parity will be decided in the National Assembly will tilt the numbers in Central Kenya’s favour.

With that act alone, Mt Kenya region has shot ahead of Rift Valley in numbers for most of the additional seats are in Mt Kenya and the rest in Kikuyu-dominated diaspora.

So yes, Uhuru 'hijacked' BBI with an eye on 2022 for 'his community' and is reason his erstwhile Tangatanga critics numbers have thinned.

There is also the asinine 'hijacking' of BBI. The initiative’s inclusiveness may just be an open-door policy to sanitise the corrupt, mostly governors, who are scared of the EACC perusing the Auditor General adverse reports during their tenure.

Certainly also, the BBI 'hijacking' has birthed a choir with all the ingredients of a Raila political orchestra. The recipe has been mastered since 2002, the only time Raila allowed another choirmaster – Mwai Kibaki – to conduct a choir he had trained for that year’s election. Simeon Nyachae rebelled to no avail.

You see, hate or love him, Raila has mastered playing on the animalistic herd mentality and desires of Kenyan communities. Whether bitten by historical discrimination in resource allocation, there isn’t a Kenyan community that couldn’t be rallied against another. All you need is beckon any of them with a whiff of power.

The Somali have mastered this game, often investing more with the winning side. In the BBI, Raila just tinkers with this primordial instinct yearning for '; one of our own'” to be in power or at a bare minimum, near power.

This is how at every election, Raila creates or recruits ethnic kingpins who proceed to announce interest in running for President. Some are minors glad to savour the limelight while checkmating serious potentials in their regions.

Others are already secure in the ethnic skin ready as recruits. But all are in this ethnic constellation bandwagon for one reason — endorse Raila's candidacy.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya — who is also the Council of Governors chairman — has already announced he’ll run for President only “if Raila says so”. Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua falls in the first category.

They’re flanking the master against ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyioka. Ironically, cynics aver that the two kingpins shoved their way into BBI, they may be angling for recruitment.

BBI 'hijacking' is a reincarnation of sorts. Critically, a crisis must first be manufactured requiring the whole country to panic. In politics, you need a siege narrative to awaken the demons in people and build a wave of resentment.

In 2002, it was the undemocratic selection of Uhuru as the Kanu presidential candidate in President Daniel Moi’s vain attempt to succeed himself. At least, that’s how evacuation from Kanu was explained to a gullible public pained of Moi’s 24-year-long, not-so-pleasant iron rule.

Erstwhile Kanu stalwarts fled with Raila into a hurriedly cobbled together LDP, a home they had to vacate as quickly into an unsettled marriage with NAK of Kijana Wamalwa, Charity Ngilu and Mwai Kibaki. The common denominator in each of these formations was the individuals’ ethnicity.  

The honeymoon was short-lived. Crying betrayal for not being appointed premier but clothed as a reaction to delay in a new Constitution, Raila cobbled together another ethnic-driven internal rebellion in Narc and defeated the 2005 constitutional referendum. This gave birth to the Orange (symbol of the No side) Democratic Movement.

Again, the top leadership was layered with ethnic kingpins — Mudavadi, Uhuru, William Ruto, William ole Ntimama, Charity Ngilu, Najib Balala and Joseph Nyagah. After Uhuru took cover and decamped to PNU, the 2007 election was layered with the toxic 41 against one ethnic campaign.

The BBI episode isn’t different.

A narrative is created that the country was trending toward an apocalyptic ethnic war caused by communities’ resentment of being 'excluded' from power. The answer was a makeshift power structure in a referendum Bill that would appear to accommodate 'all' communities.

Inclusivity has been 'hijacked' as the underlying fissure to mask the fact that it’s not communities that feel 'excluded' and require an accommodation, but ethnic kingpins.

So, I told the apprentice, with ethnicisation of the Constitution, you’ll tell where you’ll belong after the referendum by the sitting protocol of ethnic lordships on the reggae dais during the campaigns.

Watch out for breaches in endless deception, betrayal, grudges and revenge before 2022.