Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli on Saturday took to the stamps in Bungoma in a gaffe-dominated attempt to shoot down wins the Amani National Congress and Ford-Kenya have secured for their supporters in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance (KKA) agreement. It didn’t matter to them that they were only popularising the handwork of party leaders Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula. Mr Atwoli’s team is denying their brethren development goodies under Article 22 of the KKA Agreement without substitutes from Azimio.
All politics is local. The Azimio leaders ignored the wisdom that a bird in hand is better than many in the bush. This ineptness of fellows not knowing their audience is the Luhya leadership curse; they fight to bring their own down without offering any alternative.
The focus by ANC and Ford-Kenya detractors shouldn’t be on a non-existent qualification of 70 per cent of the local vote, but the gains the parties have in the agreement under Article 21: Sharing of national government responsibilities. The share thereof is to national political parties, meaning, the benefits will accrue to their supporters across the country, not just in one region as Azimio propagandists will have Kenyans believe.
ANC and Ford-Kenya got the share as privileged founders of KKA. And even if we were to regionalise the KKA Agreement and expect that only the Luhya must garner 70 per cent of their vote to qualify for the 30 per cent share of government, what is so difficult about that?
One, such postulation ignores that Western is a cosmopolitan area. Two, Western denotes a region of 14 Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) counties with over 14 million people or about 30 per cent of the population in Kenya, not just the five Luhya dominated ones. Is it, therefore, feasible that Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, Trans Nzoia, Kericho, Bomet, Nandi and Vihiga can’t raise 70 per cent of their vote, really?
Completion of old projects
Three, how about if the 70 per cent maker is based on voter turnout? Then 70 per cent should be seen as an irreducible minimum, a rallying benchmark call. After all, the two Luhya kingpins cannot be second-guessed on this. In 2017, they rallied 80 per cent of the Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga vote for Mr Raila Odinga. 70 per cent is mincemeat to them while pairing with the extremely hardworking William Ruto as the candidate.
What shouldn’t be in contention is no doubt, the guarantee of development for the cosmopolitan Western region in Article 22: Priority projects, of the KAA Agreement. None can argue against revival commitment of sugar factories, tarmacked roads, manufacturing, and fisheries, rice-growing, agro-processing or housing projects.
But this isn’t at the expense of other Kenyans because KAA Agreement guarantees “completion of old projects or implementation of new road or other projects in other parts/regions of Kenya to ensure equity in the sharing of the nationally raised revenue by all the people of Kenya”. Mt Kenya will finally get its “one man, one shilling” demand that’s just a dream under Azimio.
It’s also important to understand the functions of the proposed Prime Cabinet Secretary (PCS) provided for under Article 21(j) to be occupied by Mr Mudavadi. Extensive as they are, the powers aren’t personal, but for proper functioning of an office in government.
Naysayers argue that this is equivalent to an executive premier and a copycat of the defunct Building Bridges Initiative proposal. The answer is, so what? A rose by any other name smells like a rose. And “what is in a name?”, the English playwright Shakespeare asked. If the functions suggest a premier, and they do, so be it.
Makau Mutua, Mr Odinga’s campaign spokesman, is flabbergasted by KAA dispersal of power: “The powers given to @Musalia Mudavadi as Prime Cabinet Secretary render the DP nugatory. The DP will be a neutered empty shell devoid of any power, authority, or substance. In fact, the DP will be jobless,” he tweeted. It should then be kudos to defunct BBI proponents that at least the KKA seeks to redeem BBI beneficial clauses.
Correction though: None of the principals in KKA wholesomely condemned the BBI; they held reservations about some clauses that only needed administrative or parliamentary changes not a full-blown referendum—exactly what KKA embarks on under Article 21(k) through a parliamentary process.
Mr Kabatesi is the Spokesman for ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi; [email protected]