Why I left Raila’s camp for Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza
Leaving the Azimio-One Kenya Alliance coalition for Kenya Kwanza was not an easy decision. I had sleepless nights as I and my team pondered on what was good, not only for our party aspirants but also for Kenya.
Let me start by clarifying that I find Hon. Raila Odinga to be a good man but in the coalition he is leading, he is a man held hostage. Let me explain.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has been my friend and supporter for many years. He is also a good man. We have worked together and he has achieved a lot in his tenure, but his politics has been slippery, especially of late.
And then there is the man Kenyans have high emotions about and a self-made leader, Dr William Ruto.
I have known Dr Ruto from the time of Kibaki’s government. I have always found him to be a focused man, forthright, brilliant, super active and overall a wonderful and pleasant man.
However, I did not join Kenya Kwanza just because Dr Ruto is a nice guy or because Musalia Mudavadi is a gentleman, Moses Wetang’ula a diplomat par excellenceI or because Kithure Kindiki is a brilliant legal mind and mobiliser.
I moved there because whereas Azimio is steeped in the past, Kenya Kwanza is focused on the present and the future of Kenya.
First, coalitions should not be shrouded in secrecy and manipulation. I found the whole process of forming Azimio – from the blank papers we were given to sign at KICC so as to tactfully fix Kalonzo Musyoka into Azimio – a power game that was not necessary.
Sharing of government
Second, coalitions are about sharing of government.
In Azimio, they told us “don’t worry, you will be in government”. But that was not enough for me. I wanted us to discuss projects for areas represented by my party members and what my people should expect in an Azimio government.
Third, inclusivity and respect – not arrogance – are key for coalition partners.
My party and many others in Azimio were never invited to meetings to discuss coalition matters. Decisions were made by a few.
Fourth, statements by Cotu leader Francis Atwoli and others that “Uhuru is too young to retire” were of great concern. I like Uhuru, but as a democrat, I believe it is vital to give opportunities to others to ascend to power. And lastly, some poor and undemocratic decisions by Azimio make me worry that Raila Odinga is not in charge.
Now compare this to Kenya Kwanza. One, with Dr Ruto, it is very clear what development plans he has for Kenya. His conversations are all about turning the fortunes of the poor and middle class and raising them to the top.
He is also cognisant of the fact that the business community needs to be supported to grow because when it expands with minimal bureaucracy, jobs are created and the economy grows. For Ruto, it is about more money in the pockets of all Kenyans.
Two, on sharing of government, I know what my party’s role will be. In Kenya Kwanza, there is clarity on the sharing of government – no games or hidden cards.
Dr Ruto made it clear that Mudavadi had negotiated for Chief Minister: he offered me the Deputy Chief Minister position with a ministerial portfolio in Infrastructure Development.
His interest in me is not just about winning but the wealth of knowledge and ‘chap chap’ ability to work and transform Kenya that I would bring to his government.
Three, we discussed portofolios and his plans to form an inclusive government that performs. It was clear from our meetings that he had thought clearly on how to transform and grow wealth in Kenya and was not just seeking power.
Like me, he is hungry for the kind of change that can bring more people into the economic and money-making environment.
Kenya is for us all.
Four, we also discussed campaign funding and what my responsibilities and those of Kenya Kwanza would be.
Five, there is no doubt who is in charge and who is running the show. Dr Ruto is not under the remote control, as Hon. Mudavadi puts it, of anyone. He says a clear yes and a clear no and is, therefore, predictable. A vital attribute in any partnership.
And lastly, I joined Dr Ruto and Kenya Kwanza because it is the winning team.
A wind of change is blowing in Kenya and people want real change – change that only Dr Ruto can bring to Kenya of the present.
Dr Mutua is the Governor of Machakos County