Kenyan politicians have consistently shown scant respect for the citizens. All their high-sounding pronouncements about ideology, democracy, governance, public morality and transparency are, in most cases, hot air. This is why Kenyans should scrutinise political statements keenly for evidence of deceit.
The past week has been full of drama. The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) announced that three individuals – Raila Odinga, Wycliffe Oparanya and Ali Hassan Joho – had applied for nomination to contest the presidency on the party’s ticket. A day later, the party retracted the statement that Mr Odinga was one of the applicants, crafting a spin that the pronouncement was an April Fool’s Day prank. Nothing could be more contemptuous.
The retraction came after Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, the two principals behind the “Handshake”, made a public show of amity by jointly touring development projects in Nairobi and convening a widely publicised press briefing at State House. This was to demonstrate that the “Handshake” and its offshoot, the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), were intact, contrary to a growing feeling that the two camps were parting ways.
ODM seemed to have decided to play games by refuting their own announcement on Mr Odinga’s candidature – information that was actually known by March 31.
Clearly, a pronouncement on presidential candidature and which involves the persona of Mr Odinga, and of a party with such a wide following as ODM’s, cannot be the subject of April Fool’s Day.
It all points to vacuity in Kenya’s political parties where governance is poor, structures are weak and decisions are made whimsically. We demand proper management of political parties as vehicles of national leadership.