Political pacts are all about narrow interests

Azimio deal

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna (left) and Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni sign coalition documents during Azimio La Umoja National Delegates Convention at KICC on March 12, 2022.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Political pacts are not worth the paper they are written on. All the wheeling and dealing on show right now as the two major political formations try to outdo each other is seeing a lot movement fuelled by deals that reveal the true chicanery, hypocrisy and greed of the Kenyan political animal.

The defections and other movements around alliance-building are not about the people. Nor are they being done in the interest of any principle, ideology or policy. It is 100 per cent crass opportunism and self-interest.

What is amazing is that the politicians cutting deals to pledge allegiance to either William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance or Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party are so blinded by their own greed that they actually believe they stand to reap a bounty.

They are like the fellow who gets mesmerised by some card sharp in the backstreets of Nairobi’s city centre and stakes all his cash on some pata potea con.

Many presume that the mere fact of coalition agreements now having to be deposited with the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) provides a guarantee that promises will be kept. The fact is that it’s not the Registrar, Ms Ann Nderitu, who will take the oath of office as Kenya’s 5th president following the elections of August 9, 2022. That burden is already reserved for either Deputy President Ruto or former Prime Minister Odinga.

Single deal

Ms Nderitu will not be the one forming the government either. She will not be the one making appointments to the Cabinet and other senior government offices. Nor will she have a single vote in the Senate or the National Assembly.

She will not be called on to implement a single deal; neither will she have the power to direct either President Ruto or President Odinga to live up to any Faustian bargain.

The Registrar is simply a custodian of coalition pacts. She has no power to enforce compliance with silly political promises. So, if anybody believed they have some iron-clad guarantee of their role in a future Azimio or Kenya Kwanza government, they will be in for some rude shock.

The likes of former Vice-President Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress (ANC) might have come out as brilliant negotiators to cut such sweetheart deals as the promise of virtual Prime Minister in a Ruto government but closer scrutiny will reveal that they were outfoxed.

‘Mission Impossible’

Mr Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula, the senator for Bungoma County since promised the chair of Senate Speaker, will only get those positions if they deliver 70 per cent western Kenya vote. They willingly walked themselves into a ‘Mission Impossible’.

Then there is Mr Odinga and the offer of Chief Minister for Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka as well as prime Cabinet slots for some key Azimio campaign chieftains. After all the shrill demands, blackmail and threats he has been subjected to by running mates in the past two elections, Mr Odinga could not have been serious in his offer to Mr Musyoka.

But if it’s true that the master of flip-flops is, indeed, considering yet another somersault if the Odinga offer is put in writing as part of the Azimio coalition agreement, that would be another instance where greed and desperation triumph over common sense.

The offer can, indeed, be put in writing but neither the ORPP nor any right-thinking judge will force the appointment if Mr Odinga reneges on the promise.

And this brings us to another issue. All these fellows extracting promises of government appointments claim they are doing so on behalf of their political movements. Nothing could be further from the truth; they are getting jobs for themselves. And where it’s the promise of 30 per cent Cabinet slots and other senior appointments for Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula, it’s not so much about ANC and Ford-K but jobs for the party chiefs’ clansmen, relatives and friends.

All these fellows claim to lead national political movements but have exposed themselves terribly as ethnic chiefs negotiating only for their tribesmen.

On the campaign trail, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula are making it clear that their share in a Ruto government will be limited to their Luhya community. From the other side, Mr Musyoka and his mouthpieces—such as Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua and his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Junior—are loudly proclaiming that their demands on Mr Odinga are 100 per cent about the Kamba community.

When these fellows were seeking the presidency, were they running for President of Kenya or president of their village councils?

[email protected] www.gaitho.co.ke. @MachariaGaitho

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