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Friday, March 07, 2008

10th Parliament: Why Nobody Wants To Be In The Opposition

One would have thought that the best strategy for any politician in the 10th parliament who does not get a cabinet position, would be to position themselves in the opposition in readiness for the next general elections which many people believe will be held in 2 years time.

After all going by what has happened in the past, the government always manages to get unpopular sooner or later presenting a “through pass” to any carefully positioned opposition candidate to easily get re-elected into the august house.

But alas, Kenyan politics always has its’ bizarre twists. It is now becoming clearly evident that hardly anybody in the 10th parliament wants to be in the opposition. Virtually all PNU affiliate parties are saying that they are included in the grand coalition and are therefore in government. The same with ODM affiliate parties. And what complicates matters further is that both PNU and ODM are working very hard behind scenes to ensure that they have a parliamentary majority in the house (just in case).

What that means is that contrary to what we are being told, there will hardly be any opposition in the 10th parliament unless something changes drastically. The “opposition” task it seems will be left to the press and the rising power of blogs like Kumekucha but that is hardly the same thing as having a strong opposition in the house.

Forget about the back bench because when all the numbers are in government a back bencher in say ODM or even PNU is of no consequence.

Those who understand Kenyan politics well are fully aware of the reason why there is this mad scramble for government as if there were no political tomorrow. It is simply because most MPs need to recover the cash they spent in the last elections and make a huge profit while thye are at it. The opposition or the back benches is hardly the place to do this. Secondly in the past MPs have been able to make good money in a situation where there is an opposition that threatens to be stronger than government in terms of numbers in the house. This is exactly what the situation was during the hotly contested election for the speaker. However the situation has now been dramatically altered because of the grand coalition between ODM and PNU which means that opportunities to receive hefty bribes to vote one way or the other have been wiped out. What all this does it to leave one prize and one prize alone—being in government.

However what most of the politicians in the 10th parliament have forgotten is that the same “razor” that shaved most of their opponents who missed to return to parliament will be waiting again to shave them barely 2 years from now. The Kenyan public is getting very impatient with their politicians and it seems that most legislators have failed to read the writing on the wall.

Then there is the likelihood that the new constitution which will be passed by parliament will sideline many politicians from “eating” positions. For instance there is a high likelihood that if the Bomas draft is adopted, there will no longer be ministerial or cabinet appointments for MPs. In short the noose is slowly tightening on the unsuspecting and terribly short-sighted legislators in the 10th parliament.

Another interesting development is the gathering storm within ODM over one of the two soon-to-be-created Deputy Prime Minister’s seats. Interestingly the PNU side (which is expected to produce one of the two Deputy Prime Ministers) is also deeply embroiled in a serious struggle for the seat amongst its’ ranks and the names of Uhuru Kenyatta, Martha Karua and George Saitoti have been voiced within the PNU camp as possibles. Even more interesting is a report in a local daily that there was a meeting yesterday at a city hotel attended by Amos Kimunya, Martha Karua and Uhuru Kenyatta to strategize on how one of them can secure the Deputy PM post. But the storm in ODM is huge in comparison to whatever may be brewing in the PNU camp and if it is not handled skillfully could prove to be divisive at a critical time. Rift Valley supporters of the party are of the view that they made the largest sacrifice in fighting for the new political dispensation. The feeling is that they therefore deserve the deputy Prime Minister’s seat much more than Western province where votes were almost split and ODM supporters allowed too much encroachment by PNU. However Ruto’s appointment to the Deputy premiership will deeply disappoint the Luhya community who are holding on to their belief that their man Musalia Mudavadi will be Raila’s anointed heir. It’s a tough call but all factor’s considered, if I were Raila I would appoint William Ruto (don’t want to mess around with the unpredictable Kalenjin at this time) and then retain Mudavadi as “deputy captain” of the party.

There is of course the remote possibility that the problem will be solved for Raila if the 50/50 agreement is enforced which means that the Vice president has to come from ODM and that post would go to Musalia Mudavadi. Incidentally Mudavadi is one character that PNU would be happy to work with.


Kimi Raikkonen said...

I said on this forum early this week that trouble over the DPM was brewing in ODM and i was called all sorts of unspeakable names. Now read in todays Daily Nation, word for word, it is exactly as i predicted:

"However, Rift Valley MPs who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the scenario has since changed and Mr Ruto deserves the seat. They argued that Mr Odinga was enjoying the fruits of political leadership that was won by votes from the Rift Valley and it was only fair that one of their sons be given a top position. “This war was won by the Rift Valley and Mr Ruto has done all it takes to be a deputy prime minister,” said one of the MPs.

They further argued that Western province has under its wraps a powerful seat in National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende. “It is only being fair to Rift Valley and the votes that Mr Ruto commands,” the MP added.

Although it has been understood that Mr Odinga has assured Mr Mudavadi that he will respect the party hierarchy, sources said the matter is likely to be discussed by the ODM parliamentary group."

Some idiot called Kanyarkwat and one Kipkoti asked me if i knew Kalenjins better than them, being kalenjin as it were. What do they have to say to say now?

Your contention that Kalonzo will be fired from the Vice Presidency is just wishful thinking. Kalonzo will be the flag bearer of the GEMA block in an alliance with the Akamba. Kikuyus will not be presenting a Presidential candidate, but will support Kalonzo for President,Uhuru as Prime Minister and Taib as Vice President in 2010, not 2012. It will be a Kalonzo/Uhuru/Taib ticket. If you truly knew your politics as you like to pretend, you should have deduced this by now.

Anonymous said...

William Ruto has done ODM proud. He not only ensured the RV vote held during the crucial Speaker election, he outfoxed, outflanked and outpoliticked Martha Karua during the negotiations. Ruto has earned his place in the sun. However, we mustn't forget that had Kibaki not stolen the elections, Musalia Mudavadi would have been No. 2 in the ODM government.

Ruto should be rewarded generously, but not at the expense of Musalia Mudavadi. Premier Raila must not do a Kalonzo on Musalia. The true mark of a great a leader is the ability to make difficult and sometimes unpopular ... but ultimately the right decision under the circumstances. I suggest that Musalia becomes Deputy PM and Ruto gets a ministry with serious clout e.g. Finance or Foreign Affairs and a bagful of cabinet posts for RV MPs (more than Western and Nyanza).

Anonymous said...

Kimi Raikkonen said...
Your contention that Kalonzo will be fired from the Vice Presidency is just wishful thinking. Kalonzo will be the flag bearer of the GEMA block in an alliance with the Akamba. Kikuyus will not be presenting a Presidential candidate, but will support Kalonzo for President,Uhuru as Prime Minister and Taib as Vice President in 2010, not 2012. It will be a Kalonzo/Uhuru/Taib ticket. If you truly knew your politics as you like to pretend, you should have deduced this by now.

Bullshit! When the new constitution is in place, the presidency won't be worth shit, so what makes you think Kalonzo will want it? With the entrenching of the new changes in the constitution, the icy wind of attrition is already blowing through the corridors of State House. The argument is no longer whether the president's powers should be cut, but how much more.

The days of this country being run by tribal chieftains ("presidents") are over. And stop comforting yourself with arithmetic. It will no longer be a numbers game (i.e. GEMA population vs. the rest), so you can forget your retrogressive 'GEMA block' nonsense. The country’s leader (PM) will come from the party with the majority of MPs and rightly so ... restrict yourself to your GEMA backwater politics and you will forever rot in the fringes.

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Bullshit your face! How do you know what the new constitution will look like? Precisely because you DO NOT KNOW what it will look like, you cannot make any definitive conclusions as to whether Kalonzo will want it or not. In any case, you contradict yourself by claiming the new changes will be entrenched in the constitution, changes which in actual fact haven’t significantly altered the power balance and the Presidency remains worth much more than the shit you loath, unless of course, you believe the myth that Raila is a powerful Prime Minister and Kibaki a weakened President. Dream on. Raila is merely a glorified prefect, that’s all. He has no powers of reward and punishment, which is what power is all about, you ignorant twit.

The GEMA block WILL still matter because in a comprehensive constitutional review, constituencies will have to be redrawn to reflect population sizes. THAT is paramount and non-nogotiable. A constituency like Embakasi, for example, will have to be split at least three times, and those are two extra GEMA seats. The only reason the late Were won that seat was because the GEMA candidates split the vote 4 ways. Once bitten twice shy. When the review has been completed, who do you think will have the single biggest tribal bloc of MPs?
If you think that a constitutional review will be done to satisfy the ego and greed of reactionaries and bigots like yourself, you had better change whatever you are smoking, its making you hallucinate.
Tribal blocks are here to stay and it will be so for the next 50 years. That is the legacy of the 41 against 1 strategy, and one which will backfire spectacularly for ODM, their brownshirts and SS brigades in the next General election, if the party will even be in existence. We will probably be having ODM Asili, ODM people, etc and numerous other ODMlettes by the time those elections are called. You ODMers started this dangerous game of tribal ganging up and now you will reap the whirlwind of your actions.

Anonymous said...

Kimi Raikkonen said...
If you think that a constitutional review will be done to satisfy the ego and greed of reactionaries and bigots like yourself, you had better change whatever you are smoking, its making you hallucinate.

Greedy bigot? Look in the mirror idiot, he's staring back at you.

You have your head stuck so deep in your GEMA a**hole you can't see the country has moved on for the shit. For the last time, your brand of GEMA politics represents our past, it does not define our future. We have moved on!

It's a simple choice Kinyanjuipithicus, pull your head out or choke in your tribal shit.

Anonymous said...

I beseech you that debate on future kenyan politics be built on issues affecting the people, the nation and the values we stand for as kenyans.

I believe we all as kenyans can make this happen, especially through this blog. Let readers of this blog play a major role in the nations healing process and refrain from fueling the already to delicate balance where people are still breathing on a string of hope.

I'm suprised that the commentaries are still about tribal voting blocks. This is the retrogressive politics that has caused kenyans so much least to say nearly everything that they hoped for in life.

To gether with Gods help we can make it happen and have kenya as an epic of democracy in the continent. This is my dream and yes I know some will call me a dreamer.

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Anon @ 12.30

Your reaction is typical of the fearful zealot who has finally realized that he has been taken for a long ride to nowhere. Your God Raila can now have the motorcade he wanted, complete with outriders, for the next two years but that will be it. He just needed a cathartic balm to massage his monumental ego.
Get over it, You are so drunk on your hatred of GEMA you are still shaking your rattles on the same spot in a primitive dance celebrating a myth that the country has moved on merely because your hero has some tough sounding title(Ati PM) that carries no weight, it hasn't. Kenya is and will be a tribalistic society for the next fifty years.
Get the finger out and smell the omena pong from the bigotry and hatred you screamed for 3 years prior to the election. You will now reap what you sowed.
You ODM zealots wanted Kalonzo to just sit back and be sacrificed by Kibaki but he has shown that he is not as stupid as you thought him. If anything, he is in pole position poised to reap the benefits of the coming constitutional review and everyone knows it. That is why Raila was in luhyaland yesterday beseeching for the unity of Western Kenya tribes against the schemes of "hao watu". Which "watu" do you think he was referring to, you ignorant dunderhead?

Anonymous said...

Kimi Raikkonen said...
Kenya is and will be a tribalistic society for the next fifty years.

LOL, who said only pigs can have good wallow? How about we build you, your very own little paddle where you can splash and wallow in your tribal shit for the next fifty years?

Anonymous said...

Kimi Raikkonen said...
Kenya is and will be a tribalistic society for the next fifty years.

LOL, who said only pigs can have a good wallow? How about we build you, your very own little paddle where you can splash and wallow in your tribal shit for the next fifty years?

Anonymous said...

You come across as one opinionated, arrogant, impatient and ethnicised GEMA apologist who thinks that everybody must accept what you say or else. You are not a good person to engage in a discussion with because you pride in ramming things down people's throats and when they don't want to swallow it you call them idiots.

You are not GOD my friend, just a fellow Homo sapiens who is finite, limited in capacity and with a shelf life not exceeding 100years (I am being generous, if you are in Kenya, the shelf life is a measly 45 years!!) I am not an idiot just because Raikkonen says so.

From your comments in this thread, you strike me as one who got a lump in your throat when Raila and Kibaki came together and you thought it was a bad dream. Now that reality has struck you, you now live in denial. And when your sobriety comes up once in a while, you make wishes and then think and live like what you wished is what is. You are, for some reason, obsessed with the position that Raila will choose Ruto as his Deputy PM. You don't have any facts from the ground except for some statements you have read in the papers (when you quote Nation, I take it with the same seriousness one took Kenya Times during the Moi days) spiced with your fertile imagination.
Let me give you facts, spiced with information from the ground. Raila held up Mudavadi's hand high during the ODM presidential nominations on 1st September 2007 and declared before all the delegates that he (Mudavadi) was the vice captain. All the delegates applauded and since then, there has been no dispute about. Mudavadi has been accorded all the respect due to a vice captain by both Raila and the ODM team. Raila has told us several times that his word is his bond.

It is not in the interest of ODM that Ruto gets the Deputy PM because he is abrasive and overly ambitious. He is not likely to go along with Raila with loyalty and humility the way Mudavadi would. If he gets that job, it will either be because Mudavadi will get a bigger job, or out of civility on Mudavadi's part. Raila knows very well that if Ruto gets the job BECAUSE he worked for it, then he will not be loyal to him, but will instead push harder for other things and fight hard to expand his influence, even to the detriment of the party(ask Wiper). Loyalty is a very important, if not critical, aspect in the politics of Kenya. It was best exemplified by one JJ and a certain court poet during the Nyayo era.

The same Nation that you quoted has this Sunday said that Ngilu is rooting for Mudavadi as Deputy VP. You have or will selectively ignore this piece. But it is significant because Ngilu is the first Pentagon member to speak on this matter and make her choice publicly. It must be carrying some weight, more than the few Kalenjin ordinary MPs you are basing your argument on. Even among the Kalenjin, there is the Koskei (Henry)-Koskei (Sally) axis which is not enthusiastic about Ruto's rise politically. Everybody accepts that Ruto has worked hard in and for ODM, but as Moi told Saitoti, "You are my friend, but not all friends are presidential material." Ruto is still very useful and a great asset to ODM, but Raila has been quoted saying that not everyone in ODM will get he wants.

Finally, let me tell you something about the GEMA unity you think is invincible. Right now there are more than 100,000 Kikuyus in IDPs (the ones Kalonzo "agreed" to host in Ukambani). They are predominantly of Kiambu extraction because very few Nyeri Kikuyus have bought land in RV. These IDP kyuks are bitter with the Nyeri kyuks because the latter contributed to their current state. The few who could go elsewhere went but the majority have remained in the IDPs hoping to go back to their RV farms. They will not want to rock the boat again in the next elections and will lie low like envelops in order to have their peace. Njuri Ncheke are waiting for things to cool down before they remind Lucy that she owes them a goat and possibly an apology for calling them "foolish Merus" (I feel she will not bend that low) and this might cause displeasure among the Amerus. Kirinyagans have derogatorily been referred to as "Toilet Cleaners" by the Kyuks and the effects of this might reverberate in future.

The post-election violence that we are coming out of has affected everyone, and it has definitely changed perceptions and values of Kenyans. The ethnic card may not work very well in the next elections. People will vote in leaders who guarantee them peace and continuity. Voting will be such that the outcome does not ignite ethnic tensions and hostilities.

So, Raikkonen, cool down and sober up. I know it is in the interest of the GEMA group that Ruto is chosen Deputy PM because they think this will bring tensions and possibly break away in ODM. But if wishes were horses, even beggars would get a ride. Do you want a ride?


Kimi Raikkonen said...

Kanyarkwat, I have not tried to impose my views on anybody. Instead, i have been abused and called names by you amongst others for merely expressing an opinion. If any body is opinionated and arrogant, it is you and your other colleagues who seem incapable of countering arguments with reason and facts.
When i said that Kalenjin MPs were insisting that their man Ruto be made DPM a week ago, you and your friend Kipkoti called me names implying that i did not know what i was talking about. A week later, that news is all over the place, with all the implied consequences of the demands they made. Now you are accusing me of supporting the appointment of Ruto as DPM. How did you arrive at such a conclusion? Based on what? Or am i being arrogant for asking the question? For your information, i would love nothing more than for Ruto and all the perps who caused the bloody mayhem in the RV to be locked up for 100 years together with their mungiki blood relatives, or better still, they be hanged. They have much in common and are actually two sides of the same coin. Atavistic bloodthirsty groups who use cultural practices to unite them as they pursue their hegemonistic goals.
My point anyway is that ODM is going to reap what it sowed, whether you call me a tribalist or a fool or arrogant or whatever. You began the so called 41 against 1 strategy in order to win the election, and the consequences are what you do not want to accept. Whether you accept them or not they are there. Deal with it.
You perpetuated a siege mentality in the GEMA and this was bound to have repercussions. Your "strategists" never told you that. Raila's "watalia" statements were just confirmation of his insidious intentions if he came to power. What many of you in ODM fail to appreciate is that GEMA were not about to wait and be massacred. Never. So now here we are.
If you ever thought that GEMA was ever going to allow Raila any real power, you are just daydreaming. The US, the UK all knew it. To illustrate, Raila has asked for the Govt to release all ODM supporters arrested during the protests. Karua immediately countered that it will not happen. Why would she contradict her perceived incoming boss? Chew on that for sometime while i contemplate other facts to wake you out of your sleepwalking stupor.

Anonymous said...

You have gone round and round until you have lost the gist of the argument. You have been insisting that Ruto should/will/must be given the Deputy PM post because he brought in more votes than Raila himself. I have been telling you that that may not necessarily be the criteria of choosing the DPM. You keep insisting as if you are an insider. You base your reasoning on the statements made by a few Kalenjin MPs. And just as I predicted above, you are conveniently ignoring statements from Ngilu and Luhya MPs that Mudavadi should be the DPM. what makes you think that only the Kalenjin voices will be heard? And since you are insisting so much, what will you say when Ruto will not be chosen DPM?
How Karua and Kikuyus' desires have come into this argument, I can't understand. How it adds value to your line of argument is beyond my comprehension.
Let's do this, Raikkonen, let's wait until the ODM DPM has been chosen and the reasons/criteria used, then we can discuss better. As for now it is just my word against yours and yet we are just both speculating.
Ahhh! but I loathe your tribalistic leaning and Kikuyu supremacy mentality.



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