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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Battle Lines Drawn... Again

What do you expect if you go to your local police station and start throwing stones inside? Do you perhaps expect the police officers to invite you inside for a cup of tea while they calm you down and find out what the problem is? Figure it out for yourself my friend.

Yesterday, in what I am very sure was a carefully timed move, PNU MPs known to be mouthpieces of the party’s most rabid hardliners came out with guns blazing and insisted that William Ruto should be left out of the cabinet because of his alleged role in post election violence. Actually this particular utterance came out hot in the heels of another statement from the illegal cabinet to the effect that President Kibaki should scrutinize ODM nominees for cabinet posts.

Clearly there is a very deliberate effort to isolate William Ruto by PNU hardliners. It will be interesting to see what their next move will be.

In a quick rejoinder ODM came out and asked PNU to concentrate on their half of the cabinet and leave that of ODM alone.

Something else significant happened yesterday. The Anan peace talks collapsed. The reason was a lack of interest from the PNU side. Only one representative turned up, namely Mutula Kilonzo. Meaning that the illegal cabinet is pretty busy at the moment. The big question is… doing what?

The answer is… something more important than the “grand coalition nonsense.” Yep. That’s the thinking within PNU at the moment as the hardliners have taken complete control.

Of course they have totally failed to read the writing on the wall even as President Robert Mugabe seems to be on his way out in Zimbabwe. Most Kenyans are hardly interested in foreign news but spare a minute to consider something that directly relates to Kenya. If Mugabe is indeed ousted then this will be extremely significant. Mugabe is NOT KIbaki. Remember that this is the man who won independence for Zimbabwe and has distributed land to peasants and the landless all over the country. For this reason he was extremely popular in the grassroots. Probably the quote that best illustrates the resolve of the angry Zimbabwean voters is the following one which the International press captured in an interview with a voter somewhere in that landlocked country;

“We have never though of not voting for Zanu PF (Mugabe’s party) but this time, hunger opened our eyes.”

There is a wind of change blowing across Africa once again and the problem with these kind of winds is that they sweep everything from their paths. Especially stubborn and selfish persons with self interest as their only agenda.

It would seem from the recent happenings in the country that we are sliding back to exactly the same position where we were previously. A small gathering of activists graced by Nobel peace prize laureate Wangari Mathai which had gathered at Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park demanding that Preisdent Kibaki should not constitute a cabinet of more than 24, was dispersed by police using tear gas. This is interesting because this was not your usual group of hooligans from the slum mingling with thugs looking for an excuse to loot. This was a peaceful gathering of mostly the NGO fraternity.

Then 3 Ukambani MPs including Charity Ngilu echoed William Ruto’s call for fresh elections. PNU MPs promptly replied that the IDPs were a bigger priority than fresh elections. This would have been rather amusing if the situation of the IDPs was not so desperate and tragic. The truth is that PNU hardliners don’t care about the IDPs, at least not as much as they care about the Safaricom IPO and retaining plum ministerial dockets.

So the question now is; what next?

It is clear that PNU hardliners who are now in total control of the country, are spoiling for a fight judging from their utterances and behaviour over the last few days. And on the other side it is abundantly clear that ODM are pushing for fresh elections but do not want to look like they are the ones who have messed up the grand coalition even before it starts.

And as politicians play their games while waiting for their close to a million Kenya shillings salary at the end of the month, children are dieing from the cold and rain in IDP camps and ordinary folks are suffering the highest inflation rates since 1990. The price for Unga (maize flour) has climbed steeply in the last few weeks and there are clear signs that the country is headed in the direction of the kind of famine that has never been seen in these shores before.

Then there are numerous Kenyans who have lost their jobs and livelihoods as a direct result of the post election skirmishes.

Amid all these clear signs that all is not well in the country, a significant number of smart alec Kenyan investors (or shall I call them wishful gamblers?) are lining up to purchase Safaricom shares.

It is easy to predict the following quote coming out of the country in the near future;

“We have never thought of participating in demonstrations against the political class. But hunger opened our eyes.”

In my raw notes this week I will reveal what some high ranking ODM insiders believe will happen next. Find out how to get your copy of my notes.

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