The Movie, Race to the State House
Kenyans will soon go to the polls again, and there is a growing trend, a notion of another round of election related violence. The spate of ethnic clashes due to competition for scarce resources between indigenous groups, political rivalry between political actors, and the war on terror seem to give analysts justification to project instability in the foreseeable future. Yet a just a decade ago, it was rare to find, and difficult to accept any kind of estimates on possibilities of a civil strife in the aftermath of an election contest. The Moi era was orderly and with a commander in charge at least in matters security. The standards have now changed. The experience from the fallout of previous election and the ensuing chaos had tremendously changed the general perception and way of thinking. People are more skeptical and concerned about security. They are not assured the system will protect them in case of a breakdown of law and order. These are some of the reasons why efforts directed to promote national security are getting popular support from Kenyans. The ongoing judicial process in the ICC, and the war on terror, where Kenya’s military is leading the onslaught against Alshabaab, are two events that are highly rated by citizens - the general belief is, these events will have a net effect of restoring confidence in the justice, rule of law and the security sector.
As the new ICC prosecutor visits Kenya, it is important for the country to demonstrate ability and credibility to deal with its affairs including the case before the international criminal court. In the interim, we can enjoy the latest episode in our political movie.
Uhuru – Ruto merger, a turning point in political process
It is injury time for politicians but Kenyans are owners of initiative, they have ample time before elections in March, to make a decisive choice to pick their leader. The news of a possible Uhuru – Ruto ticket is a good development in politics. The significance of this all new alliance is, it deals a big blow to the voter apathy and it revives interest for people to reassess their political positions in preparation for the March ballot date.
In crafting their latest pacts, our politicos have openly justified their team spirit as a coalition arrangement of like-minded parties. Indeed the interest of TNA and URP leadership is at a rendezvous point, and they are before the same court. They also have in common, a strong ethnic political base and cases of international crime pending before the ICC. Their ultimate objective is to win election, take over executive control and influence, to deal proactively with challenges before them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Uhuru – Ruto merger in their endeavor to survive given that animals have a penchant to naturally revert to survival skills when they are threatened or become endangered species. For ODM, the story is no different, they have no alternative manifesto to differentiate them from their competitors, they are simply bogged down in power struggles and have perfected their strategy, reloaded themselves to hoodwink the voter by maligning political competitors, when in fact, they are known as associates, comrade in arms with their rivals in terms of the ills that have dodged Kenya over the years.
Talking of like mindedness, the remainder of presidential candidates can easily take advantage from the present political realignment. They are no doubt, like minded to a big extent. They are not tribal chiefs; they are not wealthy, or party to official corruption. Although they are considered second tier candidates, they can easily coalesce at this critical point, if they care, to fill in the vacuum and provide alternative leadership for Kenyans. They have to put aside their ego, put Kenya first, and work together to succeed. No Martha Karua, Prof. Olekiyiapi, Peter Kenneth or Raphael Tuju can go it alone and make to state house. Well, nobody needs a political scientist to make this proposal deductive reason. The bottom line is, such coalition can easily change the course of Kenya’s politics – in defeating ethnicity and to introduce issues to be the basis for political competition.
The plot is getting clearer. There are only two key factors central to the outcomes of March 2013 elections. First, the hangovers of 2007 post-election violence and the ICC question are outright criteria to shape Kenya’s governance beyond Kibaki regime. Secondly, voting decision taken by the Rift valley and Central Kenya depending on political contracts entered by leaders before the general election will decide Kenya’s president in March, 2013.
By Mohamed Adan Wato, Major (Rtd.). Mohamed Wato is a retired army officer, a practicing Security professional and a Mwakilishi.com contributor. He is the author of the book "Walking A tight Rope amidst Kenya Post Election violence".
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You have said the truth, the whole truth, Major Wato. Let us wait and see how the events will unfold. In the meantime, it appears to me that Uhuru-Ruto merger has outright put Chief Justice Willy Mutunga at an awarkward position, given that it is now clear he has become a puppet of the West. This has put him on notice that he is likely to be walking on thin ice if he does not play his cards well.
Mr Kariuki, I hear you and you are absolutely right!
The issue facing these two presidential candidates is a big dilemma for Kenya as a whole. There are a handful of compelling and plausible reasons why public servants and/or elected officials need to step down when their conduct is subjected to investigation for alleged wrongdoing.
In unprecedented situations such as the ICC case facing our political leaders who have shown potentials to be elected President, only the national, constitutional, judicial mechanisms, and or good faith on the part of these leaders is what can spare the nation from a possible international embarrassment. Elected officials are entrusted by the public to conduct themselves legally and ethically and should be held to the highest standards of integrity – For Uhuru and Ruto, the ICC process has put their integrity to a big doubt.
Elected officials cannot be forced to step down. They resign on their own volition when faced with ethical dilemmas. That way, they can preserve credibility, and once they are proven innocent, it becomes easier for them to restore public confidence.
Again, it is easy to point out that substantial time is spent on litigation process at the expense of service to the electorate/nation when leaders are faced with prosecution. To avoid a case of “sacred cows”, so that everybody is treated equally, it is wise for suspected leaders to clear their names before they can proceed with national service.
The risk Kenyans are taking, is to be a stigmatized nation within the community of nations. It is an embarrassment and a demoralizing thing to have a president who is a client of International criminal court.
For these reasons, our reformed judiciary is faced with a big test. I am not sure they are prepared to sit for this examination.