Kieleweke, Tanga Tanga just a chess game being played on us – Daily Nation


By MUTUMA MATHIU
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The Kieleweke and Tanga Tanga drama is a storm in a tea cup. The election is not until 2022 and the debate is not about how our lives will be made better, the tax burden lighter and the future of our children brighter.

It is mainly jostling for power and influence within the political class.

And I believe, and I could be wrong, that the money being used to run around the country, print T-shirts, buy protesters and so on is straight out of our taxes.

From my armchair, it appears as if Deputy President William Ruto enjoys the support of many elected leaders in central Kenya.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s governor in Kiambu, Mr Ferdinand Waititu, sings the Ruto chorus.

Hell, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, one of Mr Kenyatta’s earliest and most fanatical court poets, is now reading from the Ruto anthology! So, what’s going on and why shouldn’t we care?

Allow me to speculate. This is my own personal theory — for your entertainment, not information. Don’t sue me if it’s wrong (it most likely is).

I think Dr Ruto has executed a brilliant, well-timed political coup against Mr Kenyatta, calculated to render the President politically irrelevant and push him into a lame-duck mode early in the second term.

That places the DP in pole position to succeed Mr Kenyatta — and on his own terms.

That would mean Dr Ruto would not need Mr Kenyatta to get elected and would, therefore, be entirely his own man, beholden to no one.

In this scenario is an interesting twist of fates, where the President would serve at his deputy’s pleasure.

It boggles the mind the strategy and sheer resources required to recruit and finance the nomination and election of such a huge number of governors, senators, MPs and MCAs in Central. It speaks of a very committed politician with a huge war chest.

I don’t know whether the ground — as they call it — in Central is with Mr Kenyatta or Dr Ruto.

But having been around for a while, I’d not write off Mr Kenyatta in Central.

If he got out, worked hard and mobilised his political base, he would have few problems getting the voters behind him.

But what he needs is not the support of voters; he is not in an election.

It is numbers in Parliament, so that he can implement his agenda and stay in office.

And to manage his exit, so that he remains politically relevant and influential in retirement — assuming, of course, he does not have a power extension scheme under his sleeve.

Was the pre-emptive strike against the President an inspired move or a monumental blunder?

Only time will tell. Generally speaking, power is never given. It is taken … fought for.

If you sit back and wait to be given at the pleasure and out of the generosity of other politicians, you will either sink into irrelevant sycophancy or become a lapdog leader.

But if you must make a move against the pack leader, you have to be certain you are strong enough to strike a knockout blow.

I think Mr Kenyatta’s counter is not bad. By bringing opposition leader Raila Odinga and his Nasa band into play, he scored two good goals.

First, he got himself a good pair of political legs. He can mix it up in Parliament, move his agenda and avoid impeachment — if it comes to that.

Secondly, he pacified the country and got a chance to take the political high ground, where he is seen to be fighting corruption and unifying and developing the nation.

This is good chess, I think. A partnership between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, especially with the benefits of incumbency, is politically lethal.

If you throw in the other senior politicians gravitating around the ‘handshake’, then you have a formation with the political talent and resources to lock Dr Ruto out of the presidency.

And thus, Mr Kenyatta recaptures the initiative, gaining the leverage to dictate the course of events.

Assuming, of course, that Mr Odinga, the ruthless grandmaster, does not pull off the mother of all upsets and do a deal on the sly with Dr Ruto, isolate and knock out Mr Kenyatta.

But, like I said, none of it is a matter of life and death for the average Kenyan.

And none of it is really about lightening the tax burden or lighting up your street.

Speaking of chess, Congolese President Joseph Kabila is feared to have pulled a fast one on the opposition.

He apparently had a candidate in the race — only it was not necessarily that of his party, Mr Emmanuel Shadary.

According to some, it was Mr Felix Tshisekedi, the eventual winner with seven million votes.

The other opposition candidate, Mr Martin Fayulu, who got 6.4 million votes, says he has been robbed of victory and that Mr Tshisekedi struck a deal with Mr Kabila.

As Mr Fayulu cries foul, Mr Tshisekedi is singing Lingala in praise of Mr Kabila: “I pay tribute to President Joseph Kabila and today we should no longer see him as an adversary, but rather, a partner in democratic change in our country.”

Meanwhile, Mr Shadary has conceded defeat and welcomed the election of Mr Tshisekedi as a victory for democracy, saying “the Congolese people have chosen and democracy has triumphed”.

Smells to high heaven, methinks, but much better than bloodshed or a refusal to hold elections.


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