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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 16 November 2014


That President Uhuru Kenyatta has embarked on an aggressive and his most massive state versus opposition confrontation in Kenyan politics, and yet the most constitutional, the battleground is fast becoming evident.
It is a struggle, using strategy and mountains of cash, and it is aimed at securing a second term and build for himself a lasting legacy. 
Already, leading rebels are being promised lucrative positions. We have information that a move to have Ababu Namwamba replace National Speaker Justin Muturi is on drive. If it happens, it will be the Luhya community targetted. Here, it will be argued Namwamba has been frustrated in ODM with his community crying foul.
Muturi is a man under siege.
Muturi pay and emoluments package are weightier than President Uhuru Kenyatta’s or President William Ruto’s.
Under the 2010 constitution, he is third in line in succession to the presidency.
And yet observers say he is the poorest, most arrogant and ineffective performer of the docket he occupies since the office of Speaker of the National Assembly was created in 1964.
The Seventh Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya is a national disgrace, some have been that harsh.
Justus Bedan Njoka Muturi is the first Speaker of the bicameral parliament.
He will almost certainly be a one-term Speaker if he survives the current plot and even if the Jubilee powers its way into a second term in 2017.
Muturi has been a disaster as Speaker on several occasions, displaying himself as ignorant of the weight the seats he holds wields.
He merits no comparison whatsoever to his immediate two predecessors, Francis ole Kaparo (Kanu, 1998-2008) and Kenneth Marende (ODM, 2008-2013), let alone the late Sir Humphrey Slade (1967-1970).
How Muturi beat Marende 219-129 in the second round of balloting for the Speaker’s position on March 28 2013, is one of the great tragedies of the tyranny of numbers, a factor of the 11th parliament. Kenyans have lived to rue the day Marende exited the scene.
Muturi has previously served as a principal magistrate (1982-1997), chairman of the Judges and Magistrates Association, member of the Africa Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption, Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption and the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank.
Last week, while he was away out of the country on a trip to Israel, Lands cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu wrote to Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso and complained about a cartel of corrupt MPs specialising in harassing ministers with a view to extortionate practices.
Close insiders in both the cabinet and parliament are of the view that Ngilu had special reasons to time her complaint when Muturi was away. Had the Speaker been the one receiving the complaint, it would never have seen the light of day, despite his previous anti-corruption postings.
Under Muturi, corruption has reared its ugly head and found several cartel homes in the bicameral parliament.
MPs from across the political divide complained about the Speaker’s alleged rampant alcoholism. “Mr Speaker drinks deep into the night and often until pre-breakfast. He nurses his massive hangovers at the Norfolk Hotel. He is reconstructed most mornings by selected members of the Norfolk’s health club, including a paramedic. His clothes are laundered in the hotel and his shoes shone by them,” one claimed.
However, not even the Norfolk’s experienced staff can completely remove a heavy drinker’s hangover and Muturi is often in a daze in the chair, which explains his rudeness and bad jokes when he intervenes or interjects in debates. While leaving the hotel, Muturi’s entourage causes heavy traffic jam in the city centre as he heads to his office.  
At the Norfolk, another one of our moles talked of the Speaker’s bills that leaves one open-mouthed in shock. Kenyans would be traumatised by the kind of expenditure the third highest ranking member of the public service hierarchy indulges in at one of the world’s most famous hotels.
But Muturi has made so many enemies right here in Kenya that it will not take a foreign secret agent to bring about his downfall. He has enough foes among parastatal CEOs to last him a lifetime, some of whom are complaining of giving out money to a cartel of parliamentary committee members to have the speaker make decisions in their favour. Cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries have not been spared neither. It is emerging that working slyly and silently through parliamentary committees, Muturi has helped to crucify a number of top parastatal bosses.
Even ODM-Cord leader Raila Odinga was shocked and quickly stepped into the fray when he returned from tours of the US and Mozambique in October and told parliament to make up its mind whether to follow a presidential or a parliamentary system.  Raila, in a rare and unsolicited show of coming to Uhuru’s and the cabinet’s defence, warned that the strategy was in breach of the separation of powers principle.
But it took Uhuru’s summoning of Muturi and other House leaders at night to State House to end the cabinet secretaries’ agony at the hands of corrupt MPs.
Wikipedia defines alcoholism as “alcohol addiction, which is the compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker’s health, personal relationships, and social standing. It is medically considered a disease, specifically an addictive illness. In psychiatry, several other terms have been used, specifically ‘alcohol abuse,’ ‘alcohol dependence,’ and ‘alcohol use disorder.’’
Talk is rife among MPs about the Muturi’s replacement. They argue it has to be outside Mount Kenya region since the area is known to produce partisan people. The balance of opinion is favouring ODM-Cord rebel and Budalang’i MP Namwamba, who has handled the powerful Public Accounts Committee, as the Eighth Speaker of the National Assembly.
It is also aimed at fencing off and isolating one operative – ODM and Cord supremo Raila – and finally retiring the Odinga factor from the political stage.
The strategy is multi-pronged and has many layers. It is a struggle for the regions and the vote blocs, right across Kenya.
And, against all expectations and calculations, the State House incumbent has decided to make inroads in areas that overwhelmingly voted against him. As a consequence of this, his own constituencies where he commands a following has been complaining of not seeing the president.
On the other side of the political divide, the leader of the opposition, the former prime minister, again and against all expectations and calculations, is fighting hard not to lose ground in his strongholds of the last two consecutive presidential races (2007 and 2013).
The silence of Raila’s co-principals in Cord, Wiper leader and former VP Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya leader and Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula, is sending shockwaves in the political terrain.
Cord rebels are a new and intriguing political category and phenomenon. They come from Raila’s own home bastion of Luo Nyanza, from Wetang’ula’s own backyard of Western, from Kalonzo’s Eastern redoubt and from the Coast.
The Coast region was the first to show signs of rebelling. Having voted as one for Raila Odinga and Cord the Coast started asking itself whether the opposition really had an agenda for the region.
Now the Coast’s Cord rebels are agitating for a regional political formation that accommodates all the peoples of the region as a bloc – the Giriama, Chonyi, Duruma, Digo, Kauma, Kambe, Jibana, Rabai, Ribe, Taita, Taveta, Orma, Wardei, Bonyi, Swahili and Arabs.
Next to rebel was  Namwamba who made a bid to succeed Kisumu senator and Odinga loyalist Anyang’ Nyong’o as ODM secretary general in the ill-fated internal polls of February 28 2014, supported strongly by Mombasa governor Hassan Joho. It was clear at the Kasarani Gymnasium that the Namwamba-Joho faction had the support of the majority of delegates, who cheered them wildly and booed the Kisumu Mafia, led by Nyong’o and Homa Bay senator Otieno Kajwang’, deeply.
Namwamba’s  biggest revenge against the sabotage of the ODM generational change polls was when he shot down Raila’s sensational claim that Sh15 billion had been looted from Central Bank during the presidential transition from Kibaki to Uhuru. Namwamba was speaking in his capacity as chair of PAC. ODM’s most brilliant propaganda tool of 2014 was effectively shredded.
In Eastern, the face of the Cord rebellion has been Alfred Mutua, governor of Machakos. On Friday, Uhuru spent the day in Machakos county, hosted by Mutua. Amazingly, he received support from Ukambani MPs mostly from Cord co-principal Kalonzo’s Wiper party. They included Joe Mutambu, Patrick Makau, Regina Ndambuki, Bishop Mutemi, Kisoi Munyao, John Munuve and Richard Makenga.
All these rebels told the president they will partner with him in development matters. Also present as this pledge was delivered were MPs Victor Munyaka, Itwiku Mbai, Aden Duale, Moses Kuria, Gatobu Karanja and former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile.
The leaders accompanied the President on his tour of the county, beginning at Mlolongo and ending with a Q and A session in which members of the public asked the questions and the president, governor and other leaders provided the answers.
On the same day that Uhuru was in Eastern, Raila was in his own Luo Nyanza heartland.
At a meeting called to resolve the growing rebellion in Nyanza as well as intervene. No other political party witnesses scenes like these on the VIP podium in Kenya.
Raila is walking into the trap of a mini-general election such as the one the late Tom Mboya brilliantly engineered for the late Jomo Kenyatta against the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in 1966, to address then emergent KPU factor. If Raila boxes himself into expelling all rebels from Coast to Eastern and Western, there is no guarantee whatsoever that ODM-Cord can win even half of the ensuing by-elections that would amount to a mini-general election. But there is a plan by Jubilee and other formations, supported by the incumbent regime, to engineer by-elections in pro-Cord areas by financing rebellion. The scheme is to win many or most of these by-election contests and increase their hold on both houses.
Surrounded by what his detractors say are bad advisers, Raila is stumbling into a huge make-or-break gamble towards exactly the midterm point in Jubilee’s first term, when a national referendum is also tentatively scheduled.
“You are either with us or with them; you either support us or work with Jubilee,” Raila declared. “You are for us or against us, there is no two-way traffic about it.”
He was borrowing a leaf from former US President Bush Jnr after Osama bin Laden attacked America on September 11 2001. The difference is that Bush was speaking from a position of superpower strength.
In a scenario reminiscent of the humiliation of party executive director Magerer Lang’at recently at a parliamentary group meeting and Kidero at Uhuru Park on May 31, Kasipul Kabondo MP Sylvance Osele faced the engineered fury of rowdy youths who heckled and attempted to rough him up. The high decibel heckling lasted for 20 minutes.
At the Coast,  Cord leaders want Uhuru to handle a number of sensitive issues in the region which the president is said to be willing.
Already, Uhuru has personally been instrumental in assisting Joho solve the fake degree court saga more so, in a Kampala court. Uhuru personally talked to President Yoweri Museveni.
Uhuru and Joho recently held a meeting at State House, Mombasa and they are said to be getting on well. Sources say Joho stated he was willing to be in Jubilee and gave a number of conditions to be met.
The land issue featured prominently.
In Kamba politics Jubilee is making inroads by dividing Wiper party. Uhuru wants to bury Kalonzo Musyoka politically. His spanner boys are led by Governor Mutua a man who is even whispered is imagining he can be his running mate 2017 but analysts say the chances are too remote.

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