Third Eye

Mountain wave likely to usher in issue-based politics

Monday, July 5th, 2021 00:00 |
Former NASA presidential flag bearer and ODM party leader Raila Odinga has broken his silence over possible alliances and formation for the 2022 general elections.
ODM party leader Raila Odinga. Photo/Courtesy
Raila Odinga.

The BBI court cases will soon be behind us and the next course of public discourse is definitely going to be the 2022 General Election. 

Are we going to have the elections on August 9, 2022 or will circumstances call for postponement of the elections? 

We are likely to see many politicians position themselves for plum placements in the next political dispensation.

This jostling is the more reason why most politicians want the BBI amendments to take effect before the next elections, and let us not be fooled by expedient public political talk; supporters of BBI abound in both sides of the political divide.

Why? Because the provisions are a lot more accommodative of an increased number of major players who would easily galvanise voting blocks and build expansive campaign teams.  

These folks also know that with BBI, winning a presidential elections guarantee some peaceful transfer of power because the losing presidential candidate will have a fairly substantive role to play in government. 

Well, back to the elections and the reality of the germane emergence of conversations around the date, the preparedness of the electoral body and the possibility of addressing fundamental electoral issues becomes urgent. The questions likely to arise include whether an election is a must have ritual.

Granted, most Kenyans like the ritualistic cycle and we all want the elections on the second Tuesday of October next year.

As things stand the Mt Kenya region that has been at the centre of presidential races since the return of multi-party elections in 1992, will probably go into this election without a presidential candidate, at least not one who will shake the race.

So far, 2022, is shaping up to be a typical hot race that could pit Raila Odinga against Deputy President William Ruto.

One thing that is likely to happen is that the positioning of Mt Kenya leaders in prominent national positions in these two potentially formidable political formations, will definitely change the paradigm of our politics. 

These two leading presidential candidates will definitely have to traverse the country looking for votes and it will be incumbent upon the top leadership from Mt Kenya to take their respective presidential candidates to the mountains and help them seek votes.

This scenario portends the possibility of exorcising the single story stereotypes that have long been perpetuated in our politics.

It does appear that Mt Kenya voters will have no reason to vote as a block, because it is fairly clear that key sons of the region will be highly placed in two or three political formations, but not as presidential candidates.  

The focus will thus be on the socio-political and economic agenda these candidates will present to Kenyans at large and the mountain specifically.

I see leaders like Raila and Ruto engaging directly with the people, a situation that is likely to push our democracy beyond the single stories of certain leaders cannot be elected or certain communities cannot lead.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says that stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but she is also quick to note that stories can also be used to empower and humanise.

The citizens from the mountain will have a great opportunity to evaluate presidential candidates objectively, just like the citizens of Luo Nyanza had the opportunity to evaluate Raila backed candidate Mwai Kibaki in 2002. 

As the good brothers from the mountain will afford presidential candidates from other regions the opportunity to tell multiple stories, I pray that the leaders will also remodel their campaign strategies. 

The more we hear from the people about their plight; the more we give them more platforms to articulate their plight, the more as a society will we dignify their aspirations and humanise their participation in our politics.

The sovereign power belongs to Wanjiku and as such, our political rallies just like the BBI rallies should afford the common mwananchi the platform to articulate the plight of many Kenyans who suffer the indignity of poverty, and tell the whole world what political leadership should attend to. May the mountain rise and take us to this bright space.  

[email protected]

More on Third Eye