Political parties hold the key to 2022 election

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre), Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Opposition leader Raila Odinga during the launch of the BBI report at the Bomas of Kenya on November 27, 2019. Photo/PD/FILE

Political temperatures are soaring as the countdown to the 2022 General Election gathers momentum, with two presumed main protagonists at daggers drawn.

It is now presumed that ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President (DP) William Ruto will be at the ballot in the battle to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Matters have entered the high-octane territory as Ruto and Raila trade barbs and fire salvos at each other, in a volcanic scenario aggravated by the “Handshake” and Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The two events have brewed a cataclysmic storm and turned political parties’ equation upside down, generating a new lexicon in the country’s rich repertoire of political jargon.

The “hustler versus dynasties” narrative and battle of wits is a direct product of the breakdown in the ruling Jubilee Party that has seen a major fallout between Uhuru and his deputy. 

For all practical purposes, Ruto and his rabble rousing allies are no longer in Jubilee and it is only a matter of time, before they settle in their new political vehicle, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

I belong to the school of thought that believes major political party and coalition realignments are in the offing, as Jubilee opts to forge a formidable alliance with among others Raila’s ODM, Musalia Mudavadi’s  Amani National Congress and Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement party.

The rupture in Jubilee is about to reach maturity as the debate on the BBI and the impending referendum rages, fuelled by the vitriolic rhetoric, particularly from Ruto’s lieutenants.

Their bitterness prompted by Raila’s perceived intrusion into their political sanctum and his unabashed bosom relationship with the President, accompanied with development goodies, such as the rehabilitation of the Kisumu port.

Development, unfulfilled manifesto and election promises have been dragged into the political parties’ fray, with Ruto launching a rancorous public tirade in response to Raila’s charge challenging Jubilee’s pledges since 2013 with the DP at the apex.

While Raila continues to throw hard jabs at his main rival for the top seat, his party lieutenants are rather low-keyed in responding to the stinging barbs directed at ‘Baba’.

Probably sharpening knives for the inevitable duel ahead of the referendum. 

It is party time again. All aspirants for the top seat and government are critically aware that without a robust, fine-tuned political party engine, any lofty ambitions are a cropper in the complex ethnic- and Constitution-driven theatre of Kenyan politics.

The DP’s well-oiled and funded machinery with public relations and propaganda may feel buoyed by the “hustler” narrative appearing to resonate with the long-suffering, jobless hoi polloi of our society. 

The characteristic exuberant crowd mentality notwithstanding, this excitement may be short-lived when pitted against the “deep state”. 

Despite denials of its existence in officialdom, dedicated scholars of Kenya’s history and establishment operations, remain alive to the all-pervading impact of this powerful shadowy force with a heavy hand on our political and socio-economic lives.

Combine this with the chama iko na wenyewe (the party has its owners) mantra and you get the drift.

ODM has set the ball rolling in housekeeping as the political parties up the ante ahead of 2022. Jubilee will soon unravel its BBI-inspired juggernaut against UDA.

Should the Big Four Agenda entrench a strong economic recovery and youth employment creation footprint in the BBI framework, with a strong communication and civic education campaign;  the hustler narrative shall have met its match. [email protected]

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