Article by Moses Kuria of PNU/G7…
I have been on a sabbatical. I have toured many parts of this country over the last few months, listening to the real Kenyans, engaging them in their Manyattas, Bomas and Thingiras. As political commentators and paid guns, we always run the danger of being the proverbial night bird that shuts its eyes and ears and then whistling.
All it can hear is its own voice. My well-financed sabbatical to find out how poorly our political outfit is doing across the country has taught me three vital lessons. Firstly, social media and the Kenyan Diaspora will be the surprise packages for the 2012 General Elections. Secondly, ODM-Raila is alive and well. Finally, G7 Alliance has no hope for 2012.
On social media, one can only ignore this bushfire phenomenon at their own peril. The multiplier effect of the power of this new form of communications and networking will be unsettling to those used to conventional forms.
Initially they dismissed it. Then they tried to fight it with some even making hollow threats of litigation. Finally, they are all starting to grudgingly accept social media not only as a reality but as a potent weapon for 2012.
The other major factor is of course the Diaspora. With the new constitution giving Kenyans in the Diaspora the right to vote, I estimate that out of Kenyans going to the ballot box next year, 2 Million of them will troop Kenyan Embassies abroad to cast their votes. Before the polls open in Budalangi, Kenyans in China will have voted in the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing.
Of course you cannot bail out sugar and lesos to these 2 Million Kenyans who are also among the top three ‘donors’ and ‘foreign exchange earners’ to our economy. This dispensation will call for new approaches by any party serious to win 2012.
Now on ODM-Raila, the upsurge of this veritable political juggernaut notwithstanding our relentless effort to bring it down or at least cut it to size is shocking. I have visited areas in the Rift Valley, Western, Coast and even in Nairobi where the party remains dominant and am even more shocked. In these areas, if the G7 even as dares to challenge ODM-Raila, it would just be crushed to death again.
Our G7 leaders do not help matters much by their lack of stand on anything while ODM-Raila is steadfast in its stand on any number of issues, and leading in a number of them, from the Kazi-Kwa-Vijana to the national security as evinced by the PM’s visit to Israel where he secured that country’s promise to assist Kenya in its efforts to destroy Al Shabaab.
So statesman-like and impressive was the PM’s effort the only thing G7 Alliance could do was to try and portray the PM’s statement as embarrassing to the Israelis because President Shimon Peres and spokesman Mark Regev issued statements to clarify Israel’s own understanding as to what was agreed to and the timing for when things agreed to were to happen . When G7 tried to pin the PM for doing the right thing for our country, I at that juncture, felt like doing what we call SMH in Twitter –speak (Shaking My Head) in how inept we can be at G7.
I believe the Achilles heel for G7’s ill-fated and desperate attempt at toppling Raila may as well turn out to be William Ruto who says he will go alone for the presidency. Not more so for depriving us whatever votes he could bring were he to join our moribund alliance, but because Ruto understands every character in the alliance very well and thus the reason he has refused to join us; who can blame him, we gave him all the signals we are only interested to use and discard him for we cannot have him as our flag-bearer.
He communicates to the masses in a very simple and direct way, much like Raila. I was amazed in one of my tours to ask people in Coast Province whether they will vote for Raila again in 2012.
They replied “Tunapenda siasa ya hadithi, vichekesho, matangazo ya mpira na vitendawili” (We enjoy the Raila’s stories, jokes, football broadcasts and riddles) in contrast to one of Ruto’s popular quotes that has had the opposite effect of what he intended.
The problem with politics is that it is like a game of tennis. The more one comes under pressure, the more he commits unforced errors. I marveled to learn that in the recent ODM grassroots elections, voters showed up in large numbers to vote and that really depressed us because we were expecting a low turn-out and even the Kshs 2,000 per person we expended to suppress the vote did not work out at all.
Our own moronic agent, a renowned journalist by the name Dennis Itumbi blubbered in the social media that he and his brother queued for Ksh 2,000 at Thindigua Primary School in Kiambu, while his cousin who hails from Embu County was elected Kiambu ODM Youth Chairman. Even I am shocked at our own desperation.
Raila’s masterly of politics has also driven Uhuru Kenyatta one of his most formidable reality to deal with in Central Province. By joining hands with powerful and influential giants in Central province who otherwise would have had Uhuru coasting in the region, he has forced Uhuru to put up with the lowly characters he has to deal with in the G7 Alliance -without any room for error as among them while those deserting Uhuru for Raila feel they have nothing to lose because Uhuru has not shown he has anything on Raila and not even his money which these stalwarts have plenty to donate to the relatively impoverished Raila and not super rich like Uhuru who thinks they can buy the presidency.
So rich and maligned is this group of octogenarians, thanks in part to Uhuru’s father on account he counts his own wealth, in some areas their dalliance with Raila has been nick-named “Operation Linda Mali” which Uhuru himself is quietly rooting for its success.
Finally, the clear advantage presented by ODM-Raila cannot be overcome even if the G7 Alliance seize the opportunity and present a unified front.
This unity must be anchored in a democratic culture and holding of open, transparent nominations under one political vehicle. The illusions of a run-off should also be done away with as it will end up opening wounds that may not be healed between the first round and the run-off Presidential elections. In the unlikely event that the G7 alliance does not win the 2012 General Elections, they will deserve a medal. They will have achieved a spectacular feat, for they will have managed to extract defeat from the vicious, menacing jaws of victory.
***The foregoing is what I believe Moses Kuria meant to say in his article but did not by habit of being PNU/G7 Mispokesman***