The Fate of Political Coalitions After Break-Up

12 Jan


In Fate of Political Coalitions After Break-up, published in the Star today, I analyze the history of coalition break-ups in Kenya and conclude once a coalition has broken up, it’s impossible for it to reconstitute itself close where it was before break-up to be of any threat to anyone.

I further conclude the Jubilee alliance having broken up the fastest of any in our history and so soon after its formation, it’s impossible for this alliance of now only Uhuru and Ruto to reconstitute itself to be a threat to Raila or Cord much the same other coalitions before that broke-up never did to their opponents or targets.

I also note several things we can learn from the ongoing jubilee saga:

To begin with, once a coalition has severe internal wrangling that threatens break-up, it cannot survive for much long and if it breaks up, whichever entity or entities survive the break-up cannot reach the level of the coalition’s past glory, neither can the survivors reconstitute and be as effective as the coalition itself before break-up.

When Ford broke-up, what emerged was not even a shadow of its former self. Neither of the succeeding two parties formed came close to reaching the potential the original Ford had and would have easily captured the presidency and defeated Moi had the coalition remained intact.

When Narc disintegrated and dissolved following Kibaki’s defeat during the referendum, Kibaki could only remain and maintain power by taking to the extreme old tactics of political survival, namely, rigging. Even before the ink had dried up, Jubilee is in tatters, Mudavadi having taken the ball and run away from it, claiming he was duped while Uhuru says the devil had him do it. Jubilee’s break-up is the fastest recorded or known in Kenya rivaled only by its formation. Going by our history, it’s unlikely the alliance can reconstitute itself to present a threat to Raila and Cord—the only other horse in this race—close to what the alliance may have been had it not splintered as it has.

More specifically, the Jubilee alliance drama has done three things that would make it virtually impossible to recover from both in terms of the alliance as a whole and from the perspective of each individual key in its formation, viewed objectively.

The Jubilee alliance now constitutes at the top two individuals who have been charged at the International Criminal Court with having been responsible for the mass murders, rapes, mutilations and destruction and loss of property in Kenya following the 2007 elections.

It would have to be only Uhuru, Ruto and their blind followers who do not see there is something wrong with this picture; how can one possibly lead a country they are accused of having committed crimes against humanity, leave alone the practicality of doing that when either locked up or spending all available waking time trying to defend against these charges?

This is a question Kenyans going to the polls on March 4, 2013 must ask and wisely and reasonably answer and let’s hope the majority or at least consensus is what anyone utilising common sense would reach.

On an individual level, the players in this Jubilee saga have exposed themselves as to who they really are or what they stand for, if not confirmed it.

Uhuru has confirmed he wants the presidency as a matter of entitlement.

When good people albeit with necessarily Raila in mind approached Uhuru and told him it was unwise to vie for the presidency under the circumstances he finds himself, Uhuru obliged and agreed to sign an MOU to let Mudavadi be the flag bearer of the Jubilee alliance only to renege within hours, claiming this was work of the devil. That reason alone should be enough reason not to be elected as our president.

Uhuru has also by this action alone demonstrated to anyone who has any sense of seeing and hearing that he cannot be taken on his word in print or verbal and like Kibaki before him, anything he promises will be disregarded at the opportune time with the question as the young put it, muta do?

Mudavadi, in the meantime, who has found this out first hand nonetheless doesn’t fare any better. By agreeing to be once again used as a project as he clearly has been, he confirms he is a weak, indecisive leader—and that’s being generous to call him a leader, who would rather have others decide for him his fate and destiny.

When he hurriedly agreed to join Uhuru and Ruto after the two dangled the presidential flag-bearer rather than more carefully weighing the offer and likely identifying the pitfall in which he has now fallen, he confirms he’s naive and not someone who sees beyond tomorrow besides being weak and indecisive.

When Mudavadi seeks to force Uhuru to honor the MOU, the latter obviously doesn’t want to, knowing fully well TNA and now Jubilee is something Uhuru has single-handedly put together with his own money and effort—never mind the source of that wealth—Mudavadi once again confirms his naiveté thinking one can so easily give up an item near and dear to them as such.

When Mudavadi demands that he be given the Jubilee flag-bearer status on a silver platter and without any competition or questions when he bolted ODM whining that the party was undemocratic and dictatorial, he confirms what an hypocrite he is and what we knew all along and that is, the reasons given for bolting out of ODM were a sham in efforts to cover his project status.

If Mudavadi does, in fact, appear on the ballot for president, he may garner a handful of votes beating out the only other contender to register that level of approval and that would be the late Martin Shikuku’s—RIP, 1997 showing at 0.6 per cent of the total votes cast for president that year.

I can go on but you get the idea this man is not fit to be elected president. William Ruto, too, comes out of this Jubilee mess no better than either of these two other men who formed the alliance. For one, Ruto confirms he is a particularly good liar.

We all know the lies confirmed by his colleagues about Raila and saving the Mau forest, not to say anything about the lies that Raila is responsible for Ruto and his co-accused being charged at the Hague.

For a long time—years, in fact, Ruto has been telling his Rift Valley audiences that he is running for president but at the opportune time, he betrays the entire community by accepting to play second fiddle to Uhuru.

If anything, this confirms that the two are in this not for the better good of their respective communities, or country for that matter but to save their own skins.

In other words, they must naively believe they are capable of pulling a rug over Kenyans’ faces and somehow be elected and were that to happen, then they have a free hand to do as they wish with respect to the serious crimes against humanity they face.

That maybe so, but most, especially those going to the polls would beg to differ. In stark contrast to all these other break-ups which have failed to reconstitute or be anything close in effectiveness to their former self, Raila and ODM appear to have bucked the trend.

When Ruto launched his onslaught against Raila and threatened to bring him down along with ODM, the evidence shows Ruto has failed to do this and if anything, Raila has emerged even stronger than he was when all this started.

True, key members of his team from 2007 have left but a closer examination of the reasons for their departure reveals two things:

First, they all left for reasons that have nothing to do with party policies or direction and everything to do with hopes to maximise the benefits of being qusi-high profile anti-Railaists, including money.

Second, even after the departure of these lesser players in ODM, the party still remained strong and the only viable party with support and organisation across the country.

When the Wiper party and others joined ODM to form Cord coalition, what emerges in this is a much stronger and formidable force than what emerged in all other efforts to reconstitute with previous coalitions.

This uniqueness is brought about largely because the fundamentals underlying the formation of ODM have not changed over the years and this is affirmed by the fact that two of its original three founders of the party have joined forces again to continue on the same success they enjoyed when championing reforms for the country during the constitutional review process.

This can only bode well for Cord and even though their success is certain to be a pain for their opponents, it will be a good thing for our beloved country.

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Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Politics


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