By Dikembe Disembe
The formation of a single political party to be used by President Uhuru in 2017 is perhaps the clearest indication how the reality of uncertain political future is first evolving for President Uhuru and his Deputy, William Samoei Ruto.
By conceding, this early, that both URP and TNA cannot pull the kind of masses they did in 2013, which was assisted in part by a common enemy – the International Criminal Court – and the disorganization that was Raila Odinga’s presidential campaigns, President Uhuru’s handlers have turned the Conservative Party, one of those many ‘state house’ briefcase parties which had been registered for just such purposes, into Jubilee Alliance Party.
From insider sources, the formation of a single Jubilee Alliance party is being pushed by the Deputy President more than the President himself.
The inherent calculation around the Deputy President William Ruto is that a single political party will maintain the current status quo within Kalenjin Rift Valley which is increasingly slipping away from his grip, a huge chunk having already been lost to the fast-rising Baringo senator Gideon Moi, son to former President Daneil Arap Moi.
Apart from Gideon, the other Rift is gravitating around Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto who, apart from the narrow Rift Valley bloc, has gained a national appeal due to his fights with both Uhuru and Ruto to ‘save’ devolution.
Revisiting the circumstances of the 2013 general elections, Uhuru and Ruto best understand theirs was a stolen election – and a massive theft at that. But the theft, that’s rigging, of the last election was aided in part by first rigging perceptions of people.
Uhuru and Ruto had started campaigns in early 2010, clothed as ‘prayer rallies’. At that time, Raila Odinga was a lonely figure, fighting rebellion from all quarters, including supremacy wars with his would-be deputy, then Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.
In people’s consciousness, it was until months to the March elections that it became apparent what presidential team Odinga was in, when VP Kalonzo finally, in fact, having no better option, teamed up with him to form CORD.
While the two politicians quickly merged their ranks, the perception they had created while serving in the grand coalition government, that they can’t agree on anything, could not be erased in just under two months.On the other side, their competitors had long formed a perfect bond, and, using money on everything and everyone who had a price tag, from journalists to community elders, bought their way into people’s consciousness, essentially as ‘young and digital’ and, worse, as ‘victims’ of a plot to rig them out by ‘western puppets’.
This latter pitch was so powerful considering how it was laced with ethnic jingoistic narratives of both historical and contemporary dogmas. The overplayed fear factor – the fear of the ICC, the fear of Raila – was turned into poisonous hate.
However, despite the disadvantageous position of the CORD coalition, they pulled an impressive campaign, and, save for the now well documented rigging by Jubilee aided by IEBC and the country’s security intelligence, actually ‘won’ the 2013 elections.
Both Uhuru and Ruto know they don’t have the numbers, and, going by the 2009 census, the CORD side has an upper hand, for millions never really voted or were even registered to vote. CORD, despite being the opposition political formation, remains more attractive than Jubilee. Take a look at those who have joined CORD since 2013 and their political worth. Talking about allies like Kakamega senator Bonnie Khalwale.
Then there is the reality of political fallouts before 2017 which are increasingly eminent more in Jubilee than CORD. In fact, there is no guarantee that Kalenjins will vote Uhuru as they did in 2017 even if Ruto remains in the ticket.
There is also the country’s electoral body, IEBC, which, despite remaining the same, is not really the same; a lot has happened to it. A lot too has been revealed, which makes it harder for it to repeat the same mistakes with such success as happened in 2013.
Uhuru and Ruto may still play the ICC, but its effectiveness remain to be seen. On being digital, that is, young and dynamic, it will be very hard to sell, as Uhuru regime has been all but a disaster to young people. Today, Uhuru and Ruto come across to young people as leaders only concerned with aesthetics of youth -showmanship – without substantive policies which capture the needs of the youths in their varied shades.
Uwezo funds? Not enough! Huduma Centres? Ooh!
Meaning, in a campaign of issues, without playing the usual ethnic emotions, Uhuru and Ruto gets into the 2017 elections tried, tested but found egregiously deficient.
Both gentlemen have failed to give a clear pathway toÂ the future. Even on ethnic reconciliation and national integration, which formed their stump message in the over 3 years they ‘prayed’ in political rallies -from 2010 to 2013 – the Jubilee regime has been the worst abuser of ethnic sensitivities, erecting a country of two ethnic elites and throwing the rest under the romp, with reckless abandon.
Uhuru’s failures and ICC ‘truths’ – of who really fixed who – remain easy picks ahead of 2017. Across the continent, several elections are also expected whose results may result in the general trajectory of the future of Africa. Winds of change, waves of hope, and a resilient population may just again pull the unexpected.
For CORD, it isn’t going to be a walk in the park but at least, with a government that has pathetically failed as this Uhuru one, a well organized campaign is all it needs to send Messrs Uhuru and Ruto to the ash-heap of history – the habitat of dodo and the sabre toothed deer.