The hypocrisy of the Kenyan middle class is in a class of its own. On one hand, you have a voluble aversion for peaceful political settlement, while on the other hand, you cannot leave your houses to stone even a stray cat in the neighbourhood, yet you will demand a violent revolution! It is amazing that you are not squirrels. If you have never been on the streets and your knees been knocked by police, or your small buttocks chewed on by police German Shepherds going by lofty titles like Corporal Simba, it is good to shut the fuck up when high level political intrigue is at play.
When the NDP flag was lowered and New Kanu was born out of the Kanu-NDP merger, Raila’s political obituary was written from here to Mpumalanga. He had finished himself. But by end of December 2002, everyone from charcoal dealers to Kikuyu musicians were praising the Njamba who had gone into Jogoo’s stomach and killed it with diep. Many Raila moves have been called “the end”. Many of them have turned out to be the point at which he rebranded himself and relaunched the game. This too shall be clear soon.
Kenya’s electoral politics revolve around the choices of three tribes. The Kikuyu, the Luo and the Kalenjin. The other tribes simply take their positions behind their preferred formation. These three premier political tribes have always had two of them gang up against the third, and that has defined the last three or four elections (more, if you add the referenda). The Luo and the Kikuyu had a solid victory in 2002. The Luo and the Kalenjin another solid victory in 2007. I do not want to talk about 2013 and 2017 since those were not elections, but “electoral masturbation”. Ahead of 2022, the Luo especially have a choice to make; work with one of the two to remove the other!
One unsaid thing in Kenyan politics, and something I have shared in debates in certain fora, is that you will not remove BOTH the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu from power at one go! These two tribes control the money, the guns and a major part of the national factors of production. There is no time after independence when both have been out of power. But they also are strange bedfellows, because the issues that divide them are stronger than what divides the Luo and the Kikuyu. So from where I sit, you have to pick which one you will partner with to remove the other. I don’t know if this is Raila’s thinking, but it must surely have crossed his mind that he can only get one of them out in the short term.
Today’s meeting is a serious indictment for the Ruto brand of politics. You see Raila has consistently extended overtures to Kalenjins, and has been met with arrogance and humiliation. Kalenjins and Luos are almost natural allies, neighbours and some of the most genuinely good people you will ever meet. Together, they would form a serious political block, but Ruto is the type for whom the limelight cannot be shared, so he has fought to keep Raila away. The trouble with this is that the Luo do not adore the presidency like the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin, so when push comes to shove, they will support anyone, including a Kikuyu. Forget Luos with clever mouths on social media. If Raila says we are now with Uhuru, son, we are there!
This Raila move also nips in the bud the plans for the next five years by every politician to use “Raila Betrayal” as a political tool. We also know the road to State House you know. It will be interesting watching the countrywide tours by Uhuru and Raila these coming weeks.
So what do I make of it? My view is that the Kenyatta clan is desperate for an economy that can perform because they are true business people. They also want a legacy away from daily news of Ruto’s corruption. Ruto obviously doesn’t care if everything collapses. But the Kenyattas are aristocrats. They don’t see “business” in the way Ruto does. The Odinga clan however knows that with a collapsing economy and daily job losses, you won’t sustain the revolution on empty stomachs. Raila must also understand that in his twilight years, he can’t leave his huge base (and I mean all the Raila tribes, not Luos) on the periphery of power because it will be much harder for them when he is gone to come even close. In short, political grandstanding has been sacrificed for reality. 2022 is no longer a Ruto coronation. The dynasties are coming back together to protect what is more important to them than electoral victory; stability, a performing economy and the safety of the next generation of all three dynasties. Today was the end of the Ruto experiment.
Speaking strictly from a Luo perspective; I think it was a brilliant move!
What are your thoughts?
By Collins Ajuok