By William Makora
After returning home, later in May 2014, from his three monthâ€™s vacation in the United States of America, leader of Opposition, CORD, and former Prime Minister, Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga tried to revive his political popularity with much hyped but elusive Saba Saba rallies at which he, ostensibly sought to compel the Jubilee leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta, to talks dubbed National Dialogue.
The dialogue team enlisted 16 issues which the President dismissed while maintaining that, as leaders, they would meet and talk without rallies or conditions. That was humble enough for religious Kenyans.
After apparent flop of the initial move, the doyen of opposition politics instantly mooted another survival course christened Referendum. The new method wrings the questions to three: IEBC, Devolution and Security. As these are prepared by committees and other colleges established by the CORD, the process is meant to involve the President and his government, especially in financing and public debating.
Owing to the economic challenges in Kenya today, the first challenge is in the financing. President Kenyattaâ€™s government may not be willing to stretch towards the funding headache estimated to the tune of Ksh. 9 billions.
The second challenge is on the questions on the referendum. Are they the only (real) issues for the nation today? Are there no alternatives to realizing them? Is this the right time for them? If the referendum prevails, will Kenya change drastically positively? If it fails, will anyone stand condemned for decision to waste the huge funds?
Finally, if the referendum occurs, there is logical fear that Kenya may slip back into single party (coalition) system soon after the process in case the referendum flops because people’s hopes in them will be dashed. This will be the last nail on the coffin of opposition as I shall reveal hereon.
Unlike Saba Saba that gathered more moss and appeared poised to germinate into a forest of hard wood trees, the referendum pool is evaporating so fast that it is left to be seen how the initiators nudge through the sludge without sticking. Coming on heels of the highly demonized rallies, which hanged upon the nation like heavy nimbus but blew away without any, calls by Governors for referendum on devolution merely serve to perpetuate frustrations harbored by the politicians.
Though hard working with tangible fruits in most areas on the landscape, the Governors have been infinitely engrossed in tussles with both the Central Government and the Senate over funding and other issues. Calls for referendums by both the opposition and the Council of Governors, therefore, serve to address political frustrations. That is what majority of citizens of this nation believe, and a vote in the referendum concerns it. Only time will tell whether they will vote or dismiss it.
When the vote falls for referendum CORD will be soaring in the skies like an eagle. When it goes against the referendum, CORD shall yet have scored half a vote for forcing the President and his team into a â€˜dialogueâ€™ through public participations in campaigns for that has been the drive.
President Uhuru may also let the questions go to the people in the referendum in order to teach Raila and his team a final political lesson. He may want to bundle them out of his way before the next elections arrive in 2017, by massively beating them in the referendum. That will come to pass as I shall illustrate hereon.
1. The silence of Raila after the Saba Saba greatly dims his political presence. A lot of Kenyans wonder whether there is any heat left in him or whether it hissed out with sun set of the Saba Saba day. He may need another American holiday to regain strength to take on a stabling President Uhuru.
2. Railaâ€™s team is weakening by the day, especially, after losing a bunch number of coastal leaders allied to embattled former Opposition Chief Whip, Hon. Gideon Mungâ€™aro. Failure of any team is manifest in the crack that forms within, however small it is. The case of Lamu land allocations also thaws the team like a ship in an evil sea. Together with other factors, it is left to be seen how CORD keeps face in the murk.
3. CORD is held under stewardship of a very poor manager. Though vastly experienced, the man coaching the opposition team is more absorbed in the cheering of the team fans than providing hints for success in an encounter. He always works without plan B.
4. While enjoying massive machineries, the President is capable of exploiting Political Science skills to marshal whirl winding campaigns against any force that arises against him and his government on the landscape. He is an astute negotiator and coordinator with ability to infiltrate opposite camps and gather support. That was manifest in his moves before last yearâ€™s presidential elections when his main challenge turned to choosing who of the horde of leaders was fitting in his options other than lacking who to work with. He has yet displayed the talent by pulling religious leaders together.
In a nutshell, President Uhuru is poised to survive political storms from all corners. He is capable of manipulating both the National Assembly and the Senate (after all, politicians therein consider selfish interests first) He is capable of outreaching regional and religious leaderships. Raila has not displayed such vast capabilities. He sits on the seat of histories. That will not dictate results in any decision taken by a popular vote. Like in elections, referendums call for popular public goodwill and strategy. However, our public is manipulable.
That takes the referendum talks to, either lazy lips or, those who enjoy politicking. Itâ€™s a waste of valuable resources. Leaders can always sit and talk together as Uhuru urges. Tag of war is not the right way to make a good leader. As Kenyans know, crops of leaders round about the nation wine, dine and dance together at night only to come calling one another names at daybreak. That is not what the nation should be subjected to in any name. Since you; CORD and Jubilee leaders, call one another brothers, sit and find way forward without wasting national resources.