By Joshua Kivuv
On April 27, 2017, Raila Odinga was unveiled as NASA’s presidential flag bearer, once again dashing Kalonzo Musyoka’s hopes of becoming, and Ukambani producing, Kenya’s Fifth President. NASA is not only the wrong coalition for Ukambani; the decision to join NASA was ill-advised. NASA is one sided and doesn’t benefit Ukambani.
Wiper had the wrong negotiators. Johnstone Muthama shouldn’t have been Wiper’s linkman in NASA for four reasons. First, Muthama forced Wiper into NASA to sabotage Kalonzo’s presidency. Muthama has his own presidential ambitions, which a Kalonzo presidency would jeopardise. Muthama is fighting Mutua for the same reason.
Second, Muthama was no match for ODM’s negotiators — Prof Anyang Nyong’o, James Orengo and Dr Adams Oloo. Third, Muthama comes from Machakos, which he believes should lead the rest of Ukambani. Fourth, like many in Machakos, Muthama believes that Kalonzo is not a true Kamba. Kalonzo is a Muthaisu (Thagishu).
This was not the first time Muthama has sabotaged Kalonzo’s presidential ambitions. Muthama and Raila’s men forced Kalonzo into that 2013 infamous CORD Coalition MoU. Muthama also forced Kalonzo into the infamous MoU with Kibaki, which sabotaged the opposition in 2008.
Muthama does not understand that by sabotaging Kalonzo, he is sabotaging the entire Kamba community. The Kamba have a saying: Kavii kaisawa ke iko (the spoils of war are (sub) divided on the battleground). Kavii is that tiny little scrawny animal— the dik dik — that lives in dry places and weighs only 3 kilograms. It is so small and bony it cannot be divided among hunters.
The current Kamba leaders—Kalonzo, Musila and Muthama are all kavii hunters. Rather than getting Ukambani a fair share, they became entangled in the NASA trap, becoming its first victims. Politics is not kavii hunting.
Politics is a struggle for power, which determines who gets what when and how much. After elections, politics reinvents itself, becoming the authoritative allocation of the country’s resources. Kamba’s three kavii hunters did not struggle to wrestle the presidential baton from Raila’s men.
The current NASA Agreement is a repeat of 2013 MoU. Raila’s people in NASA have convinced Kamba leaders that the kavii is already in the NASA trap, and about to be divided. Convinced the kavii is in NASA trap, Muthama, Musila and Kalonzo have done what they do best—rushed to see who gets it first. Kalonzo beats Musila to it; Muthama tries unsuccessfully to snatch it from him, fails and throws tantrums, quitting Wiper. Kalonzo gets the prize and goes home happy.
But what did the community get from this? Zero! Isaac Ruto got more from NASA without even being present! Why was the decision to negotiate with NASA ill-advised? You have heard Kalonzo being referred to as a flower girl—one who’s afraid of dirtying herself in the struggle for resources. He’s afraid of fighting for the Kamba community, but sits and waits.
Ukambani needs fighters. Ukambani is dry, with large tracks of land, with huge agricultural potential. It has the massive Masinga Dam, a major source of energy. The people are poor, needing development. If I were negotiating on your behalf, I’d have insisted on Ukambani controlling four important departments of government: Water and Irrigation, Lands, Agriculture, Energy and Devolution. Muthama did not get any of these.
If I had been present in these negotiations, I’d have enticed Jubilee and NASA; forced both to present their best offers, using each against the other. I’d have presented the two offers to the Kamba Community to choose, and get a good lawyer to draft an implementable agreement, and then have it signed in public. Unfortunately, Muthama committed to NASA too early and without getting any good offer.
We did not hear what Jubilee was offering. Politics is about who gets what and when. We need to be told what NASA offered and what Jubilee was offering or is still willing to offer. By committing to NASA too early, Muthama prevented the Kamba Community from getting a better deal and a bigger share of government.
This means that even if, against all odds, NASA was to win the elections, the Kamba Community wouldn’t gain much. Kalonzo, even as Deputy President, would be undermined by the same forces that prevented him being NASA’s presidential flag bearer.