Amnesia is a useful tool in politics. Conveniently, politicians will “forget” important events or issues that could harm their current positions.
A case in point was at the recent release of the National Super Alliance’s manifesto at Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi, during which a documentary about how Kenyans suffered under the administration of the Kenya African National Union was screened.
Kalonzo Musyoka, who was present, had a 17-year career as a Kanu politician, including serving as Kanu’s national organising secretary from 1988 to 2002. Musyoka’s position made him a vital part of the brutal Kanu apparatus that was responsible for major human rights abuses.
Musalia Mudavadi inherited his father’s Sabatia parliamentary seat in the Kanu era. Moses Wetang’ula was a Kanu lawyer.
Raila Odinga, while he likes to talk about his struggles against one party rule, also joined Kanu towards the end of its rule.
Each Nasa co-principal was a member of the party that they lambasted. The co-principals cut their political teeth during its most repressive years.
On July 7, the Opposition tried to use the suffering of Kenyans under the single-party system for their own narrow agenda. These politicians will try and convince the Kenyan people that they are the outsiders challenging the establishment, but nothing could be further from the truth: Odinga, Musyoka, Mudavadi, Wetang’ula and Isaac Ruto are the ultimate establishment alliance.
It is extraordinary that these five have the gall to tell Kenyans how they would improve their lives, when they had decades to demonstrate it in action and policy. In fact, by suppressing five separate parties into one, with no common goals, mission or ideologies, Nasa is in a sense trying to return us to the one party rule.
For all the pomp and ceremony of their manifesto launch, there was one glaring omission: Nasa does not actually exist. When their supporters arrive at the polling station on August 8, they will only be able to vote for Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement – Kenya, Wetang’ula’s Ford-Kenya, Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress, Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani and Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement. Nasa will not appear anywhere on any ballot in Kenya.
So on this Saba Saba, let us not be fooled again by NASA or Odinga’s sudden amnesia to his fellow principals’ murky past. Saba Saba is a time to celebrate freedom, democracy and liberation, not to shackle ourselves once again to autocratic leadership which suppresses political pluralism.
MICHAEL CHERAMBOS, Nairobi