Kanu Or Panu Mr.Kibaki?
Mr. Raila Odinga, the presidential candidate of the most popular political group in Kenya ODM was in western province (Ingo) last week to solidify the Mulembe vote before the coming general elections in Kenya. The reception was good and it gave a clear picture on how the Luhya people are going to vote. Mr Raila accused the Kibaki government of failing to deliver the promises he gave Wakenya 5 years ago. Mr Raila also condemned the violence that was engineered by Nyachae in Kisii against members of ODM pentagon. He promised to deal with all criminals according to the law of Kenya and he was ready to forgive those who wronged him.
There are thousands of exciting promises and pledges being made every day about what our aspiring leaders will do if elected. Taken at face value it is understandable that many Kenyans are infected by the feel good factor at present. And if we are to believe, or give the benefit of doubt to, just a fraction of these promises then Kenya is going to be a much better place in future, even more better than Sweden the country I reside in for now. It is fair to hope for a happier Kenya and it is also realistic to expect a country where its citizens will have a greater opportunity to carve out their own destiny.
But Kenyans should also be realistic about what change we want and what change we can effect and in what time frame. If our aspiring leaders get carried away into fantasyland like the Kibaki government with their promises of sweetness and light for all we should ask them the simple question; How are you going to do this or that? There is nothing wrong with having a vision of a better future. Indeed it is the foundation for any aspirations and ambitions we may have. In that regard many of our future leaders have made a promising start particularly when it comes to realizing the urgent attention our economy needs. But beyond that we need to inject a large dose of soberness and realism into the equation.
A political combination of more than 14 politically loose parties now forming what they call PANU which has a big face of former regime Kanu cannot foster and propel the sort of changes we hope for and need. One common fear is that post-election political in-fighting and intrigue, especially within some of the loose alliances that have sprung up, could impede decisive action and good management of the country and its economy. Narc was an alliance of 13 parties but it ended up having no party because of the in-fighting.
In PANUs political combination, there is the question of capacity. Can Kenyans trust Panu Leaders? Who are they and what have they done for our Nation since independence? A good topical example is Narc- Kenya which has more than 9 vice chairmen which also can mean more than 9 chairmen. Who is in control, is Dp part of the game given the fact that those thieves in Narc-Kenya were running away from Dp because they did not want to share what they had stolen together equally. Dp and Narc-Kikuyu are rivals and they can not work together. The same applies to Kombo and Kituyi. How will Kibaki work it out when it comes to professional management of the “chameleon” Panu? It is going to be a big challenge for Mzee Kibaki.
Then there is a whole batch of promises that are both costly and long term. The poor infrastructure is one of the major causes for our agricultural and manufactured products being expensive and hence uncompetitive. Kibaki was in western last week and he Promised a lot of goodies to mtoto wa Ingo. Was the Mzee joking or he was serious? The most dangerous and worrying, promises are ones that run against any commercial or economic logic and hence would dislocate the budget of the Nation. One is the promise to maize farmers that producer prices will be raised to Sh1,500. Another is the promise to sugar cane growers to reverse the proposal to reduce the sugar cane price from over Sh2,000 per tonne by around 25 per cent and building three dams in Budalangi area where floods are not something new.
Mr Kibaki was telling the majority of Kenyans who are poor that they should pay much more for their maize and sugar and indeed a host of other products where promises to farmers have been made. To put it more bluntly you are telling Kenyans that they should pay Sh50 or more for a two-kilo packet of maize meal while they make less than that in a day? The simple fact is that costs of production of a number of our agricultural products are too high; maize and sugar included. Virtually every other major producing country in the world can produce them cheaper than us. This is a leader of PANU cheating Wakenya once again.
Of course there is some middle ground where a compromise can be reached but cheap promises on the back of populist politics have often ruled that out. At a press conference held at his Nairobi home 5 years ago, Mwai Kibaki accused Mr Moi’s government of paying out billions of Kenya shillings to suspicious contractors after sensing defeat in 2002 elections. He said, “It is looting taxpayers’ money.” Now Kibaki’s best friend is Moi the man he has been condemning for decades. Kibaki promised not to honour those quickly- arranged contracts that the former government had a warded to shadow contractors. Has done that? That, we will leave to Kenyans to judge. But we from Sweden were recording the Mzee talk and he said, “We shall not be called upon to honour them. No government in the world should be treated that way.”
“When a party loses an election, it does not hang around, checking what is happening. Having lost the election, you go home. People have decided,” he said. What is Kanu doing in Panu? We from Sweden we know Kibaki can not be trusted with Power because he has broken all the promises he promised Wakenya and we have a democratic right to kick Kibaki and his cronies out come 2007 December.
While other African and Third World countries crumbled to military coups, Kenya had remained an island of peace. President Moi, who had come to power on a populist note, embracing religion and charity as his strong points began to tighten his hold on power, beginning with a purge in all sectors. It was after the coup that Moi began to use coercion and pay-offs to stay in power. After the coup, Moi extended his hands and influence into everything. He controlled the business community. He needed money to buy support and power to intimidate opponents and he began to fear wealth in the hands of private citizens, wealth that he could not control. Such wealthy people would owe him nothing and would not fear him. That is why he penetrated the business community.
Insecurity after the coup forced the President to start pursuing “imaginary enemies” from around 1985. Moi spent a lot of energy pursuing what he saw as social and political misfits being misled by foreign masters to perpetuate foreign ideologies. Sycophancy became something of a national culture during and after the crackdown on perceived dissidents. No speech was complete without government officials and politicians praising Moi’s wisdom. Everyone began to sing of his sound economic policies and his love for children.
Every important institution got to be headed by some man or woman asking for bribes. Such a person would be very well connected in the system. The coup scare made President Moi extend his hold beyond politics and administration. Repression of intellectuals began. Some were detained without trial, or arrested and charged with possession of subversive literature. The University of Nairobi was closed and the Air Force disbanded. The two institutions never looked the same again when they re-opened.
After the coup attempt, Harambee became a tool for patronage. Coercion set in, with chiefs arresting those who had not contributed or confiscating their property to be sold to make up for the required money. Nyayo’s presence was being felt in everything. His Excellency President Daniel arap Moi today said… was very popular in Kenya media. Things like the national holiday were called Moi Day, dozens of schools; hospitals and roads named after Moi took a strange twist after the coup. Every business was required by law to hang his framed photograph.
The coup attempt provided an excuse for a purge in the public sector. Individuals deemed to be anti-government were removed from key positions. The idea was to lay ground for individuals to loot. People got jobs on the basis of loyalty, not ability. Such people recognise only one man, President Moi, even today. It was at this time when political appointees began to take over positions formerly held by professionals. The most senior civil service positions went to sycophants.
With Kanu working hand in hand with Kibaki, the president has accepted the Kanu ideology of misrule and dictatorship. Moi cannot be a good model for Kenya especially when it comes to politics. Give Raila a chance because he is the only presidential candidate that can bring the changes we have been waiting for since independence. Vote wisely, vote for ODM, the future of Kenya.
Munala Wa Munala and Jamii Team.
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