If the National Super Alliance (Nasa) collapses, Raila’s best bet is to boycott the election. This has more honour than failing to capture the presidency for the fourth time. But something is more embarrassing than a fourth defeat for Raila.
If Kalonzo Musyoka gains traction, he could become number two in the election. Then Raila will be number three. This will be the ultimate embarrassment for Raila and his long career. To avoid it, boycotting the election is a more heroic option. Then he can blame his decision on the devil and the ‘biased’ Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) as usual.
But before I discuss the ‘Mechanics of Election Boycott’, allow me to talk about a man called Ali Hassan Joho.
If you visit his offices in Mombasa, I wrote the following remarks in his visitor’s book in 2015: “…Joho is a consummate politician”. And I stand by these words today. This man is probably one of the best political talents since the late TJ Mboya.
The fact that he got a ‘D-Minus’ in KSCE exam is more charming than demeaning. As one thinker observed: “…The “Cs” help the “As” and the “Bs” get jobs from the “Ds”…” In other words, grades don’t make a man. This is why our greatest innovations were from dropouts and college failures like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Mark Zucherberg of Facebook.
The young Ruto was a ‘fire-eating’ politician with eloquent and aggressive polemics
Having said this about Joho, I want to give him unsolicited counsel. If you study the Raila Election Patterns, he always has a ‘Joho’. This is a person he creates, fattens and then sacrifices. In 2007, his ‘Joho’ was William Ruto. The young Ruto was a ‘fire-eating’ politician with
eloquent and aggressive polemics. After the 2007 violence, Ruto was dropped and another youthful ‘Joho’ was collected.
This man was Ababu Namwamba. His youthful hormones were “…pumping like a disco…” During the swearing-in ceremony of Members of Parliament in January, 2008, the young Namwamba swore allegiance to Raila and not Kibaki. This is how fired he was. Then he went on to invent ‘ODM-reloaded’.
But before he could execute his dream, he was side-lined and the real Joho introduced. After Joho is sacrificed, the next experiment will be a fiery and electrifying ideologue called Babu Owino. Raila has even started to use Babu’s political ‘gibberish’ and other chants like ‘Tibim’! This is a sign that Joho’s expiry date has already been set.
What is my point regarding Joho? The battle between ‘The Prince (Uhuru) and The Prince (Raila)” has its owners. To fight Uhuru on behalf of Raila is to punch above his ‘pay grade’.
He should also know that Uhuru and his deputy Willam Ruto are not ‘nice’ people. A man who has been to ICC and back is a toughened man. He has ‘street credibility’ as they call it in the hood. For the two politicians, fixing Joho politically is a ‘walk in the park’. And they will enjoy it.
The reason why I am offering this unsolicited counsel is because the country cannot afford to lose such political talent as that of Joho!
My counsel to Joho is, therefore, simple: After using him, Raila will sacrifice him. If Uhuru will fix him and Raila will sacrifice him, where does that leave Governor 001? In my view, he should do two things.
One, take some time off to study Raila and why he is attracted to him. If history is anything to go by, this attraction is FATAL. It cannot end well. Two, he should pacify Uhuru. The aim is not to submit himself to him, but to reduce the ‘fire-power’ coming from government. And the reason why I am offering this unsolicited counsel is because the country cannot afford to lose such political talent as that of Joho! Because the talent is raw, all it needs is alignment. And only Joho can allow for this alignment to happen.
Now I will return to the Election Boycott by Raila. I will begin with Namwamba and the Mulembe Nation. Given that Kalonzo has ‘declared independence’ from Raila, Raila’s only hope is the Mulembe Nation. But, as Wetang’ula told us, Raila has tried three times. And in all three, he “…fired blanks…” to quote Wetang’ula.
Yet, in all three, he had massive support, but he failed. In 2007, he had the Luo, the Kalenjin and the Luhya votes solidly behind him. He failed. In 2013, he had the Luo, Kamba and Luhya votes. He failed. In the 2017 election, his bedrock will be Luo and Luhya votes only. If he could not get the presidency with broader support, how will he get it with such narrow support?
In my view, the Mulembe Nation should follow the route taken by the Kamba Nation. They should unite their block of voters first. Then they should negotiate with the highest bidder like they were in a market place. And while at it, they should remind Raila that Nasa is theirs. That Raila is just a visitor. Like in the case of Kalonzo, this will embolden the Mulembe Nation.
To avoid the pain and embarrassment of such a possibility, Raila will boycott the elections.
But the only politician bold enough to articulate the ‘ Unilateral Independence’ of Mulembe Nation from the political dominance of Raila is Namwamba. Mudavadi has the goodwill, but no courage; Wetang’ula has the brains and the courage, but Raila has ‘beaten’ him into submission.
If the Mulembe Nation unites in search of the best political option for its people, Raila will be devastated. And if they choose to support Kalonzo instead of Raila, Kalonzo will be number two in the election. If there is a run-off, it will be between Uhuru and Kalonzo. Raila will be locked out of the presidential race constitutionally.
To avoid the pain and embarrassment of such a possibility, Raila will boycott the elections. More so, if he senses defeat and isolation. If the boycott has gravitas, he will use it to negotiate accommodation in government. In fact, if Kalonzo fails to capture the presidency after a Raila boycott, Raila will have the high moral ground. Together they will attempt to force a coalition government.
If history is a trustworthy account of what is probable, then you can take this to the bank: If Raila senses defeat, he will boycott the election and then blame IEBC and the Devil.
Prof Mutahi Ngunyi is the Principal Fellow at The Consulting House and is associated with the Fort Hall School of Government, a college registered in Kenya
First published on People Daily, March 31 2017 http://epaper.peopledaily.co.ke/#folio=12