Why Kenyans must speak powerfully and vote for certainty on October 17
ABritish newspaper advertises its writing thus: “Words are powerful, use them thoughtfully. Words are powerful, choose them well.” Words are powerful because they have meanings which they convey. These meanings translate into action by the targeted audience and beyond.
There are two words which both the governing Jubilee Party and the rival National Super Alliance (Nasa) are not using, but which they bring to the mind of every Kenyan and global watchers of Kenya by their every utterance. These two words jump at, stare at and speak to Kenyans and the world.
These words are certainty and its opposite, uncertainty. Money, the people and institutions that have it and or lend it do not like situations and utterances that convey or evoke uncertainty. They look for certainty in the spoken and unspoken words. Of course, people who are looking for money do not like uncertainty either.
When there is uncertainty, lenders and investors invoke another word: risk. This is the likelihood of loss of their hard earned money. Risk causes them to reassess their investment plans. Put another way, uncertainty puts lending on hold; postpones investments; forces governments, companies and individuals into a wait-and-see mode; leads to capital flight; and, therefore, slows economic activity.
When a top hotel scales back its outside catering services because takers are few, a family in a hovel is likely to miss a meal. When a blue chip company shelves its plans to invest in Kenya and opts for Uganda, that enterprising Kenyan who had taken out a bank loan to buy materials in readiness for a new contract goes from the black into the red overnight.
These issues are well known to President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto of Jubilee and Mr Raila Odinga of Nasa.
But, Nasa has thrown the gauntlet on the floor: They are not participating in the October 17 repeat presidential poll unless certain vote thieves at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are sacked.
And if they are not voting they will make sure that Jubilee does not vote either. No accountability, no election, they proclaim. But it turns out it is not only Nasa that is angry. The DP declares with a straight face and live on national TV that the IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati holds clandestine night meetings with Mr Odinga.
Enter the President. For the umpteenth time he lets rip and rips Chief Justice David Magara, the President of the Supreme Court, accusing him of stealing his August 8 poll victory via annulment of the result that declared him winner. It is deeply disturbing, discouraging and unedifying when the Commander-in-chief brands the CJ thief-in-chief.
Indeed, when the President fights the Judiciary, a co-equal arm of government, there is fear of Executive dictatorship and therefore emasculation of the Judiciary and the rule of law. This is the upshot when the President runs as hard against the Chief Justice as his political opponent.
What does the DP’S insinuation that IEBC is plotting to rig the presidential re-run in favour of Nasa portend? And what is the import of Nasa’s threat to ensure there is no election on October
17? Mr Ruto buttresses the point that IEBC’S credibility account is overdrawn. But he will not back demands that Mr Chebukati & Co be fired chiefly because that is Nasa’s pitch and not Jubilee’s.
Nasa’s demands and threat drive the tension and temperatures steeply and dangerously northwards given that this is the first time Kenya is having a repeat presidential poll; the campaign is poisoned and occurring in a high octane atmosphere bubbling with ethnic-based mobilisation. Here’s the conundrum; Jubilee and Nasa fight IEBC, fight the Judiciary and then, later, fight each other.
If you fight the referee (IEBC), terrorise the arbiter of disputes (Judiciary), then go hammer and tongs at each other, you cannot expect your supporters to keep law and order. When you create such a world, you generate uncertainty, which, in political terms, denotes a dirty world. Fortunately, this uncertainty will be solved by creating certainty.
All it could take is a single meeting between Jubilee, Nasa and IEBC and a single phrase thereafter. But this can only be about the repeat poll because Kenyans did not vote for a coalition government. Two, Kenyans must vote for their president next month and, three, coalitions breed uncertainty.
Kenyans must speak powerfully and vote wisely for certainty by choosing a president decisively on October 17.
KWENDO OPANGA The campaign is poisoned and occurring in a high octane atmosphere bubbling with ethnic-based mobilisation. Here’s the conundrum; Jubilee and Nasa fight IEBC, fight the Judiciary and then, later, fight each other.”
Opanga is a commentator with a bias for politics email@example.com