While Cord is suf­fer­ing from in­er­tia in pick­ing its 2017 candidate, Ju­bilee has to deal with over­crowd­ing within its ranks, more like an over­loaded bus with no more space to fit in

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices - KAZUNGU KATANA

Amani Na­tional Congress party leader Musalia Mu­davadi is the politi­cian of the mo­ment: He is in great de­mand.

Lately, there have been over­tures to have him join ei­ther Cord or the Ju­bilee Party. If Mu­davadi joins Cord, he will prob­a­bly link up with what is now be­ing re­ferred as the Na­tional Su­per Al­liance (NASA) — an amal­ga­ma­tion of op­po­si­tion par­ties who want to cap­ture power in 2017.

How­ever, my take is that Mu­davadi should re­ject the Cord and Ju­bilee over­tures and, in­stead, chart his own political course.

There are many prob­lems in both Ju­bilee and Cord. The op­po­si­tion coali­tion is cur­rently in a stale­mate over who its pres­i­den­tial flag­bearer will be. The newly launched Ju­bilee Party, on the other hand, has a headache about how to fill its lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

De­spite in­sis­tence by the Cord co-prin­ci­pals that the coali­tion is in­tact, the cracks from within are ev­i­dent. The de­lay in nam­ing their pres­i­den­tial candidate, less than a year to the 2017 elec­tion, only serves the sus­pi­cion that the coali­tion is in cri­sis.

Like any other democ­racy, Kenyans are ea­ger to know who the op­po­si­tion pres­i­den­tial candidate will be in good time for them to as­sess and in­ter­ro­gate him. To their dis­ap­point­ment, Cord is yet, or un­able, to do this.

While the op­po­si­tion is suf­fer­ing from in­er­tia in pick­ing its 2017 candidate, Ju­bilee has to deal with over­crowd­ing within its ranks, more like an over­loaded bus with no more space to fit in. The merger of par­ties in Septem­ber ev­i­dently threat­ens its unity.

But, luck­ily for Ju­bilee, the worry is not about the pres­i­den­tial flag­bearer. That is sorted out all the way to 2022 and beyond.

What should worry Ju­bilee, how­ever, is how to han­dle the im­mi­nent fall­out dur­ing nom­i­na­tions. This is the mal­ady that has af­flicted ODM over the years.

So if Mu­davadi will join Cord or the Ju­bilee Party, he must be ready to face these chal­lenges. It will ei­ther be a hit or a miss.

The ANC leader must also be very wary about Kenyan politi­cians dis­hon­our­ing power-shar­ing agree­ments.

This hap­pened to him prior to the 2013 gen­eral elec­tion when, then as the UDF pres­i­den­tial candidate, he was lured into sign­ing a pre-elec­tion MoU with a fac­tion of the Ju­bilee Al­liance.

In that deal, he was to be the pres­i­den­tial candidate. That agree­ment was not only bla­tantly vi­o­lated but also saw him re­buked and de­nied the op­por­tu­nity in a very hos­tile man­ner that bor­dered on in­famy.

This also hap­pened af­ter the 2002 the gen­eral elec­tion, when Pres­i­dent Mwai Kibaki re­jected a 50-50 power shar­ing pre-elec­tion agree­ment with Raila Oginga upon as­sum­ing the pres­i­dency. In Kibaki’s wis­dom, there was no need to share power.

Like his pre­cedessor, Pres­i­dent Daniel Moi, Kibaki opted for the con­tin­u­a­tion of an im­pe­rial pres­i­dency which Kenyans had re­jected in that very elec­tion.

As things stand, Mu­davadi’s ANC ap­pears to be the emerg­ing third force. But the party needs to be nur­tured and strength­ened.

This should be done out­side any af­fil­i­a­tion to ei­ther Cord or Ju­bilee. The ANC should, in­stead, take ad­van­tage of the fall­out in the two lead­ing political out­fits. This is ex­pected to hap­pen as the party nom­i­na­tions near.

If Kenyan par­ties could be char­ac­terised in terms of their ide­ol­ogy, I would con­sider Cord as left­ist, Ju­bilee right­ist, and ANC left-of-cen­tre. This is why the ANC should be on its own and find part­ners with sim­i­lar political be­liefs.

It ob­vi­ously needs part­ners to get stronger and be­come more com­pet­i­tive.

How­ever, that part­ner­ship should not be premised on Cord and Ju­bilee. Mu­davadi should con­sider mar­ry­ing his party with other emerg­ing par­ties such as Kadu-Asili from the Coast and Chama Cha Mashinani from the Rift Val­ley. It should be a fresh start; a new be­gin­ning.

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