Why Joho’s up­set with Ju­bilee team

Coas­t­e­ri­ans ‘wanakula nyama!’ The gov­ern­ment has vis­i­bly changed Coast’s land­scape

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - NGUNJIRI WAMBUGU

Alot of peo­ple are won­der­ing why ODM deputy leader and Mom­basa Gover­nor Has­san Joho has all of a sud­den be­come such a vi­cious en­emy of Ju­bilee. He has launched onslaught af­ter onslaught against the rul­ing coali­tion, sup­ported po­lit­i­cal for­ays into Nairobi, Eastern and Western, and made scathing per­son­alised at­tacks on the top Ju­bilee lead­ers.

I’m con­vinced it has ev­ery­thing to do with the lat­est po­lit­i­cal slo­gan in town; ‘Si­asa ya kukula nyama na kumeza mate’. I have seen many peo­ple try­ing very hard to make this about ‘eat­ing’, it is not. It is a po­lit­i­cal ide­o­log­i­cal con­test, and it is cur­rently be­ing fought at the Coast.

Let us first un­pack­age the ‘kukula nyama’. We know that the ma­jor­ity of Ju­bilee sup­port­ers do not eat meat; at least not daily. So this is not about money, wealth and land as David Ndii and other op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers would have us be­lieve. If it was, Raila Odinga, Joho, Se­na­tor Moses We­tang’ula and a host of other op­po­si­tion lead­ers would be right at the front of the ‘wakula nyama’ bri­gade!

‘Kukula nyama’ is about the ben­e­fits that come with be­ing in gov­ern­ment. Sim­ply put, it is about hav­ing the power to de­cide where gov­ern­ment in­vests its na­tional re­sources, and more of­ten than not be­ing a ben­e­fi­ciary of th­ese re­sources. The ‘kumeza mate’ side of this ide­ol­ogy is the op­po­site. It is when you are not in power and all that you can do is stand aside and watch. This brings us back to Joho and his fight with Ju­bilee. In 2013, Joho man­aged to carry the Coast vote lit­er­ally to Raila. He sold the nar­ra­tive that Raila was their ally and was poised to be­come the fourth Pres­i­dent. Joho as­sured the re­gion that a Raila pres­i­dency would sort out all the is­sues that had be­dev­illed the re­gion for decades.

One of th­ese is­sues was land, and Joho made it clear that Raila’s op­po­nent Uhuru Keny­atta could not solve this prob­lem be­cause of the Keny­atta land­hold­ings in the re­gion. (Even I could not see how Uhuru could gen­uinely deal with this is­sue when it in­volved his fam­ily in­ter­ests).

How­ever, just as he did re­cently when he signed into law a bill lim­it­ing bank in­ter­est rates, de­spite his fam­ily’s bank­ing in­vest­ments, Uhuru has proven that when the choice is be­tween his own per­sonal in­ter­ests and those of the na­tion, un­like most of us he is able to put na­tional in­ter­ests over per­sonal in­ter­ests.

First the Keny­at­tas let go of 2,000 acres they owned at the Coast. Then Uhuru re­solved the Waitiki land is­sue that had been the cause of vi­o­lent con­flict for years. Then his gov­ern­ment dished out ti­tle deeds to res­i­dents, who had waited for them for decades. But that is not all.

Coast has re­ceived thou­sands of new electricity con­nec­tions. Mul­ti­tudes of young peo­ple are em­ployed at the var­i­ous na­tional projects launched in the re­gion. The re­gion’s land­scape has vis­i­bly changed due to the in­fras­truc­tural makeover go­ing on.

The se­cu­rity sys­tem in the re­gion is the best in the coun­try. The Ju­bilee gov­ern­ment has re­built its in­ter­na­tional stand­ing, which has re­vived the tourism in­dus­try. Coas­t­e­ri­ans ‘wanakula nyama!’ This is the source of Joho’s dis­com­fort.

We are head­ing into the 2017 gen­eral elec­tion and the Coast peo­ple can see he was wrong about Uhuru. He can­not ac­cept that be­cause it might end up cost­ing him the gov­er­nor­ship.

So he must fight, even where there is no need to fight. He will, there­fore, con­tinue mis­rep­re­sent­ing the facts on what Ju­bilee has done at the Coast and even lie bla­tantly about the ef­fects of some of the de­vel­op­ments. The po­lit­i­cal silly sea­son is here with us.

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