Mudavadi’s and KANU’s (mis-) fortunes

We have been talking in general about the different coalitions, and how they came about as well as the key players either individuals or parties.

I would however like to just narrow focus for a little bit on two entities:- Mudavadi and KANU

Before i proceed lets watch this. Also pay attention in the last minutes of the clip and see how Ngunyi in his usual eloquent self, continues to market and sell snow to guys living in Greenland. Its phenomenal

Now, from the foregoing there are several scenarios to ponder

a) Were these two entities (remember although they are in the same pit, they probably arrived there seperately) so completely desperate, that when the carrot was dangled (or was it straw), they simply had no choice and grabbed at it with both hands and feet and everything else?

If this is indeed the case, how did they arrive at the bottom of this pit? Was it by making poor decisions along the way, or was it due to some extremely clever ploy by political geniuses who thoroughly beat them into a corner

b) Or perhaps on the other hand, are these two entities, a project or projects of the oligarchy to re-invent themselves and having found that there exists a gap (ICC and / or tribal inclination) in the TNA/URP axis are exploiting it by injecting themselves into the matrix knowing very well that there are mutual benefits to be derived. They may hate each other, but without UDF, TNA is central province leaning and URP is RV leaning, making them two tribal outfits having experienced presidency, do not want to let go.

c) Was Mudavadi and/or KANU over-rated in their importance and somehow people made a mistake and invested in their fortunes only to realise too late the folly, and are now in desperate late comeback moves?

Am sure there are many other scenarios to ponder

One thing is however clear, where it is now, the engineers that designed this carriage got the design all wrong.

They each have a carriage and two heads that must be connected

Each head can only face one direction and its opposite to the other head. If you put the two heads next to each other, they head butt each other and leave the carriage intact or cannot see each other and one gets played. if on opposite sides of the carriage, they pull in different directions.

The carriage here is their supporters and the two heads are (for presidency) uhuru and mudavadi, and (for the political parties) URP and KANU in rift valley

What a quandary, what a nightmare.

As the events unfold, and as supporters of the coalition come to terms with what they are faced with, we shall in due course determine whether this was a brilliant work of a scheming strategist, or simply the blunder of the century.

Stay tuned

World Food Day

Population growth outstrips food harvests

Agriculture experts have raised concern about the ability of Kenya to feed its fast growing population.

The experts say although the country was heading in the right direction in its efforts to produce food, a lot needed to be done to cement the rising production in readiness for the high population in a few years to come.

The country’s focus on subsistence farming was criticised with many speakers saying agriculture should not only allow farmers to only “subsist” but that is should be a dependable money-making venture.

They said the kind of farming where a farmer only focuses on planting crops and keeping animals for home consumption was to blame as it had held back the huge potential in the sector.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Agriculture, Romano Kiome, hosted the debate at Nairobi’s Hilton Hotel last Wednesday.

It was meant to seek the way forward for the struggling food sector. The discussion was held ahead of the World Food Day, to be observed on Tuesday.

“Subsisting means we are barely floating, we can sink any time. Something has to change,” Dr Kiome said pointing at the continuing dependence on the small scale farming in the country hugely dependent on agriculture.

Debate centred on crucial areas that could improve agricultural production.

Mr Ousainou Ngum, the executive director Agency for Cooperative Development, stressed the need to improve governance and enhanced political will adding that the two ingredients were vital in achieving food sufficiency.

“We should be celebrating what we have achieved in the past not agonising about what we did not do,” Mr Ngum said while making his contribution. He added that cooperative societies were an indispensable entity in the agricultural sector.

“This country has the necessary markets and commercial outlets for farm produce, only that they are yet to be fully exploited,” he said in relation to a question on whether cooperative societies were useful at all in promoting the sector that is key to the nation’s economic growth.

The high cost of farm input and lack of an organised marketing system for products were further blamed for the poor performance of the sector.

Also, an existing mentality among some farmers that fertilisers were not a useful farming input also came under scrutiny with Agriculture Secretary Wilson Songa requesting farmers to “take the risk to use fertiliser” in order to improve productivity.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation has set 2012 as the year for Agricultural cooperatives and this year’s World Food Day focuses on empowering the societies.

The debate saw the participants shift focus to the cooperatives’ importance with Dr Kiome asking for “food co-operative societies.” He said there was a possibility of having them if the right mechanisms were put in place.

“Agricultural co-operatives play an important role in supporting small agricultural producers and marginalised groups such as young people and women. They empower their members economically and socially and create sustainable rural employment through business models that are more resilient to economic and environmental shocks,” said Mr Seno Nyakenyanya, the PS in the ministry of Cooperative Development.

Out of the more than 14,000 registered cooperative societies, about 38 per cent are agricultural marketing, 48 per cent financial-based and 14 per cent doing other activities, an indication that food societies was not a far-fetched idea.

World Food Programme country director Ronald Sibanda called for a ready market for farm produce. He also emphasised the importance of access to credit from banks.

“Such basic infrastructure as roads and banks to get money to expand their farming activities should be considered,” he said.

Last year, the ministry blamed the drought and poor food distribution for the skyrocketed food prices on essential foodstuffs such as maize and beans.

Kenya’s Inaugural Presidential Debates 2013

Am sure by now we have all heard of the media initiative and launch of the inaugural presidential debates as can be seen in this video clip

The plan is to host the presidential candidates in a joint forum and live broadcast with interactive participation from Kenyans

The tentative schedule as proposed by the committee is

  • November 26, 2012
  • January 14, 2013
  • February 11, 2013

However I must at this point raise some preliminary issues.

First: “Issue driven” vs “ethnic” politics.

Almost all those at this launch talk about “issue driven” politics vs “ethnic” politics

This is unfortunate because the media is the largest culprit in fanning ethnic politics. The media has many times twisted and contorted public events into ethnic conflicts either to achieve their sales/marketing objectives and in other instances to either denigrate a politician not in their favor and or alternatively give biased advantage to a favored politician. Regardless, one cannot go objectively into a debate if already the moderators have a prejudiced opinion.

The moderators of this initiative/forum cannot go into that debate with preconceived ideas

Second: Dates for the debates

Especially the first date, is a mere 5 or 6 weeks away. The reality is that parliament the other day created a law that allows party hopping right up to mid January.

What this means is that there could be other presidential wannabe’s lurking in the background looking for the right opportunity to launch their presidential bid in January. Also there are party hoppers that will make their shift and allegiances in January, thereby causing significant shift on the political landscape

But more importantly, apart from the self-anointed or self-appointed chest thumping de-facto presidential candidates, I have not seen or heard of any party that has plans to legally  formalise their presidential nomination process earlier than mid-January (someone correct me if am wrong)

Sure these heads of parties are strong and basically unchallenged in their outfits, but the reality is that due process must be followed in their individual parties, calendars and schedules for nomination process must be publicly announced and followed. In light of the fact that as of today, none of these parties has actually announced their internal dates for these processes, doing so now, would be tantamount to the media debates dictating schedules for these parties. It is my view therefore that interviewing these potential nominees is actually committing and perpetuating a public fraud – the proverbial putting the cart before the horse. I am therefore tempted to state that this initiative is a project by the oligarchs to hoodwink and confuse the public

In my view, the listing of the schedule is premature and should begin a day after at least two parties have nominated their candidates. Provision must therefore be made for late nominations otherwise some candidates will have unfair advantage over others

Third: Number of Candidates at the Debate

Considering that there are at least 5 or more candidates. Could even be as high as 15, there need to be some sense of reducing the actual number of candidates to participate in this forum.

Typically one would chose the top say 3 in the polls, unfortunately the credibility of polls in Kenya is very low and partisan. It is also possible that the polls are grossly misleading.

Its however illogical to even assume that one can have more than 3 politicians on a platform to articulate their vision as well as respond to structured and ad-hoc questions. Realistically either the process will be too rushed to provide any valuable insight, or else will be way too long and carry on for even 30 hours if true opportunity is to be provided for adequate question and answer sessions. And this assumes that the politicians are on the same page, with rival policies, this can stretch even more as the candidates or their supporters  rip into each others credentials.

Finally having expended themselves in the first interview, a second, third or even run-off interviews will not add any new value and they will end up repeating themselves. Follow up interviews may be great, but these should be more to do with clarifying issues arising from the first debate rather than conducting new debates

There will be a need to restrict the number of candidates for the debates, the schedule as well as heavily strucuture format in order to optimise the quality for the session(s)

Fourth: Mindset of the Debates

Kenyans are in the habit of going into debate to finish and destroy each other, and come back carrying our “hero” shoulder high.

The media is already setting such a tone for these debates. I think, the media need to reverse this mindset, and require that the tone for the debates be that of articulating policies, interrogating the viability of the policies as well as review of the candidates background etc, otherwise debate can quickly degenerate into unpleasantries.

Kenyans love opportunity to grill an individual rather than discuss opinion. Huge difference. And in turn, some affluent folks love to hammer sense into detractors.

Also some of these candidates are quite intimidating


Overall, this is a welcome initiative, the media has time and again showed its bias for and against certain candidates and I therefore recommend that a credible panel be the one to conduct the debates, the media should do what they do best – broadcast.


This is the first part in this series, keep an eye out for the second part

In the meantime

What do you guys think?

BY-ELECTIONS VERDICT: Musalia Mudavadi’s UDF Outrightly Rejected

UDF attempts at spinning it’s embarrassing electoral debut simply will not wash. The recently concluded by-elections had been dubbed a mini general election. A dress rehearsal for 2013. And the results are now out! The UDF unashamedly comes up with this spin:

UDF in Huge Moral Win ahead of 2013 General Elections

It is double win week for the United Democratic Forum Party:

First: Its inaugural parliamentary battle, UDF gave its rivals a scare of their lives proving it had made major inroads into key vote-rich territories on the 2013 electoral map: The week just concluded parliamentary and civic by-elections showed the UDF was a formidable force that gave a huge scare to two major rivals, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and The National Alliance (TNA).…….yada yada yada……..

The second major scoop  came from unlikely quarters when a meeting attended by two cabinet ministers-Energy Minister, Kiraitu Murungi, and Special Programmes counterpart, Esther Murugi- and Party of National Unity Chief Whip, Johnstone Muthama announced the party was considering backing Deputy Prime Minister, Musalis Mudavadi’s Presidential bid.The Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) announced it was just a matter of time before announcing support for Musalia Mudavadi Presidential bid……..yada……yada……yada

In the above statement published in its website the UDF alleges that the recent by-election in which it performed dismally were a huge moral win for UDF. The statement further goes on to assert how UDF gave ODM and TNA a scare of their lives. If only wishes were horses! Clearly UDF are poor at acknowledging and respecting the will of the people. The party’s face-saving assertions hardly advances it’s course. Neither does it uplift the morale of the few crestfallen supporters it has.

It is an absurdity for the UDF to make reference to the Ndhiwa by-election that the ODM has won with a landslide of 90% when as a party UDF was not even brave enough to field a candidate there. The question of the ODM Party Leader running scared because of UDF is neither here nor there. It is a brazen lie. Kenyans have now come to know UDF as party whose campaign publicity has been reduced to it’s leadership reading presidential condolence messages at funerals instead of fielding candidates in perceived hostile political zones.

The UDF statement totally ignores the painful loss of UDF candidate in Musalia Mudavadi’s own backyard in Kakamega County, Bukura Ward where  despite the entire UDF retinue  having camped there a whole four days in a row and his sidekicks dishing cash to the extent a UDF aligned MP was detained by wananchi at Bukura when caught paying bribes, UDF civic candidate, Mr. Andati, lost to ODM’s Mr. Nyangweso 1,195 to 1,850. The significance of this civic victory in  light of coming of county governments cannot be over emphasized.  Out of the 16 civic by-elections, the ODM won seven civic seats countrywide compared to five for TNA, two for WDP, and one each for FORD-K and New FORD-K respectively. The failure of UDF (and URP) to win any seats cannot be wished away given the publicity the two parties and their leadership have attracted lately.

The facts of democracy are that Kenyans have roundly rejected UDF candidates in the just concluded by-elections. Out of three parliamentary and sixteen civic seats, merely six months into the general elections, the UDF did not manage a single win. Coming from a party styling itself as a break from the past and being led by a front-runner in the presidential elections, this must be worrying times for Mudavadi’s sponsors and his campaign team. Even upstarting political projects like Eugene Wamalwa’s New FORD-K candidate got elected to a civic seat in Kaptega Ward (kwanza Constituency).  There is nothing wrong with losing in elections. But there is everything wrong in declaring that embarrassing electoral loses are “big wins” and “scoops”.

UDF’s statement goes further to gloat about how the Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) is now considering backing Musalia Mudavadi presidential bid. Smarting from an all round rejection, the UDF is now looking to find a soft landing for Musalia Mudavadi. A desperate Kiraitu Murungi has spent the better part of 2012 looking for what he calls “a driver” to sit behind the wheel of his political party. As a child of the 2nd liberation, Kiraitu remains perhaps the only of the young turks who has not declared an interest in the presidency. He lacks the ambition and self-confidence to go for top office himself despite having taken time to go through the rigorous steps of political party registration to register the APK.

Politically, Kiraitu has simply passed a vote of no confidence on himself. This comes even after another desperate political party, William Ruto’s URP, had offered Kiraitu Murungi the running mate slot, but even him could not bring himself to accept an offer from what is now commonly known as a state house project. At least on this, Kiraitu had the foresight to see that this is political suicide. Thus, for UDF to come forward to declare APK’s half-baked resolutions as a scoop is stretching it too far. Kenyans are not that gullible, they speak through their votes. The APK delegates themselves openly disagreed about how to fill certain positions that Kiraitu had reserved for certain bus drivers. Uhuru Kenyatta of TNA has been categorical that they not interested in joining up with APK despite constant wooing from Kiraitu,. TNA is also not interested in playing second fiddle to either WDP or URP. And they have electoral vicotries to defend their case.

In polite terms, UDF and it’s leadership can be termed as DOA (Dead on Arrival). 2013 will put that beyond reasonable doubt.


Two Mass Graves Discovered in Tana River

Two mass graves have this morning been confirmed in Tana River area, Kenya, by local police chief Aggrey Adoli.

The total number of bodies is unkown and it is uncertain if this will translate into a higher death toll from ethnic clashes that have taken place in the area in recent weeks.

The discovery was made by a team of officers conducting investigations and disarmament in the region. Security forces are awaiting court orders to embark on the gruesome exhumation process.

More details at this link.

The Government of Kenya has variously been accused of taking time to enforce security in the Tana Delta region where more than 100 Kenyans have been killed in recent inter-ethnic rivalries.