BY DANNISH ODONGO
On 19th of May 2015, I published an open letter to the jubilee government which was meant to address the floods of arrogance that the ruling coalition has managed to dispense over time. It must be noted that my writing is inspired by my passion for functional leadership. I will always stand by the political side that practices the most effective leadership style.
This week I want to address the opposition coalition CORD.
A research was done by a professor who was determined to conclusively find out the difference between productivity and activity. Therefore, he decided to use a caterpillar, a leaf, and a container. He put the caterpillar at the bottom of the container and the leaf at the edge. He then observed the movement of the caterpillar. It started to move around while the professor hoped that the caterpillar would eventually climb to the top of the container to eat the leaf. It made more rounds on the base, eventually, the caterpillar died of hunger without ever reaching the leaf.
The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy urgently needs to be reformed. As the official opposition coalition in Kenya, CORD has failed to dispense its role with professionalism and excellence. Like the caterpillar, CORD has managed to be active without being productive.
The role of the opposition can be summarized as follows:
The opposition acts as watchdog of the system to safeguard public interest. With this view, they criticize the government in case the latter conceal facts or acts in a manner that’s not in the best interest of the general public. This can be done through the floor of the House and at the public level. This helps to raise awareness among the citizenry over the specific issues of national importance and raises levels of political consciousness among them.
However, CORD has in some instances opposed government policies and actions for the sake of opposition. For example, opposing the list of shame yet demanding action from the government was an evident instance of hypocrisy. The opposition has criticized some progressive policies of the government, for instance, the 28 Billion medical deal signed by the president among others, and this has proven very harmful for the democracy of this republic. This includes well-orchestrated attacks meant to discredit some important public institutions, for example, constant attacks of IEBC, with a view to erode public confidence in them.
Without malice or ill will, the opposition ought to exercise vigil over the performance of the government for the public good by becoming the eyes of the citizens. This role can be dispensed by scrutinizing the government projects that might not adhere to certain laws. As it stands, CORD has not been able to carry out this mandate with excellence. Instead, they have come out as jilted lovers who have sour grapes.
Instead of scrutinizing the government projects and policies objectively, the coalition oozes bitterness and presents an image of a coalition that is still nursing the bruises acquired during the 2013 March elections.
But far worse than failure to be an effective watchdog, the integrity and intentions of the CORD coalition have been greatly incapacitated by the following issues:
Disagreements are a normal part of life. Conflicts usually arise from differing opinions which should be considered healthy for the sake of democracy. It, however, becomes a worrying trend when the disagreements become perennially frequent. It shows that the leaders of the respective parties have no capacity to put their houses in order. Wiper party failed to contain the rogue MCA’s who have paralyzed operations of Makueni county thereby threatening its dissolution. ODM is trying to contain runaway wrangles in Kisumu county which have stalled developments. If CORD wants to be regarded as the torch of democracy in this nation, it must walk the talk. There is no way you can preach water while your mouth smells of beer. Before we trust you with the nation, please prove to us that you can manage your internal affairs well without frequently treating us to the circus while you wash your dirty linen in public.
Botched and chaotic elections
The Orange Democratic Movement has mastered the art of iron fist rule and hooliganism. Men in black in Kasarani disrupted the ODM NEC elections, troubled nominations in Homabay county where the current senator Hon Kajwang, was seen to be forced on the people, among many other chaotic primaries with an exception to Kajiado central. It looks like ODM, the dominant partner in CORD coalition seems to have mastered the art of managing the party through chaos and hooliganism. ODM is like a house of cards built using adhesives of chaos and hooliganism.
The former party chairman Magerer Langat was roughed up by ODM MCA’s. Even though some of them were charged, the party has not been able to decisively deal with the menace. The image that the party has managed to lodge in our minds is that of intolerance, hooliganism, authoritarianism among other undesirable qualities.
Archaic and Management Methods
The efforts of the coalition to clinch power can be described as moribund and ineffective. CORD is like a run down car that tries to compete with a brand new Ferrari. While the ruling coalition is moving towards uniting the parties and fronting a strong candidate with a strong party, CORD seems to be pulling in different directions.
Raila has just launched his website and SMS platform which pundits have said to be tell-tell signs of his desire to run again for the top seat in 2017. A while back, Kalonzo declared in Machakos that he will be vying come 2017 and Wetangula too has declared interests for the top seat. There might be nothing wrong with different CORD principles declaring their interests for the top seat, however, the message Kenyans get is that of disorganization and chaos. Their disorganization makes the jubilee coalition look like a party managed by angels.
Dear CORD, remember that perception is a reality. The sooner you put your house in order, the easier it will be for Kenyans to take you seriously. I’m concerned that for the first time in the history of our great republic, the opposition is not feared by the government neither are they a government in waiting.