This last weekend I was in my home county Nyeri and had a chance to visit with several friends during the long Madaraka Weekend. Of course the primary question I had to answer is what comes after the highly successful Limuru 2B, as well as what is my relation to the eagerly awaited Mkenya Solidarity party to be launched this coming weekend. (This I will discuss next week)
However a social discussion that I encountered everywhere was on comments attributed to Hon Lewis Nguyais in Ol Karau a week ago. The honorable Member of Parliament from Kikuyu is quoted as saying that The National Alliance (TNA) would rather support dogs wearing TNA colours, than work in a coalition with other parties in Central province. Media reports say that according to Nguyai TNA would prefer dogs that will do as they are told (in Parliament) rather than independent thinkers who might not be reliable in doing what they are told.
Interestingly these comments eerily mirror statements once attributed to Hon Nguyai’s late father Hon Amos Nganga. Hon Nganga was an MP in the same constituency as his son and was also an Assistant Minister during President Jomo Kenyattas government. During the Kikuyu oathing sessions of 1969 Hon Nganga is quoted as having said that any Kikuyu who refused to take the oath binding himself to President Kenyatta would be eaten by the rabid dogs. These dogs were popularly referred to as T9 and some mischievous fellows conversant with this history have now taken to referring to the TNA party as T9!
As is to be expected TNA national officials have said these were unfortunate comments from Hon Nguyai. Unfortunately the silence from their party boss has led to Hon Kiunjuri saying that Hon Nguyai could very well have been speaking on behalf of his boss. Government of National Unity (GNU) party officials have stated that they do not intend to close shop for anyone. The Democratic Party and Alliance Party of Kenya have also come out strongly to condemn TNAs attempts to bully others into their party. Even Farmers Party has condemned these comments. Several young aspirants who do not belong to TNA across Central Kenya region have also held press conferences asking TNA to tell them who their dog is in each constituency or county!
Personally I must say I am impressed that we still have a few politicians in the Mt Kenya region able to stand up to a party associated with the regions preferred presidential candidate, and tell them off for trying to bully the entire region. Maybe there is still a chance that our leaders will remember that they were elected to represent the interests of ordinary voters in parliament, rather than represent and defend the interests of a fellow MP, whoever they might be.
Incidentally all those spreading the message that all of Central Kenya must get into one bus as the only way ‘one of our own’ will become president must realize that it has never happened that way. When Mwai Kibaki was running for President in 2002 it was against candidates that included Uhuru Kenyatta; and Kibaki still won by a landslide. On the two occasions that a Kikuyu has become President his chief lieutenants have been from other communities rather than his tribes men, and the candidate was more popular outside his community than within. TNA should also remember that President Kibaki defended his seat under a conglomerate of parties and won. I doubt he would have won if he had bullied all Central Kenya MPs into one ‘bus’.
More specifically the Kiambu political elite behind these tactics must be reminded of the amount of trouble they got the entire GEMA region into the last time they tried to bully us to support their political position. At the time they were trying to circumvent the constitution of Kenya to stop Daniel Moi from ascending to the Presidency. They did not succeed. However as thecommunity came out as a united opponent to Mois government for the entire 24 years of his rule, suffering great political and economic marginalization in the hands of a President who felt this resistance; this small clique quickly jumped ship and changed political colors immediately Moi became President. They became his primary supporters and individually benefited from his presidency, with no interest on the tribulations of their co-tribesmen. This must not be allowed to happen again.
Finally, all politicians must accept that Kenyan politics has changed. Today it is the interests of the voter, rather than the interests of the politician, that determine the position communities will take. Unlike several politicians, not many voters think in terms of loosing their land or government contracts under the wrong president; their reasons for supporting a particular politician are actually quite simple; will you continue the socio-political and economic advancements we have witnessed under President Kibaki, or compromise them? Will you respect democratic space, or curtail it? What do you have to offer the majority poor and unemployed youth?