American novelist John Burroughs once said: “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”
Raila Odinga, Musyoka Kalonzo, Moses Wetang’ula, Musalia Mudavadi and Isaac Rutto share something that they are trying to hide from the Kenyan public. The Nasa leaders share an unrequited thirst for power, but more importantly for the purposes of the upcoming elections, they also share a constant and consistent record of failure.
One would be hard pressed to find a single Kenyan, from any political persuasion, to name one example of strong leadership, one successful project that they built from start to finish or one efficacious policy which any of the Nasa principals enacted.
When one puts together their long terms in Kenyan politics, we see clearly that the Nasa principals have a unique and unprecedented record of 100 years of failure.
They have succeeded in political intrigues and machinations, or become known for corruption and nepotism. This is their record and this is what Kenyans should recognize when they hear Nasa’s recycled promises.
Perhaps this is why they try and project their failures on their opponents in Jubilee.
Rather than concede that President Uhuru Kenyatta has been successful in many areas that has brought prosperity and growth to Kenya, they are trying to repackage Uhuru’s successes into failures.
A case in point is the Madaraka Express, formerly known as the Standard Gauge Railway passenger train, from Nairobi to Mombassa. It is simply an historic achievement that will bring so many untold benefits for Kenya and the entire region and beyond.
Of course, once again putting their own ambitions before the good of the country, the Nasa propaganda team was out in full force trying to befuddle and steal this achievement.
Firstly, Raila talked about scrapping infrastructure projects like the Madarka Express, claiming that if he is elected then the extension of the standard gauge railway from Naivasha to Kisumu will not happen, even though it will hurt largely his own constituents.
When that proved to be unpopular, he tried to create the feeling the project was too expensive and called for the “jailing” of those who made it happen. When that message too failed, Raila made a complete U-turn and claimed the success as his own, stating that the idea was launched when he was prime minister of the grand coalition.
However, as Deputy President William Ruto said at the launch of the new line: “They say failure is an orphan. Success has many fathers. There are many others who dreamed about this facility. There are others who thought about it. There are many who planned about it but it is the Jubilee Government under your administration that has made this a reality.”
Ephemeral ideas are not worth anything in politics and even less to the Kenyan people. Action, results and success are the currency that is driving Kenya to meet the Vision 2030 goals and ensure its status as a middle-income nation.
The Nasa principles know that success and record are the coinage of Jubilee’s campaign for reelection so they are attempting two simultaneous campaigns in opposition.
The first is basically trying to belittle the change, growth and prosperity that Uhuru has brought Kenya by trying to focus on issues like the national debt, which is far lower than many fully industrialized nations, and the price of goods like unga, which were largely affected by unprecedented drought and the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease.
I know Raila now calls himself Joshua, but he is not God and able to combat nature.
The second campaign completely obfuscates the issues and focuses on tribalism and the language of threats. The Nasa’s “10 Million Strong” campaign is shallow in the extreme because it doesn’t say how they reached this tally, nor what it promises, it merely looks at the tribes that it thinks it can court and arrives as a stupefyingly absurd number of votes that it thinks it already has.
How Nasa bizarrely assumes it has 10 million votes without making a single thought-out campaign promise demonstrates its use of base tribalism as its only tool.
It also contrived this number in the hope that if it states it often enough, when the true election results are tallied, and they once again fall way short, they can claim corruption prevented their victory, a claim that will surely end in violence. Perhaps that is the point for Raila who has used this tactic successfully in the past.
The Nasa principals have failed on many occasions in Kenya’s history, especially their failure-in-chief-Raila Odinga. 100 years of total failure and no record of achievement.
However, if one looks at the record of the day after these repeated failures, Raila and the others always have an answer for their lack of success. They blame corruption, outside forces and even the Kenyan people.
If failure was to be treated like any other addiction which adopts a ten point plan for recovery, the first step would have to be to accept and own your failures and stop blaming others. Only then can we start to take the Nasa principals seriously.
However, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
(Sarah Korere is a nominated MP)