By Machel Waikenda
As the clock ticks towards March 4 General Election and in line with strict constitutional timelines, the hottest political item today is the building of alliances.
Indeed by the time you are done reading this article you will be bombarded with news of yet another group of like-minded politicians seeking to form alliances, coalitions, partnerships, or whichever fancy names they give to these unions.
Political coalitions have been built since time immemorial and have been used to overcome political challenges. Kenya is not new to political coalitions and the most memorable but which had the most spectacular collapse was the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) that removed KANU from its 24 year stranglehold on power.
Touted as the best coalition ever and a case study for Africa, the collapse of the NARC coalition was a blot on Kenya’s image, political maturity and confidence as a country. It was solely blamed on ethnic and personal ambition of power of some key players. It set a bad precedent and any attempt to build an alliance has been met with suspicion because of the Narc experience.
While NARC may have been ten years ago, the fall out with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) where the Pentagon members had formed an alliance based on power sharing is still fresh. NARC had given Kenyans so much hope and its collapse crushed their hopes.
These are events in the country’s history that has made coalition building become a sensitive almost secretive affair and this what the law is trying to cure by providing an avenue where parties seeking to form an alliance can deposit an agreement with the Registrar of Political Parties and which becomes a legal binding document.
The dramatic collapse of political alliances in Kenya and the resultant cries of betrayal have happened because the alliances were not based on a common ideology, shared vision for the country, healing and unifying the nation – but simply for the sole purpose of pursuit of power.
When the pursuit of power is the only reason for consummating a union, then the minute the power is achieved the alliance collapses because there is nothing more that binds it. The pursuit of power becomes an end rather than a means to an end. It is for this reason that The National Alliance (TNA) has adopted a different strategy in its coalition building.
The alliances TNA is building and continues to build are aimed at uniting communities, healing and reconciliation and more importantly peace building. As a country emerging from post conflict, alliance building is the best strategy to hasten healing especially among communities that have been involved in conflict.
The alliances TNA is pursuing are not just aimed at acquiring power as some have alleged, but instead they are aimed at unifying communities, bringing them together to ensure they tackle their problems together because they have a shared destiny.
TNA will continue to pursue coalitions that are beneficial to Kenyans and is keen at alliances that are likely to foster peace and tranquility in the country. The country is in dire need of healing and the best way is to bring communities together in one grand alliance so that Kenya can move as one and united.
We have noted that some of the individuals who are busy rubbishing alliances and negatively referring them as tribal are the same ones behind the fall of previous coalitions that had brought so much hope to Kenyans.
TNA’s approach to alliances is that they must be beneficial to Kenyans and are not based on personal ambitions for power but for the good of the country.
Political parties must play their role in creating unity in Kenya and should not be the source of divisions. Kenyans must be able to embrace each other despite a difficult past and forge ahead as a united nation.
As a party TNA is committed to the transformation of this country and is ready and willing to work with like minded individuals and parties that subscribe to our ideologies. Our vision is to form an all inclusive government that reflects the face of all 42 tribes of our country and our union will be a national one. We seek to form a united, strong and committed team that will carry the collective dream of Kenyans and one which we can truly call a National Alliance.
(The writer is the Director of Communications of The National Alliance – TNA. Waikenda@tna.co.ke)