CORD has itself to blame for Makueni fiasco


Recently a close friend asked me, again, why I think CORD lost the last presidential elections. He phrased the question in such a way that I knew what he wanted was more than the ‘party line’; he wanted a candid personal assessment of where I believe CORD went wrong.

The CORD party line is that the 2013 elections were stolen; some supporters insist that they were even more compromised than 2007. Others say that the entire government system was engineered to ensure Raila Odinga did not win.

However having been intrinsically involved in the CORD campaign I know that it was more fundamental than that; CORD lost the last elections because we gave Jubilee opportunities to defeat us; at voter registration; in campaign discipline; and in vote protection. We created gaps that Jubilee took advantage of. We somehow managed to lose an election that Jubilee should not have won. That is politics.

As I watched CORD’s Kethi Kilonzo candidature for Makueni Senator being challenged last week, I got a déjà vu sensation.

Kethi Kilonzo became a public celebrity three months ago during the Supreme Court presidential petition hearings. The public was charmed by this amazingly smart and professional young lawyer who was so articulate, composed and confident in such a sensitive court process. By the end, even those who did not support her petition admired her. She was clearly a chip off the old block; her father the late Senior Counsel Mutula Kilonzo, immediate former Senator for Makueni.

When her father died, word started going around that CORD would ask Kethi to be their candidate for the Makueni senate seat, and I thought, ‘brilliant!’

Kethi is a young woman, with a national brand name, and her father’s daughter. It was extremely smart politics for CORD to want to leverage this to their advantage against the Jubilee Coalition in Makueni, in what was expected to be a do-or-die political contest between the two coalitions.

Then I learnt that she had not been involved in her father’s Makueni campaign, and might not even have voted there. I also learnt that not only did she not support her father politically, she might not even have voted at all! Finally, a few days later I heard that she might not even be a registered voter.

Now, anyone who has participated in any political campaign knows it is a dirty game where rivals will use anything to crucify an opponent, even where it is clearly untrue. However in Kethi’s case we had a situation where the daughter of the deceased politician wanted to inherit his seat, while it was clear that she did not vote for him, his party, or presidential candidate; in fact, she might not have voted at all! Jubilee was going to massacre CORD and Kethi with this information.

I publicly stated that CORD was setting itself up to lose an election that we should not lose.

Last week we watched what looks like the proverbial train-crash happening in slow motion. Kethi was completely out of her depth and appeared to be self-destructing. Cries by CORD supporters that Jubilee was trying to stop their candidate were hilarious; of course they were – it is what rivals do to each other in politics, stupid!

Today I am forced to ask; how did CORD make the decision to confirm Kethi’s nomination when she must have admitted to them that she did not participate in Kenya’s most exciting election, and they knew what this meant? Who did due diligence on Kethi’s candidacy? If this was done (well) why was there no decision made to have another party affiliated to CORD present a candidate to IEBC as a fall-back, in case Kethi’s candidacy was successfully challenged? Could it be that some party mandarins pushed her to run, and hoped for the best?

In the last election CORD suffered for its inability to think outside best-case-scenario strategies. There was no plan B most of the time because anyone who suggested we look at secondary or third-tier fall-back plans during the campaign, ended up being viewed as lacking ‘faith’ in the party and the candidate and was termed as disloyal and uncommitted to CORD’s ‘must-win’ eventual victory. This most likely happened when questions were raised about Kethi as well.

CORD should have nominated a more battle-hardened politician for the Makueni seat and supported Kethi to campaign with and for this candidate in Makueni. They should have then brought Kethi into the party structures and mentored her politically, for future elections.

But what we now have is a situation where Kethi’s political career has most probably been fatally wounded even before it started. Leaders who should have known better have literally set her up to public ridicule, shame and humiliation; hurting not only her political career, but her professional one too.

As for CORD; it could easily lose a seat it should very easily have won, again.

(Wambugu the Executive Director, Change Associates Trust)

21 Replies to “CORD has itself to blame for Makueni fiasco”

  1. yeah. i think both kalonzo and kethi didn’t really look far ahead at what’s at stake. they are also in denial about the true cause of their problem. its a very naive approach, especially in politics, to say that “we should win because we are the good guys, better than them anyway”, and not work strategically to make that happen.

    i’m honestly very surprised at kethi for getting herself caught up in this mess. i expected better judgement and wisdom from her…oh well, we all live and learn.

  2. She is however, hurt among Jubilee Ethnic Blocks but revered among CORD ethnic blocks..Thats a COLD Fact Mr. Wambugu. Or have you asked Luos, Kambas, Luhyas, Mijikenda e.t.c if they revere her or praise her?

    1. …..’revered among CORD ethnic blocks’…… How do you revere someone or otherwise NOT because of their merit-based qualities deserving of that reverence BUT because the one according that reverence belongs to certain ethnicities? Too much tribalism will harm you……..YOU NEVER SEEM TO DISSOCIATE fact from politics and tribalism – quite sickening…………

      1. Kenyan politics is tribal and so was last years elections. You seem not to understand this, or you do and play angel, Jubilee is usually good at that. Empty church worship by day, thievery, thuggery, murder by night. Okay Angels we see you!!!

        1. That is NOT the issue myn and by the way, playing angel is EXACTLY WHAT you have just alluded Jubilee engages in so succinctly, YOU are confounding in your ‘sense’! If Kethi ‘crosses’ the aisle, then you imagine the so-called ‘revering’ advanced by Joshua Ngaatu, will change hands as well I guess and so you therefore missed the point in my post!! Kenyan politics IS MANY things BUT why bleed to death highlighting the tribal part!

        1. Ask Joshua Ngaatu above at the top of the blog-string. I am dumbfounded by his clinging to his pet subject – TRIBALISM. Myn is of the same mettle and for me I am clear-eyed on the non-association of the two. She lied and was NEVER registered. Simple…..

  3. Kesho failed in the nursery of politics exams and the good Prof Kibwana was not around to give her a straight A. It is still not clear whether she will sit for supplementary exams or she will be ‘disco-ed’……the Nursery authorities are deliberating…!

    1. She was promoted from that ‘nursery of politics’ by RAO himself when he said: ‘leo nimekuja hapa kumpa shahada’ – in other words her graduation into the murky world of politics had been ascertained by the professor himself – seemingly because one of her ducks now being in line – ‘manufactured’ acknowledgment slip in the bag, that unit had been passed well and it was a cry of ‘next’ but not to be………….

  4. For a minute i thought Kethi was her own person, pity that she has fallen into the group think of poor planners and strategists and is being dragged down. She should have taken Uhuru’s path to rise to the top and be patient learn the way of the jungle and then emerge top on the other hand the opposition ie CORD and affiliates need to either poach new talent, re brand themselves or dissolve in totality otherwise they are simply dancing naked in the public

    1. please pray for her, she is ending in kamiti prison. CORD is a phoney organization ready to sacrifice one of its own.

  5. I thought Kethi was bright, but for sure she was mislead. the big question now is, what for is she going to court? For more shame, My dear Kethi. you choose the wrong people to work with. You will only be hurt more !

  6. Cord decided to give her a direct nomination, instead of allowing open competition for nomination- if this due diligence was done maybe this situation would not have arisen secondly chest thumping that you have won even before the contest is what is CORD’s biggest undoing both at March 4 th poll and Makueni… Take it from me Kethi is sunk

  7. Well noted, Ngunjiri Wambugu.Time and again, the sodoCORDomites have perfected the art of screwing themselves from behind at every available opportunity!

  8. Mr. Wambugu may be after realizing that your wagon was not making any headway, you want to carry favors with others. Thats fine as long as we are devoid of moral concerns. However, the matter here was not CORD’s commission or otherwise. Actually your assertions are based on unproven belief that Madam Kethi is not registered. Forgetting that thousands if not millions fail to vote after finding that their names are not the register. Thats a very contested matter indeed. Of course since voting is one day event, Kenyans have not had opportunity to question how somebody who presented himself for registration failed to appear in a register that one has no control over. IEBC has never tried to explain why those names disappear! Their procedure, coated with unacceptable impunity, had been to just turn people away. Without taking any shred of responsibility whatsoever! Some Kenyans are thus denied their right to vote because of one’s failures. Needless to say, over the years only perceived opposition areas found themselves in such helpless but unacceptable situation. A top presidential candidate once found himself in that unlikely situation. That in itself, point to pre-arranged reduction of votes for some candidates while a veneer of legality is rolled out. Thats precisely where this Kethi’s issue lies! Its simply not about CORD or her, but about the emerging relationship between TNA and IEBC. That TNA could claim someone was not registered with certainty while IEBC would ony “try” the matter speaks volumes. And there are no guarantees that there were no document doctoring along the line! With evidence that Kethi’s candidacy was meant to be still-born if not on TNA ticket, Kenyans and CORD fraternity need more convincing than the mere almost threatening bits that are being rolled out. Assuming Kethi was registered and indeed dully nominated to run for senate, how does IEBC recoil after TNA raises that matter with even obvious invention of stolen documents, that the IEBC chairman is not even aware of? Who is in charge IEBC?

  9. Coming week will be a busy one for Kethi and one can imagine ‘certain’ of her friends as CID get down to work!

    1st question: where, when and how did she register?
    2nd: where, when and who gave her the slip?
    3rd: did she tell press she voted and then tell Tribunal she did not vote? Who is lying? And what for?

    4th: since a copy of the voters register was forwarded to the political parties, how could IEBC then delete her name from the register that CORD, WIPER, ODM, Jubilee, TNA and other parties have?
    The Makueni seat was slotted for CORD/WIPER and Jubilee could only have salivated as CORD took all the votes.
    Now CORD has used juju and voodoo thinking to lose it!

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