With No Clear Strategy in Place, Mt Kenya's Political Future is Bleak
Nov. 04, 2019
Kenya awaits with bated breath the unveiling of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, which is expected to redefine the future of power.
Divisions over the report are likely to turn an already divided Mount Kenya region into a perfect storm, the proverbial Tower of Babel.
But the power elite of the country’s most populous region are dithering as Rome burns. Without an agreed-upon exit strategy ahead of the 2022 political transition, the region finds itself in a profound political quagmire.
To be sure, a candidate from the region can vie for the throne of power in 2022.
But chances are extremely high that the region is destined to exit the helm of state power and to choose between presidential candidates who are not its own scions.
Inescapably, exiting power carries the risk of marginalisation by rival power elites.
Yet the region has not generated a clear exit strategy to enable it define its own future, avoid marginalisation and irrelevance and harness its political competitiveness, unity and resilience either as a prime mover in the coming government or as an alternative government at the helm of a refurbished opposition.
The region will not be the first to formulate an exit strategy and accompanying structures.
In the late 1980s, the Kalenjin formed the Myot Council of Elders as a soft front for an iron-clad social formation of elders, clergy, professionals, business persons and the deep state.
After the exit of President Daniel Moi, this power juggernaut has enabled the Kalenjin to consolidate unity, continue to call the shots in Kenya’s political marketplace, and to plan a political comeback in 2022.
Ahead of the release of the BBI report, this elder-based political machine has declared that the unity of the Kalenjin community is paramount and a decision on how the community will move politically in future will come from the elders.
On a different trajectory, since 1992, the eminence grises of Luo Nyanza have united around Kenya’s most sophisticated, intellectualised and powerful modern campaign machine woven around think-tanks and the Odinga dynasty, now shaping the future of power in Kenya.
Without a coherent exit strategy and power structure, the Mount Kenya region is a free-for-all theatre of a new scramble for votes.
No doubt, the coming Kibra by-election in November 7, 2019 is a dry-run for a likely electoral face-off between William Ruto and Raila Odinga in 2022.
Mount Kenya has a stark choice between the two. However, without a clear exit strategy, this choice is no less than a reckless air-dive without a safety net.
Both Ruto and Odinga have in the past pitched for power on an anti-Kikuyu platform as part of Kenya’s us-versus-them politics.
Slightly over a decade ago, the two political maestros hoisted the 2007 elections on the ethnic pedestal of “41-Against-one” campaign mantra, a resistance against the so-called “Mount Kenya Mafia”.
As such, the region’s choices boil down to the “devil-you-know” versus the “devil-you-don’t-know” scenarios.
~ Daily Nation