Monday, September 24, 2007

Kibaki teaches on how to lose an election

I've been following with kicks and starts how President Kibaki is campaigning around the country. I've been curious since the man had ensconced himself at State House, surrounded by bumbling handlers falling over themselves in trying to keep him immobile. Now the man Is all over the place trying to sell himself for a second term.

There are three main reasons why I think his strategy is aimed at losing the election. I will not argue from the perspective that his main challenger, Raila Odinga, is indefatigable, has a track record and knows how to work up the crowds. That is undeniable. I will argue from inside Kibaki's campaign strategy.

My first argument is related to Kibaki's hands-off style that has characterised his first term. Kibaki has never campaigned as such, and since he has nothing to lose in the second term, why should voters trust him? In 2002, he had the presidency to gain. Now he has the presidency to lose, so why should you trust him to keep his word on anything? What means do you have to put him in check?

At the beginning of his term, he was applauded for keeping to himself at State House. He was commended for giving his ministers a free hand, unlike Moi, to run the show. I do not remember seeing the presidential standard, changed from green to white, flying at harambee House at any time in the past five years. During Moi's time, it was there almost daily, and as early as 6.30am.

What has that got to do with campaigns? A lot, it you ask me. Voters know that Kibaki has been laid back all this time, so for him to get out campaigning, things must be very desperate. He should have done the same in 2002 but was cut short by his accident at Machakos, prompting his being taken to London for treatment as election day approached. So despite succeeding, Kibaki never really went out to campaign. Neither did he subject himself to media scrutiny like his colleagues in the race.

The second argument on why Kibaki is losing has to do with development. We are being told Kibaki has "brought development" through things like CDF, LATF, bursaries and the like. What hogwash!
Kenya's colonial masters brought a lot of development too, but to whose benefit? As it is, almost all the CDF committees have cases in court as MPs manipulate them.

Simple, development alone cannot sell, for even Moi had some development initiatives countrywide. Indeed, some of the projects Kibaki is claiming to have revived, roads for example, were started by Moi. As a matter of fact, Moi used to drive to Nakuru from Nairobi regularly. I do not seem to remember when Kibaki ever drove on that non-existent road.

The third and not last reason why Kibaki is losing has to do with the party he is running on, Panu or PNU. This is a conglomeration of 14 parties, just like Narc before it. That figure does not include Kalembe Ndile's Independent Party launched yesterday. Two ministers sounded the alarm bells last weekend, saying it would be suicidal for Kibaki to be the only PNU MP next year. Sound reasoning, but full with danger.

Some of the main Kibaki backers, Narc-Kenya, DP and Kanu, have said bluntly that they will not dissolve. In fact, DP yesterday unveiled a candidate in Kajiado North, much to Saitoti's chagrin. Kanu is in a most interesting position. Remember that Uhuru Kenyatta left ODM after realising that it wanted to swallow Kanu. He decamped to Kibaki, only to be confronted by the same fate!

Now worst of all, Kibaki is promising the party leaders the kind of things he promised LDP in 2002 in the memorandum of understanding he famously dishonoured. Why should any party take him seriously?

Kibaki is losing emphatically. Unfortunately, there's not a thing in this world he can do to turn things around. Just where would he begin?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nicely written Dan.
I differ with you. I dont think he aims to lose this election. I think he is too old and tired to even care what the difference is between losing and winning in this election. He just wants Lucy and his handlers (who we dont know) to stop bothering him. Or he wants this to end so that he can go back and have a drink and forget about having to remind the pumbavus about his impeccable development record.

At this point, I need to clarify two issues:
1. Why should we think Kibaki does not really give a rat's posterior how things play out in this elections?
2. Why do I think the thieving politicians are not his handlers?

He does not care because if he did, he would have given the gang of opportunists and political rejects called "Narc Kenya" some direction while they went around the country using state resources to sell the flower party. he could have brought DP, Nark Kenya and other allegedly "Kibaki friendly" parties together and given shape and leadership to his campaign.
They urged, cajoled, threatened, begged and prayed for him to declare his party.
As they were dancing and bending over for him, he looked on, uninterested, unmoved. He said nothing and did not even tell the no-good rejects to stop squandering state resources on that hopeless party. DP claimed he was their candidate. So did Agano, so did other strange outfits.

It was so desperate that an old man, probably ailing from athritis and gout, got up, ignoring his creaking bones and winced forward to rescue the ridiculous situation. This man was Noah Wekesa. Noah Wekesa came in and started meeting and scheming. Wearing ill-fitting clothes, with no shoes, swollen feet, air bags under his eyes and slightly bent at the waist, the overweight Noah shuffled from one boardroom to the next, gave tired press statements and used up whatever little energy he had left to come up with a party for the uninterested old man.

He came up with many alternative names for a future party including PNU. He registered them and presented them to the disinterested old man. He said he will choose and they should go and wait for his announcement at KICC. They went there and twiddled their fingers and waited. He then chose PNU. It was not even a big announcement. It was a lack-lustre performance that starred uninspiring people like Nyachae and Ali Mwakwere (did you guys watch him explode on TV last week and insuly callers on live television?).

Nark Kenya, which has all his "friends" (Tuju, Michuki and all the rest), was not very amused - of course, these are not friends - they are just opportunists who are hanging on Kibaki's skirt for their own political survival and self-enrichment - where were they in 2002 when Raila was campaigning for Kibaki?

Neither was Wekesa. Who has ever seen a party with one candidate? But the old man did not give a hoot. They could go hang for all he cared. Their energies were wasted selling the flower party. They now had to start from scratch to sell the panua party. Can you believe their frustration?

This guy did not care. Kwani ni siasa gani hii?

If Mount Kenya Mafia were his "handlers", they could have prevailed on him to take up Nark Kenya and force the rest of hopeless politicians to support Nark Kenya - in their classic arrogant style. If politicians were his handlers, we could have seen some correlation between what he does and what they have been saying.

I think this campaign is single-handedly being run by Lucy. Nobody else.

That is why its failure is so catastrophic and that is why it is completely mindboggling. It reminds me of a movie (A Man for All Seasons) about a leader who had syphilis and his sycophants had no idea that it had eaten into his mind. Because they were sycophants, they said "yes" to all the nonsensical ideas the guy put forth, instead of advising him.
Now, as you know, Lucy is hardly equipped to give even a single politically sound idea. This is a woman who thinks it is okay to attack a media house at midnight in a nightdress so straightaway, we can only expect mindboggling ideas from her.

Because he does not care, even Lucy's ridiculous ideas see the light of day. He has gone to Western twice in a month. Raila has come and deleted everything he did in two days. Will Lucy tell him to go back and undo what Raila did? Lets see.

Whichever way, we are having his guts for garters. As Americals would put it, Raila will use him to mop the floor in the electoral contest. He will be soundly thumped.