I don’t get emotional anymore on matters politics. I have my many reasons and not least of them is being let down on expectations. This is not just from observing Kenya but globally. For instance Barrack Obama who has just retired from the US presidency inspired a lot of hope in me and expected that so much will happen in US during his reign and had at least some low expectations on his influence in Africa. Well, US amidst the mess he inherited he tried especially on avoiding a collapse of the economy but was not keen on much of foreign affairs issues. On Africa I don’t think from my least of expectations he did too much. But well retire thee well Hon Obama. You did the best you could amidst a challenging divided (amidst racism) country and a troubled world. I have had my hopes for Kenya broken many times as well, hence my caution.
May I qualify all this by putting it that there is strength in knowledge. There is power in knowledge. Knowledge is acquired through various mechanisms and the schoolings system being key and very important in modern world. However, learning does not entirely happen in the school nor is the system sufficient on its own. Learning happens in many other facets in life including in homes, in work places, day to day interactions and socializing with numerous other tools including the media in all its growing dimensions in a modern world. So beyond school I have been lucky to interact with various systems and people and this has all built the knowledge base on many issues and one of them is Kenya’s politics.
From Daniel Arap Moi and KANU reign when I could tell what’s going on in the country, as first Kenyatta era I could only get a feel of what was going on from adults, there is a lot I can tell about Kenya having interacted with a lot of information. For instance, the clamour for return to multi-partism in Kenya and the subsequent repeal of section 2(a) of the constitution then, happened just at the time of my intense knowledge acquisition. To date I have seen, heard , learnt, read and interacted with a lot of information and happenings in the country. Besides, intensive research have helped figure a lot of what goes on in Kenya.
So from the perspective of having all these interactions with information and knowledge from diverse dimensions, I can tell this (2017) will not be an ordinary year for Kenya. Indeed all indications are that the battle for Presidency will really be rough. Well, there are other layers of seats particularly for the governor and MCAs which will be ruthlessly be campaigned for, but the top seat is still the most attractive more so in a country beholden to very ugly tribal divisions.
To make matters worse, it is a campaign with direct bearings to 2022 elections and has effects to careers of several top politicians. Uhuru Kenyatta win will obviously signify the final term in office. In event the opposite happens there is no dent expected in his career as his persona signifies a person not beholden to the high office. Uhuru is at ease with any status in Kenya’s politics at the moment. I doubt there would be much of any adverse to his career pursuits. Aren’t all retired presidents comfortable in retirement in Kenya anyway? Who said that you have to run two terms to have had impact to your country or life in a fundamentally positive way? Nonetheless, he has indicated he would want to run a second term, so I expect he would go for it with all the forcefulness.
The biggest dilemma is with the rest of the top politicians starting with Opposition Maestro Raila Odinga and the Deputy President, William Ruto with the later intending to go for the top seat in 2022. For Raila if he vies and looses he may retire an influential figure in Kenya’s politics as he would easily galvanize the vote for who could be going for 2022 presidency. He would also retire having had his influence on Kenya’s politics and indications are that he will remain active in Kenya’s politics not necessarily to becoming President in years to come. He may not be interested after this year. If he wins that would be another era of leadership all together.
There are other significant politicians more so Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula. These are politicians that whether they win or lose in 2017 will end up being very powerful to influence 2022 politics. They are political brands of significance though they may vary in their heights of influence at the moment. What this signifies is that 2022 will have numerous powerful politicians capable of going for the top seat and this includes the Deputy President and others who will obviously emerge. If the opposition unites under NASA as they would want the public to believe and manage to register as many voters in their strongholds and ensure huge voter turnouts then 2017 will be one of the hottest contests ever seen in Kenya.
Of course there are numerous issues to the formation of 2017 campaign. Many of them! They range from economy, performance, corruption, ability to reform the country, tribal unity and so on. Yet still tribalism will rear its ugly head once again. Votes will be won or lost on tribal alliances and preferences mainly, and issues will come second. But slowly as can be seen from some research is that the issues are gaining traction albeit slowly.
So where do we go from here? We can only hope and champion that whatever the campaigns and outcomes Kenya remains peaceful and a good place to live. The world is increasingly becoming insular in many places and the political economic dynamics not so friendly for immigration. At any rate the opportunities in Kenya and in Africa among other regions are immense. We can make it in Kenya.
Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda
THE WRITER IS A RESEARCHER AND CONSULTANT