BY FWAMBA NC FWAMBA
Though it was highly anticipated that there was going to be a cabinet reshuffle long before the President presented the list of alleged corrupt government officials to Parliament, the appointment of Eugene Wamalwa to the Cabinet wouldn’t have come at a better time.
President Uhuru’s appointment and eventual taking office of the new Cabinet Secretary of Water and Irrigation is not just like any other appointment. Apart from it being a significant step in building an all inclusive government, the move is a powerful political statement and a delicate balancing act to take care of any fallout if any as a result of Uhuru’s war on corruption that has seen a number of his allies named in the list of shame.
The 2017 politics and alliances can’t be wished away and this seems to be ongoing both for the opposition and the government. While the opposition is working day and night to improve their performance of 2013 that will deny Jubilee the 50 percent plus 1 outright win threshold, Uhuru is determined to mobilize all parts of the country to gain absolute legitimacy with a clearer win in 2017.
The leading opposition coalition Cord has come out and openly declared that President Uhuru’s war on corruption is a public relations gimmick. In contradiction of the same both CORD leading lights Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila Odinga have come out to viciously defend Charity Ngilu in particular declaring her innocent and linking her prosecution as political witch-hunt intended to hound her out of office as the Cabinet Secretary in charge of the all powerful ministry of lands and housing.
Raila Odinga has come out as a strong defender of those named by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission but in the same vain has been calling for the prosecution of IEBC Chairman Isaak Hassan and the former’s other preferred alleged culprits. The former Prime Minister has also put up a spirited fight against the Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, asking her to step down over the alleged impropriety of the National Youth Service funds.
After appearing for the mention of her case in relation to the 134 acre piece of land in Karen, suspended CS Charity Ngilu openly declared that Jubilee has failed in the war against corruption and the government ought to resign. The CS also defended her long time political rival and Cord Principal Kalonzo Musyoka against allegations that he grabbed the over 500 acre piece of land in Yatta that belonged to NYS.
Ngilu declared that the land belonged to Ukambani people and no one had a right to question Kalonzo about how he acquired it. The latest symbiosis between the two Ukambani leaders is a cases of ‘’scratch my back, I scratch yours’’. This is evident that the war on graft has become a political affair in preparation for 2017 elections. The definition of corruption is now debatable and depends on who is in your camp and who is not. It is a sign that political realignments have begun and corruption will be a significant tool in hoodwinking the voters. CORD’s support of Ngilu is nothing but a way of getting her back into the CORD family.
Charity Ngilu’s presence in the Jubilee line-up in the 2013 general elections is considered to have played a role for the ruling coalition to get some votes in Ukambani that enabled Uhuru get the 50 percent plus one threshold even though the greater majority in the region voted for the CORD ticket whose running mate was their homeboy Kalonzo Musyoka. It’s for that reason that she was considered for a cabinet position together with other politicians like Najib Balala and Kambi Kazungu despite the fact that the Jubilee top leadership had declared that no politician was going to be in their cabinet line up.
Charity Ngilu’s life in Jubilee appears to be over and her recent association with the CORD Principals might be a fallback plan to be relevant in another political alliance in preparation for 2017 or a tool for blackmail to get the President’s attention.
Eugene Wamalwa has charismatic following in Luhya land. Strategically, after missing out on the running mate slot in Jubilee to William Ruto in 2013, Eugene Wamalwa opted to support UDF’s Musalia Mudavadi; a fellow Luhya. The move to support Musalia in 2013 projected Wamalwa as selfless and someone keen on Luhya unity. That kind of sacrifice is what kept Wamalwa in the cold for over two years until recently when Uhuru appointed him to the cabinet.
In 2013, Luhyaland mainly voted for CORD and UDF. The Jubilee coalition performed dismally largely because majority of voters felt that the then UDF flag bearer Musalia Mudavadi had been short-changed by Uhuru and Ruto.
The rebranding of Musalia Mudavadi ahead of the 2017 elections is indicative that the former Vice President is fully in the 2017 Presidential race. His political leaning since the 2013 elections has been significantly towards Jubilee and a number of his allies have been appointed in various positions by Uhuru’s government. It is therefore likely that Mudavadi will either be part of the Jubilee coalition or run on his own in preparation of putting up a more serious bid in 2022.
Uhuru Kenyatta has tried to be everybody’s President and that has given him admiration even among his fiercest critics. His trend will easily gain him more support not necessarily on the basis of his performance as president but on the basis of being inclusive and accommodative .Eugene’s entry into cabinet pronounces Jubilee’s entry into Western in a much stronger way than any other time before. Being a vote rich block, political harvest will be significant for whoever will be supported by the most diverse and democratic community in Kenya.
Fwamba comments on topical issues.