Cessation call an all-time low for Raila, Kalonzo
Kenya is experiencing one of its worst economic moments. The head of the Exchequer, otherwise known as Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury Njuguna Ndung’u, will in a few days be reading the first annual financial estimates under the Kenya Kwanza administration.
The budget proposals being made by President William Ruto’s economic counsellors are divisive, confusing and confrontational as they come. Regardless of the good intentions, timing, hubris, lack of clarity and poor consultations have made the proposed budget so unpopular in the public eye even before it is presented to the National Assembly for debate and endorsement.
Were Ruto and his economic courtiers good listeners, they should be flexible enough to withdraw some of the contentious clauses, including the three per cent housing levy being inconsiderately imposed on employees.
People in government are taking that taxation as a small matter. It is not! If anything, that housing levy could as well be the main determinant of Ruto’s tenure in office in the next four years. It is music that is difficult to dance.
But there is even bad music being sung by the Opposition troops led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Meeting at the Yatta home of former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka last weekend, the leaders resorted to calls for cessation if their numerous demands to the current regime are not addressed.
Apart from Raila and Kalonzo (also a former Foreign Affairs minister), the function was graced by Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya leader Eugene Wamalwa and Narc-Kenya’s Martha Karua, who is also a lawyer and former minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Present also were former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga and Roots Party leader and lawyer George Wajackoyah.
Politically speaking, that line-up is a mixed grill. However, the talk of cessation is a misguided and desperate advocacy devoid of national agenda. Calls to cesede are not only despondent but cheap, myopic and a threat to national unity. At no time should our individual quest for power drive us to resort to harmful tactics and utterances with the potential to tear the country apart.
Cessation proposals is one such harmful tactic. Tomorrow will be Madaraka Day. Thus, Kenya will be celebrating 60 years since it attained internal self-rule. It is, therefore, very unfortunate that the retrogressive idea of cessation is being mooted by persons with stellar political CV.
Apart from being a former Premier and a minister in both the governments of Presidents Moi and Kibaki, Raila holds strong credentials on the political market in matters democracy, human rights and governance. Few in Kenya can play in his league. He towers above many. He has also been a senior employee of the African Union who has over the years persistently fashioned himself as a Pan-Africanist.
His calls for cessation are, therefore, not only base and divisive, but appalling and retrogressive, coming at a time when the entire continent is pushing for African unity, integration and regional economic blocs and federations. In fact, Raila’s own daughter, Winnie, and Kalonzo’s son, Kennedy, are members of the regional East African Legislative Assembly.
Why on earth then would the two senior politicians be the ones to push for cessation within Kenya? We cannot be this naive and desperate such that while our Heads of State are pushing for a stronger East African Community and eventual federation, some senior leaders are so myopic and hell bent on parochial activities for purposes of self-gain and national disintegration. There are better ways of seeking relevance and media headlines.
- The writer is Revise Editor with People Daily — [email protected]