Let’s choose a General who will win us war on graft
This coming election has been touted as the most consequential in this country.
From a government that has tarmacked more than six times the road network built by the previous governments combined; boasts of tarmacking 11,000km of roads; more than doubled the GDP since Kibaki left power and invested heavily in grand infrastructure to either Azimio-One Kenya or Kenya Kwanza government that will only need to leverage on these and change lives of the ordinary Kenyans.
The truth is - the next government is likely to have to invest far less in infrastructure and probably focus more on leveraging the infrastructure in place to change the lives of Kenyans.
The deputy presidential debate gave us a glimpse of how consequential the elections will be. On the one hand, we have UDA’s Rigathi Gachagua who was excellent in his prosecution of the issues UDA will attend to, while on the other hand, Martha Karua gave us a picture of what to expect from Azimio. The difference was quite glaring, and both scored highly on what is consistent with how their coalitions are built.
Rigathi did what we expected, only that he was just too good at it. A vindictive narrative that excites the Tanga Tanga masses who ride on this belief there is a magic wand to save this country called ‘state capture’ which he couldn’t articulate but had to unleash a dubious document to support his claims.
He excellently dwelt on the past, and politics of personality cults, projecting his coalition as taller than life and reducing the debate to an attempt to drag Karua to what critics have termed a pig fight in a muddy paddle.
Credit to Karua, she focused on the people and issues of public interest. She never crossed the line that UDA wanted her to, and I guess UDA mandarins must have been cringing when they realised they gave a good script but without control of their man once he was on stage. They coached him on the lines to take, which he did perfectly, but once he was on that podium, they had no control of him and he did not know when to let go.
The clincher of the show was when it was clear their agenda was to get into the trenches with social media and street gossips and they unleashed a mwakenya to boot, if only to excite their constituency.
If anyone doubts why President Uhuru Kenyatta chose to dispense with his deputy it was clear in the debate. He was mentioned by the very people he banked on to deliver the Jubilee manifesto in a manner that made it clear he could not have been more right.
In fact, while Karua was articulate on how Azimio will deal with corruption, the cost of living and politics that does not serve the public interest, Rigathi dwelt on the past, how they have been aggrieved and it was clear their quest for leadership is a vindictive agenda targeted at Uhuru.
Granted, corruption is a big issue and addressing corruption will free some much-needed funds that will address a big gap in the fiscal plan. However, a coalition that thinks of a public inquest to target individuals rather than address critical public interests, is a dangerous coalition.
Every aspect of culpability in as far as public resources and embezzlement of funds are concerned is worth thorough investigation. Not just for the benefit of the public, but certainly as an opportunity for those adversely mentioned to exonerate themselves and clear their names.
Therefore, when Kenya Kwanza anchors its campaign around a public inquest with individuals in mind, yet in Kenya Kwanza, a big chunk of the leaders have been mentioned and implicated in corruption allegations, it becomes clear their ploy is to politicise the perpetuity of justice and terminate the conversation to save themselves rather than mwananchi.
At the end of the day, from the debate corruption and integrity came out as the major issues upon which economic revolution will be anchored. Whether you call it ‘bottom-up’ economic model or the ‘10 Inawezekana agenda’, Kenyans will have a choice—between Ruto and Gachagua; and Raila Odinga and Karua.
Their track record, the integrity of their character and what they have in their manifestoes and how they will address the cancer of corruption should inform the choices. We are choosing a general and his deputy and the war is against corruption as the harbinger of economic revolution. We need a General who will win us this war.
— The writer is a PhD candidate — [email protected]