Third Eye

Why every partner is unique in game of politics

Monday, April 11th, 2022 02:00 | By
Patrick Ntutu, Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo and Women Rep Soipan Tuya at DP Ruto's Karen residence. PHOTO/COURTESY

The football they say explains politics in Africa and Kenyans are big fans of the English Premier League (EPL). In fact, they follow it more than the local league, thanks to the league’s global appeal.

But there are many parallels between football, especially the EPL and our politics. With about seven games to go the EPL run-in and wth our elections up in less than four months, it seems like the campaign period now is like a combination of the Premiership run in and the football transfer season combined.

During the transfer window, club sides and mostly the top Premiership contenders look at their squads and shop around for great players who will give them that title-winning edge.

The goal is always to get that solid defender, midfield general or most importantly that lethal striker who will score 20 goals plus in a season. A club that gets all these three normally has that edge. On the other in the run-in, it is these big game players that win you those tough games against title rivals.

Interestingly, the Kenyan political campaign scene today is like the transfer season and the run in combined.

That big-name player in your squad or team; the one who is to score those 20 plus titles winning goals is either going to be with you and score those 20 goals or he/she will leave and not only dent your title challenge ability but make the title rivals that he joins, the winners. That is where our politics is today.

In the ideal run-in, you depend on the big game players. The ones who define the marginal differences must be kept at all costs.  Interestingly, some big game players may not bring much to their current clubs, but a move to another club dents or completely changes the prospect of the club they leave.

Some go to new clubs and instantly win the title like Robin van Persie, but in Kenya today only Raila Odinga, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have that capacity.

Raila did it in 2002, Ruto did it in 2013 and Uhuru was the game-changer in 2007 for President Mwai Kibaki.

As things pan out and with Kenya Kwanza resorting to a coalition of parties and not a coalition political party, a lot is likely to happen. They are probably angling for key players from their title rivals.

Azimio on the other hand is well poised to keep its players and the biggest challenge is to keep its title-winning players happy. Even those squad players that don’t have pedigree goal-scoring prowess can chip in with those odd goals when the going gets tough.

But Azimio cannot afford to lose players who even though not 20 or even 10 goal-scoring machines, will join the Kenya Kwanza and clinch it for them. It is like Manchester City losing Rahim Sterling to Liverpool at this stage of the season.

He may not be their go-to guy at the moment, but without him, especially if his destination is Liverpool, Liverpool will clinch the Premiership because the margins are very small.

There are so many such players in Azimio and they form a cog that makes Azimio the winning side. The Azimio leadership should be well informed to keep them happy and promise them sufficient game time and prominent roles in the team.  This is because, if even one or two leave, their value increases exponentially when outside Azimio.

Kalonzo Musyoka, for instance, is a unique player in this political fever pitch season and the fact that pronounced himself in a public statement that he is willing to take any position as long as Baba wins, is bad news for Kenya Kwanza.

You see, his value in Azimio cannot be gain0-said, but was he to leave Azimio, and join Kenya Kwanza, his positive net add to Kenya Kwanza may not be massive, but the negative value effect on Azimio would be title damaging.

Indeed, the managers and captains of both Azimio and Kenya Kwanza have the balls on their pitch. One has players to win the title and all they have to do is manage expectations.

Fringe players too cannot be ignored.  Joining a side that can’t win and cannot win only makes you a squad player in a losing team. In politics, it can be career-ending.

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