RE: The Journey of 1000 Miles towards 2022 Elections – and Beyond.
By Dorcas Sarkozy
Every time I finish a conversation with Bae, the names James Carville and Mary Matalin come to mind.
Today was no different.
We went back and forth on the next election cycle (2022), hashing out the prognosis for the opposition/NASA or whatever remnants/version of the coalition emerges from the on-going series of changes.
Two things jumped at us.
One was the fact that it is silly trying to predict the future but that doesn’t stop us from indulging in the exercise.
What would have happened had pre-2007 and post-2004 DNC Convention speech Barack Obama listened to people like us i.e. bloggers, pundits, experts and analysts who had already anointed Hillary Clinton as the Democrat’s nominee for the presidential elections?
The other thing that jumped out was that we – bae and I – oftentimes end up on opposite ends of several socio-political, cultural and economic divides; a phenomenon that brings me back to James Carville and Mary Matalin.
For those who don’t know who the two individuals are, James Carville was the brains behind Bill Clinton’s rise in American politics. Mary Matalin was a Republican operative with experience going back to the days of Ronald Reagan.
The two – James and Mary – faced off during the re-election bid of George H. W. Bush in 1992. Bush I lost to Clinton but the two campaign workers went on to get married on November 25, 1993. They also wrote a NYT’s best-seller – “All’s Fair: Love, War and Running for President” – that is as much about their love as it is about the ’92 presidential campaign that saw the two face-off on opposite ends of the competition.
More importantly, Ms. Matalin and Mr. Carville are living proof that one can find love when least expected and given the current zeitgeist that is Kenya, the two are proof-positive that husband and wife can hold (very) divergent political views while remaining committed to one another and raising a wonderful family.
Bae thinks that Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho should be the face of the movement to unseat the corrupt and murderous duo that has wreaked havoc on Kenya and Kenyans since 2013.
I think that the man’s faith – Islam – will completely weigh him down the feel-good narrative that Kenya is a tolerant society notwithstanding. I do admit that very few politicians can match what the man brings to the table as a political counterweight to the comedians now leading Kenya!
Joho is articulate and witty – in Swahili and English.
He is unafraid and can fight back – in kind – when necessary.
His loyalty, not only to Raila Odinga, but more importantly, to the causes championed by the opposition, is unquestionable. This is particularly true in the wake of what happened at Uhuru Park on January 30th.
And no, Joho “sio mweupe kama pamba lakini ana meno inan’gara sana”.
The icing on the cake, even as bae looks at me askance, is that the man known as Gov. 001 (Mombasa County being designated as County 001) has swag, is photo/telegenic and grooms/dresses to compliment his Allah-given aesthetics – Alhamdulillah!
Okay let me stop here before I get in trouble.
So while HAJ was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with RAO, the two erstwhile frontrunners, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi, in one act of cowardice and betrayal, lost the remaining shreds of credibility and viability either had as the flag-bearer come 2022 (and beyond in my books).
I cannot see how these two men, Kalonzo and Musalia, can recover from the widely-panned act of treachery – in full view of the national and international community. That they have already been lambasted in their own respective Kamba and Luhya communities is proof-positive that the two men sustained, unnecessarily so, potentially mortal self-inflicted injuries.
Though as Obama illustrated in 2008, four years in politics is a lifetime and a lot can happen between now and the next election cycle.
However, the stain caused by their failure to live up to their commitment to attend the swearing-in is/will be indelible.
I still cannot understand how the two men – former vice-presidents, cabinet ministers and politicians with a near-lifetime body of works to choose from – in one inexplicable act of what many will remember as selfishness risked it all.
Moses Wetangula not only failed to show up to the Jan 30 event, it is on record that the man was supposedly “battered by his wife”.
To be perfectly clear, being a victim of domestic violence is nothing to laugh at and should not be held against anyone – male or female – nor should it disqualify one from seeking public office.
On the other hand, we all know how chauvinistic and patriarchal African/Kenyan societies are.
We also know how dirty politics is.
I can already see the Cambridge Analytica-inspired commercials:
“If THIS man cannot keep ‘his’ woman in check, how will he keep Raira in check?”
Siaya Senator James Orengo may be the one man who matches Hassan Ali Joho eloquence for eloquence; swag for swag and heft for heft. Daily Nation goes on to add the descriptors “brilliant, ambitious and daring” in a Nov. 1998 piece titled “Kenya: Man of Courage: Life and times of James Orengo”.
I remember the measured, intellectual and well-prepared barrister warning Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju, in a 2017 KTN video that spoke to the man’s confidence and mastery of any stage.
The other names that come to mind include:
Dr. Otiende Amollo – MP Rarieda
Babu Owino nee Paul Ongili Owino – MP Embakasi East
Norman Magaya – NASA CEO; Lecturer – Catholic University of Eastern Africa.
Kenneth Okoth – MP Kibra
Dr Wilber K. Ottichilo – Governor; Vihiga County.