X N Iraki: Beyond the accord lies the hard reality

A period of unusual silence followed the signing of the accord between ODM and PNU.

The MPs entrenched it into the Constitution without debate. The implications of the accord are starting to sink. The reality is starting to emerge; brinkmanship has taken over.

The utterances from both parties leave no doubt that implementation will tax the two parties’ wit and ingenuity. Each will try to interpret the accord differently; each will try to gain as much political territory as possible. That is realpolitik.

That is better than shedding blood or destroying property.

Their utterances leave no doubt that the two parties or one of them signed the accord, shingo upande (unwillingly). That worries me. The more we implement the accord, the more some parties get hurt after realising the implications.

While everyone would want to believe that the accord was a win-win situation, time will reveal the reality. Why?

The accord was only signed after lots of bloodshed and chaos. There were some intended and unintended consequences. Some Kenyans learned chaos can be productive in the political arena. Revolutionaries had learned that earlier. Some people have suggested that its only after chaos reached a threshold that the two parties started talking.

The threat of chaos can be used as a political leverage again. The recalcitrant side can always be threatened with more chaos. After all, we still have not answered the most fundamental questions: Who caused the chaos and why were they so successful? Another threat is elections whose results would be very different because of displaced population. The post polls chaos may have changed the Kenya’s political landscape irreversibly. The year 2012 will reveal that. There seems to be an unwritten law: Thou shall not talk about the accord. That should not stop us from making some observations.

Why didn’t those in power stop the chaos? Failing to name a Cabinet then deal with the consequences is not helping them either. But their biggest test is going to be resettling IDPs. By failing to resettle the IDPs, the Government will lose future votes, and goodwill.


Incidentally, IDP resettlement is complicated by a simple fact; eviction of IDPs may have been politically popular in some quarters.

ODM may finally make up for what it lost after NAK-LDP marriage went sour. In fact, even the terms seems close, from sharing Cabinet positions to sharing other appointments. If ODM succeeds in sharing posts beyond the ministers, they can finally uncork champagne bottles. Never mind if that will lead to shared loyalties in Government

My hunch tells me that ODM political strategy was long term; slow puncture the Government side till passengers demand a change of the tyre!

ODM has been successful in her strategy for a simple reason. It is one of the few parties that has full time politicians! Scrutinise MPs from PNU side and you will find that most are part time politicians. Some day, PNU side will realise that politics is serious business.

The political drama is not over.

Consider this: Mr William Ruto gave way to Mr Musalia Mudavadi to be the deputy Prime Minister. That in my opinion was brilliant; it would ensure him a Cabinet position. My suspicion is that someone may have leaked the Cabinet list from ODM side. Who told ODM that Ruto is not in the Cabinet? But even more curious is the statement attributed to the American ambassador — that cleanliness is not an issue in Cabinet appointment. Who is unclean?

Finally, the issue of a bloated Cabinet leaves no doubt that the two sides are talking about their own interests.

Other more critical issues, like IDPs, can wait; these innocent Kenyans were after all pawns in the elites political games. After the Cabinet appointments, expect more political drama. The key political players in Kenya have sized each other. They may not be satisfied with a draw.

The writer is a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, School of Business

Bookmark the permalink.