Martha Karua should revise her presidential strategies

Martha Wangari Karua wants to be the next president of Kenya. In fact she wants it so much so badly it hurts so many people, rather so many highly placed Kenyans. That is a good thing, ambition that is. It is within her constitutional, democratic and human rights to want to be President of Kenya. It is admirable and we should have more Kenyans come out strongly to contend for Kenya's leadership positions and not leave it to the select or pedigreed few.

Of late, my nerves screech whenever I see Martha Karua come on the idiot box, scuttling tables and being no nonsense about her presidential bid. It is like a part of me wants to see her be a strong contender despite the odds. That parts holds my guts nervously from spilling out whenever Martha talks of her dreams to be President. She doesn't disappoint. In most cases, a thousand votes scuttle in different directions at her mention of the word president. I have confirmed from Kimunya forbidden bar talk that this phenomenon is not unique to me.

The problem is not gender-based
Let me clear the air. Martha's non-presidentiality is not gender-based. While Kenya does not look ready for a woman president, Martha has surpassed this benchmark and would not be judged from this egoistic green goggles. She has earned her place in the echelons of high politics and shadowed Charity Ngilu the pioneer of women presidential candidates.

Camel through the eye of a needle chances
Actually, many Kenyans think Martha will not go far with her presidential bid. For additional drama sake, they are allowing Martha to go on with the showbiz and enjoy it as it does not last longer than five years. They will not mind her spicing up her acts and polishing up a few issues as I outline below. Who knows, she may aim for the sun and land on the moon or the empty nothingness that many a Kenya politician ends up in on the way to the top.

Arrogance and attitude
Foremost, whether perceived or real, Martha should hire a public relations expert to clean up her image as an arrogant and high-horse attitude politician. The Kenyan Wanjiku and Adhiambo still likes Java coffee dates on a Monday, Pizza on Tuesday at Nandos, Movies at the Junction on a Wednesday, Burgers at BurgerDome on a Thursday, Carnivore night out on a Friday, sweet-nothings on a Saturday night, cuddling on Sunday morning, flowers on Valentines, birthday, Christmas, Easter, Mothers day and every other day. A mix of angelic promises, American lies as well as hunter and gatherer jokes will do wonders. In addition image is everything in Kenya. Court and do not coerce.

Leave Kibaki alone
Martha should foremost leave Kibaki alone and should not make reference to him in her campaigns. Not that Kibaki is the best president ever but mainly because he is not central to her strategy and by bringing him in in her controversies, she makes Kibaki more relevant and strong enough to bring her down. In fact I submit that she need not fight for the non-dissolution of PNU parties. She should leave that to Musikari Kombo and the rest. The truth is PNU parties will not dissolve.

Narc Kenya should not be central to her strategy and she should not be keen to be affiliated at the moment. Fighting leadership battles in Narc Kenya is myopic and counter productive. As I show here below, Martha Karua should rebrand herself and sell a "Martha Karua" brand not Narc Kenya party. She should learn from the current professor of politics, Raila Amolo Odinga, PHD. Raila is a brand in himself who can afford to jump parties at will and still be relevant in Kenyan politics. She should not follow the Ruto script of fighting your tribal kingpin, Ruto was just too lucky with Moi, though he does not smile a lot nowadays. What with the Waki commission solely set up to document his skeletons, report later to be shelved and produced whenever the powers that be needs a little arm twisting?

Misdirected Venom
Martha Karua's non-presidentiality also has to do partly with her misdirected attacks. Martha's political nemesis do not include Uhuru Kenyatta and George Saitoti. Although old school politics that works in Kenya requires a tribal base, Martha Karua will not earn the Kikuyu mass by fighting Uhuru Kenyatta or George Saitoti. In fact George Saitoti is a spent force and irrelevant for now. He would have been best when Kenya was looking for a compromise candidate but we have already gone beyond the tipping point, a point of no return. Further down, I will suggest how Martha Karua can best deal with the Uhuru threat.

Martha Karua earned her accolades while fighting Agwambo Raila Odinga. Unfortunately that is how she earned her 'man enough' triumphs. If she intends to remain relevant, she can only ride on 'fight Raila' stunts. Unfortunately again for her, Raila is not "fightable" at present. First she should not be seen to be friendly to Raila but should maintain her independence and remain non-confronting for now. If she befriends Raila in the eyes of the public, she should as well kiss her presidential bid goodbye.

Raila the best option for Martha Karua
Unfortunately again, Raila is the best ladder for Martha Karua to actualize her ambitions. Kibaki has given her the best he can, a ministerial portfolio, the rest of the work is for Raila to accomplish. But going by what I have said above, the only best way is for Martha to maintain her cool with the prime minister but adopt a 'fight Raila' show in public. As the presidential election nears, she should change tact and find a way of working with Raila. The bad side of it is that Raila is focussed on the presidency and has a lot of hangers-on on his back like Mudavadi, Ruto, Balala and Ngilu which leaves no room for Martha Karua to be prime minister or vice-president in a Raila government. The best Raila can do is give her what Kibaki denied her, a deputy premiership.

Change the constitution
The best way out for Martha to remain relevant and politically powerful is to change the constitution. This will also help her retain her 'fight Raila' tact and soften the masses' hearts on her arrogance and attitude. In this she should have the zeal of Michuki and Raila's tact and shrewdness. Whatever the first, second and third liberation failed to give Kenyans in terms of constitutional reform, Martha should agitate and use her Justice and Constitutional Affairs docket to actualize it. She should even go for an executive premiership which Raila is not keen to advocate of late (fight Raila). She should change tact and even push for the enactment of the Bomas draft.

Land Reforms
The land reforms embodied in the constitutional reform will deal with Uhuru Kenyatta once and for all, without bruising the egos of her Kikuyu counterparts and their attachment to their heir-in-waiting, Project One rendition.

Land redistribution will make the Kikuyu IDPs happy and the not-so-much-talked-about land grumbling in Central Kenya. From these drastic reforms, there is a possibility of a populist movement that can get majority seats in parliament and she can get the executive prime minister position or a better deal than deputy premiership. Through this she will energize reformists like James Orengo who will be too happy to get out of the Raila bandwagon. In the event that Raila embraces her radical reforms, she will have a better bargaining position than Mudavadi, Balala and Ngilu.

Talk to Mungiki, fight for Kenyan jobless youths
Politicians have forgotten the youth, again, until 2012. She should court the Kenya youth whose 80 percent population is jobless early enough. She should also engage Mungiki in dialogue and fight to bring the youth to the mainstream middle income earners range. This will be a sure winner and with youthful and charismatic faces like Mungatana, she could as well actualize in our lifetime. No politician will now be criminalised for talking to Mungiki and she should jump at this opportunity before Uhuru does in 2011.

Kalonzo Musyoka star on the decline
As emphasized above, Martha Karua should not waste her breath puffing away Kalonzo Musyoka and such like political opponents. I don't know which political-correct word to use but Kalonzo will easily self-destruct if he is not already in the path. Already, he is already showing signs of enjoying having things on a silver-platter, something even Uhuru who was born with a golden spoon in his mouth does not take lightly. It is a bad precedent that in Kenya, political power is secured by shedding of human blood, something Kibaki was warned against by his late father. It is not bound to be easy for Kalonzo Musyoka. So why should Martha Karua waste her time fighting Kalonzo.

My message to Karua is Woo Kenyans, Reform Kenya, Rebrand Karua lest you smash into smithereens in the political nothingness on the way to the sun.

Click here to learn more about Martha Wangari Karua

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