Any attempt to analyze politics in Kenya (including this one) are doomed from the get go. This is largely because POLIITCS IN KENYA DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE. Time and time again I have been asked why I no longer satirize politics and politicians. True, my attentions have been diverted elsewhere, but another factor is that politics in Kenya is hilarious as it is without anything being done. Just reading the headlines is enough to break you down with tears of laughter. I mean, where else can you have the President attending the National Delegates Conference of the Official Opposition, sing their anthems and flash their salute?
Government & Parliament
Under normal circumstances, parliament is constituted as follows:
In Kenya however, it is more like this:
In most countries, nominations and elections are like this:
In Kenya, however, they are like this
It get even more interesting. During elections the incumbent expects to be challenged by the leader of the Official Opposition and h(is/er)Government In Waiting like so:
But in Kenya we have a situation where the official opposition will support the incumbent in the next elections
The mind boggles
Political Parties in Kenya are largely meaningless entities. Very few political parties if any actually have a coherent vision and manifesto. Only a handful can actually describe what they are all about. At last count there are 144 currently registered political parties. 144. A good chunk of these are briefcase parties, hoping to cash in at some point in time when the correct political wind blows. Let us take a closer look at these, shall we?
The four horses are the political parties that dominate the political landscape, by virtue of having relatively country wide support. These include
- Mwai Kibaki’s PNU et al
- Raila Odinga’s ODM
- Uhuru Kenyatta’s KANU
- Kalonzo Musyoka’s ODM – K
These are characterized by formidable machinery, grassroots support in most provinces and relatively organized leadership. Many of us have heard of the KANU Manifesto, though I personally have yet to see it. Has it been updated? I have personally never heard any of these other parties share with the electorate their manifesto. And no, promises thundered over microphones do not a manifesto make!
Barnyard Fowl are political parties which, like some people, have an exaggerated (and misguided) belief that their very names (and themselves) should inspire awe and admiration from the public at large, blissfully unaware that not only does the public not give a flying rat’s ass, they do not really affect the price of tomatoes.
These are the political parties with exaggerated opinions of their popularity, blissfully aware that their sole uniting purpose is tribe. These include outfits like
- Musikari Kombo’s Ford Kenya
- Simeon Nyachae’s Ford People
- Chirau Mwakwere’s Shirikisho
- Joseph Munyao’s DP
These parties are generally of nuisance value characterized by having impressive numbers of their members and officials either hailing from the same area or speaking a similar language. Take for example Ford Kenya. Hitherto one of the most popular parties in the country it is now a pale shadow of its former self. Those brave enough to attempt to listen to Musikari Kombo’s monotonous monotone (at least until he puts them to sleep) will doubtlessly have heard him try and explain the disturbingly large number of officials and MPs from Western Kenya, taking pains to illustrate that the Party Secretary General, John Munyes is not from Western. Well, John Munyes has parallels with Token Black in Southpark.
The other parties are no better. Ford People’s MPs are almost entirely from the Kisii Community. Are are almost all Shirikisho MPs from Coast Province. The same with DP and its affinity for members from the Central Province and its environs.
These so called leaders are the ones generally frothing at the mouth on TV at pains to elaborate on “consolidating the xxx vote”, where xxx is their tribe of choice.
Duck Billed Platypae
These, like their namesakes are the oddities of the political landscape. These include parties like
- Raphael Tuju’s NARC Kenya
They are characterized by the following
- Babel like confusion about themselves, their identity, their goals, their activities
- Extremely top heavy leadership, where almost every other member is vice chairman
- Impressive lack of shame. Only the very brave will stand behind a statement like “Our support for Mwai Kibaki is unconditional. Even if he runs on an ODM ticket”. This essentially means they know where their bread is buttered, and little things like ideals mean little. Parallels can be drawn between the morality of such an attitude and alley cats.
Class Insecta / Filler
These are political parties whose chief function is to serve as filler for TV news and newspaper, to cover that white spot in column 4 page 27 or to make the 14 minute political news 15 minutes. Their contribution to anything is negligible at best.
Which political party do you support? That’s the greatest party EVER!!!
PIC OF THE DAY
There’s advertising and then there’s advertising