With his KANU 'empire' having crumbled in less than 5 years after he left power, it was rather ridiculous this week to hear former President Moi boasting that he has planted makachero (swahili for spies) in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and that ODM should brace for a political fight of their lives. It is telling that, perhaps in a bid to sabotage the process, his remarks were made just when ODM is about to start its national parliamentary and civic nominations
It is an open secret that the former president is struggling to remain politically relevant. PNU is demanding political insurance premiums be kept up to date. Regrettably he appears to have convinced Kibaki and his team that he can actually deliver Rift Valley votes to PNU. Moi's relentless efforts to convince voters in the expansive Rift Valley to avoid ODM appear to have largely failed. All recent provincial opinion polls show that ODM's Raila Odinga is far ahead of the President Kibaki in that province. ODM itself has attracted an average of 15 aspirants in most of the constituencies in Rift Valley including several in Baringo Central which the president represented in parliament since independence to the time he retired in 2002, afterwhich his son Gideon took over the mantle 'unopposed'.
To add insult to injury, nearly all of Moi's close associates have defected to ODM and the former president (with only his fellow octogenarian Ezekiel Bargetuny at his side) wants to make it look like he engineered these defections. The revered Kalenjin Council of Elders has already installed ODM pentagon members Raila and Ruto Kalenjin elders (a ritual Moi himself never underwent despite his more than half century as a key politician from Rift Valley). The strong ODM wave in Rift Valley seems to be unstoppable.
Recently, the Chairman of the ODM Election Board, Justice (rtd) Richard Kwach was quoted as saying that the board was well aware that some aspirants had been planted in ODM nominations so as to cause confusion and that they are well known. Some of these aspirants have themselves confessed to the board.
My own take is that Moi has caused enough embarrassment to himself, his family and to this country by engaging in partisan politics. He should enjoy his retirement and let Kenyans (or in this case Kalenjins) chart their way forward unhindered.