Finance Minister Amos Kimunya holds up traditional briefcase containing the Official Government Budget for the year 2008/2009 outside his office on June 12, 2008.
Folks, the Race to 2012 has shifted to overdrive! And it is as vicious as they come.
When Kumekucha recently published an article about the flight of one blindside winger in reference to Amos kimunya’s presidential ambitions, it was prematurely dismissed by many bloggers here as pure dreams.
It now emerges that Kumekucha’s post on Kimunya was spot-on and a superbly thought out piece of political analogy. Consider that in a game of rugby union, the opposing team hardly rely on their own blindside winger to stop an attacking blindside winger unless he manages to go past the defending blindside flanker (at the scrum-down backrow) who is the first line of defence. Confused? Read on, because the Grand Regency saga has exposed a GEMA power scheme and find out why Kumekucha called it ‘the Quiet Rise And Rise of Amos Kimunya that Kenyans still ignore – and why I think this latest scandal could just be a minor hick-up for Kimunya as he emerges the GEMA leading light and a serious contender for presidency in 2012.
Although the Grand Regency sale took place in 2007, all has been relatively calm until last week. We can authoritatively reveal the scandal was carefully timed to be deliberately unearthed last week so as to decisively destroy Amos Kimunya’s unchallenged grand march towards the Kibaki succession in Central province. Events surrounding the scandal have taken place in quick succession ALL of which were timed to ‘explode’ when the president was out of country attending an AU summit in Egypt and consequently leave Kimunya completely exposed with very little room for defence, maneuver or recovery.
Although it was ODM’s Orengo who first blew the whistle at an unusual and highly suspect 6.30pm news conference, the actual movers who engineered activities at Ardhi House earlier in the day were errand boys working at the behest of powerful forces from Central Province. These cunning operatives then went ahead to use an informer within the Lands ministry to leak the story to Orengo knowing the minister would not waste time in exposing the scandal. Soon after, ODM ‘saw a gap’ and decided capitalize by sponsoring a motion to censure the finance minister, but not wanting to be seen as directly antagonizing a coalition partner, it decided to use New FORD-K’s Khalwale to give the speaker notice of the motion. As soon as parliament passed the no-confidence motion, the Prime Minister, who had been chairing a cabinet committee meeting on Grand Regency, immediately formed a probe sub-committee and gave them a 24 hour ultimatum to submit ‘its findings and recommendations’.
The momentum towards Kimunya’s political demise was moving at breath-neck speed only to be brought to a screeching halt by the President who also called off a scheduled cabinet meeting and then asked Civil Service boss Francis Muthaura to instruct Spokesman Alfred Mutua to release a terse statement insinuating that the cabinet probe sub-committee report "has not reached cabinet and neither has the report received cabinet attention!" Wow.
It goes without saying that if Francis Ole Kaparo had been Speaker of the National Assembly, Khalwale’s motion would not have seen light of day. Consequently, the apparent success of the Kimunya no-confidence motion is now being seen within ODM circles as a precursor to a possible Kibaki no-confidence motion should the GCG collapse or should any of the pending Annan agenda’s be blocked before completion, especially now that Martha Karua has effectively defected from PNU and the men in that party will have no skirt to hide in like they did in early part of this year.
It turns out the grand regency saga is in reality a water stop break for Kimunya in our pulsating game of rugby and the finance minister is going nowhere! Kimunya actually had the audacity to say he is still serving the nation and that Raila should resign for being aware and doing nothing about the Grand Regency sale! Not only has Kimunya been assured of political back-up, his godfathers have vowed to break the bank in an elaborate plan to ensure that the Presidency stays with the community for as long as it takes.
In recent times, it is not lost on political observers that among all cabinet ministers, Kimunya is known to be the closest to the president and his recent budget speech (dubbed 2012 campaign speech) clearly impressed the president. Kimunya understands Kibaki’s lifelong love affair with economics and his budget speech was targeted at the boss when he announced, amongst other things, that “the 2008-09 financial year forecasted revenues of Kshs. 512.8 billion up from Kshs. 448.8 billion last year, and equivalent to 21.4 percent of the GDP” – all very sweet music to his mentors ears, only that the reality is that the economic growth is negative as we all learnt from Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya during the launch of vision 2030.
Kibaki is now being encouraged by his council of elders, among them god fathers who handpicked Kimunya from the corporate world and dumped him into politics, to start construction of project Kimunya for 2012 – similar to what Moi conceived with his own abortive succession through what was known as Project Uhuru. The elders (who are also known as the athuri group) although desirous of Martha Karua in their camp for now, have scant respect for her as a leading presidential light from Central province and are said to be worried that if left unchallenged, both Martha Karua and the Kalonzo/Uhuru axis might develop into larger political monsters and eventually eat into what could otherwise be ‘President’ Amos Kimunya’s GEMA vote basket.
No permanent enemies in Politics
Shortly before the explosion of the Kimunya Grand Regency scandal, a significant event took place in the political arena, whereby Martha Karua was appointed the NARC-K party leader. To the chagrin of the athuri elders, she immediately went ahead to announce that her party NARC-K had de-linked from PNU and that her name will definitely be on the ballot paper come 2012. This announcement was overshadowed by Orengo’s earth shaking whistle blow, but behind the scenes it had effectively thrown the Grand coalition government into a spin with cabinet ministers who habour presidential ambitions being forced back to the drawing board. There is no denying that the current political boxing ring contain grand coalition players who are smart, super-rich, ambitious and highly talented politicians who have their eyes singularly trained on 2012 and beyond.
While Kimunya is fighting the battle of his life to remain in cabinet and in frame to succeed Kibaki, quiet upheavals are building in ODM. Soon after her installation as NARC-K Chairperson, Karua has seemingly embarked on building alliances with possible suitors beyond Central province. Unconfirmed reports say she has already sent emissaries to ODM via Lands Minister James Orengo. Orengo is a long-time comrade of Karua during the 2nd liberation struggle as well as a colleague in the legal profession.
A sure sign that PNU loyalties have completely shifted came when parliament was debating the sensitive Kimunya censure motion and Assistant Minister Danston Mungatana, who is also a staunch Karua supporter and interim NARC-K Secretary General, became the first member of cabinet to stand up in parliament to strongly condemn corruption and unequivocally support the Khalwale motion against his own cabinet colleague Kimunya. In contrast to her strong defence of Kibaki during the early sessions of parliament, Karua sat pensively in the house and unusually kept away from the censure debate. Mungatana’s support for the motion and Karua’s laid back attitude in parliament was in effect a coded message to the Kibaki’s Council of Elders who are propping up Kimunya and also an open invitation to the higher echelons of ODM that she was ready to do business.
Not to be left behind, FORD-K’s Musikari Kombo in an attempt to catch the eye of ODM captain also acclaimed in support of the Kimunya no-confidence motion. Kombo is struggling to remain relevant after being vanquished by the ODM wave in 2007.
Whereas the ODM captain Raila Odinga is sure of going for a second and final stab at the presidency in 2012 or before, Raila is also faced with a simmering power struggle within his own pentagon cabinet as well as in his own Nyanza backyard.
A quiet but steady Raila succession battle in the Nyanza region is in the offing pitting Ayang Nyongo versus James Orengo versus Dalmas Otieno vs James Magara. The first two are front runners to being Raila's deputy in Nyanza politics.
In the all powerful ODM pentagon, there have been calls to expand it a little and also create two deputy captain slots. A soft spoken and moderate Mudavadi is already occupying one deputy captain slot while the firebrand William Ruto and the no- nonsense Charity Ngilu are said to be keen on the other slot. Even before this, the ODM captain must make appointments to cabinet to replace the late Laboso and Kones. There have strong been calls within ODM that the replacements should be done immediately while other party moderates feel the captain should wait until after the by-elections to replace the ODM legislators.
On the front line eyeing the powerful Roads docket are: James Omingo Magara, Christhanus Okemo on one hand while Kipsigis MPs Isaac Ruto and Franklin Bett are on the other hand. The latter actually started canvassing for the seats during the funeral organizing committee meetings, long before the deceased were buried! Apart from reminding the captain that their community was short-changed in the initial cabinet appointments, Ruto and Bett are not hiding their demands for the seat which they say should be a mere replacement exercise by Raila appointing Kipsigis ministers. The influential Orange Women Democrats are pushing for one of their own to replace Laboso.
In the meantime, while weighing-in on the long-term political effects of Karua ’s move in GEMA zones, Raila Odinga knows that he must keep ODM united in his quest to be the next president of Kenya and he also has to keep an eye trained on his erstwhile ODM-K rivals Klonzo Musyoka and Uhuru Kenyatta. Raila must also court surplus votes from central province by all means possible or alternatively divide GEMA into as many splinter groups as possible. This undertaking is already underway considering he has effectively neutralized Mungiki and has their leadership dancing to his tunes while the GEMA elders are now fighting among themselves as to who will induct the ODM captain into their ranks as a Kikuyu Elder. But this is a story for another day!
Clearly, the blindside winger (read Kimunya) has been tackled neck-high and has not made it to the corner-flag try line (score) and it remains to be seen if the favoured PNU player will recover to continue with the game then outmaneuver his opponents and score the much needed try.
So far, PNU are trailing ODM in this exciting rugby union game of high voltage politics.