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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Khalwale’s Sinister Populist Agenda, Playing Politics with People’s Lives.

Guest Post: By Denis Otingo-Onyango

Also published earlier today: Open Letter To Phil of Kumekucha

Last weekend Nation’s article ‘Khalwale: Is he a political gun for hire or reformist?' was very catchy in its title on the backdrop of the ‘Unga Saga’ proceedings but was less intriguing to read though after fulfilling a much punier task of deciphering what the subjected Member of Parliament stands for or represents. In my humble view, he is not a political gun for hire but the ‘new-kid-on-the Populist Political block’ without any real reform agenda. Even more sinister, he can be viewed as a pretending reformer but for popularity sake but at the expense of the deeply vulnerable and clinically disenchanted Wananchi. I might be wrong but spare me your judgement before reading this.

At least now it's official. Let all the media outlets and the public be warned that "Political Populism” of the eighties is back with a big bang and it’s the new flavour in politics, and the Unofficial Opposition is lapping it up. Clouding the citizenry with mixed feelings also in the process, because the "populist" stories have a perennial quality in style and rhetoric but however leaves one wanting if you are in search for true substance. It’s more about grabbing the next headline and making news than speaking for the downtrodden in bid of real reforms, and doing so with anyone or anything whose appeal ‘seems’ down home, down to earth or down market right. Khalwale has not stolen anybody’s show, apart from Kalembe Ndile, Wafwoli Bwakwoli and Ramadhan Kajembe. He is effectively the new Martin Shikuku and Kamau-wa- Nyoike hecklers type but only just without a bow-tie. His Budalangi counterpart has chosen a pocket handkerchief rather than a bow tie.

Notwithstanding, the unofficial opposition and with its new ‘political populism’ as championed by Khalwale, Bwafwoli, Namwamba and et al have been fortunate to have gigantic scandals like Grand Regency and The Unga Saga play into their hands promising great hopes to the oppressed of possible breaking of the yoke of Poverty institution. If they could have fully capitalized on them in their submissions and deployed the stick ability endurance in a seeking to convert them to bold Bills that can bring amendments and subsequently fundamental reforms. Comparatively with what presidents have been impeached about in similar other cases are realistically whimsical in proportions compared with our sagas.

The Maize Scandal in retrospect is an example of classic case that exposes the ‘Populist Politics’, here Khalwale and Co failed to see the inextricable link between ‘Ugali’ hunger of the common voiceless mwananchi they claim to speak on behalf with the Sangwachan Tanker Disaster only to let the culprits of other sagas that have taken bread out the hand of suffering like Kroll Saga and Anglo Leasing go and lecture peoples on totally peripheral issues on how to avoid similar catastrophes. I’m sorry these people do not know the pain of losing a loved one and not to have a grave to remember them with because of poverty and they should leap back into their choppers of X-4’s back to their palatial homes. A ‘Sangchangwan Bill’ would have been a progressive populism move of forcing the government to renew its commitment in fighting endemic graft that is killing its citizens with poverty, luring some of them to death like a mouse to a mousetrap. The sub-sections of the bill would suggest that, it would be a criminal offence punishable with two years imprisonment if one is found guilty of trying to siphon petrol from a Tanker illegally because the thought of serving a term might give one hind sight with the care of their loved ones in mind.

In ‘The Grand Regency Saga’ and ‘The Kimunya must go’ rendition, Khalwale in my view did not fair better than the state house draft players live alone some other chess players. He could not predict the shuffling of the furniture and his unrepentant return as if to say ‘Kwani uta do?’ meaning ‘I don’t care attitude’. With apparent signs of sending Kimunya packing, Khalwale preferred glorying in stealing the show from Bwafwoli Wakoli and his new title of the ‘Bullfighter’ from Ikolomani than considering fully the implications of his motives whether it’s about publicity or reforms. If it was for the latter rather than the former, he could have checkmated the government by tabling a positive ethnic discrimination bill for the any further appointments to the sensitive Finance docket in the spirit of New Accord and the desperation for healing following the events of last year. In my opinion with this second example, Dr.Khalwale is like a wicked Gynaecologist inducing labour in a birth process and walks away leading to still baby deaths’. He and his cohorts have lacked a hot headed analysis that can confront a national decline from top-down with all their ugly manifestations.

In a more pragmatic sense, may be some of these ‘new populists politicians’ like Gitobu Imanyara yearn to begin the kind of broad-gauged assault on the status quo as the real reformers of our historical past in the seventies and eighties such as the ‘Seven Bearded sisters’ George Anyona, Koigi Wamwere, Mwashengu-wa-Mwachofi and James Aggrey Orengo just to mention a few. They had a genuine concern about the paupers and the gap their opulent ‘masters’ lived in and did not stop at anything or anybody. They were fearless bullfighters who were not shy on taking the state machinery head on even with detention gates within sights. Here the begging question is , where is the ‘Unofficial Opposition’ party's comprehensive critique of the delay of Agenda 4--not just the wild indifferent delay but the corrupted nature of it that has left all the state security apparatus in the hands of an elite Kenyan society. It’s a factual statement that such state machinery is the primary sustenance of inept leadership with all manner of ‘Muppet Show’ presidents like in our neighbouring African countries.

Nowadays, ''power to the people'' is a slogan used even by both Microsoft and I.B.M. and '' a man of the people'' by a man who with his several wives cannot go without his favourite ‘Ugali’ and ‘mrenda’ usually has a sarcastic inflection. Dr Khalwale was reported in the article as a staunch opponent of taxation of MPs’ perks. He was also quoted to be s saying that such a move would render legislators “as poor as their constituents’’. I rest my case, this is tentatively playing politics with people’s lives and leaving the historic meaning of reform politics corrupting and trivializing it with as a sentimental oddity known as ‘New populism’ invoked by the press and embraced by powerful interests operatives. They are not any different from Newt Gingrich and George Galloway of western world’s politics who leapt at any ‘hot potato’ media issues to be relevant with the latter even going to a greater length of dining and seizing a photo opportunity with Saddam the tyrant.

The ‘Progressive Populism’ which I subscribe to is exemplified by the Obama’s ’08 Movement; it was creative and robustly defiant of the entrenched power. Giving hope to the disillusioned people in their bleakest of circumstances and with their five, ten dollars, they forged their own politics and audaciously took on the Washington’s establishment and Wall Street. Setting their eyes on the ‘big price’ and armed with one solid agenda that was ultimately going to change their nation. It was rich in big ideas about how they were going to use government to protect their society from further depredations of concentrated wealth and corporate power. They then incorporated the intellectual seedbed of socialist scholars like David Axelor to influencing the change agenda with tangible health, social and economic justice policies. Climaxing with a delivery strategy that culminated to the ‘New America’ they are now experiencing.

Hey, let us be warned, these ‘new populist politicians’ are just talking as if they might actually do something for the common folks. How quaint or daft, it is all ‘domo’ meaning rhetoric and impossible in our current political system that is accustomed to serving a particular interest. If they are absolutely serious, they should stop these media antics or risk being branded as ‘‘wild-eyed, rattle-brained fanatics'' or disparage demagogues hecklers without any concept of sustainable strategy. They should then start advocating for the breaking of the corporate power, the chief perpetrator of the quagmire we have found ourselves in with a ‘hands-tied-in-the-back boxer’ Prime Minister Raila Odinga as graphically describe by the former Anti-Graft tsar and an Oxford Scholar John Githongo.

The writer is a UK Based Kenyan, Progressive Populist Political Activist.


Mwarang'ethe said...

We concur with the author of this article.

For instance, we had conversations with Ababu before he went to Parliament on the issue of Anglo Leasing and corruption in general.

We proposed that we should draft a law and push it through Parliament. He has been in that House for over a year now. What are his achievements?

Lest we are accused of just talking, we reproduce the email we sent Ababu.

Hi Ababu,

Thanks bwana for the reply. Now,as you think about it, I wish to say that time has come for us, and especially the young Kenyans to rise to the challenge of leadership and save Wanjiku from these vampires.

But how do I propose we do it? In 1930's, when USA faced the greatest depression, it was called upon the American lawyers to adopt the sociological school of thought to restructure American system.

I hold the opinion,that time has come for us to fix our problems and stop shouting about them to the whole world. For instance,when American courts mounted the unruly foreign act of state in relation to Cuban nationalizations, the Congress responded with Hickenlooper Act and the other day with Libertad Act and D'Amato Act. When the other day, Enron hit USA,the Congress responded with Sarbanes-Oxley Act etc. I may not concur with some of these extraterritorial laws, but that's not my point here.

My point is, we have observed that phony companies have been used and continue to be used even now to swindle our mothers. Is there nothing that we the citizens can do to stop this?

I propose this,if we agree with me. Since u are in the civil society, u use those connections so that we can draft or cause it to be a law to be drafted, which we can use the civil society, and like minded mps to push thru in parliament, and if need, we can ask Kenyans to go to street in support of that law. That way, our demonstrations will not be in vain like they have been before.

I would propose that we draft a simple law like this: (This is just to express my idea and nothing more, I am not a draftman as such).



Considering that CBK is the banker to the Kenyan government,

Considering that the need to safeguard public revenue,

Considering the need for transparency in all payments by Kenyan government,

Recalling previous cases of non-transparent payment to non-existent persons, and the attendant loss of public money,

It is resolved by Kenyan parliament sitted .....


-To amend the existing laws and procedures governing opening accounts and payment by CBK,

-to create transparent procedures for opening of such accounts,

-to create transparent procedures for payment by CBK,

-to provide for tabling of these records (accounts) to the parliament,

-to create registrar of cbk accounts office in the attorney general's office etc.

- Government- etc

SECTION 1O Opening an account with CBK.

Any person who shall open an account with CBK shall follow the following procedure.

-Shall first deposit/transmitt his company's and personal particulars with the Registrar of CBK accounts.

-the Registrar of CBK accounts shall certify that:

-if it is registered in kenya, it is duly registered with Registrar of companies/societies in kenya -if it is registered in a foreign state, he/she shall liase with relevant authorities to verify the particulars.

He/she shall ask and receive information in writing.

-once the Registrar of CBK accounts is satisfied that with particulars of the persons (both juristic and natural persons) shall transmitt in writing to the relevant authorities in CBK.


If any person in violation of this Act, causes registration and/ or payment to persons not registered in accordance with this Act,shall be guilty of crime, and shall be liable for imprisonment without fine for not less than 25 years in jail.

NB:In short, what I am saying is,instead of us talking too much about these things, it is about time we changed the strategy and be a bit imaginative. I imagine that the civil society has a lot of money and they can hire lawyers to come up with such a law along these lines. I would have expected the LSK to be pro-active in these areas, but alas. I am therefore proposíng that we start drafting laws to cut the umblical cord that has been feeding the vampires. Please let me know what u think about this idea.


Anonymous said...


Upende usipende Riara will NEVER be the president of Kenya.

Furthermore, no Odinga name will EVER enter the state house.

You can bet that on your dear life but it will NEVER happen!

Jinga wewe, mavi ya kuku!

Anonymous said...

Njinga wewe.Its Kimani Wanyoike not Kamau.

Anonymous said...

Jinga wewe it is David Axelord NOT David Axelor.

Piss off you!

Anonymous said...

F*ck Raila!

Mbwa yeye!!

cicero said...

Its Axelrod and he was never a "socialist scholar" God! do you just pull stuff from your behind and hope that people won't notice? If you are going to drop names, at least know how to spell them.

Socialist said...

With respect your article though too long ascribes to rhetoric and nothing more! You find Kwalwale a heckler but nothing wrong with the thieves. You expect Kwalwale to uncover, investigate and prosecute the scandal. On top of that he should galvanise the citizens against the thieves. But not the prime minister.Githongo and you wants us to believe the PM is powerless.Githongo just like many of us do not want to accept the fact that Raila is as any other politician. Many people find it hard to deal with betrayal.Githongo being no exception.Raila just like Kibaki is hopelessly ineffective. He is more concern with maintaining his constituency than protecting the Kenyans interest!
Kwalwale has done his part. It’s up to you and your progressive movement to move the ship forward. Tell us what we should do to bring these scandals to an end. Tell us how to join hands to make our country hunger free. Tell us how we can join hands without protecting our corrupt tribesmen! And will willingly give Kibaki and Co the heave-ho!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:04 Phil is an illiterate sycophant who just follows molasses stinking ass.Which other Kenyan doesnt know how to spell Sachang'wan?Jaluo jinga

Anonymous said...

My God! David Axelrod is American of Jewish heritage and NOT bloody Luo! What does Axelrod got to do with HIV carriers, wife inheriting sycopaths?

Anonymous said...

@Mwarang'ethe you said you concur with writer just because Ababu did not think your idea worthwhile (Actually he probably thought it was stupid)...
thats the height of intolerance!

Anonymous said...

I hope calamities visits ALL those who worship Raila! Wish you all go to hell!!

joe the choma man said...

"Philo" aka Phil
long time no post bwana!now that Dr.Raila is no longer in official opposition you should have more to say about the GCG and its running and managing our affairs-don't worry we shall criticise as we see fit

Well, thanks for the nicely worded elongated essay competing with a postgraduate thesis on one level but overall it fails to see the forest for the trees. no Kenyan has so far publicly hailed either Dr(real)Khalwale or the entire 10th parliament as Kenya's liberators. They are all playing politics with kenyan lives and we're tired of it

Kenyans are groaning under the burden of an unnecessarily disheartening government thats struggling to grapple with myriad problems facing this nation and failing to provide any concrete solutions to what we want as Kenyans

Khalwale can try but will fail to fill the gap created by the lack of true substance coming from the top in government and parliament-he's having his 60 seconds of fame now let him enjoy it before he fades away into obscurity

The buck for all thats good and bad to blame stops at Dr.Raila and Dr.Kibaki-all else are circus antics running around in cirlces

UrXlnc said...

Regarding kenyan "leadership" and our ever changing MPs

from this article in the daily nation

IN A SOCIETY OF THE RICH AND THE poor, we cannot speak of “One Nation, One Dream” because a dream conceived by hyenas for the sheep can only succeed for the hyenas, never for the sheep.

When I saw retired President Moi together with President Kibaki, the two outstanding architects of our failures, disasters, tragedies, dictatorships and poverty since Kenyatta, invited to tell us how we can save ourselves from the mess they, with others, have created for us, I shuddered. The only person missing there was Jomo Kenyatta.

Koigi Wamwere


Anonymous said...

I'm not an admirer of supporter of one Kwalwale. I have no time for his brand of politics.

However, the author Dennis Onyango (his name tells whom he worship) is venting his fury on Kwalwale because he was unmasking Onyango's GOD, Raila, and his ODM gang and putting sand instead of petrol in Raila's 2012 Presidential van.

Raila and his ODM are getting a dose of their own medicine. Raila has thrived in cheap tribal populism of the Luo through out his political career. He only got a national appeal in 2007 because Kenyans were fed up with Kibaki's inept leadership. The following Raila got and the votes he got were not due to his popularity but a protest vote against Kibaki.

Raila used to shout on TV every day how he would made Kenya a land of honey. He is an Executive PM and at the heart of the Govt. What has taken him so long to unleash the "magic" to make Kenya the land of honey. He used to engage in cheap populist speeches at any funeral all Luo Nyanza to win public appeal.

What Kwalwale is doing is what Raila was doing before and he tried when he became PM until his poor and hungry Kibera voters shouted him down. Why wasn't Onyango unhappy when Raila was engaging in cheap populism? Raila has no shame he even declared Obama was his cousin! He hoped wazungus would adore him if he was Obama's "cousin" the way his stupid Luos worship him. Wazungu have no time for tribes or Raila cheap antics.

Ruto and Raila went round blaming Kibaki for soearing food prices and prices of fertilizer. Now Agriculture ministry is headed by Ruto and Raila's ODM. Why haven't they brought down the prices? Cheap talk only and no substance between the ears.

Raila and his ODM gang are big devils like Kibaki and his PNU gang. All of them must go.

Anonymous said...

To all Odmorons,we had a whole Molasses plant given for a song to the Odinga family and thereof we got RAO aka 'molasses' and now you've given us ethnic cleanser,serial corruptor,William Ruto aka the 'Maize eater'!OMG!

kalamari said...

Why the disdain for populism? In Kenya, it is the hecklers who’ve always got things done. Our lethargic government only acts when it absolutely has to…and since it’s very own institutions cannot make it move an inch…it follows that the opinions of the masses echoed in parliament is our only reprieve.

By that I mean this, if a poll was taken today in reference of Ruto/maize, an impressive majority would prefer to see him resign. It is refreshing to see a ‘Bonny’ ‘bravely’ ‘represent’ the sentiments of ‘Kenyans’.

deroo said...


I might one who believes in DEMOCRACY the right way, but I differ with your insinuations about the characters of MPs and their ilk.

Secondly, I scratch the surface of the earth to find out the politician in Ababu Namwamba but I fail to find one. But because he like all LUO MPs are Raila's direct choice, I believe he was elected on his own dream to be an MP.

Not that he is LUO, but Namwamba is the only politician that Raila went out of the way to ensuer he goes to parliament. Raila even played in a soccer tournament in Budalangi to drive the point across. He won yes, but politician? NO.

On your other points, I equally find substance in your argument but your presentation baffles. I dont know the depth of your personal argument and inclination, but let me reserve comments that will be seen to be retrogressive or challenging your PERSONAL knowledge on FACT as have been claimed by other contributors to this particular thread.

You need to re-read your piece and find the points that were wrong, either misrepresentation of fact, deliberately, accidentally of ignorantly.

Because the basic argument in this piece has been diluted by bigots posting moronic statements, I will avoid it and beg that you give us something to debate on, while avoiding cretins and dwarves in the brain department from spewing irresponsible tribalistic insults here.

You will notice that some people commenting on this do not even understand what you mean, simply because you have invited the same.


deroo said...


What a concotion of material from a death spot to IBM, to Wall Street to Microsoft. What was missing in your piece in BONDO EDUCATION FUND or KIBERA TOLIET SCHEME.


Anonymous said...

When it comes to Luos, it is our culture to hold the name ODINGA very close to our hearts.

No matter how you urgue, Luos will always worship Raila Odinga, and if he dies, we will go for Oburu, but the name ODINGA will forever be in our lips nad hearts. stop wasting your time by calling RAO evil.he is god!

Jaluo Kamili

Sayra said...

Sasa Derek,

Kumbe ur still alive ... good to see you around.

Missed your input here big time.

Anonymous said...

Sayra, r u here to look out for men?

Derek is untouchable, above your league!! stick to ghasia type like Phil and UrXlnc HIV carriers!

Anonymous said...


Can you please post an article about the new Zimbabwe Prime Minister and challenges he faces.

UrXlnc said...

and just so that we dont get sidetracked by the myriads of shenanigans

as i recall this is not a fish market

UrXlnc said...

in view of the foregoing i'd like to suggest a new and highly lucrative profession/business in kenya. one guaranteed to last as long as our current leadership

scandal-orgy : the orgy of scandals perpetrated against kenyans

scandaleogy: the study of scandals

scandaleogist: one who unearths and publishes materials or otherwise engages in discussion or studies on the never ending list of scams, scandals, etc associated with our pathetically and hopelessly corruption entangled kenyan system

scandaleader: anybody elected or appointed to public office in our current system

sandal (sometimes confused with kenyan citizen): object worn and (ab/mis) used by scandaleaders in moving from point A to B in their chosen hierarchy to shield and carry the scandaleader from all manner of personal injury

sereast said...

I read the first paragraph, skimmed through the remaining paragraphs, went back to see who wrote this peace and Alas....a Jeng! No wonder, maze you are in U.K and have no idea what's happening on the ground except just like me reading from online papers.

When I read someone like Khalwale is taking the onslaught on scandals in parliament it makes me feel good, not because Khalwale is from my tribe..NO. because at least there is someone giving these corrupt fellows sleepless nights.

So if it was Orengo, Nyong'o who came up with these I will still fill very proud and happy.

So Bwana, stop the crap and lift the vail from hiding your tribal nature. As they say you can take a villager from the village but never the village from him.

Just as Socialist is saying...offer solutions not just empty talk.


BTW, this is the end of one Odinga and the fanatic Nyanza politics.

sereast said...

OMG! Annon @ 11.47 AM, no wonder you follow this Odinga people blindly? You know Kenyans don't just follow blindly, he has been tried and tested...he has been found wanting and so we rest his case.

Anonymous said...

What did you expect moi to do?
nationalize all businesses? make kenya into a workers paradise? Kenya is a poor country; as long as the cold war was in place there was peace, enough to eat and lots of US aid; after the collapse of USSR western instituions -world bank forced Kenya to divest state corporations (which were bought by corrupt politicians for less than mkt value etc) and forced kenya to have multiparty elections (which caused massive borrowing by the ruling party,increased inflation
and ethnic tensions).

Anonymous said...

no law can have any effect without political will

Anonymous said...

in 1963 there was no race segregation in Kenya; there was race segregation in the US and South Africa; there is no point in looking at the US to solve kenya's problems

Anonymous said...

every thing can improve if the following is done:
1. follow human rights
2. have a free reponsible media
3. allow dual/multi citizenship
4. ban guns and arms
5. guarantee minimum income
6. increase civil servants salary
7. decrease mp salaries
8. increase tax for the wealthy
9. cumpolsory military/peace corp type 1 yr service at age 18
10. encourage small business
11. have an upper senate made up of non elected elders to override nonsense from parliament
12. president becomes a ceremonial post

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...


While i agree with most of the points you raise in your post, i also think your post unfairly blames Dr. Kalwale. It is true Dr. Khalwale should have come up with the required legislation, but so should have the rest of the idiots in that dishonorable parliament.

My opinion is that most of the blame should go to the executive. These folks (Kibaki Raila, Kalonzo et al) have clearly failed to provide leadership even when what is required of them was written in black and white. Sample this ..

Anonymous said...

The writer of this article needs to do a crash course in logic. This is a clear ad hominem fallacy.

Anonymous said...

that is what ODM is rooted hominems. what else can you do if you have no argument? attack the messenger, smash the goddamned mirror that dares reflect on your ugliness.
I call it a fallacy of ODMinem.

Denis said...

Mwarang'ethe it was intersting reading your post and we're more than singing from the same hymn sheet. It is the bold bills that will get us somewhere.

Denis said...

Gukah Koigi,

It is humbling to not your precence in our midst here exaseperated about issues you've fought for with all your life and being. Modo'wa nyuba thanks for the forwaded article that has rekindled the vengence against the status quo.

Denis said...


Sorry if I appeard too harsh to Khalwale and seemed to exonorate the real culprits. The dilemma was to highliht the facts without falling in trap of heckling to the thieves. It's a catch 22 situation.

DM-Nairobi said...

The writer of the post is well-intentioned and the issues he has raised are worth a serious look. However, his writing style leaves a lot to be desired.

This is one of the most boring articles ever posted in Kumekucha due to the pathetic prose.

A short course in advanced writing skills would really help to improve his articles in future.

Si kwa ubaya lakini.

Sarrouniya said...


Denis said...

DM-Nairobi,Sarrouniya and Anonymous,

I'm a rookie blogger and I will definately heed your counsel guys. Even more serious is that the un-edited version you see here has ended up in Kenya Times.

The main issue however is to kickstart this peasants uprising and it's making some people figity. Rhetoric plus actions is the key discussion points here na mukitaka majadiliano iwe kwa kilugha ya wanainchi, ita kuwa bora zaidi kuliko kujaribu kutuzubaisha.

Mimi Sii Raila Damu bali namwonea huruma kwakuwa hata Mudhaura hana Nguvu kumshinda. Kulingana na mgawanyiko uliyofanyika ina onekana alipata magari,maaskari na jina tu. Hata mshahara ya mwaka hajalipwa jameni.


Sarrouniya said...

It's Muthaura not Mudhaura! suck..big time. I want to cry.
Did you say you are based in the UK? Are you serious? You remind of Pastor Deya. I always wondered how that guy pulled it off huko na hiyo Kizungu yenu.
(By the way, thanks for spelling my name right :) Though I suspect you copy pasted it).

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