Tuesday, April 06, 2010
The constituency Fidel Odinga will easily win
I have been accused by some of my dear readers of being anti-Raila. Of writing long posts and including the names of others merely as window dressing because the main objective of my article is always to shoot down one Raila Odinga.
I have nothing against Raila Odinga. I personally believe that this country owes the man a lot as few people have fought as hard and as long as he has against impunity over the years. Few have sacrificed more. Having said that Raila the politician has also done great damage in his relentless quest for power. That is the truth. And this blog is about the truth and nothing but the blunt truth. Kumekucha has become famous for saying what others fear to say.
Personally I greatly pity those of us who would want to hero-worship a person while turning a blind eye to their down side. Regular readers of this blog will know that I greatly admire the late Tom Mboya, but if you read my posts I have had no hesitation in talking about his bad side. In my humble view hero-worshippers have no place in political analysis. They should just stick to their god’s website and trade praises till the cocks come home and leave bold, deep political analysis to those who can handle it.
Raila, always the heir-apparent to the political mantle of his father the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga stuck close to his dad for many years and watched his every move from a very tender age. Little wonder that his politics borrows a lot from the old man.
And now Raila is preparing to pass on the mantle to the next generation of Odingas and this move is well worth analyzing in great detail.
Fidel Odinga has increasingly been in the spotlight in recent times and over the Easter weekend he led a delegation of “young Turks” to Mombasa for a political meeting-cum-fundraiser at the heart of Najib Balala’s Mvita constituency. At that meeting Fidel announced once again that he will vie for a parliamentary seat in 2012. And what he had to say confirmed details I had gathered from some research that I have now been doing for sometime.
Fidel said that he would stand for one of the constituencies in Nairobi. Now we already know that he will not stand in Langata one of the reasons being that his dad is not quite ready to retire from politics yet. And that information narrows down the “possibles” considerably. Based on my research it narrows down the choices to ONE.
Fidel Odinga will make a bid for the Kasarani parliamentary seat.
Apart from the big hints from the Odinga youngster, those who understand the Odinga dynasty style of politics will know without any hints that the seat that Fidel has been talking about all along is Kasarani.
It is instructive how Raila moved in to dominate the Langata constituency he still represents. There was massive voter registration at the constituency from folks hailing from a certain ethnic community and they came from all parts of Nairobi. They quickly netralized the Nubian vote which had held sway in the area since independence. Raila handlers ensured that the arithmetic was greatly in favour of their man, whatever happened. This intensive behind-the-scenes preparation is something Jaramogi learnt from his great political rival Tom Mboya. The younger cosmopolitan man who always seemed to outsmart him at every turn. And Jaramogi learnt the lesson very well.
Kasarani constituency used to be called Mathare mainly because the sprawling Mathare slums are at the heart of the constituency.
Here is the list of people who have represented this constituency since independence;
Elections MP Party Notes
1963 Munyua Waiyaki KANU
1969 Munyua Waiyaki KANU One-party system
1974 Munyua Waiyaki KANU One-party system
1979 Munyua Waiyaki KANU One-party system
1983 Andrew Ngumba KANU One-party system. Ngumba fled the country in 1986.
1986 Josephat Karanja KANU By-elections, One-party system
1988 Josephat Karanja KANU One-party system.
1992 Muraya Macharia FORD-Asili
1994 Fredrick Masinde Democratic Party By-elections. Masinde died, resulting in another by-elections.
1994 Ochieng Mbeo Ford-Kenya By-elections (second one in 1994)
1997 Adolf Muchiri NDP
2002 William Omondi NARC
2007 Elizabeth Ongoro ODM
The vast majority of constituents in Mathare (Kasarani) right up to the early 90s were mostly Kikuyu and this is clearly reflected in the names of the legislators who represented the constituency right up to the early 90s. The Odinga political machine moved into the constituency after the first multi-party elections of 1992 with massive voter registration by members of the Luo community from all over Nairobi. And the result of the hard work behind the scenes clearly came out in the by-election of 1994 when Ford-Kenya’s Ochieng Mbeo won the seat. But by-elections are not a good test because they are usually marked by low voter turn out. And so things became pretty clear in 1997 when Raila himself was a presidential candidate on an NDP ticket. In a smart political move he chose to have close ally Adolf Muchiri (a Kikuyu) vie for the seat on a NDP ticket to give him a more nationalist look which is critical for any presidential candidate. Muchiri won effortlessly.
Currently there is fresh voter registration going on and my sources tell me that there is a lot of hard work going on on the ground mostly from Raila people. Further evidence that this is the political seat being warmed for Fidel.
Those wannabes who just want to wake up one morning when election fever is highest and decide that they are vying for a parliamentary seat should take careful note of this post and the fact that elections are usually won at the voter registration stage. So clearly this is the time to start working.
And what’s more about the Kasarani seat is that the current MP Elizabeth Ongoro may have a date at the Hague soon which means that in the event of the next general elections not happening until late 2012, then there just might be a by-election sooner than anybody thought.
Stop Press: Largest ever Microfinancing Conference happens Tomorrow in Nairobi
When historians sit down one day to write the story of how Africa rose from the ashes, I have no doubt on my mind that there will be at least one large chapter on Micro-financing and the role it has played.
Micro-financing has been a huge success story on the continent indeed institutions like Equity Bank, now renowned the world over got their start (and have continued to thrive) in micro-financing.
Tomorrow (April 7th) President Kibaki will be joined by Queen Sofia of Spain, Princess Maxima of the Netherlands and Nobel prize Laurette Mohammed Yunus of Bangladesh at the opening of the largest microfinancing gathering ever held on the continent of Africa. About 1,500 delegates from over 75 countries are expected.
The Summit will shine a spotlight on breakthroughs to end poverty in the region including: the intersection of microfinance and the environment; microfinance and agriculture, and microfinance and health. The goal of the Summit is to further catalyze commitment among practitioners in Africa and the Middle East to reach and empower the poorest people across the region.
Microfinance is often not considered the same as other aid programs because people access tiny loans for setting up a business, as well as, loans for housing, education, and even clean energy—loans that they pay back. Because microfinance has a history of providing people with a hand-up and not a hand-out many traditional aid agencies are looking to the field for lessons on how to help make their programs become more sustainable.
But what I am really looking forward to learning more about is the amazing cutting edge program for the ultra-poor that is being replicated in 9 countries globally. The program combines assets such as goats and chickens with training in order to graduate the destitute to a life of self-sufficiency.
Kumekucha classifieds: Calling Kenyan ladies in the diaspora