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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Matuga by-elections:The inside story

Plenty of lessons for 2012 from Matuga by-election

Most Kenyans who are not Matuga constituents are puzzled. How did Chrau Ali Mwakwere bounce back so emphatically and win by so many votes? Especially when it is very clear that most Kenyans don’t like the man?

Actually there are a number of fascinating things that came out of this dramatic by-election that give pointers to 2012 and what is already shaping up to be the most exciting political time for ordinary Kenyans.

Mwakwere is a strange guy. For a person who has been a diplomat he shouldn’t have the kind of image problems he has been having so that even some of his own constituents don’t really like him as a person. Very dangerous for a politician. Those who know him well say that he is a very difficult person to deal with. One of his constituents told my contact on the ground that the man’s rich upbringing where he attended private schools and never had any school fees problems makes it impossible for him to really understand the poverty problems the people are facing on the ground.

It is this aspect of his character that his opponents fully cashed in on in the just ended by-election. This culminated in the distribution of hundreds of photocopied letters being around the Likoni ferry area purported to be a leaked memo where Mwakwere directed the Kenya Ferry services to start charging passengers crossing and not just vehicles. It is unlikely that the said memo was authentic but like all good political propaganda it was based on facts in the public domain. As transport minister and at the height of the ferry crisis last year Mwakwere clearly irked by the demands from people mostly receiving a free service angrily suggested that passengers may have to pay for ferry services in the future to guarantee their improvement. Mwakwere himself must have known that this is not practical and that collecting a few shillings from millions of people every day can be a logistical nightmare considering the way the Likoni ferry services currently work.

But despite all this sound strategy by ODM things didn’t work on the ground and in many cases badly backfired.

For starters the Matuga legislator has his handlers to thank for the way things turned out in the end. Their strategy was based on countering the poor image Mwakwere has of handling people shoddily. So there was a lot of door to door campaigns and fewer public meetings for their candidate. The press in Matuga saw the show of strength in the huge ODM campaign rallies and thinking that Mwakwere was resting at home, gave Kenyans the wrong impression that Dzipapa was going down. They even missed the tribal and clan issue which on its own made Mwakwere very difficult to defeat.

Mwakwere’s handlers also highlighted their candidates’ development record so far. Apart from the health centres that have improved enormously under his watch, it is no secret that the Matuga legislator has helped very many of his constituents to get jobs at the port in Mombasa and elsewhere as well as financing the education of many. These individuals and their large extended families were the kind of voters who would not be moved even by an earthquake.

But Mwakwere’s landslide victory was not all his own doing. The truth is that the competition also blundered.

For instance the youth vote which was widely expected to vote ODM’s Hassan Mwanyoha shifted at the very last minute and all went with Mwakwere. Political analysts and handlers for 2012 will have to be wary of young voters and what happened at Matuga. This breed of new Kenyan voters mostly vote on merit completely ignoring party affiliations. My contact tells me that many of them felt that Mwanyoha was a boring candidate who had nothing to say. His speeches were even more boring. This was in sharp contract to Mwakwere’s entertaining speeches. And so while the hoge crowds at Mwanyoha’s meetings were nodding off to sleep there was laughter and entertainment at Mwakwere’s meetings. Can you blame Matuga constituents? Who likes to be bored especially in this age of DVDs and the Internet?

Indeed Mwanyoha even brought in Mwakwere’s religion and made it a major campaign issue. Most of the Digo people are Muslims but Mwakwere is seen as a Christian. At least that is what Mwanyoha told the people. This one backfired badly with the youth who could not see what somebody’s religion had to do with their performance in parliament.

But even more fascinating were the massive funds (never before seen in the history of Matuga) that were poured on the ground by deep pockets in support of ODM. Many Kenyans on this forum and elsewhere believe that most Kenyan voters are still swayed by money. The Matuga by-election is a good lesson to study for those who still have this 1970s mentality about Kenyan voters. Constituents enjoyed the money but voted with their conscience. My prediction is that we shall see exactly the same thing in 2012 across the country.

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24 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is nothing puzzling about the emphatic win of PNU.

ODM as a party is on a self timed guillotine as its leader Raila continues to transform it into a LUO outfit aka NDP.

The Matuga people know this.
Kenyans know this.
Raila as usual is blinded by his immaginarly influence which unfortunately is confined within the borders of Luo nyanza and Kibera.

Anonymous said...

ODM as a party never existed only on paper. I for one thought the people behind the transformation of ODM from a movement would construct a party in a manner with clear distinctions from its perceived competitors.

To date i don,t know what ODM stand for or what it aspire to bring as change to the face of kenya. A voter can not tell the difference between ODM member and member of the other grouping on every major national issue. There is no leadership provided by party on anything that Mwananchi care for, the only thing evident they see is a pack of scavengers calling themselves honourable members who are ready to do absolutely anything to feed their parasitic mouths without a care to the voters interest. So where is the inspiration supposed to come from; one that nags a voters conscience to remain true to change?
How can you call yourself a party when you appear to stand for everything and nothing at the same time? Is there still doubt anymore that a party that rely solely on the charm and charisma of its leader can not pretend to sustain a staying power of influence without the input of its disciplined foot soldiers? Has ODM cultivated any to date?

And how do you cultivate discipline when you have thieves, saboteurs, murderous, land grabbers and everybody filling your ranks as peoples representatives and expect to be the change agent? 9 out of 10 voters will just laugh at you as they are doing now. At least Mwakwere told them the truth; that he was going to bring bendera back, something they could relate to.

Anonymous said...

As usual Raila-phobia maniacs have completely ignored the important message in this well-researched post.

Kenya is changing. The unpredictable young people of Kenya will decide the destiny of the nation in 2012. Which is a bit scary with their lack of experience.

Welcome back Chris.

What is it with these frequent dissapearnaces of yours bwana?

Anonymous said...

How do you expect ODM to win when its flag bearers are Nyongo, Kajwang, Orengo and that unknown minion from Canada Miguna???

All these fellows hail from the same area in Luo nyanza...ODm was popular coz the pentagon represented most of Kenyas populous tribes. When Raila thought he can sweep everyone else and leave the Omena kitchen cabinet and use dholuo in their meetings, he threw out the baby with the bath water...

There is no secret about this...

Anonymous said...

I think majority of Kenyans still do not vote on issues. I can bet that many of the voters in Matuga felt that by Chirau flying the flag again they stood to benefit. What a delusion!

By the way, one doesn’t need to go far to see how Kenyans are ignorant. Right here in this blog people think that Chirau triumph it was a rejection of ODM. FYI, if Chirau defected to ODM a month before the election, he still could have won. Reason? There is actually no difference between the tribal outfits called PNU and ODM.

M. Pesa said...

Another important point Chris forgot is that good old Baba Jimmy left Mwakwere's transport docket vacant as if asking the Digo people that they could still "fly the flag" if they voted Zipapa back in! A strategy straight out of Moi's tribal and power games politics. And now unless there's a mini reshuffle, Mwakwere will take over from Kimunya who has been warming the seat for him. Actually that watermelon called Kalonzo admitted as much during one of the rallies in Matuga. It's not a matter of if but when Mwakwere in back in cabinet unless the sky comes falling down. And guess who will continue to suffer when the worst minister since independence returns to sleep on the job as transport supremo? Kwani mta do?

Mwarang'ethe said...

One of his constituents told my contact on the ground that the man’s rich upbringing where he attended private schools and never had any school fees problems makes it impossible for him to really understand the poverty problems the people are facing on the ground.

xxx

Let us assume he understands their poverty. If so, what can he do then?

Poverty can only be eradicated by increasing people's purchasing power.

This will require enhancement of productive power of the poor not only in Matuga or Tuju's backyard but, in every corner of the nation. We are yet to see any understanding of this since independence.

xxx

This culminated in the distribution of hundreds of photocopied letters being around the Likoni ferry area purported to be a leaked memo where Mwakwere directed the Kenya Ferry services to start charging passengers crossing and not just vehicles.

xxx

If he were to come up with such policy, we would find it very appropriate.

And, if one thinks otherwise, as ODM seems to think they need to tell us who should pay for it.

As it is today, the Samburu who does not use these ferries is supposed to pay for them. Why should he continue paying for that which he does not use?

xxx

"... it is no secret that the Matuga legislator has helped very many of his constituents to get jobs at the port in Mombasa and elsewhere as well as financing the education of many. These individuals and their large extended families were the kind of voters who would not be moved even by an earthquake."

"... But even more fascinating were the massive funds (never before seen in the history of Matuga) that were poured on the ground by deep pockets in support of ODM. Many Kenyans on this forum and elsewhere believe that most Kenyan voters are still swayed by money. The Matuga by-election is a good lesson to study for those who still have this 1970s mentality about Kenyan voters. Constituents enjoyed the money but voted with their conscience. My prediction is that we shall see exactly the same thing in 2012 across the country."

xxx

Isn't amazing that, in one piece, without seeing the contradictions you tell us that, "young Kenyans" are not to be bought with money, but, are willing to be bought with state jobs?

Anonymous said...

M.Pesa,

Utasikia hivyo. Eti worst minister since independence????

What about mwizi Kajwang? What about Nyongo nyongo who has been busy on the YES campaign trails but the hospitals have no drugs and nurses are running away in droves??
What about Kosgey who when he was an education minister declared he losses no sleep when teachers go on strike??
What about that useless Gumo, and other yester thieves that cohabit in ODM???

BURE KABISA!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am happy that the Matuga people saw ODM for what it is, a Kavirondo Mafia party. The main shareholders of the party are Raila, Orengo, Anyang, Kajuang', Midiwo and Miguna. These gangsters had even the audacity to go to Matuga to tell the Digo people that Raila said they will continue to lag behind if they vote the 'wrong' way. The Digos said if the Luos have their Aguambo, they have their own Dzipapa, and the rest is history.

If Digos have never told Luos how to vote why do these mafia from Nyanza think they have a right to tell the Digos how to vote? Is this not the same arrogance that made ODM attack others based on their voting preference that nearly burned our country? These messianic politics of entitlement must be condemned by all peace loving Kenyans.

Anonymous said...

ODM is a "kitu gani?" party. It is led by a man who believes that people can eat and drink animal parables and soccer analogies. He also believes that his supporters are freedom fighters when they rape, murder and burn cities in pursuit of power.

Anonymous said...

^^^^^^^^ me like your arguments.

what happened to Ngilu, Balala, Ruto, Nyaga????

Just because they refused to be carts to pushed around by Raila doesnt mean that the pentagon should be filled with one ethnic group!! And i am an ODM supporter but i am now thinking of getting another more representative party.

Philip said...

Recently I was with a pal and she was so annoyed that ODM has been defeated in Mugirango. I kept on smiling but didn't mention anything. I wish she knew the way I nowadays abhor party politics.

We are so engrossed with party politics that we have forgotten real issues.

I'm sure if both ODM and PNU come up with a manifesto that says, "poor and disabled aren't suppose to belong to society called Kenya, and should therefore be exterminated or quarantined", there are people who will side with ODM and others with PNU. In other words if both parties decide to be evil there are people who will take side. That's how blind we Kenyans have become. The party issues have blindfolded us to the extent that we can't see the evil that both sides are doing.

It needs one man, then another and another, and soon there will be enough men to change the course of our country. It's easy to deceive a fool than a wise person, and that's why we should strive to have more wisdom and knowledge.

Questions and answers we ask ourselves are:

Why do we vote for new leaders? The answer is normally because they didn't fulfill our WISHES (though sometimes we have blindly voted for a wrong leader because he belongs to the right party).

The next question becomes, what are our WISHES that these leaders didn't fulfill? And our answers I'm sure will be: eradicate poverty, improve infrastructure, reduce energy cost, reduce tax, reduce MPs pay, improve security, reduce corruption, reduce tribalism and nepotism e.t.c.

Once upon a time in this blog I suggested that should we start looking at the problems we face that we’ll want our leaders to change, then look at the solutions and see the leaders who will assist us to come up with a solution - Instead of putting a leader first then expecting him/her to come up with a solution? I still hold to my suggestion that we need to look at our problems first then likely solutions and finally choose a leader who will help us to come up with a solution to our problems. This is because the later way has failed miserably and we fail to understand why things aren’t changing.

Sometimes it’s possible to find out that the solutions to these problems are so farfetched that any leader we put will not come up with a solution despite him being willing and hardworking to do so. Let me say again that this is where Mwarangethe comes, and he shouldn’t be ignored at all.

Maybe the reason people fail to understand Mwarangethe is because he wants us to understand and know 11x11 when he has not made us understand and know 1+1. He has either ignored or doesn’t know that one must understand and know 1+1 in order to understand and know 11x11, or maybe he can’t explain 1+1 coherently.

Philip said...

I’m not trying to feel that gap of 1+1 but I’ll try my best to make us understand that there is really 1+1 that we need to know – and maybe we’ll soon clearly understand and know 11x11 that Mwarangethe normally brings forth.
As I tried to say earlier the reason we are annoyed with our current leadership, the reason we are annoyed with our MPs, the reason we are annoyed with Raila (though in most cases this is imaginary), the reason we are annoyed with either PNU or ODM, is because they don’t fulfill our wishes or wishes of people who are close to us or wishes of our neighbours.

The next thing that we need then to understand is what are these wishes? The wishes varies according to class, religion, sex and ethnic. Nonetheless if you go to Kibera, Mathare, Kisumu, Mvita, Garrissa, Turkana, Nyeri, Runda, Ngong, Lodwar e.t.c. you will find that we make noise about, insult, criticise PNU or ODM, Raila or Ruto, MPs or President e.t.c. because they can’t fulfill our wishes that will make us happy and improve our standard of living, and these wishes ranges from poverty reduction, improved infrastructure, reduced energy cost, reduced tax, reduced MPs pay, improved security, reduced corruption, reduced tribalism and nepotism e.t.c.

Before I go further and find myself also jumping 1+1 and 1x1, and want people to understand 11x11 before they understand these two pre-requisites, I need to say that it’s very possible to find yourself feeling you have a problem but not understanding the problem. The reason thesis have “Problem Statement” is for the sake of clearly understanding the problem. Sometimes the problem can be more complex that one will realize what one had was ‘a blood clot in the brain and not a mild headache’. Or it’s possible to put a dog to guard your sheep against a herd of marauding lions – it simply doesn’t work – in other words sometimes putting a good leader only, and ad-abracadabra, behold a solution comes begging us to adopt it, cannot work, as the solution will not only need a good leader, but also our active participation and contribution to the solution. I hope I’ll clearly explain these allegories (I believe Mwarangethe has discovered this unfortunately he has failed to teach people 1+1 and 1x1, so that whatever he says doesn’t make sense to many).
Knowing and intimately understanding that the reasons you detest, hate or are pissed off with government, its leadership, some political parties, some leaders e.t.c. is because they can’t fulfill your wish and wish of others which are as I mentioned above; and further knowing these mentioned problem and understanding it are the first steps of 1+1 and 1x1.

In order to make ourselves ponder I’ll ask again, why do you hate Raila? Why do you hate ODM or PNU or both? Why do you hate the president? Why do you hate our Mps? I’ll not repeat the answer lest I become boring, as I have already mentioned the answer twice. Let me delve on the second, which is, ‘understanding our problems’.

Our problems generally rotates around poverty, high energy cost, corruption, tribalism, security, high inflation rate, high food prices e.t.c. If I jump ahead, but cautiously ensuring I don’t also jump to 11x11 when we haven’t understood 1+1, I’ll say we might be surprised that what we earlier saw as problems, are not problems but effects of problems – it’s because of this that we need to realize that understanding our problems is paramount for we can easily spend our time fighting the effects and ignoring the causes – we can find ourselves killing the mosquitoes with our sandals, thinking that’s the best way to prevent our child from contacting malaria, while ignoring the stagnant water beside our hut and vaccination of our child.

Philip said...

I wish I had time and space to deal with each problem one by one. I’ll start dealing with one major problem we face, poverty.

Behind our minds we believe that the reasons there is poverty in Kenya is because of poor governance/management, poor leadership, corruption and misappropriation of funds despite us having all the resources to make us rich and prosperous country. Yes, poverty is a problem, but there are causes of it. We need to fight the causes and not the effects – we cannot fight poverty by itself rather, we need to fight what causes it. Unfortunately when we look at the causes we realize that they are so intertwined that you can’t fight one and leave the other. You cannot put a Mandela-like president without changing governance/management. Similarly you cannot put an Idi-Amin-like leader in a country with the best governance. In the first example the leader’s work will always be spoilt along the way before reaching finish line, while the second, while in the second example, the leader will always award himself/herself the gold medal denying the athlete who deserved it. Sometimes he’ll even kill the athlete and put poor athletes. I hope you get me.

I will not go far but to encourage people to start thinking critically. It needs only one person to understand, then another and soon there will be many who will eventually change the course of the country. However what I can say, while giving accolades to Mwarangethe, is that, starting from the surface in which we stand, digging deeper, you will soon discover, as Mwarangethe has, that there are subtle issues (but which becomes very clear once you dig deeper), that we need to look at instead of concentrating on party issues only, or leadership issues only.

I hope this gives everyone a hint and that Mwarangethe will also find a better way of teaching us 1+1 and 1x1, before he wants to engage us in 11x11. I also hope that I’ve given a hint of what this 1+1 and 1x1 is, that will provide a systematic way to better understanding of issues we face and solutions we should adopt.

Philip said...

off the topic,

Museveni has decided to attack Al-Shabaab.

This means that International Community will let Museveni scot free for any crime against humanity, made even worse by discovery of oil in Uganda. For sure the man now shares a lot with International Community.

Museveni has freedom to kill and maim those who are against him without fear of arrest. It's a ticket to "President for life' for Museveni unless he goes against the International Community.

Mwarang'ethe said...

Philip wrote

Yes, poverty is a problem, but there are causes of it. We need to fight the causes and not the effects – we cannot fight poverty by itself rather, we need to fight what causes it. Unfortunately when we look at the causes we realize that they are so intertwined that you can’t fight one and leave the other.

xxx

You are more than right in what you say above.

However, we are surprised that, we can be accused of talking about 11 x11 when we have not explained 1+1. If you will, this is why.

As an example, in our last post, we wrote something about DEFICIT financing under this year's Kenyatta's budget and under so called welfare state we are working on.

In that piece, we put very clearly that, when Kenyatta finances what Kenyan journalists call "goodies" by borrowing KES 120 billion, he is COUNTERFEITING our money.

The end result of this is this:

(a) Our money's purchasing power SHALL be less by next year. It does and shall not matter who you elect.

(b) When we lose purchasing power via destruction of money value, THE POOR suffer more because they spend more on basics such as food and transport than the rich.

(c) Thus, under the current budget, the poor Kenyans SHALL be more poorer by next year no matter who they elect.

(d) More so, when you destroy money value, you put THE POOR into HIGHER TAX bracket. By virtue of inflation, they are deemed rich.

Thus, they are TAXED more and get more poorer. This cannot and shall not be reversed by electing a new mp or the president.

In simple words, the ensuing INFLATION is a hidden TAXATION which makes the poor sink into more poverty no matter who they elect.

This shall go on until the nation collapses in chaos and we doubt Kenya can exist this way for another 50 years.

It is so simple.

Philip said...

Mwarangethe,

I think you don't get my allegory of 1+1 and 11x11. What I mean is what you have just done again.

You are talking about:

"As an example, in our last post, we wrote something about DEFICIT financing under this year's Kenyatta's budget and under so called welfare state we are working on"

How do you expect a layman to understand you when first of all he doesn't know the meaning of the word "Deficit" or "welfare"? You'll first let him understand these two and how it works in finance and economy before you bring forth your arguement. That's why we normally have courses like, "Introduction to...."

Philip said...

...and that's the reason I say that let a layman understand from where he's standing.

Let him know that the reason he makes noise is because of problems. Then let him understand what are these problems. Then what causes the problem. Then what are the solutions - in a systematic way. If he doesn't understand clearly his problems then it's hard for him to understand causes of it and solutions to it.

King Nebuchadnezzar said...

What is this you are discussing here? 2012 elections?

Can't you read the writings in the wall?

Since ODM has refused to repent and ask for forgiveness for all the evils they did after 2007 election, the reign of ODM has now come to a permanent end.

ODM will be no more! Come on, wake up from your slumber and read the writings on the wall.

MENE MENE TEKEL UPHRARSIN!

This is the interpretation:
MENE - God has numbered the days of your party and brought it to an end.

TEKEL - you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

PERES - your party is divided and given to the Ruto and his PNU allies.

Anonymous said...

Mwarang'ethe:
Very good posts today! Keep em coming. Really like your notes on income poverty, and this too:

"If he were to come up with such policy, we would find it very appropriate.

And, if one thinks otherwise, as ODM seems to think they need to tell us who should pay for it."

luke said...

wewe Taabu wacha,
ati SG(captain) anaenda wapi?Al does not want to WALK ALONE anymore but what would the Octopus say? we may never know

Hata wewe Chris wacha,
ati bribes don't work anymore in Kenya?wapi

luke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mwarang'ethe said...

How do you expect a layman to understand you when first of all he doesn't know the meaning of the word "Deficit" or "welfare"? You'll first let him understand these two and how it works in finance and economy before you bring forth your arguement. That's why we normally have courses like, "Introduction to...."

xxx

Sasa Philip, hii kazi ngumu kweli if it has to go to this level.

Anyway, it seems even Nero, oh sorry, Obama does not understand these "difficult" things.

We are reading that Obama has called Clinton who is seen as "business friendly" to help with the economy.

This is interesting cos, the so called Clinton boom was a carefully packaged lie. We have on record the then FED chairman Greenspan telling Congress of all institutions that, the boom was made possible by lowering wages. This boosted corporate coffers. Hence, the term business friendly for Mr Clinton.

When you lower wages, you force workers to take debts. After some time, it reaches a point when workers cannot bear any more debt, and the whole sucker collapses like a house of cards.

This is where we are and instead of Nero/Obama understanding this, he continues to spend so as to "stimulate" the economy like a drunken sailor. He has spent trillions, what does he has to show for it? But, he is in good company for we have seen this movie from Japan since 1990.

However, the more he spends, the more he sinks the govt. into debts. To repay these debts and the fear of possible default, interest rates must rise at some time. When they do, many businesses and home owners will sink.

More so, it seems the priests running our economies are yet to understand what the IT boom really meant.

You may read further about Nero/Obama here:

"Bill Clinton back in the White House, holds economic meeting with Obama."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/07/bill-clinton-back-in-the-white.html

Anonymous said...

My allegations confirmed. The queues for ODM were the longest, when they were campaining (translated, dishing out T-Shirts and hard cash.) i just happened to be at Kwale at the campaign time. Thought I was seeing and perceiving my own ideas, but this blog has confirmed it. TUKULE PESA LAKINI TUPIGE KURA KWA SIRI.

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