Amendment to Political Parties Act a reflection of an ossified political system

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By Sunday Memba

When wooing a girl, you can promise her heaven and earth, but once she is safely ‘in the pocket’ you don’t have to make any more promises” – Retired President Daniel Moi

In my study of political history, I met Ambrose Bierce in Chickamauga. Bierce sees politics as strife of interests masquerading as a contest for principles, the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

If any individual with an objective mentality reflects on why President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the Political Parties (Amendment) Act, 2016, he s/he will agree with the American fabulist. The President opened a can of worms that now move hither and tither looking for fertile earth to survive.

The amendments to the Act are simple yet having grave effect on our future political structure. First, the new act gives political parties open slather to merge and dissolve. It also allows members of political parties to move from one political party to another without fear of losing their seats. A positive feature of the amendment is that it recognises the provisions of affirmative action in the constitution and also mandates that political parties achieve this.

One of the immediate effects of this amendment has been political prostitution. Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale cheekily commented that the “…Bill will also help those Cord members who want to cross over to Jubilee”. Since the law came into force, many politicians have shifted political alliances. Politicians are now being bought and some on free transfer shift to places they consider a safe haven for their political interests.

The transfer market
Chinua Achebe told us that if a child could wash his hands, he could dine with Kings. Hon Ababu Namwamba, the erstwhile secretary-general for ODM, washed his hands and dined with the Cord co-principal Hon. Raila Odinga. He ate so much. When he was full, he turned around and bit the hand that fed him. Hell hath no fury like a ‘politician’ scorned. Perhaps Namwamba was one of the leading transfer targets for the Jubilee government. The Deputy President publicly admitted that the legislator was now in Jubilee although the latter denies it vehemently. Ababu has stated, “…he has no control over the roaming eyes of any boy” but that “…sadly, this girl is not available.”

Apart from Namwamba in the former western province leaving Cord, others also followed suit: John Waluke and Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka were also “bought” after dissolving the New Ford Kenya party. Paul Otuoma, on the other hand, still sits on the fence. Otuoma tells us he is still a hen. The only thing is that when he swims, he swims like a duck. When he quacks, he quacks like a duck. He even resembles a duck. People now think he is a duck. Maybe that’s the reason why persons have the freedom of expression but do not enjoy the privilege of being taken seriously.

Jubilee has also made other small signings. It saw the successful transfer of ten legislators from the opposition coalition. They include Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale), John Munive (Mwingi North), James Kamote (Rabai), Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi North), Peter Shehe (Ganze), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Regina Ndambuki (Kilome), Mustafa Idi (Kilifi South), Guga Mwinga (Kaloleni), and Joe Mutambi (Kitui Central).

The governor of West Pokot, Simon Kachapin, is probably a free transfer target to the jubilee party. With the current Senator John Lonyangapuo declaring interest for the gubernatorial position, he thought it safe to decamp early. Kachapin understands the relationship between Lonyangapuo and Gideon Moi and would not wish to contest in a game whose result is already known. The governor brought with him other Kanu members.

Despite Cord suffering from discord internally, it has also made signings. A number of politicians have shifted alliances within the parties in the coalition. Likuyani MP Enock Kibunguchy, an ODM member, has sealed his transfer to Ford Kenya. But ODM has also acquired Magarini MP Harrison Garama Kombe form URP.

A house of cards
But these persons are all bulls in a china shop. They lack ideological maturity and only appear bright until they speak.

The writing is already on the wall. Perhaps it’s Former President Moi who acknowledged correctly that bought members are only used to achieve the buyer’s needs. If he or she becomes garbage, the only option would be to dispose of it. That will be the only fate for all these demagogues who stoop around tribal kingpins to ascend to power.

One Musalia Mudavadi is a perfect product of these political feasts. I cannot forget his lamentations because he made them in my hamlet, in my presence. He complained that his suitors lied to him. He innocently accepted their sweet nothings, but was abandoned when he needed them most. Just like any love story gone wrong, it was not “happily ever after”.

This new Act now reinforces these political marriages further. By allowing the merger of parties, it only dictates that one can wax polygamous with the whole party. A novice polygamous marriage is that of TNA, URP and other political spouses. The president has overseen the union strictly to ensure that all legal requirements of the marriage are in order.

It is inappropriate to end this piece without sharing this nugget of wisdom from Hon. Moses Wetang’ula: If you do not get who you love, you love whom you get.

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