Tuesday, 10 April 2012

G7 on the Verge of Collapse

The writing is on the wall for the enigmatic G7 Alliance that has defied all the odds since its faltering inception and grown to become a dominant force in the political arena. The alliance which was founded in defiance to the Premier Raila Odiga and the ICC process is on the verge of a collapse that is likely to be a calamitous disintegration. For the longest time the alliance succeeded in staving off the sooner-than-expected breakup by fashioning itself as an alliance of peers. However, the politically savvy Deputy Premier Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr. William Ruto have edged out Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka to become the leading lights of the alliance.

The alliance which committed itself to fielding a single presidential candidate from within its ranks through a democratic process is going through a watershed moment. The search for its preferred presidential candidate has turned out to be a show of might between its two leading lights and what is emerging is that the nomination process will by default be based on the principle that ‘right is might’. Needless to say, the politically impotent Vice-President, Kalonzo Musyoka, who had hoped for a civil and democratic nomination process is a disillusioned man while the new justice minister Eugene Wamalwa has cut his losses and is more than happy to settle for a plum ministerial position.

However, the battle for supremacy in the alliance pitting the Deputy Premier, a Kikuyu, against Mr. Ruto, a Kalenjin, both of whom are indicted on a number of charges for crimes against humanity emanating from the 2007/8 Post-Election Violence (PEV) portends a calamitous collapse for the alliance. It is not lost to Kenyans that the 2007/8 PEV pitted the Kalenjins who overwhelmingly supported the ODM against the Kikuyus who supported the PNU and at the ICC, the Deputy Premier is charged for organising the retaliatory attacks against the Kalenjin and other ODM supporters while Mr. Ruto is charged with masterminding the persecution and forceful eviction of Kikuyus from the rift valley.

It is a scary thought but the face-off between the Deputy Premier and Mr. Ruto has degenerated into a dangerous ethnic showdown between their warring communities. The first ethnic salvo came from the Deputy Premier who ambushed Mr. Ruto with his Gema forces which held a conference dubbed Limuru II in which Gema which threw its weight behind him. In a tacit response Mr. Ruto hurriedly revived Kamatusa and marshalled it to counter the Gema onslaught. Unlike Gema which is a well-endowed and agile force something which makes up for its lack of numbers, the Kamatusa has gritty determination and the numbers and with its huge sense of entitlement cannot pander to Uhuru’s Gema.

It is no secret that the Kikuyu in Gema and Kalenjin in kamatusa represented in the G7 alliance by the Deputy Premier and Mr. Ruto respectively are mortal political enemies. The unity of the alliance accordingly does not depend on the multitude its members like to think it represents. G7 is an alliance of defiance against the ICC and the Premier whose unity is based on the concept of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and it cannot be denied that there is method in the Uhuru-Ruto madness which they hope will forestall the ICC process and prevent Raila from ascending to the presidency.

Be that as it may, the dysfunctional nature of the G7 Alliance was simply incurable. It is a miracle that the alliance did not collapse earlier. Needless to say the state of affairs in the G7 Alliance did not augur well for national unity and the much needed healing and reconciliation that our nation desperately needs. Be that as it may, the alliance which only served to balkanize the nation by reviving the Gema and Kamatusa tribal outfits is as good as dead now.

There are those who will contend that the G7 is alive and well and if indeed that is the case then Gema, Kamatusa, and the G7 Alliance is the axis of evil in Kenya. Personally, I am convinced that the G7 alliance will fizzle out and in its place, the country will have to grapple with the Gema and Kamatusa political warring or the unlikely Gema-Kamatusa axis.

Gema and Kamatusa are loose tribal alliances guised as cultural associations and just like the G7 Alliance they are cliques that have mastered the art of usurping their positions of leadership to exploit and dominate the unsuspecting communities which they represent. The ploy that has been used by Gema to wrest power from its political competitors and to take advantage of their own people is by branding political competitors as enemies and portraying their communities as being unfair losers in the competition for the proverbial national cake.

Certainly, there is an element of truth in the Gema story but it is not the whole story. The Kalenjin have also been on the receiving end and the unprecedented violence meted out to the Kikuyu community in the rift valley in the 2007/8 PEV is testament of their frustration. It was therefore quite intriguing to hear that the Gema and Kamatusa plan to hold a joint conference to bury the hatchet. I am sceptical; I think the joint conference is an attempt to sanitize their image unless of course the joint conference settles on a single presidential candidate amicably and resolves to live harmoniously with other communities.

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