As the week drew to an end many Kenyans and those who follow political events in the region’s biggest economy found themselves in that awkward situation where your friends organise a surprise party but one of them leaks the secret and so you are left with the challenge of acting surprised. The opposition politicians who were already in a coalition decided to form another coalition only that this time they called it an alliance. You can call it political semantics.
Kenyan politics has always thrived on strategic alliances or coalitions because it is always hard to find a political figure in a country where the political currency remains so ethnic based. So from the days when Daniel Arap Moi was the man to beat, politicians always joined forces and even when he was not on the ballot it required the formation of mega coalition (Rainbow Coalition) to defeat the candidate he had chosen to replace him.
When Kibaki left power, those who replaced him also needed to join forces with William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta running as Jubilee while the opposition had Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula forming CORD. The modus operandi is always to form a party and claim to own the votes of ‘your’ people and then look for whom to join with before making the push for power.
With another election set for this year in August, the ruling group decided to formally turn Jubilee into a party and this created more pressure on the opposition to also come up with something solid and that is how NASA (which stands for National Super Alliance) was born. NASA is basically Raila Odinga, Moses Wetangula and Kalonzo Musyoka plus Musalia Mudavadi, a former Vice President, and Isaac Ruto.
For weeks NASA members went back and forth on who would be their main candidate but eventually did what almost everyone expected by settling on veteran Raila Odinga with Kalonzo as his running mate. This scenario is no different from what the previous election looked like. And so many observers are only looking at it to see how it will influence the next election since Kenyatta and Odinga are probably both standing for elections for the last time.
There is also now a lot of interest at the gubernatorial level because the devolution system has now started to sink in and the power of governors has grown immensely that many who stood as senators now want to be governors so they can enjoy the power and perks that come with being a mini president of a county. As always we pray and hope that the elections will be peacefully because chaos in Kenya is easily felt throughout the region.
In Rwanda, the big story was the visit of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn who also signed several bilateral agreements with his counterpart President Paul Kagame concerning different sectors. Personally the bit on tourism caught my eye especially because Rwanda and Ethiopia seem to be ‘new kids on the block’ when it comes to tourism in this region and have a lot to learn from each other.
Also since the Ethiopians are the only ones that occasionally take on the mighty Kenyan long distance runners then maybe they can whisper some of their secrets to Rwandans who also have a country of hills and high altitudes to train from. I am quite certain that Rwanda can nail this long distance running thing as well.
Lastly, Tanzania’s leader John Magufuli was in the news again for sacking close to 10,000 civil service workers with fraudulent academic certificates. This is a story many East Africans can relate to given the importance attached to these documents. Even with an increase in schools and universities it is still common to hear of people with fake documents. Mostly it is the politicians because their rivals do the due diligence and out them as soon as possible.
However as a region we need to improve our quality control and records management if our academic documents are to be taken serious by others or even by ourselves. It is common to hear of how easy it is to get a forged document that may even be difficult to distinguish from the real ones.
Efforts to improve on the quality of the education itself should continue because many times employers complain about the quality of graduates on the market. And end up spending more in retraining them on the basics.