JIENJOY

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kalonzo has lost nothing in referendum

BY KIMOSOP KORIR

It is incredulous and curious that at a moment of such national importance, at a time when Kenyans have together breathed new life into our country and the way we run it, that we should seek to identify the winners and losers after the referendum.

If this moment is as enormous as we all know it is, there are really no losers only winners - 40 million of them.

Ever since the results broke and particularly the returns for Eastern province, there has been much analysis and talk about the Vice President and the bearing of those results on his future.

Talking heads claim the Vice President has lost his Ukambani base.

It is demeaning to the national effort to reduce the referendum to regions and personalities when it was never about either.

Even then, contrary to popular opinion, the voting pattern by the community could as well be viewed as a highly strategic move.

By voting 55 percent to pass the draft which delivers great benefits to their community and region, the people of Ukambani also made a statement in support of their son Kalonzo Musyoka who was a key pillar of the Yes campaign.

By voting 45 percent to reject the draft, the region and community revealed the influence of the Church, a key Kalonzo constituency. Interestingly, they had some spare votes to cast together with the Kalenjin - a solid investment to recall in 2012.

By this token, the Vice President has lost nothing and if the game of winners and losers did not take away from the import of this historic period, I would play and say he gained.

If you want proof of just how low this game of winners and losers is, let me illustrate using the example of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

There is nothing new at all about Luo Nyanza voting overwhelmingly in the direction Raila points them. They did it in 1997, 2002, 2005 and 2007. There is absolutely nothing to talk about there.

Indeed there are those who hold that the day Luo Nyanza goes even a little bit in the opposite direction from Raila, then that will truly be news.

If you do the math properly, you will recall Raila came into government on a coalition of Luo Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western and Nairobi provinces. The jewel in the crown of the arrangement was without a doubt Rift Valley.

The one political fact we now know for certain from this referendum, is that Raila's relationship with Rift Valley is for all intents and purposes dead and buried. The crown jewel is gone. If we want to play winners and losers in what category falls the man who has lost his crown jewel?

If we are going to engage in cheap hypotheticals on the future, we should have the courage to be honest about the present.

This was a true national moment and if I may repeat: This was neither a regional show-off or a personality contest and if you insist on treating it as such then the analyses cannot be so grossly superficial.

In the end, the key question to ask is did the draft pass? Yes it did then we are all winners even the man with no crown jewel.

(The writer comments on social and political issues - kimkorir@yahoo.com)

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