News from Nigeria that former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari (72) of All Progressives Congress (APC) beat incumbent president Jonathan Goodluck (57) of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is sweet news to the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) whose one of possible candidate Rt Hon Raila Odinga is often ruled out of the race due to age. Coincidentally president elect Buhari won the seat in his fourth attempt just like Raila too who if nominated by CORD will be contesting for the fourth time for the presidency never forgetting that President Uhuru Kenyatta will be 56 one year shy of Jonathan’s age and Raila will be 72 same age as Buhari.
Already CORD supporters are allover on the social media taunting Jubilee that they should be prepared for exit just like Jonathan and his PDP. A CORD blogger and former University of Nairobi Student leader David Osiany wrote on his Facebook page that “Just a quick observation on the win by Nigeria’s opposition leader: He is 72, the age Raila Odinga will be in 2017 He beat Goodluck Jonathan at 57, Uhuru Kenyatta will be a year shy of that (56) in 2017. He beat an incumbent, which goes to show that it is possible in Africa. Especially after former Malawian President Joyce Banda’s loss too. Goodluck Jonathan just served a term as a substantive President; such may be Uhuru’s fate. #TeamCORD #TwendeKazi”
While all these might be true, one similarity between Nigeria and Kenya which should not be ignored is that just like in Nigeria where the election was decided by mega corruption scandals and insecurity necessitated by Islamist Boko Haram attacks, the Kenyan 2017 polls are likely to be decided by mega corruption scandals that has rocked Jubilee administration and insecurity necessitated by Islamist Al-Shabaab militants. Perhaps this is the realization of Jubilee government hence the latest purge of state officers accused of graft.
However for CORD to effectively use corruption as a tool to dislodge Jubilee from power in 2017, they have to be seen to be “clean” and corruption free. They must be seen to be fighting corruption within its ranks and file. One may ask how CORD can do this yet they are out of power. CORD can do this by not protecting their Governors, Members of National Assembly (MNA), Senators and Members of County Assemblies (MCA) surrounded by graft allegations.
Just like MNAs who have failed to toe the coalition’s positions on issues like by-elections were summoned to show course why they should not be disciplined by stripping them of membership hence loosing their seats, the CORD members found to have presided over corruption should be summoned and if found guilty stripped of membership and hence loose their seats. CORD has already accused President Kenyatta of lacking political will in graft war and that he is shielding sacred cows and at the same time has stated publicly that they lack faith in Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) hence this move by CORD to discipline the corrupt within its ranks will serve to convince Kenyans of CORD’s seriousness to eliminating graft once they take over power.
Lastly just like Buhari’s APC that relied on the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who were disgruntled by PDP’s administration’s systematic targeting of CSOs to mobilize support for APC, CORD has to think of a serious partnership with the Kenyan CSOs especially in war against graft. The CSOs in Kenya who are currently under siege from Jubilee government will work with CORD if it shows seriousness in war on graft and commitment to full and proper implementation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. It must be noted that the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) was heavily supported by the CSOs who were then reacting to the then Moi regime’s systematic targeting of CSOs and its leaders.