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Kenya needs opposition leader… but not Weta

When I first heard that Moses Wetang’ula had announced himself the new opposition chief, my first instinct was to laugh.

I mean come one, Weta as the new opposition leader? It must be a joke. Then I realised I probably should have been crying.

If I had been in denial before about the handshake, I could no longer pretend. Moses Wetang’ula’s declaration really woke me up to the reality that we are all doomed. It is true, Moses Wetang’ula is the opposition.

How is it even possible? Wetang’ula is a small fry. He is still in the trenches fighting to achieve Luhya unity. Yet, he expects to enter the big leagues of national stage.

To refer to Weta as a Nasa principal is to do a disservice to the word, “principal”. I always felt that his name was put in the hat to show a national face for Nasa, but who were they kidding.

In many democracies following the Westminster parliamentary model, the leader of the opposition is the one who holds the majority of seats outside of the ruling party. Ford Kenya has struggled ever since the death of former Vice President Michael Wamalwa to define itself as more than a Bukusu outfit.

The only other self-declared claimant to that title of opposition leader in the recent past is even worse than Wetang’ula because as it has been said elsewhere, “Ekuru Aukot can fit all his followers in a bus.” The Thirdway Alliance party leader does not really have a base.

Musalia Mudavadi should be a serious contender for the position of opposition chief because of his larger base, but I won’t put him in that category.

Mudavadi is simply not an opposition man. Maybe it is in his genes. He is after all the son of the former staunch Kanu pointman in the Western region Moses Mudavadi.

Every time Mudavadi has ended up outside the government of the day, he has found a way to wiggle himself back into government.  It explains why he had the shortest stint of as vice president in Kenya’s history- two months. Even when it was foolhardy to go back to Kanu just before the 2002 election, he just couldn’t resist the move. I am surprised that he stayed this long outside the familiar comforts of government.

The Kenyan political system demands an adversarial approach. I wonder if the spirit of the handshake has been misused so that parliamentary committees have become active participants in corruption.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle are no longer at each others’ throats. Instead they are colluding to “cook up” reports.

Ruling party backbenchers as the opposition just doesn’t work out. And do you know how I know that? Simple, we tried that with Kanu for almost 30 years.

It didn’t work out, even when the backbenchers tried their best. The government of the day must be kept on its toes by another party. —The writer is a Political Science PhD student at Northern Illinois University, USA @janeksunga