Opposition Scorecard-Cord performs dismally, Nyenze worst
If the opposition performance was to be marked up, it would undoubtedly secure Grade D at best (get your act together). A part from a few individual brilliant performances by Cord coalition leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula, MPs Millie Odhiambo, Chris Wamalwa and John Mbadi, the opposition’s performance has been mediocre. The opposition should have been working day and night to get this government out of office by exposing the wrongs being committed and suggesting alternative approaches. Instead it has failed to understand that the people put them there to fight for their cause and not go on “vacation”. In fact, the opposition goes on “vacation” more than the schoolchildren do. They are not vigilant enough. They need to do more union work, more research and more work in the Parliament. For the first time The Star rates them and from now on will do so annually.
Raila Odinga – CORD Leader: D
Cord has failed. That is the verdict we have returned one year later. Led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka and former Minister Moses Wetang’ula, Cord has performed dismally, both inside and outside Parliament. The Opposition’s main role is to question the government of the day and hold it accountable to the public. But in the last one year Raila’s team has failed to show that they are an alternative government. The only remarkable achievement cord has made in the last one year is that its leaders, Raila, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula have remained together. Apart from sabotaging government fronted debate on a motion to withdraw from ICC, Cord has failed to vigorously debate legislation on the floor of the house let alone form a shadow cabinet that would have held Cabinet Secretaries accountable. Occasional statements attacking the government have been forthcoming from Raila but they have achieved little impact. Apart from a lackluster and sometimes mediocre performance on the floor of the House Raila’s troops in parliament led by Francis Nyenze and Jakoyo Midiwo have remained rudderless and uninspired . An experienced opposition leader Raila knows too well that his performance has been wanting. We give you grade D (Get your act together)
Kalonzo Musyoka – Cord Principal and Wiper Party Leader: D
Co-principal in the Cord triumvirate top leadership, Kalonzo has been blowing hot and cold over the past year. Out of Parliament, one could argue that he has no legal obligation to check on government. However his position as a co-principal in the second largest coalition in the country betrays this argument. The National Assembly’s leader of minority (opposition leader) is Francis Nyenze, a Wiper MP who owes everything to Kalonzo. By virtue of his position, Nyenze sits in Wiper’s top decision-making organs alongside Kalonzo as a co-opted member. A failure on Nyenze is a failure on Kalonzo. On his own score, Musyoka has not used his ‘ample time out there’ to push the government to account. We have not heard Kalonzo come out strong on dwindling economic fortunes, rising insecurity, inflation, corruption, implementation of truth commission, unemployment, Jubilee’s false promises and incompetence of the cabinet. His criticism of Jubilee appears measured. May be he is yet to find his bearing and recover from the shock of firstround defeat last March. This is also Musyoka’s first time out in the cold since he begun his political career. Musyoka’s positives include his strong defence for devolution. He has also been quite “visible” out there promoting reconciliation among Kenyan communities. He scores a D (Get your Act together)
Moses Wetang’ula – Cord Principal and Ford-K Party Leader: D
Francis Nyenze – Leader of Minority in Parliament: E
As a Minority Leader, Nyenze is the defacto opposition leader in the National Assembly. By its functions, the National Assembly is the busier of the two houses of Parliament. His position is therefore more powerful than Senate’s minority leader and Cord co-principal Moses Wetang’ula. Yet Nyenze’s power and capacity to lead Cord’s brigade to push the government to account has not quite been felt. Cord has generally appeared rudderless in parliament missing opportunities any opposition craves to for. Cord’s strong voice has been missed out key matters of national importance include unprecedented levels of insecurity in the country, corruption in government, implementation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report. Under his leadership, all cabinet nominees passed with flying colors. Not one was found unfit. Jubilee has gotten away with so much in parliament from illegal executive appointment, flawed tendering and unmitigated incompetence. The multi-billion laptop tender was flawed from the very start yet the ministry of education would have gotten away with it were it not for the Procurement appeals board. He scores E ( Please save us some and resign).
Johnstone Muthama – Senate Minority Whip: E
The fiery politician from Kangundo is the Minority Whip in the Senate. The arduous task of shepherding Cord senators into one position rests on his shoulders. Muthama is energetic and a man committed to his cause, only that he was consumed by his own personal problems throughout last year. He started off well, probably, propelled by the anger of what he believes was Cord’s stolen victory in the last election. The death of Mutula Kilonzo only mortified his anger towards the Uhuru state where he had proved as an outspoken critic. However, the decision by Uhuru to withdraw his personal security appears to have slowed his anger and he duly went silent. There has never a moment in the last one year in which serious whipping of the opposition was required. A tough, politician no doubt with the capacity to whip, but he has been rendered impotent probably by senate’s limited legislative work which does not require lots of whipping. Like Wetangula, he is guilty of doing little to ensure that Cord voice is heard loud and clear in the national assembly. Rating (E resign)
Janet Ong’era – Senate Minority Deputy Whip: E
The Nominated senator has decided to operate from the crowd. Little is ever heard of or from her and few remember instances when she has come out to articulate the Cord coalition’s issues in the midst of the confusion that is being witnessed within the ranks of the opposition. Little was heard from her when some MPs openly pushed for the scrapping of the special seats reserved for women in both Parliament and county assemblies. More poignant for her is that women Mps have proved a little let down and one would have expected Ong’era to lead those allied to Cord into some purposive agenda. Rating E (resign)
Abdirahman Hassan – Senate Deputy Minority Leader: D
Brilliant and a good debater, there is little doubt Abdirahman has a proper understanding of issues. He is one of the active members on the floor of the House, but there is a disconnect between him and the Cord Alliance. In spite of this, few Cord supporters know the senator or can link him with his position. Yet, he proved he can ably lead when he briefly stepped in as the acting leader of Minority when Wetang’ula lost his seat. The Wajir Senator, casts a forlorn image of a man who is aloof and distant on issues affecting the Coalition, both within the House and without. He hardly attends Parliamentary Group meetings where crucial party issues are articulated. His grade is D.
Gideon Mung’aro – Cord Chief Whip: F
he minority whip in the National Assembly, Mung’aro shares all the failures of minority leader. His role is to ensure Cord MPs attend House sessions with view to ensure Cord’s agenda prevails. He also selects Cord members to sit in various committees and enforces party discipline among members. His failure to pull together troops over key matters including VAT Bill and the Media Bill can therefore be understood in that context. Most Cord MPs also appear to have given up to “tyranny of numbers” theory. In Kanu days, opposition used to give the government a run for their money Kanu’s strength notwithstanding. Many would remember the days when MP James Orengo moved a no-confidence motion against Vice President George Saitoti. The opposition fought to the last day and lost honorably. Under Mung’aro’s leadership, Cord has not stood for anything in the last one year apart from the ICC pull-out motion. The quality of debates and attendance seriously wanting. He gets an F (You are fired!)