Kenya: BBI “Railahuru” campaign scores with creation of new Arabia sub-county in Mandera security hotspot

Kenya BBI News:

The Building Bridges Initiative has not turned out to be broadly popular with the Kenyan public in the way that was hoped for when the process was rolled out after the “Handshake” between Kenyatta and Odinga in March 2008. But with no real challenge to “Jubilee Handshake“ control of the Government a traditional Kenyan campaign proceeds. With Kibaki in 2007, like Moi before him, it was new Districts; now Subcounties. The novelty is having a “lame duck” President teamed up in partnership with another politician this far ahead of the election.

Mandera elders declare support for BBI after getting new Sub-county, Daily Nation, Sept. 23:

Elders from the Murule clan in Mandera have pledged to support President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga’s Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) after a new administration unit was commissioned in the county.

Led by Sultan Mohamed Khalif, the supreme traditional leader of the clan, the council lauded the national government initiative to declare Arabia a sub-county.

“We are delighted and grateful as a community for having an extra sub-county in Mandera which means more employment opportunities and development for our people,” said Sultan Khalif.

He declared that the Murule clan is now ready to support the BBI process since the national government has proved that it cares for the people of Mandera.

Observations: Moi might have temporarily mishandled his “lame duck” succession if he initially expected Uhuru to win in 2002 as the KANU nominee/designee. Kibaki handled his masterfully in 2013 (By all signs Raila did not realize in time that he and ODM achieved maximum influence on February 28, 2008 when he and Kibaki signed the “peace deal” and shook hands. I think that he expected to be running in 2013 as an “establishment blessed” semi-incumbent rather than outsider opposition leader.)

My guess is that Raila learned and got a better deal in some ways in 2018 than in 2008, partly because Uhuru had a lot more power as President to “shake hands” on Kenya’s future than Kibaki did. Kibaki signed the 2008 deal in public but did not have the backing of many his own key supporters to truly share power much less realign for future elections.

Aside from the ongoing campaign, of course, winning support for the central government by convincing local elders that you “care about the people” is something you would hope for as a democracy advocate so long as there is at least some substance behind it over time and the process is at least lawful versus arbitrary or corrupt.

What do you think?

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