This is an urgent letter to the Director of Political Investigations (DPI). I would like to report a hostage situation; three middle-aged men held against their will in a political outfit called NASA.
I cannot say their names in this letter, in case of interception by their captor, so I will attempt to describe them. The first one is a self-confessed born-again Christian with a small afro. He claims he used to be vice president of Kenya. He has many nicknames, but the one that appears to have stuck is the name of a fruit, green on the outside and red inside.
The second one is a portly, gentle giant who created the vehicle in which the three hostages are now trapped. He is in this position because the hostage-taker wants the vehicle for himself. He also claims to have been vice president at some point.
The third is held captive because he had the audacity to say the hostage-taker is ‘firing blanks’. His general role in this relationship is unclear, perhaps it is just to keep the other two company in their perilous political journey. The suspected captor who has detained these three poor political souls is a man they call Baba.
Because the hostages can’t freely express themselves and protest their bondage, they have been using platforms in rallies and press conferences to send subliminal ‘SOS’ messages.
Their cries for help are disguised as vague complaints about not being polled first in popularity surveys instead of Baba. They also send their friends to grumble about broken MoUs on their behalf.
I have information which suggests that the hostage-taker has been on the move; ostensibly dodging the DPI.
He’s been running from house to house. From Karen to Kibera, to South Africa and America, and back to Kibera. Baba’s accomplice and mouthpiece, a senior counsel, distinguished advocate and perennial activist has openly declared that the hostages may be in captivity until June 2017. They will then be set free. The problem is this: it will be too late by then. They will be forced to say ‘Baba Tosha!’, or have nowhere else to go.
But there is hope. There could be a liberation plan for the three hostages. This is why I am writing to you, the Director Political Investigations. I request that you look into this case of political captivity for two reasons.
The first is that the hope for a united opposition is dying. And the cause of death is not a natural democratic one.
The death of the opposition is to be blamed on the heavy yoke of a single man’s ambition. These shackles need to be lifted before electoral timelines catch up with them. The second is that the hostages need their rights to be read to them. They need to know they do not need to seek consensus through grovelling, they should seek it through dominance.
They should borrow a lesson from former President Kibaki who in 2002 held a tea party and formed alliances with Kijana Wamalwa and Charity Ngilu; a coalition which other heavy weights were compelled into backing.
It is perfect timing to dump Baba – albeit temporarily — with the intention of gaining currency and then compelling him to support them. NASA will receive a new lease of life, hope in opposition unity will be re-stored.
Then at the 11th hour, in June, one of the three hostages will be named the presidential flag bearer.
At this point, Baba will be faced with two choices — run solo and risk coming third or back his hostages having been guaranteed creation of the post of Prime Minister. And his insurance for this promise is the numerical strength of his party in Parliament.
Controlling a significant majority of the seats in Parliament, he would bulldoze his hostages into making good their promise, failure to which he would threaten to impeach them.
In sum, the NASA hostages should come together even in their captivity, and scheme against their captor. They must know they can only break free if they band together. Otherwise, they will find themselves crying “Baba!” for the rest of their lacklustre political days.