Mungatana a nuisance to Coast province

The raving antics of Danson Mungatana provided an amusing side show in the past but by purporting to “report” Prime Minister Raila Odinga to President Mwai Kibaki, the Garsen MP is certainly over-reaching himself.

Danson Mungatana

Danson Mungatana

Coast people are openly expressing widespread disgust concerning Mungatana’s latest tantrums. His utterances are made worse by the fact that he is considered a Kibaki ally in a region that was solidly behind Raila’s presidential ambitions. While Raila’s ODM won the hearts and minds of the Coast through its Majimbo crusade, Mungatana was like a lone voice in the wilderness as he crowed on the merits of a unitary system of government which the Coast blames for backwardness in the province.

Incidentally, the threats by Mungatana against Raila have now put the two in a reversal of opinions. Prime Minister Raila Odinga wants the chief executive of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to be appointed on merit, regardless of ethnicity. Mungatana and his new found allies maintain that the head of KPA must come from a coastal ethnic group.

Raila says that KPA is a national asset where every Kenyan has a right to employment. “No,” says Mungatana, who has stated that KPA is an asset for the exclusive benefit of the Coast.

Coast people are beginning to see Mungatana as an opportunistic politician who is now jumping onto the bandwagon of Coast nationalism in order to win popularity. Yet, in previous years, Mungatana has dismissed the nationalistic sentiments at the Coast as a waste of time. In his six years as MP, Mungatana has supported a unitary system of government. His own cross cultural parentage could have been the reason why he opposed regionalism.

Mungatana became a critic of Kibaki after the naming of the giant coalition cabinet in April this year. He was among young MPs who were disappointed by not being named ministers in spite of having put up a tough fight for their godfathers. To be fair, Mungatana was not the only Young Turk to face a crushing disappointment last April. The so-called grand opposition is composed chiefly of people who had expected bigger takings.

So bloated has Mungatana’s ego become that he is now challenging his mentor, President Kibaki, in the battle for the presidential succession come 2012. Mungatana has said he is interested in high office, either the premiership or the presidency. But it’s not Kibaki that Coast people care about.

Raila’s intervention in KPA matters is viewed as a sign that the Prime Minister is implementing ODM’s agenda in the region. During last year’s campaigns, ODM promised to revive stalled industries at the Coast, such as cashewnut farming and the Ramisi Sugar factory. ODM also promised to revamp the ailing tourism industry and to improve roads, railways and other infrastructure at the Coast. Thus, Raila’s intervention in KPA affairs is seen as a welcome move in that direction. As usual, Mungatana is, once again, frustrating the aspirations of the Coast.

Mungatana’s political flip-flopping is symptomatic of Kenya’s leadership characteristics. By expressing disgust with Mungatana, Coast people are really voicing frustration with Kenya’s political class. People who were regionalists of the past are now proponents of the unity state. Others who were solidly for a unitary state are now die-hard Majimboists. The reformists of the past are the oppressors of today while the oppressors of yesteryears pretend to be champions of democracy. People who used to condemn genocide just a decade ago now support ethnic clashes as a legitimate tool for achieving power.

There’s nobody left to condemn anything. Kenya has become a society where might is right. Social values are so hideously tarnished that wrong has become right and to do the right thing is to be condemned for foolishness. For all these, the politicians are to blame. But Kenya’s citizens are also to blame for voting unscrupulous characters into office.

Meanwhile, former colleagues of Mungatana at the University of Nairobi’s School of Law can be found wondering at the transformation of the formerly shy student. His college years were largely uneventful and non-controversial – a stark contrast to the man he has grown to become.

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By Stanley M. Mjomba – Coast affairs correspondent.
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3 Responses

  1. Give Mungatana a chance He might have something to offer in future

  2. […] Mungatana a nuisance to Coast province The Nairobi Chronicle […]

  3. PWANI C KENYA

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