At the dawn of his reign, King Solomon prayed for wisdom to lead God’s own people and that he was granted. He ultimately became so wise he could have advised the sages and clairvoyants in his own royal court if he so wished! Unfortunately later in life though blessed with divine sagacity he ultimately found himself irretrievably consumed in the throes of sexual perversion albeit ‘primitive accumulation’ of heathen women into his homestead. To the discerning eye 700 wives & 300 concubines cannot pass for simple run-of-the-mill affection and favour for the daughters of Eve but lascivious derangement if not an obsession! Despite this ignominy, he still kept his counsel on a myriad other matters regarding all we pine and toil for in this world as vanity! Indeed it is his perceptive eye that gave us the verse in Proverbs 12: 18-19, “The Words of the reckless pierce like swords but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever but lying lips are transient.” Also sampled from his proverbs is one about gossip fanning a quarrel the same way wood fuels a fire but contiguous with my professional development as neither a Theology Professor nor a Biblical savant let me cap the preaching here.
After the handshake between the two main protagonists of the crisis that almost tore Kenya asunder; the presumptive President H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta and the most venerable former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, a huge tranche of the simmering tensions in Kenya cooled off. However, the present chumminess between these erstwhile arch-nemeses and a steely resolve to fight corruption is putting a few people ill-at ease. The perception that they have toiled in vain against some adversary only for that force to curry more favour with their Principal than they the loyal servants has no doubt bred apprehension among the faithful in Jubilee majorly from the Rift Valley. Add to that mix a referendum that looks clearly predesigned at diluting the Presidency, reducing a certain group’s untamed future access to all state largesse enjoyed by their predecessors by creation of an alternative centre of power and you find yourself with a powder-keg. The judicious must have cast more than a passing glance when the President told off his trusty Deputy about ‘kutangatanga’ aimlessly traipsing the nation when the Big 4 agenda is still pending implementation. It did not help matters when the President named Cabinet Secretary extraordinaire Dr. Fred Matiang’i as the first among equals to the position of Chief Minister to co-ordinate and virtually ‘prefect’ the other CSs; prima-facie, undermining his very own Deputy!
As the Wiseman puts it, “when you see a dog needlessly & unreasonably bark at you harken not to its din but instead pick up a stone and strike it!” What?!! “Sooner rather than later its master will show up and he will be evident to all.” As such retributory statements have been hot and heavy, threatening dire if not unspecified consequences if the previous Memorandum of Understanding between the President and his Deputy is not honoured. As they have helped Uhuru Kenyatta secure 2 tenures, each a 5-year term already they expect a reciprocation of the same gesture when the time is ripe for the Deputy. Men and women have danced themselves lame blaming the former Prime Minister for threatening to wreak havoc that will ultimately break apart their party! Bizarre statements like, “This man has torn apart FORD-KENYA, then he ravaged KANU, he pillaged NARC and now he wants to export suicide-vest politics to our dear Jubilee.” I dare posture, what good did KANU ever do in the Republic of Kenya to warrant anyone standing tall, shedding crocodile-tears purporting to defend its honour? If one dealt an abrupt demise to the single-party depravity nay kleptocracy that was the rich substrate that nourished the mongrel called KANU that ended many an illustrious political career, he must never be reviled but instead hailed as a hero worthy of a marble statue and name in the lights so to speak. KANU was the party that lit the fuse of tribal clashes in Kenya and is worthy of interment in a forgotten grave for all time! If you can get an audience with Kenneth Matiba from the after-life he probably shares similar sentiment. Phew! Let me not desecrate the grave of a lionized General worth his weight in gold!
But my questions on this issue more often than not seem to balloon rather than get answered. For one, where does that bi-partisan deal between Uhuru & Ruto leave the rest of Kenya that has been insufficiently represented in the period Jubilee (a bi-ethnic caucus) has held the helm of power in Kenya? Secondly; what became of the democratic ideals and the norms of political competition that are currently enjoyed as the mainstay of democratic politics in Kenya, of which much blood, sweat & tears of exemplary compatriots both heroes and tyrants has been shed to attain? Why should well-heeled procedure be sacrificed at the altar of parochial political patronage and monarchy-like succession? I don’t lie when I aver that these queries keep me awake at night! In full sight of what I can only describe as political grime, this politician an elected legislator from the greater Uasin Gishu county has been heavily vocal looking for some measure of ill-acquired publicity, deprecating the rest of Kenya external to Central Kenya and the Highland Nilotes of the Rift Valley region as ‘small-kids’ not fearsome enough to worry about incase of War! This is the poster-boy and a quintessential representative of primitivism, malevolence and intellectual putrefaction that hasn’t a place not just in the 21st Century but in anyone’s political camp if you really want to unite Kenyans while harboring presidential ambitions.
Social Media is also awash with statements by arm-chair commentators & purveyors of idle-chatter on subjects casting an umbra to the knowledgeable echelons of their respective crania. No doubt paid mouth-pieces, they exist primarily as enemies of both commonsense and development regaling us with pseudo-prophesies about characters who will ‘Never be Presidents in Kenya.’ They even erroneously elucidate Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga as one of those, in clear anti-pathy to verifiable information in the public purview that Raila served as co-President to Mwai Kibaki in the unfortunately resuscitated Office of 2nd Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya as per the stipulations of the National accord of 2008. He enjoys universal good-will in Kenya to such an extent that he had to be forcefully sworn-in as the People’s President in exercise of direct Sovereignty by the people themselves, constitutionally enshrined in Chapter 1, Article 1 Clause 2 of our Constitution which had to be wrested back to where it belongs back in January 2018. Surreal but true! Africa also took note and feted him for his struggles in enhancement of democracy naming him Africa Union’s Special envoy for Infrastructure and all the trappings that come with the position. Enough of the trumpet blowing for a candidate miles ahead of the rest!
The planned Referendum in Kenya is threatening to become mired in ad-hominem strife for leadership positions by the Kenyan elites in future instead of addressing the lacunae in our current constitution that hamper meaningful governance and devolution. This is not supposed to be the case. As a populace we must yearn towards the reduction of both our taxation burden and repayment of the giant debt owed to the Chinese. We must look to constitutionally strengthen oversight and our role in decisions made with regard to infrastructural loans, more so asking for feasibility studies and a clear road-map of Return-on-Investment before expropriationate decisions on our finances are taken ostensibly for our own good!
The ordinary man is more often than not meek, submissive and law abiding. He has already been irrevocably humbled by his modest circumstances in life to sheer subservience. He just wants the best for his family. The ordinary Kenyan man is of simple ambitions stated in an earlier blog: To own a 5-acre plot, 4-wheel Drive vehicle, live in a 3-bedroomed house, raising 2 children and bound in matrimony to 1 wife! He is yoked to his neighbour by their struggles against poverty regardless of their regional affiliations. He needn’t be vexed to worry further about who becomes President or not. Why continue to hammer down upon him using intimidation and threats to inordinate violence? Desperation birthed of threats must surely yield animus, fear, great anger, civil-disobedience and ultimately social upheaval when his loved ones are threatened. When a cat is pushed to the wall you can be sure of a counter-strike whose magnitude of cataclysm you may ill desire to witness. You surely cannot preach democratic gains during the day yet practice exclusionism at night where Kenyans are forced to retreat to safe zones every election cycle. Things are getting worse as the moral of the story sinking in is when you stay put and predictably get butchered by some proscribed tribal militia bankrolled by the incumbency there will be no ICC to avenge you! You could fight in someone’s corner but in case you are killed, there won’t even be someone to contest for your retribution as unity governments are quickly formed and life goes on. This is thoroughly disconcerting and is slowly killing our hard-earned democratic gains. Being civil and slow to your quiver should never be construed as a sign of weakness but must instead be decorated. Why allow an advanced economy and democracy, indeed an esteemed footstool for the beacon of enlightenment to the rest of Africa to be governed by the fear of repression?
Good-will from the peace-fomenting handshake is what we critically need to be wielded in opprobrium against the agents of violent posturing. As a former student of engineering cavorting as a political commentator allow me to indulge you with this analogy. A gradual cool-down of tensions is similar to what we learnt in Metallurgy and Material Science about rapidly cooled metallic formations as brittle & fickle no matter the elements involved while ponderously annealed edifices are the strongest structures money can buy. Let’s be wise to learn from our errors in 2007, the Rwandan Genocide and the German Holocaust. Rulers who fail to learn from history risk repeating it to the detriment of us all. Instead of fanning tribally-inflamed animosity via incendiary statements we should be advised to go for conciliatory sentiments like newly-minted convert into statesmanship, Gov. Jackson Mandago of Uasin Gishu. We should understand that political contests are only for a while and afterwards comes service delivery. We did not choose to be born in Kenya. However as a conglomeration of disparate nation states we should work more towards engaging areas of similarity and shun division.
Forcing tainted candidates upon the citizenry. Fire and brimstone is threatening to rain down if one particular candidate will not be elected Kenyan President in 2022 if some highly-vociferous sources are to be believed. However, there is little credential to support that gentleman’s bid to be Commander-In-Chief. This is a man who has never seriously spoken against corruption instead always working under the table to marshal a cabal of tribal chiefs and other riff-raff to rubbish anti-corruption initiatives as a regional witch-hunt. He is a good student of parochialism and the ‘God-father’ brand of political patronage. He is one man who believes that the only unity that is of beneficence to Kenya is the one fostered between the aforementioned Central Highland Bantus and their counterparts the Highland Nilotes of the Kenyan Rift. Indeed as one-half of the duo that rode on popular dissent from their two tribes against the International Criminal Court (ICC) process christened ‘neocolonialism’ into Statehouse not much can be expected of the guy. As ICC-indictee emeritus, he still cleaves to the same paradigm that took him there in the first place – Sing hymnals during the day but pay war-mongers when the sun goes down. When in 2010 a majority of Kenyans voted for a promulgation of an improved Supreme law of the land he chose the path of the conservative deciding to cling for just a bit longer to the old constitution that had disenfranchised a majority of Kenyans for eons. Moreover, it had even brought us to the brink of civil strife when an unpopular president was rigged in by simple majority in 2007. As a master-spinner of public sympathy to his favour; a firm commitment to environmental conservation that must surely start with the removal of human populations from our water towers has been stammered at best and incoherent at worst from a guy with much vaunted eloquence. This is an expert propagandist if not a callous schemer who has invented some nebulous contest between ‘Dynasties’ and ‘Hustlers’ to enhance his lot further despite clear evidence he has never been a ‘hustler’ in the street sense of the word. Need I mention his murky acolytes, hangers-on, lackeys, ideologues and sycophants who find themselves embroiled in one mega-corruption scandal after the other that drain not just our generated but loan-powered national reserves! Yet someone is still ready to risk life & limb for such a decrepit character to be a Head of State in Kenya. Are we so keen to auction our soul to the devil as a nation? Please!
Anti-corruption Commitment. It has been in our folklore for centuries that when light appears darkness dissipates. When the ‘Kumira-kumira’ madness was at its most fervent agents of corruption and autocracy were insulated against prosecution by the innocuous act of spewing bilge against Raila Odinga and the entire NASA brigade. All you needed to do was speak ill of some obscure witch-doctor who is adept at dishing out tropes despite his status as an ‘uncircumcised cur’ to curry favour with the incumbency! However, post-handshake and someone stirring up to the realities of securing a legacy for himself has seen a new resolve in countering friend and foe who engage in corruption. Important to note nevertheless, is that the newly invigorated fight against corruption by our President fronted by DPP and DCI is not a witch hunt but an exercise in anthemic patriotism. Haji and Kinoti must continue to wear their efforts as a badge of honour not just to themselves but as a proud heritage to future generations of their progeny, a high calling bestowed upon them by Kenyans. This is the acme of civic responsibility and a stipulation of the oath of office for the presidency.
My message to the President is to be presidential! Don’t give in to forces that will drain your authority while your Presidential term is still valid. Divorce friendship from business as familiarity breeds contempt. As a national symbol of unity, wield your power like a sceptre of dominion. You now have universal validation and legitimacy as leader of Kenya. Rein in on war mongers and hit them with the hammer of justice in state purview and exercise the tools of the monopoly to state violence against such people without Fear, Favour and with minimal Mercy. Freedom of expression permitting, no regard is to be paid to belligerent sabre-rattlers who risk unraveling of our hard-earned civil liberties for merely a pot of soup and a song.