As the sages put it, “If you want to kill a dog, first you give it a bad name.” No less, our Lord Jesus Christ was christened as a rabblerouser and anarchist who called himself the King of Kings before he was crucified though blameless of any iniquity and transgression. Imperative to note is that Christ had performed several miracles in the best interest of these same people that restored sight to the blind, left the lame walking, lepers blemishless, the deaf hearing and revelers at a wedding in Cana, Galilee refreshed. A few weeks ago, Kenya held a General Election that ushered in not just a raft of new leaders but also a regime change. The Kenya Kwanza coalition squeaked through first-past-the-post to little fanfare and aplomb. I say this not as one with the predisposition to being a perpetual malcontent suffering sour grapes but as a pragmatist. Reality is that the coalition that by a whisker came in second had a wider national appeal, winning outright in 27 out of the 47 Counties of the Republic but unfortunately falling short of the 50%+1 total for the Presidency adjunct to receiving a minimum of 25% in 34 Counties as opposed to 39 Counties garnered by the triumphing coalition. Hence, by a mere margin of slightly over 233,000 votes, the Kenya Kwanza Coalition birthed forth a new President, H.E. William Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua. The aforementioned melancholy over Kenya Kwanza’s triumph was majorly in view of little by means of ideology and transformational optimism to inspire a wide section of Kenya from that particular formation. Populism, victimhood, Hustler-Dynasty continuum, vague promises and entitlement was their only message delivered most of the time with a snarl by no less than then Deputy President, Mr. Ruto incessantly belly-aching about perceived ‘persecution’ by a government he erstwhile co-presided. On the flip-side, in the opposite side of the Rubicon was the Azimio La Umoja – One Kenya Alliance marshalled by Former Premier, Rt. Hon. Raila A. Odinga that had a coherent message of institutional reform, restitution to historical injustice, medical amelioration (BABA CARE), industrial – enterprise development, improvement of food security, civil liberties, social security, anti-corruption puissance additional to many other tangible sentiments of beneficence. This raised the barometer of hope and aspiration among our people to levels last witnessed in the run up to the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) regime overseen by the dearly departed and greatly revered Former President, H.E. Emillio Mwai Kibaki. Hence, there was corpulent optimism as all indications pointed to an AZIMIO win. There was wind in many sails, with the zeitgeist being that the long suffering and eternal opposition leader was finally going to ascend the steps up the house on the hill. Thanks to our vote merely being an ethnic census and with the swing vote hoodwinked, the cart was upended. All this proved to be nothing but ‘hot air’ as multitudes were left crestfallen by this most painful of defeats yet by a pig’s whisker.
Back to the Kenya Kwanza messaging which was contradictions galore. First, they put up the first-term of the UhuRuto Jubilee government (2013 – 2017) as the gold standard of stewardship in Kenya terming it as an epoch where Kenya doubled all development that previous regimes had attempted to execute in times bygone. However, after the fallout occasioned by the handshake between former President Uhuru and Premier (Emeritus) Rt. Hon. Raila A. Odinga, the messaging became one of Kenya Kwanza bringing the sort of exquisite iteration of development last witnessed under President Kibaki. Which begs the question: Was Kenya more prosperous under President Kibaki or the First-term of the Jubilee government regime? A fellow who was surfing on the roof of vehicles when projects were being built by the Government he co-superintended now claims that selfsame entity constructed no projects before being airlifted to launch initiatives actually built while he was traipsing around campaigning and studying for a PhD. Talk about the peaks of dishonesty. President Kibaki must be furiously turning in his grave muttering the precursory ‘kubaffu (idiot)’ under his breath from the afterlife.
In the contemporary setting, there is no dry eye in the house as talk of ‘freedom’ having come to Kenya sullies the airwaves. Last time we celebrated freedom from white dominion and colonization, the entire charade ended in tears. Its fruits were gormandized by then well-heeled state functionaries and suitably-subservient ex-home guards who took up their bosses’ holdings. Moreover, this ostensible freedom is now force-fed down our throats by protégés and indeed scions of past oppressors. Primal thing to understand about freedom is that it can never be exercised devoid of limits, responsibility, obligations and in appreciation of the fact that where the knuckle of one entity ends is where the other man’s nose begins. Secondly, liberty is a concept too sublime to be understood by minds that have less than a working understanding of the concept of sacrifice. The point I seek to put across is that it is stultifying to allow impunity and anarchy to be the new synonym to freedom. As the newly-minted President H.E. William K. Ruto shirks the high calling of being a national symbol of unity for the more mediocre thrills of a Provocateur-In-Chief against the losing coalition, it must be noted that the independence of constitutional offices is being dealt a death knell. Smirks of the alarm bells of apprehension that the Director-General of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, Mr. George Kinoti and his counterpart the Inspector General of Police in Kenya, Hillary Nzioki Mutyambai opted to flee offices whose independence had erstwhile been constitutionally-guaranteed in antipathy to butting heads with the new regime, tellingly prior to the expiry of their tenures. They prudently presaged their own bloody noses, put out of joint by the unscrupulous they need not have had to tangle with but would have been forced to. All reminiscent of scenes that played out in the U.S.A in 2018 when 45th POTUS, Donald J. Trump, the ‘stable genius’ on a whim elected to terminate the employment of FBI deputy director, Mr. Andrew G. McCabe just over 24 hours to his set retirement date to inflict maximum humiliation from loss of pension despite long-term exemplary service. Things ended up in litigation resulting in restitution of full pension and damages paid to Mr. McCabe. Would events have panned out the same in Kenya? For Kinoti and Mutyambai, evidence was clear that their dutiful diligence and hard work in the war against graft was misconstrued by the new regime as insubordination, an onslaught albeit open rebellion to the new rulers on the block, institutional autonomy of their state agencies notwithstanding. Yes, there was plenty of remonstration over theatrical productions pertaining to the Friday mid-day arrests for a weekend as guests of the state reserved for errant public officers which crooks are happy to see the back of. My quandary: Why bellyache about an inadvertent visit to ‘Kiambu Road’ if you are free of guilt? If you ask me, Mr. Kinoti and Mr. Mutyambai are simply scapegoats who have been spirited out of office for executing the stipulates of their mandate.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) headed by Noordin Hajji currently finds itself smack in the firing range for allegations of inordinate and favour-infused laundering of corrupt individuals it a few months ago had sufficient evidence to proffer charges upon. How is it possible that Former Kiambu Governor, Hon. Ferdinand Waititu and his associates were not only indicted but also found guilty in a 588-million-shilling corruption scandal that swept him out of office, earning an impeachment? The unseen hand of the new state dispensation is evident in the way recently, the Court of Appeal quashed the ruling of the lower court, evidence and witness testimony remaining constant. That public funds were pilfered and stolen is narry in doubt. It must never be to the discretion of musical chairs and courtroom high drama to determine this fact but to instead offer an impartial adjudication in a manner that brings restitution to the aggrieved, who are the taxpayers of the Republic of Kenya. This smut is evident in the fire-sale explication of guilt for Hon. Rigathi Gachagua in his 7-billion-shilling dialysis machines case with the Nyeri Level 5 hospital, Hon. Aisha Jumwa in her 20-million-shilling CDF squandering scam, Hon. Oscar Sudi in his academic paper’s forgery scam, Hon. Mithika Linturi on the ignominious charges of attempted rape, ex-Kenya Power CEOs Ben Chumo and Ken Tarus in the tendering malfeasance that bedeviled our national power distributor under their watch. Indeed, at the time of the Deputy Presidential debate, our National Asset recovery agency was holding 200 million shillings from the accounts of our now sworn-in Deputy President. It has just come to the attention of the author of this piece that the case against the principal architect of the Kenya Power & Lighting Scandal in 1983, a Mr. Samuel Gichuru has recently been dropped and he has walked scot-free. Tellingly his co-accused, Hon. Chris Okemo who though a cabinet minister then was assayed to be a mere accessory still has his case intact. It should not be in any conjecture that the aforementioned characters are mostly lackeys of the new President, some even earmarked for Cabinet appointments pending parliamentary vetting. Questions abound on if the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution decided to repatriate their autonomy back to the house on the hill as it kowtows into its appendage. Seems like the apprentice of former President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi is slowly eroding hard-earned constitutional gains as this is exactly where the nation used to be before the new Constitutional order. For some historical background, the ODPP used to be under the beck and call of the Head of State in times bygone. As such, in the President Kenyatta and later Moi eras, orders from above were the letter and spirit by which work was performed at the ODPP. It was no novelty to see court officers in one’s compound at 3 a.m. executing an arrest warrant on the President’s orders! Nolle Prosequi (no prosecution) became the carte-blanche which the politically-correct enjoyed even if they were to engage in the most egregious of criminal activity in the full public glare. Chapter 6 of our progressive new Constitutional order on Leadership and Integrity is gradually getting flashed down the drain with ruthless abandon as we allow charlatans and slatterns into our leadership space. The criterion by which court proceedings previously given a green-light to progress by the DPP are now like a lightning bolt out of clear skies capitulating like a house of cards is what may eventually prove to be the Waterloo for our Director of Public Prosecution if he does not avoid such banana skins. He faces a race against time to shed off his self-inflicted reputation as an ex-KANU youth winger.
As the Holy Book puts it succinctly with allusion to Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth utters.” Fascism may be back in vogue and in ways perilous to our democratic progress attained within the last few years. While the developed world hangs onto the final vestiges of a democratic existence, nations are slowly being pulled into shitstorms as tools for the gratification of the personal egos and fancies of the maniacs who shepherd them. In Russia, a needless war has been fomented and now simmers on the brink of a Nuclear Armageddon merely to pander to the whims of a leader hellbent at global domination on the ficklest of excuses. Vladimir Putin will go on a nationalist tangent about uniting Russians across foreign borders merely to try to bring his citizens on board to his diabolical schemes all the while blaming NATO for setting up shop in his sphere of influence among a myriad of other qualms. This is Adolf Hitler reincarnate! In ostensibly the most advanced democracy – The United States of America, a pathological rabblerouser and incorrigible profiteer, one Mr. Donald Trump seeks to convince the American nation to elect him to serve his 2nd non-consecutive term as President under a creaky raft of lies, half-truths, cobbled innuendos and gaslighting drivel paying homage to victimhood and entitlement. Unfortunately, our newly-elected President and his entire contingent are borrowing pages from these same treatises of disgrace. A Deputy President in the previous regime today seeks to lay the burden of culpability for the failures of the previous government on his boss in conjunction with other entities that were not even elected by the Kenyan People for State stewardship. Talk about wetting the blanket! I will with unequivocal resolve posit that always when you harken unto a leader with little to no anti-corruption strategy attacking institutions erstwhile created to enforce integrity, then it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are under a narcissistic fascist who reflects the putrid nature of their own soul. Even the Former President Mwai Kibaki that we rightly hear getting adulation ad-nauseum for the Kenyan economic renaissance and infrastructural boom brooked not a scintilla of hot air for thieves as he correctly projected little tolerance for those afflicted with the vice of itchy fingers. It must not be lost on anyone (inculcated to those too young to understand affairs then) that during his second term, President Kibaki was forced to put the current President out on his keister from his Ministerial docket on corruption charges. Selective amnesia by some will always find a way to blot out this embarrassing reality. Just as Former POTUS (45th), Donald J. Trump accuses his Democratic predecessor many times removed, the now nonagenarian Jimmy Carter of hiding classified documents in his own private golf course as President is the same way he has today been caught in the same web in his Mar-a-Lago resort residence in Florida, U.S.A. He accuses African nations of being manure fermenting edifices for having unstable regimes only for himself to orchestrate an insurrection in no dissimilitude to the same nations albeit from the shadows. He purports to have lost the family Will and Testament during the comb through his home by the FBI knowing full well he has never crafted any! Many parallels are to be drawn between the new Kenyan regime and the shameless one-term American supremo leaving a lot to be desired.
When Azimio La Umoja – One Kenya Alliance Chief Presidential Agent Mr. Saitabao ole Kanchorry, ably-assisted by the muscular Senator, Hon. Ledama ole Kina wrestled the rostrum over from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman, Mr. Wafula Chebukati and declared the Bomas of Kenya a “Crime Scene” to a petrified global audience, many eyebrows were raised. During the ensuing Presidential petition that followed the sham at the Bomas of Kenya, the Supreme Court in its full ruling admitted to misdemeanours in the conduct of the IEBC Chairman as erroneous and below the requisite threshold for an officer to referee a Presidential Contest. “Piki-Piki Ponki Paka miel a disco,” notwithstanding it was jarring that the same court ruled that the erratum occasioned by last-minute boardroom quarrels were not enough to nullify the result of this seemingly smooth-flowing election. I would judge it as selective amnesia to infer that a faulty process at whatever point would yield an outcome that circumscribes to the freedom, fairness, accountability and transparency ascribed to an election process in Kenya by the 2010 Constitution. Methinks, this ruling in the Presidential petition was only meant to punish the outgoing President for his threatening stance against the Judicial arm of government, citing re-visitation. Fiasco begot a tragi-comedy when The Chief Justice and her Deputy were forced to abandon more pressing matters for the photo-op of lining up outside the National Assembly buildings while the new President inaugurated the next session of the house. The optics of the entire schtick is less than appealing and casts a gloomy pall on the impartiality of the three arms of Government. Instead, as we speak, the Four IEBC Commissioners who had voiced dissonance to their boss’ way of conducting electoral business find themselves under intense scrutiny, victimization and threats of losing their positions from the hawkish Kenya-Kwanza rabble.
The Majority Leadership quandary in the National Assembly has exposed the vile ends this newly-minted Executive branch of government is prepared to go to have a stranglehold on all facets of government. Political hygiene seems so have been fed to the buzzards as coalition agreements seem ineffectual and as worthless as the paper on which they were drafted. At the conclusion of the August 9th elections together with the supplementary elections for the areas that elections were not held then on 29th August, the Azimio La Umoja – One Kenya Alliance had 185 against Kenya Kwanza’s 172 members. However, a flurry of illegitimate and unlawful defections resulted in a situation where the numbers tilted the other way. This is a dysfunctional scenario as the coalition agreement in place had the elected members for Azimio-One Kenya alliance being locked in six months pre-election and a further 3 months post-election. It wafts with the foul stench of disingenuity that the House Speaker who was elected from the Kenya Kwanza side chose as his first order of business to trash the Azimio-One Kenya Alliance coalition agreement on the fickle grounds of not being signed by all coalition parties on every page. My view is what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander. What was deemed acceptable by the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) should also be acceptable to the House Speaker. It is clear that we have moved from the antiquated era of wise and impartial Speakers like Hon. Francis ole Kaparo and the ‘Solomonic’ Hon. Kenneth Marende to a novel degradation into impartiality, vendetta, injudiciousness and autocratic era highlighted by Hon. Moses Wetangula. He seems to have had an axe to grind with the leader of the Azimio – One Kenya Alliance from his time in NASA, the Rt. Hon. Raila A. Odinga which he has chosen this inopportune time to make restitution. The arguments for those flipping sides were pathetic at best and criminally-dishonest at worst. Some claim to have been duped into the agreement. The shameless allege coercion, arm-twisting and threats of criminal prosecution against them. My Question: If you are blameless of any transgressions, why should you fear the KRA, EACC, HELB, CRB or even DCI officers so infernally as to condemn the future of your collective political constituency merely for personal salvation? Putrid cowardice. It is at this juncture that the devious will cite Chapter 4, Article 36 on the Freedom of Association. I query whether these individuals only became aware of that stricture of the Constitutional Order after the 2022 polls or were they cognizant of its existence all along from 2010? The clear status-quo is that the self-serving blackguards who jumped ship from the Azimio – One Kenya Coalition did not read their own consciences but only did so in an avaricious attempt to profiteer from the coalition that won the General Election by a smidge, the Kenya Kwanza battalion. Success has many fathers but failure is lamentably an orphan. That is where political hygiene and an adherence to norms, a value system, a moral compass and even honourability that ostensibly makes elected officials befitting of using the designation ‘Honourable’ in their nominal identification.
Contemporaneously, Kenya finds herself laden with a President who blatantly refuses to appoint distinguished and qualified citizens from particular regions of Kenya on the pretext of being denied votes from there. His excuse: trying to create a veritable Opposition movement. I feel not the predilection to discuss here the foundational principles of democracy with the majority having their way while the minority have their say as I have been down that rabbit hole ad-infinitum in my previous posts. If President Ruto is really as honest as the value that eschews his sensibilities the most dictates, then it would be imperative to put in place mechanisms for creating the Office of Leader of Official Opposition with full decorum, emoluments, an official address and a seat in the National Assembly to boot. Otherwise, his moot roadside declaration merely to coax cheer from the mentally feeble, ignorant, naïve, gullible and congenitally-asinine must be ignored with the contempt such impractical dross has historically deserved. Inclusivity is needed today more than any other epoch of Kenyan history.
Kenya is in an unheralded territory where the Constitution is adamant in its opposition to the post of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) while senior politicians fervently work to reward loyalists with dwindling state appointments. This position is unconstitutional in addition to being an unnecessary drain to exchequer funds via a sky-high wage bill. The President during his swearing-in ceremony, took the oath of office to safeguard and uphold every stricture of the Constitution. Moreover, this is the same individual who during the campaigns used to vociferate the push of his political coalition to serve Kenyans first while castigating their opponents as merely bureaucrats who sought political positions to access state largesse. It seems the President is getting pushed into the same morass he vociferously purported to eschew. The new, progressive constitution equally contemplated that the seat of Cabinet Secretary (CS) should be the preserve of technocrats in specific, thematic fields to enhance service delivery. This has now gone with the wind. It flies in the face of this reality that today, all sorts of political detritus, the illiterati and riff-raff find themselves getting grilled for the aforementioned seats. Let it be clear that I possess no hatred for the academically-challenged. My only grouse is when this illiteracy is being leveraged as an excuse to promote mediocrity and impunity as a way of life. Kenya is a nation that has taken the pride of place in having some of the most educated, skilled, professionally-experienced, progressive-minded and socially-conscious population in Africa. In the last 20 years, many public and private tertiary institutions of learning have come up and absorbed a critical mass of our population. Why should the products of that system be governed by individuals so intellectually-bereft, they cannot even think up policies and provide cogent direction which should be the remit of the CS position?
Kenya is running the risk of creating the mirage of a state religion. The President seems to have reserved special fancy for Evangelical Christians to the exclusion of other denominations of the Christian faith and worse of all, other religious identities. It has now become fashionable for members of the evangelical doctrines of the Christian faith to saunter into Statehouse for prayer breakfasts and crusades at their own pleasure. Even the spouse to the Deputy President is being invited as a member of the bible thumbing class with full authority to pray and cast out demons. This is a distorted state of affairs as these same elements of the clergy class have been around for an eon when civil liberties were being clamped down, individuals disappeared without a trace and at least one Cabinet Minister was murdered in cold blood in the 90’s yet they remained mum. Gone are the halcyon days when the likes of Rev. Ndingi Mwana a’ Nzeki, Rev. Henry Okullu, Rev. Timothy Njoya and even Bishop Alexander Muge who had the fortitude of character to speak the truth to power. Today they have been replaced by self-seekers who look for favourable terms, alms, gratis public land allocation to the church and worse of all the zero-rating of revenues received by the Church. It is jarring that unscrupulous individuals today put on the dog-collar of the church to aver self-righteousness and victory only upon individuals who donate properties to them while rendering eternal damnation against those who know better than to indulge such hedonism. You will hear them pontificate claiming, “Mr. President and his Deputy here won because they run a God-fearing campaign as opposed to their opponents.” Come on! If God wanted you to win then he would most certainly have granted a greater margin of victory, after all through the Almighty we can do all things. This is also half-witted in pretty much the same token, when Didier Deschamps won the Football World Cup with France, he did not run around waxing lyrical about God buoying the ‘pious’ French over the sinful Croatians. He was magnanimous in victory. He is aware that displays of faux-piety always have a way of backfiring on the haughty. In antipathy to the hypocritical shenanigans in Kenya presently, the prudent Deschamps must surely have cast his eyes unto the year 1999, just 12 months after he had also won the World Cup with France as an ostensible footballing ‘water-carrier’ in their Midfield. In England, matters national team were going on in the typical reticent English fashion devoid of incident until then national team coach dropped a clanger to end them all. While taking an ordinary media interview, Mr. Glenn Hoddle took a segue into the bizarre, claiming that the differently-abled (handicapped) are so as indemnity for their trespasses in a previous life. Typical English politeness had gone out of the window and this laissez-faire manner of speech birthing a faux-pas was greeted with global consternation that rapidly snowballed into an avalanche of outrage for the jinxed Briton. Vox Populi, vox Dei. His goose was cooked. The beleaguered English Football Association had little recourse but to give the damned Englishman his pink slip, the dreaded P45 and just like that, he was out of a job! The anecdote above is archetypal of a greater tragedy that await those that in foolhardy fashion trifle around with the name of the Lord merely as a brush to rub salt into the wounds of their adversaries. It is indeed written in the Holy scriptures that you should not be preoccupied with the splint in another’s eye before you address the log in your own.
The newly-minted President still seems enamoured to the Campaign season. After 9 years of relentless Campaigns that have had him against all odds ascending the steps of the Statehouse, he seems unable to press the OFF button. Rather than implement the myriad promises he made on the campaign trail, he still seeks to continue traipsing nationwide making some more. Haphazard visits to various locales of Kenya that catch local leaders flat-footed coupled with inopportune pronouncements from vehicle rooftops are now painting the new Head of Government in negative light. Common courtesy, in the very least dictates informing the local leaders of the regions you pay a visit from the Governor down the hierarchy so as not to catch them flat-footed, quite plausibly on other errands and much to their dismay and utter embarrassment. I allude to the debacle a few weeks ago when Homabay Governor, H.E. Gladys Wanga among a raft of local leadership was expected to play host to the President. The Head of State however, must have caught out the Governor in contravention to the separation of powers and authority between National and the County tiers of Government. Leaders in attendance chided the Governor for her no-show claiming she risks holding back local development. Nevertheless, deep down they know that an impromptu visit packaged as a prayer meeting with the indigenes on Sunday is no place for the overtones of new policy directions and manifesto items. These should have been wholly-outlined during the Campaigns and not merely dangled around as carrots to the famished hoi-polloi and as a pillory tool for the losing political coalition that still commands greater traction in the said region.
It goes without saying that the matter of cost of living is of highest priority to the ordinary citizen of Kenya requiring critical attention. The prize of fuel is now through the roof while the local staple, ugali has become as precious as gemstones, out of the grasp of the proletariat. This has been compounded by the punitive drought that today ravages many parts of Kenya, wreaking untold havoc on the lives of the citizenry. Responsibility dictates that rather than castigating the previous administration, dabbling in grandstanding while playing with the hot potato of blame game while offering new promises of bringing down the price of maize meal in a year, time is ripe to declare a state of emergency and treat the national disaster with the requisite seriousness. Depoliticize the plight of the common man as nutrition is a basic need whose importance can never be procrastinated. Pastoralists have lost their previously burgeoning stock and are now staring cataclysm in the eye. Crop failure in the national bread baskets is also the bane of this current climatic quandary while poor planning during times of plenty leaves our national reserves of grain in rapid depletion. Peasant farmers have made out naught from the motes of dust they are now forced to joylessly cultivate as our systems are still tidally-locked onto rain-fed agriculture. The cost of fertilizer has been alleviated but what use is fertilizer when the cost of other agricultural inputs is not addressed? What of the systemic challenges that see our farmers struggle to access the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) silos leaving rotting grain in their own stores amidst crunching food shortages nationally?
In closing remarks, the vitals of our national body politic are not looking strong as we risk a reversal of the hard-earned gains in not just civil liberties but also institutional autonomy won through the blood, sweat and tears of our noble forbearers. Additionally, to hell with using the term ‘Hustler’ to describe state institutions and funds. There are more befitting English words to use to articulate the same. State machinery is not a tool for entrenching the sitting-duck culture and trawling for pity but for national development.