By Oyunga Pala
It is rare that a political leader in our time says something worth remembering.
It has been decades since we heard something in the league of JM Karuiki’s insightful observation, “We do not want to create a nation of ten millionaires and ten million beggars,” which at the time was a rather bold swipe at the growth of the cult of personality during the Mzee Kenyatta regime.
When it comes to quotes attributed to our leaders, most would rather be forgotten. For the most part, we are accustomed to the foot in mouth goofs that serve as reminder of why politicians must not be taken literally.
Remember former Makadara MP Reuben Ndolo’s infamous “Ukiona hao, weka taya (if you see them, lynch them)” one liner? Or William Ntimama’s “Lie low like an envelope” — a subtle but loaded warning to non-Maasais living in Maasai land during the advent of multiparty politics to toe the official line?
Amos Kimunya also made the cut with his absurd, “I would rather die than resign” not to mention Esther Murugi’s threat to strip if Uhuru Kenyatta’s case at International Criminal Court was confirmed for trial.
These are just a few of the more memorable one-liners delivered by our creative political class. It is all part of political speech craft and the essence of the art is to misdirect and get away with essentially saying nothing.
If you read the papers keenly or pay close attention to news broadcasts, you run into familiar phrases because politicians will always devise new way to make little sense. As expected, following the tragic death of two prominent leaders, we had the Government use that famous line for the umpteenth time: We shall leave no stone unturned.
Whenever anyone alleges foul play or misappropriation of funds, the response is a commission of inquiry.
If my memory serves me correctly, the Government specialises in leaving stones intact. Despite the long list of commissions formed to probe into various issues of national concern, there are hardly ever any conclusive results made public.
One can be assured that when a politician orders ‘speedy investigations’, the last thing to expect is speed. In fact, at this rate, I would recommend that the Government forms a commission of inquiry to investigate the outcomes of all previous commissions’ of inquiry.
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