Why Kenyatta should deal with the consequences of his choices
It doesn’t come worse than a president whining about non-performing Cabinet Secretaries he dumped on Kenyans. President Uhuru Kenyatta broke the promise to appoint apolitical Cabinet Secretaries, succumbed to the temptation to reward loyalists and the old guard and turned a deaf ear to the public complaint that some individuals appointed to the Cabinet did not meet the minimum qualification.
Now that the chickens are coming home to roost, President Kenyatta should deal with the consequences of his choices. By now, even his most ardent supporters might have realised that they have been chasing a phantom; that his legacy lies in balance given the calibre of lieutenants he has surrounded himself with. Inadvertently, the president set himself up for a dismal show. And now that time is not on his side, his anger and frustration must find target to goad the Judas Iscariots into action, even belatedly.
There is the possibility that building 500,000 housing units will remain a mirage. Simple statistics point to this depressing fact. Unless the government is able to build 381 units each day, or 11,441 per month in the remaining 1,311 days to the August 13, 2022 General Election, it is living a lie.
With court cases challenging a 1.5 per cent salary deduction from workers, lack of consultation, lack of funds and no land clearly earmarked for the houses, it takes exceptional faith in the impossible to hope actualization of this item on the Big 4 Agenda is a possibility.
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The target figures in the housing project will have to be adjusted sharply downward, funds allocated immediately to give it a fighting chance; otherwise common sense dictates that it is kaput.
Those who should be in the vanguard advocating Universal Health Care and ensuring its goals are attained have, with the ongoing nurses’ strike, opted for the rear guard, ostensibly because county governments have reneged on a 2017 pay deal.
The irony is that County governments say the CBA is the national government’s baby, and have just fallen short of a public declaration that devolving the medical sector was a gaffe.
Two counties in the UHC pilot project are on strike, yet even though the strike notice was issued last year, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, by her studious silence, might have fervently hoped the problem will resolve itself. The president should get into the ‘business unusual’ mode to kill this inertia.
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Dr Fred Matiangi’s elevation to a higher pedestal among his Cabinet colleagues is a good starting point. With that appointment, the president had fired a warning shot across the bow, but now the fusillade must be intensified until it finds targets.
Those standing in the way of not just the Big 4 Agenda, but the aspirations of Kenyans are our avowed enemies. Frustration among Kenyans is high; they want a body count. Recriminations in the fight against corruption show the state is losing the war, yet that is not what Kenyans groaning under the weight of corruption bargained for.
Mr Kenyatta’s warning shot caused some on the 2022 bound ship to jump into the sea in panic. Under threat of drowning, they are clutching at anything in sight, which brings to life the adage ‘a drowning man will clutch at straw’ to save himself. Post the March 2018 handshake and the recent elevation of Matiangi, certain quarters have been clutching at straw.
They have started looking on dusty shelves to get hold of reports a few of them even knew existed; which they can’t comprehend why implementing at the time proved hard. The existence of the 2010 Saitoti report that attempted to link Ali Hassan Joho to drugs is the straw this team is holding onto in the midst of a vortex.
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The suggestion that Mr Joho, by any measure a prominent man in Kenya, having served as a Mayor, a Member of Parliament and now a governor is on the run from Interpol, stems from desperation. Without holding brief for Joho, the 2010 Saitoti report, lacking proof, simply suggested that some high ranking Kenyans were being investigated over links with drug traffickers. Taken to task in Parliament, Saitoti baulked.
The Saitoti report claimed that America’s CIA had given names of drug dealers to the Kenyan authorities. Interestingly, the then US envoy to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger discounted that wild claim. Realistically, if Interpol had tangible evidence against Joho, it would have acted immediately, but you never know.
If Mr Joho were to get a clean bill of health from Interpol as he has sought through his lawyer, the belligerent Rift Valley team will be left with egg all over the face. It is not lost on some that the team, while clutching at straws and groping in the dark, could be taking a circuitous route to get at other individuals who were placed on that duplicitous report as a result of political witch-hunt. Such desperate efforts are bound to boomerang.
Mr Chagema is a correspondent at The [email protected]
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President Uhuru KenyattaCabinet Secretaries2022 General ElectionBig 4 AgendaCorruption