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Why President Uhuru must draw his sword

By Samora Abisai | September 25th 2018

That Kenyans’ feeling of frustration and disgust towards their political leadership has hit an all-time high is hardly an exaggeration. With the ever-rising cost of living, recently exacerbated by a raft of legislative policies authored by President Uhuru Kenyatta and rubber stamped by an emasculated and chaotic Parliament, the public’s anger is easy to understand.

The leadership should know better than to dismiss this national disquiet as a mere tempest in a teapot.

Squarely sitting in the eye of the storm is the President. He appears genuinely determined to safeguard his legacy, especially with the Big Four Agenda.

But he is in a catch-22 situation - caught between the anvil of pursuing his Big Four development agenda and the hammer of the masses crying out against high taxation and the attendant rising cost of living. Philosophers would say he is facing the anguish of Abraham.

The story of the biblical patriarch Abraham as told in the book of Genesis presents a great dilemma for him. He is called upon by God to sacrifice his one and only child Isaac on Mt Moriah in the greatest recorded test of faith.

The patriarch has to choose between obediently serving God and keeping to the dictates of good fatherhood, morality and ethics.

Abraham chose God! He is considered the father of faith not just because he completed the task God requested of him, but because of the anxiety and pain it caused him.

Choose legacy

Will Uhuru choose his legacy, now tied to the Big Four agenda, or will he pay heed to the cry of the people? The voice of God? Methinks with a bit of creativity and adequate conviction, he can safeguard his legacy without strangulating Wanjiku. He can choose both. But how?

The question can best be answered by a great tale from Roman history, beautifully written by William Shakespeare. On the Ides of March, in 44 BC, senators conspire to assassinate Julius Caesar, the emperor of Rome, because of his excesses.

Caesar’s most trusted friend and lieutenant, Marcus Brutus, joins the conspirators at the last minute, after a lot of personal reflection. Brutus is among those who drive their swords into the emperor’s body, and more than the physical pain Caesar feels is the betrayal by his closest associate!

Of course the common mwananchi is shocked to hear the news of the slaying of their emperor by members of his kitchen cabinet. Brutus calls a public rally to set the record straight and says to the people, “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.”

He then asks the people to censure him in their own wisdom. Brutus killed Caesar not for his own personal gain, but for his love for Rome.

For far too long, Caesar had straddled the narrow streets of Rome like a colossus. The Romans had to be saved from Caesar.

For the love of Kenya, Uhuru must find Caesar and slay Caesar! The President has time and again admitted that there are many skunks hidden in the closets of his government - from scandals involving the National Youth Service, Kenya Power, Kenya Pipeline Company, National Cereals and Produce Board, the sugar sector - the list is endless!

Good steps

He must be bold enough to slay the dragon of grand corruption and legendary looting. The efforts of the Director of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecutions must culminate in real convictions and recovery of looted money and assets.

Needless to say, the President’s political buddies and family may be caught in the fray. But he has said he doesn’t care a dime! Let a time come when he will look them in their faces and proclaim, “Not because I loved you less, but because I loved Kenya more.”

The President must upset the apple cart. He must spoil the party for thieves in and out of Government. Good steps have been made towards reining in wicked tenderpreneurs but the tempo must be sustained.

The feeling out here is that those being paraded in court concerning these scandals are mere ‘flower girls’ while the real brides and grooms of corruption are away on honeymoon.

Did we have to superimpose the old provincial administration structures on the new devolved units after the promulgation of our current constitution in 2010? And do we need to create positions in the civil service for every loser in the last General Election?

Have we made even the slightest progress in recovering the trillions stolen from our coffers and stashed in secret overseas accounts? And must our civil service bureaucrats live like kings when everyone else is surviving on a shoestring budget?

Mr President, kill not Wanjiku, and kill not your legacy. Slay Caesar if indeed you love Kenya more.


Mr Abisai is a teacher at Chemelil Sugar Academy and a freelance journalist

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