Not long ago, Kenyans were invigorated and excited about the entry of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s brand new Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. Clutching a stellar performance record, a background untainted by graft that is all too common in government, and a humorous, personable approach to accountability, Kagwe inspired us.
And for a moment, we were enamoured of him because unlike others, he found the need to furnish the public with updates on his work while waxing in harsh truths, humour and the sense of hope we all needed - but lacked - in government.
He glued us together as we chuckled through a new and unidentified language with words such as, “anyone can gerrit, you can gerrit, and I can gerrit”.
In a jiffy, our children grew obsessed with handwashing as our youth strung songs about national cohesion and love - our need to mask up for each other’s sake. But then Kagwe ‘crossed the line’. In his quest to impact our lives post Covid-19, he decided to fight against corruption, the greatest impediment to Kenya’s provision of healthcare.
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He forgot what had happened to his predecessors; the well-intended individuals who upon entering the ministry and reading the tea leaves, quickly relegated themselves into the office furniture the thieves sat on.
Perhaps had he reflected on this, he may have gone slow on his immediate redeployment of scores suspected of graft, including entire procurement and finance departments. He may have also thought twice about instigating queries on Kemsa, the ministry’s purported “Corruption Central” where untold things go down. And with this, the Pharisees struck back.
You cannot disrupt cash flows to important pockets in Kenya and not experience retaliation. And therefore it was not a surprise that following our cheers and red carpet welcomes in Machakos, Kisumu, Kisii and Kericho counties, which he toured on assessment visits, the Pharisees deemed his time up.
In true form, they began to politicise the pandemic, becoming angrier as its handling improved and the overall national preparedness became better. So they hatched a plan.
Drag the president’s relatives into the Kemsa procurement scandal and force a sham trial during which its CEO - an individual with questionable ethics - would dole out the kiss of Judas by insinuating improprieties on the part of Kagwe. The scheme was effected: undermine the president’s commitment to fighting graft and use Kagwe as a pawn.
Today, as doubt lingers on, tongues wag and fingers point, we find ourselves at risk of replicating the Temple of Thieves.
Vilifying a man who is courageously fighting for our sick, is sickness itself. And ironically as we are doing this, we are allowing busy Barabbas to slink onto the very same church that hails Jesus of Nazareth for caring about and healing the sick.