President should know that the fellows around him are self seeking sycophants

“ Are you travelling to The Hague in solidarity with the President?” So read the twitter message from Kyaka Kyalo.

“No,” I replied, “I will express mine from here. Mine is genuine, simple and silent solidarity.”

Uhuru Kenyatta is my President and I empathise with him in difficult times. This is regardless that I often get the impression that he considers himself to be more of some people’s President and less so of people like me. He talks of his Government not as “the Government of Kenya,” but as the Jubilee Government. The inference is that if you do not belong to this political fraternity, you don’t matter very much. Indeed, he does his things in a manner that could suggest that some people are more Kenyan than others. Perhaps His Excellency will someday find a quiet moment to reflect about this. But it is his tea party. He reserves the right of admission.

That is fair and square, seeing that we did not all vote for him. However, should we gloat at his personal predicaments? The top leadership of the CORD fraternity has behaved badly in the lead up to the President’s visit to The Hague. Leader Raila Odinga, dismissed the President’s trip to The Hague as a non-event. He said that was Kenyatta’s personal dilemma. It had nothing to do with the nation. The President should carry his own cross, he told a public gathering.

James Orengo and Simba Arati, both ODM legislators, were equally wallowing with joy. Arati participated in a TV panel discussion in which he said very unfortunate and unprintable things. He embarrassed other panellists, who included the respected Macharia Gaitho, Ngunjiri Wambugu and Jenifer Shamallah. His language was foul and insensitive. Moreover, he trivialised the occasion by toying about with his cellphone. He should, in fact, have been fully focused on the present moment – as seasoned discussants on TV would advice him at no cost.

CORD needs to style up. This is unless it has lost interest in retaining credence and following. I have said this before, to the chagrin of CORD sycophants. The leadership should shed off the garb and image of a grumpy political outfit. It should refrain from whining on just about everything. It should instead, develop the brand of a focused issue based alliance that is the Government in waiting. Angry political outbursts, such as Moses Wetangula of the Ford Kenya Arm of the coalition has distinguished himself for, do not make up for lack of a focused political agenda and charisma. Nor do the theatrics of the Amani guest politician in CORD, Senator Boni Khalwale of Kakamega.

On this one occasion, CORD leaders would have gained mileage from giving President Kenyatta the benefit of the doubt. He was doing a noble thing, respecting both the Constitution – which lifts his immunity against prosecution in an international court – at Article 143 (4) – and the ICC that had summoned him to appear before the judges. The President could very easily have elected to defy the court as his cronies in the African Union (AU) had urged him to do. Instead, he heeded wiser counsel. You don’t belittle that.


Which brings us to the other side of this political coin. President Kenyatta should – if he has not always known – that the fellows around him are by and large self-seeking sycophants. When they kowtow and prostrate before him with songs of praise, psalms and canticles, it is not because they care that much about him. They only seek to attract his attention so that as he goes about dispensing favours and privileges, he will remember them. Alternatively, they want a section of the electorate to notice them as the defenders of the president whom they love. This way, they are assured of votes at election time.

It is immensely embarrassing that people who have previously been adamant that the President should not attend the court at The Hague have suddenly been very loud in glorifying the President for accepting to appear before the ICC judges. In their excessive praise for the President, they have cited the same reasons for which they previously sent hate messages to those of us who have insisted, from the very start, that there would be a lot of merit in President Kenyatta doing what he did this week.

So what changed? What changed was that the President refused to listen to their selfish voices. For, they don’t care what happens to him in the end, so long as their posturing will endear them to a tribal electorate. In the coming days, this class will shout more adulations from rooftops all over the place. In truth, however, these nihilists don’t believe in anything, except their stomachs.

The ultimate scandal was in the streets of The Hague. President Kenyatta’s dignified choreograph was “sonkonised” in the streets of The Hague. The “sonkoists” messed up all the dramatic dignity that the President’s public relations team would appear to have very carefully thought through. We will not know, for some time, whether the President was all along aware that there would be this “sonkonisation” of the visit. Whatever the case, it pulled down all the decorum in the meticulous political choreography. That scene should have been deleted from the drama.

In the end, President Kenyatta may want to remember the words of King Henry VIII in Robert Bolt’s superior play, ‘A Man for All Seasons’. Bolt’s drama is based on the death of Sir Thomas More, who was killed for refusing to endorse the king’s wish to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon. The king wanted to marry the sister of his former mistress, Ann Boleyn after the divorce.

The iconic Sir Thomas, asked Henry why his solitary endorsement bothered the king so much. After all, he had every one else in his corner. King Henry replied, “There are those Like Norfolk who follow me because I wear the crown; and there are those like Cromwell who follow me because they are jackals with sharp teeth and I am their tiger; there is a mass that follows me because it follows anything that moves. And then there is you . . .” For his own good, President Kenyatta will do well to know the Norfolks and Cromwells among those who prostrate themselves “for him” in foreign streets and those who scream loudest around him.