Let us acknowledge it would be scandalous today to liken President Uhuru Kenyatta to the hare caught up in the headlights. Give it to the man, at least we are seeing some action in the fight against corruption. A Cabinet Secretary cannot be hounded, summoned or forced to record statements by State investigators without the president’s knowledge. And as you know, some CSs’ files have been forwarded to the prosecutors ready for court.
That said, we can then with justification argue it would not be unfair to liken him to that driver who has stopped at a four-way junction and is unsure which turn to take; does he turn left or right, drive on or turn back? Choices as we were told by Johnnie Carson, have consequences. What he forgot to warn us about was how far apart the decision and consequence were.
At the four-way junction, Uhuru literally has the options of taking each of the available turns. The one option that would set ablaze the legacy he is trying to salvage, is to do nothing by making an about-turn to where he came from. Kenyans will simply dismiss him as a lame-duck President, a modern-day General Kiguoya, the coward who shouts but does nothing.
Turning back is akin to coming out at night when your cattle kraal is being raided, then throwing up your hands in surrender and going back to bed because of fear. You tell yourself; God will provide you with others. If he chooses to drive on, it would be because he has elected the option that it is safe to ignore and move on, eyes and nose closed so as not to be bothered by the disturbing fragrance and the sight of corpses; victims of corruption.
The problem with this option is that it is akin to a dog curling its tail at the sight of another dog. The speculation is that you are not really a coward, but the warrior who returned his sword to the scabbard on realising his friends were among those he would have chopped.
Just imagine a man who hears noise at night, arms himself and gets out to fight the raiders of his furred ‘bank account’, only to realise before unleashing the first arrow that among them is his own son.
You shout at them to leave and go back to your bed for ‘the enemy is from within’.
There are two options left, that of the left or right turn. So as not to offend the left-handed chaps like our President and former US President Barack Obama, let us say the left-turn option would be settling for half-hearted measures. Yes, you pretend to be fighting graft, but cunningly choose ‘selective amnesia’ as your guide. In this option, the fight is ‘politicised’, going only for those who you deem ‘politically incorrect’.
It then becomes a cocktail of political vengeance and deception. The problem with this option is that Kenyans will soon see through it, and the political backlash, fought behind the shield of betrayal, will lead to its natural death.
Yes, political exigency will carry the day. That is exactly what happened to the demolitions of structures on riparian and other illegally acquired land.
The fourth option is to take the right turn. The path to the right side of history. Combating graft for what it is, without care for friend or family.
The problem here is that you will be the hero majority of Kenyans want, this needs the will of a Spanish matador. Few African leaders have dared to take this turn. But being in his final term, Uhuru should give it a try.
Should he do this, Kenyans will deify him. It seems- to many- that he has taken this direction, but is yet to press the gas pedal or moved the steering wheel. Come on Mr President, move; you have already lit the fire under the bottoms of those in your government who claimed you were a spoilt child, a happy-go-lucky chap, a lover of some stuff that acts as time killer and mood-changer, and a person who would rather not have been a President. Even the occupant of a very powerful office somewhere near yours, we gather, is suing for peace.
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The other option of course is to remain stuck at the junction. Indecisive, spineless and clueless they will say of you - a monument of Africa’s leadership failure. And they will be right because you didn’t take the right turn. Need we say again that choices have consequences?
Mr Tanui is Deputy Editorial Director and Managing Editor, The Standard