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Mr President, you’ve got to kill the spider, else...

By Walter Chesang | June 21st 2018 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

President Uhuru Kenyatta. [Photo: Courtesy]

As a teacher, my boss, the headteacher once gave us a long lecture on how he couldn’t stand cobwebs. His order that they be removed every day was achieving little. Then a brainwave hit him: “I have to kill the spider,” he said. With so many remarks, he sacked the popular, but rogue school captain.

The students applauded, the school cheered and the crest fallen bully head boy walked to the dorm in shame that morning. The school was saved. The principal left a rich legacy. Mr President for how long will you remove cobwebs and the same spider keeps on re-webbing the landscape.

Otto Von Bismarck the Imperial Chancellor of Germany when faced with similar challenges in 1862 declared that “the great question of the day will not be decided by speeches and resolutions of majorities but by iron and blood”. For his resoluteness the unification of German and the second “Reich” (German state or Empire) was born. Germany to date is a global power.

President Uhuru Kenyatta faces a similar situation especially with corruption eating away at our country.

Act now or never

Mr President, the time to act is now or do you “bear the sword in vain” as the book of Romans in the Bible implores in earnest. Execute wrath upon the corrupt without fear or favour after all you are a Five Star General or Field Marshall, whatever is the less.

To reclaim our prestige and power, the president requires a perfect fusion of thought and action. Margaret Thatcher, for UK Prime Minister (1979 – 1990) used to urge her party members to “get wet”, when extra ordinary circumstances faced the Tory Party. Getting wet is both inspiration to action. The President must “get wet” at least for a positive legacy to be delivered to posterity.

Kill the spider and save the country, or are you afraid of blood? The spider has no blood after all, do not be afraid. Five Star Generals or Field Marshals are never intimidated. History and legacy will be kind to you if you act now. The opposite is true.

Is Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy unfolding? The tenant at State House has only four short years to go: this year is gone; next year is the Kenya Population Census; and thereafter, the Boundaries Review and then the campaigns for the 2022 elections sets in. Period. A president in Kenya is Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces as well as the Head of State and Head of Government. Three major constitutional obligations that are bestowed upon the shoulders of one man. In effect, the President of the Republic is the most powerful man in the land.

He can bequeath a positive legacy or a negative legacy if he wishes. The choice is therefore his, and as we have been told before: “choices have consequences”. For all intents and purposes, the most powerful man in the land is the scion of the first President of the Republic, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta – the Burning Spear. His memories evoke nostalgia and awe for his bravery, oratory, wit, courage, resoluteness and shrewdness.

Consistent inconsistency

Kenyatta II, is portrayed as one who approaches every issue with consistent inconsistency. For example, Vision 2030 and its flagship projects are becoming blurred by the day. The Jubilee manifesto is fading now he has something called the Big Four- Agriculture, Health, Housing and Manufacturing.

But with corruption increasingly becoming a pandemic, a source of internal frustration and stagnation, he surely needs to change tack.

Everywhere, from the most splendid social joints, to barber shops, to tea rooms, to matatus, to smoky peasant huts, people disparage the government with the most vicious mockery and disgust.

The tragedy is whenever the president talks tough; the perpetrators of impunity exchange knowing winks and  tut-tut. In Kalenjin they say “Hiro” or “Kenu Chito ” or “Mochoch”, or remind him that he has four years left so he should start packing. Or; “We helped you in 2013 and 2017 to win the presidency... now is our turn.”

Victim of circumstances?

Is it that you like Lobengula the King of the Shona in Zimbabwe in the 18th century, you are a “victim of circumstances”. That some of the people you trust most believe that you are “weak and heavy laden” and that if it were not for them you would be tending coffee at Ichaweri.

History and heritage are slipping into the same melting pot of frightening knavery. Your pronouncements are mimicked in a “do me, I do you” style, a radical surgery that will sober all of us up is required of you.

The Holy Bible in Genesis Chapter 13 verses 5 to 18 gives a very similar story to the strife we are in. Abram and Lot must separate for prosperity to come to Kenya. Let Lot choose what he wants and leave now, not tomorrow. Abram and the land will find peace when this radical step is taken. The final words of the communist Manifesto of Karl Marx in 1848 Sums it all, Kenyans will “have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win” Painful, yes – but there is no gain without pain.


Mr Chesang is a historian

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