Dear Mr President: Speaking truth in LOVE

President William Ruto during graduation at National Defense College in Nairobi on May 25,2023. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Dear President William Ruto,

I want to begin this open letter by telling you that I love you Mr. President and do not intend any ill in sharing what you are reading. I know you are surrounded by lots of friends who may be telling you that things in the country are ok and moving from bad to good and best.

This letter is intended to give you the citizens' perspective. This is truth as I see it, being out of government. It is shared to help you turn around and save yourself, your team and the nation at large from destruction. I have written open letters to previous presidents, including your predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, so this is not personal.

I have also castigated former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, and many in government for many years when they made mistakes that affect the people of Kenya. So take this for what it is - speaking truth in love.

I write to you as someone who deeply loves Kenya, fears God and desires the best for every single citizen of this great country. I also write as someone who wanted to be in your position as 5th president of the Republic of Kenya with a deep desire to do government very differently from how you are doing it. We let you become president. We gave you everything citizens can give one of them to lead them. But, instead of leading our country, you have been destroying it systematically so that every day, every hour, we are treated to one more layer of destruction, and if we let you go on the way you are, we will not have a country, but you can also be sure of this, we will also not have you as president.

In this open letter, I want to warn you in love about four things that may bring your downfall sooner than later, and the sooner you turn around and do the right thing, the better. I know, you think that because you have the instruments of power you can use them to prevent your downfall and to have your way, but it is that kind of thinking that would hasten the downfall I am talking about.

Mr. President, pride does not come before a fall. Pride is fall itself and, because you read Scripture, I want to remind you that it is pride that led to the downfall of the brightest angel, Lucifer, "the shining one." Pride brought Nebuchadnezzar, president of Babylon, down. You may recall that God made him eat grass like an ox and wet with the dew of the morning. It is pride that made Rehoboam, son of the wisest king of Israel, Solomon, to refuse advice from godly elders and prefer the counsel of his close youthful associates. At one point, he told the people he was leading, "My father chastised you with whips but I will chastise you with scorpions." Rehoboam's rule ended prematurely and the Kingdom of Israel was, unfortunately, divided into two.

In the New Testament the best example I can give you of pride and arrogance is that of king Herod whom God struck by having worms eat him up. Great men and women, past and present, have been brought down by the sort of things you and your friends are doing to Kenyans. You are a scientist by training, but I know you have read or heard about an English playright called William Shakespeare. In his play called Macbeth, this is what Shakespeare says:

"A good and virtuous nature may recoil

In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon:

That which you are, my thoughts cannot transpose.

Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.

Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,

Yet grace must still look so."

I could tell you a lot about what Shakespeare implies in the passage above, but the last words are critical. If you really believe in grace, it should never, and it can never, wear foul garments. One more biblical example before I show you what will bring your downfall. In Genesis 4, when Cain kills his brother Abel - and I am not implying you have killed someone - God asks the question I would like to ask you in the context of how you are treating Kenyans: "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?..." But the verse goes on to say, "if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must rule over it."

Mr President, four things are going to bring you and your government down:

  1. Your unending display of unforgiveness and the open practice of revenge, especially on former president, Uhuru Kenyatta, his family and the people who worked for and with him. Your deputy, Mr. Rigathi Gachagua, does the same, thereby implying that the topmost leadership of our country cannot reconcile the nation. This tit-for-tat, tooth-for-a-tooth and eye-for-an-eye attitude never works and is bound to leave the country both toothless and blind.

The position of president is like that of a father. You are the head, on top of everyone and everything and cannot go any higher, so it is about how you lead all those below you. As a father, at the end of the day, there is no good and bad child. It is about helping the bad children become good and ensuring that the home is livable. You cannot prove how much of a father you are by destroying the house you live in and spreading hatred and animosity in the home. As president, you are also like a priest, who ensures reconciliation among the people and between people and their God. No priest whips and scatters people coming to sacrifice and the flocks they bring for the same sacrifice.

What is more, the name "God" or "Christ" or "Church" does not befit the kind of things you and your government are doing to the people of Kenya. You can choose to go on doing those things and just not associate them with the Christian faith, or, better still, harmonize the way you are treating Kenyans with clear biblical teaching.

Your deputy has said with a straight face that your government belongs to" shareholders" and that only those who voted for the two of you will have the preeminence and priority. You have not come out to correct this notion, thereby implying you agree with him.

This attitude of revenge, favouritism and crony capitalism, coupled with your open ethnic appointments will not make you survive as a leader. Take it from me. Unless you change this, the nation called Kenya will spit you out as a leader. It has not worked in the past. It cannot work here. It will never work. It will bring you down unless you change.

  1. Overtaxing your fellow citizens while spending the same taxes extravagantly cannot lead to Kenya's prosperity. That approach cannot and will never work. I thought it was obvious to you and your friends until I saw you persist with it. Mr. President, the I.M.F. and the World Bank are misleading you by insisting that you implement over taxation and ruthless privatization in order to be economically stable, but they are lying to you on the timing. It will not work this time. Show me just one nation that became economically stable and prosperous by impoverishing citizens to the point of them not having incomes and then you impose hefty taxes on them. When the United States went through the Great Depression, they mainly reduced government spending.

When Greece's unemployment moved from 7 per cent to 28 per cent, it is not just taxation that they dealt with; they mainly looked at government spending. What will bring you down, Mr. President, is increasing taxes while at the same time increasing your government's spending and doing nothing about misappropriation and outright looting of Kenya's incomes. You cannot overtax a nation into prosperity, let alone into liquidity.

Austerity measures take many forms and can help with economic recovery, but they must take into account the path that will ease the citizens' burdens. For example, instead of beginning with raising taxes, what your government should have done is actually cut down on government spending and sealing off loopholes that make us lose money. You and your friends are, obviously, not willing to cut down government spending.

Instead, you have gone on rampage to spend more. Mr. President, do the following and you will survive: First, stop all foreign trips by you and your government officials until at least July 2024 and see the difference. Let those you want to meet come to you or show up virtually at meetings you must really attend internationally. Stop hosting parliamentary and government meetings in Naivasha and Mombasa, Nanyuki or wherever and meet people at State House or Parliament Buildings, or have virtual sessions. We did it in 2020 and 2021 anyway. Bring back the trillions you and your friends have in foreign nations' bank accounts, and let us pay back what we have borrowed on time both locally and internationally. Fire the 50 C.A.S's you appointed recently. We don't need them.

Abolish all unnecessary government offices like those of the First Lady, Second Lady and Spouse to the Prime Cabinet Secretary, etc. Most of all, instead of increasing taxes, lower them so that more people can pay with the little they have. Reschedule or renegotiate our public debt. Do not introduce any new taxes at this time as a new government. Bring back subsidies on fuel and unga to buy time for survival and for you to move from the short term to the long term planning you have for the people of Kenya.

  1. Your priorities are completely wrong and there is no pretence about that. You cannot force people to have houses they are not asking for when they have no food and they keep telling you that food is their priority. The more you insist that they must have houses, before food, the more your motives become clear. It is not the houses you want the people of Kenya to have; it is what you and your friends will get financially from building houses for Kenyans by force. If you insist that we must have houses instead of affordable and available food, Mr. President we will impeach you together with your members of parliament. Why? Because we don't want your houses before we have food.

What is more, you cannot take money from workers by force in the name of building them houses. They did not tell you that is what they want, and most of them already have houses. Neither will you take money from employers under the false pretext of helping their employees. You did not sit down with either before going this direction. In fact, you need to tell us how we participate in deciding on a process you have already launched and is going on. Your priority is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Again Mr. President, why are you so obsessed with these mega projects that gobble billions of shillings we do not have? Why not halt all of them in order to survive economically as a nation? Why privatize now? Where are you running to? Who is pushing you to do this to the people of Kenya so that you can force money out of them? Where is your heart of mercy? Where is your humanity? Wapi utu wako?

  1. Your obsession with implementing global policies and programmes at the expense of our national sovereignty and integrity will end your leadership. Remember you sent troops to DRC before doing something about banditry in our own country? Remember what your first agricultural priority was once you took government? You sat down with foreign investors interested in marketing their food ideologies here instead of sitting down with our farmers and agricultural experts. You rushed to license GMOs against the will of the people you represent, because you pay more attention to Bill Gates and the American government than your own people.

You quickly visited Europe and America and came back with signed agreements on so-called food security. You quickly rushed to import fertilizer when we can make it here and create jobs. In fact, you have quickly rushed to outlaw the use of animal manure in our shambas so that you can import and benefit yourself and your foreign business partners. Although the Church, Muslim clerics and many citizens told you they do not want LGBTQI mainstreamed in Kenya, you quietly accepted it while pretending to be against it, again to please your foreign masters. Instead of listening to our economic experts, you are so quick to listen to foreign experts.

In the process, you have made our country a dumping ground for foreign goods, including maize, instead of empowering our local farmers. You already talked about the need to expand and protect as well as remove cartels from the tea and coffee sectors but say little on the need to invest and expand our indigenous food crops like cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas, arrow roots, sorghum, millet, yams and our legume varieties that are drought-resistant, and addressing post-harvest losses. You are ready to lease land in Zambia to grow maize while farmers languish here in untold suffering and Galana-Kulalo continues to receive casual attention.

Mr President, you are on your own ... ... with ethnic appointments; with mega projects when we are starving; with your housing project when we want food and affordable living; on your energy sector changes; with increasing taxes. You are on your own on privatization; on the so-called "bottom-up." You are on your own with your foreign policy. You are on your own with your hatred and revenge tactics; on seeing Kenya as a club of shareholders. You are on your own; but if you turn around, we will be here, waiting to support and encourage you.

Love, justice and mercy as Micah advises, remember the widows and the orphans as Isaiah and James advise. Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and fight for the rights of the oppressed and God will bless you. As Isaiah advised, learn to do what is right and stop doing what is wrong.

I have shared openly in love. I do not desire your downfall. I want you to succeed. Hence the warnings. Better are the blows of a friend than the kisses of an enemy.

God bless you and God bless Kenya.