Mr President, this is what people are saying about your leadership

President William Ruto at State House, Nairobi. [PCS]

What are the people saying? A crucial question for those in power. They should ask those they trust. What is the world saying? Who do they say I am?  

And you don’t ask this question because you want to hear music. Or how so wonderful you are. God’s gift to your country. You don’t begin getting angry and banging tables, saying, “Oh, but this, but that! Noooh! You guys don’t understand!”

It is not about “You guys.” It is about what the people are saying. So what are the people saying? What do they think of the Kenya Kwanza Government, so far? Hopefully President Ruto is asking the notables and grandees around him these questions. For, even Jesus Christ used to ask, “What are the people saying? Who do they say I am? (Luke 9:18).”

Fancy God himself seeking to know what the world thinks of him! Then he would go on to ask his disciples, “And you, what do you think? Who do you say I am? (Luke 9:20)” 

Clearly, he understood that there are those who follow you because they are foxes. They think you are the lion. They don’t want to offend you. So what are the people saying? When you occupy space such as I do, you take tea in the smallest kiosk in Gorogocho, and enjoy caviar in a six-star hotel in Nairobi, and Diani. You get to know what the people are saying, in Ematundu, near Emanyulia, and in the exclusive high-end Vipingo. If you should see President Ruto, or some big gun in government, tell them the people are not happy. They feel cheated. They think this hustler bottom-up thing was a hoax. A ruse to rake in the votes. After that, the hoaxers are gone, laughing all the way to the good ten-star life. The people don’t understand this government and what it is about. Either they are confused, or the government is confused. Or both. That’s what they are saying. They think Kenya Kwanza is fleecing them. It is sucking blood of life out of them. Making them poorer than the church mouse. Perhaps Mr President understands these tax things differently. But the people don’t. They see lavishing living and ostentation in government, amid heavy taxes.

The new sky team thunders across the heavens in expensive choppers, everywhere. Long gone are the times when a minister travelled by road. As they thunder through the skies, fleets of as many as six guzzlers each run ahead. They are taking the minister to a function in his village, hundreds of miles away. Recall, that the minister himself travels to the same destination by chopper. The fleet picks him up from the landing pad, to take him to a village meeting, 100 metres away. People are seeing cash handouts in millions of shillings by the politically correct. They are asking where this money is coming from, if not from their taxes. They are wondering how people so broke eighteen months ago have become billionaires. It is your people saying, Mr President, not me.

They are saying they don’t understand this affordable housing thing. Who is constructing the houses? How was he contracted? What is the cost? Who are the suppliers? Again, who are the suppliers? Who chose them?  Who will get a house? How? There is mistrust in the air, everywhere.

There is mistrust about the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) and other health packages. So how do they migrate from NHIF to SHIF? What happens in between? There is palpable confusion and anger about the proposed determination of how much to pay for housing levy and SHIF. Mr President, people are saying this is your double Achilles heel. It could do you in. As for me, I don’t know.

Even Mama Roselyn here in Emanyulia was your ardent supporter in 2022. She is now saying, “Ah, a! Huyo tawe, khandi.” This is to say, “No! That one, not again.” And there are many other complaints. Doctors’ strike, delayed school capitation, cost of living, NG-CDF crises, non-functional public WI-FI, fake fertilisers, ukabila serikalini. They say in every ten appointments you make, four to six are from your village. I don’t know. Just check the facts. 

Then, the people are saying your government talks too much. It prances around the country and wastes money too much. Yet this government says it is broke. Why not save to pay doctors, et al?  Finally, Mr President, some of your extremely voluble people – voluble, not valuable – are already marked out for retirement in 2027. Remember the matter of Kang’ata wa Barua and President Uhuru? Haiyah!