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VAS

We must reject unity of steakholders

TRAVEL
By | September 1st 2011

By Okech Kendo

The unity of them steakholders stands out in sharp contrast to the divided loyalties of us stakeholders.

Those who carry the steak, even as the masses make do with bare bones, are acutely conscious of their interests. They will go to any lengths to defend their vested interests.

Public perception of the power elite as greedy, and the rage of the civil society, cannot restrain their avaricious appetite and penchant for conspiracies.

They are wolfish. Wolves will wear sheepskin to con their way into the chicken coop. When they do the damage is guaranteed. That is what unity of the conspiring power elite is doing to your country.

By raiding the Contingency Fund, which meant for national emergencies like famine, drought and earthquakes, to ease their tax burden, MPs have hit the poor where it hurts most. Yet the poor have not found the raid sufficient reason to unite against the greed of this powerful minority.

Tax arrears

With the raid sealed, MPs are now happy enough to allow the Government to draw from the Consolidated Fund to support the 2011-2012 Budget.

This is the power of blackmail MPs have perfected to get the country running on their terms.

The same class of citizens, who are united to achieve self-interest, will not accept the constitutional fact the next General Election shall be held on the second Tuesday of August of the fifth year of Parliament. August elections mean Parliament must be dissolved months before the polls.

When the House is dissolved, MPs immediately lose their positions and related perks. In this case, for about six months.

Many Members of Parliament, therefore, prefer a December 2012 date, or January 2013, even though the ‘fifth year’ does not suggest the end of the fifth year.

Having been accustomed to a December election, MPs are united to push forward the date to give them more time to earn more to meet their ‘personal obligations’.

It is always about their self-interest; and they are always ganging up to ensure their interests override the public good.

Since the Tenth Parliament is a product of the old Constitution, MPs do not want the new Constitution to take away their guarantees under the old older. They are united to milk the old order.

Once this power elite gains one more victory against the electorate, they rush to members-only clubs to plot the next frontier to advance their self-interest.

Members gather on those exclusive golf clubs not just to fraternise, but also to conspire and plot how they can continue to protect their interests.

See how Members of Parliament have conspired to find money to clear their tax arrears and to cushion themselves against a constitutional obligation?

You shall pay tax for them because they know how to manipulate their offices for self-gain.

They have stolen from teachers to feed themselves. They are united in deceit, just as the poor masses are divided by suspicions, which the same politicians have planted. They divide to rule.

The other week the Cabinet found money to write off tax arrears for ministers. A letter to Permanent Secretaries from the Office of the President did it just like that. With the stroke of the pen!

When the Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Muthaura, wrote to PSs to complete the plot, he was executing the scheme of steak holders.

Like-minded gangs

Sadly, wananchi – you and I, the real owners of the country – are fast to pick up wars intended to divide the citizenry to allow exploitation and impunity to thrive.

At no time in recent days was the unity of the power and economic elite clearer than in the National Assembly last week, where a critical mass plays lip service to the public good.

The House rage against the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission in general and its director Patrick Lumumba in particular, show the more things change the more they remain the same.

It is the resilience of status quo, with like-minded gangs on sentry to protect private capital, amassed at the public’s expense; your expense.

Perhaps the man, who replaced Justice Aaron Ringera at Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission just a year ago, was so blunt he antagonised vested interests.

Lumumba forgot you do not show the bull the knife every time you want to slaughter one. It was not surprising the Martin Luther-quoting law scholar has had to confront many raging, randy bulls that turned the knife on him.

It was clearly a case of impunity fighting back, or corruption reclaiming its place in the corridors of greed.

Stinking operation

But the outgoing director of the outgoing KACC gave the impudent a perfect excuse to gang up. The little matter of Cecily Mbarire and Denis Apaa turned a sting operation into a stinking operation.

The relationship between the hunter and the hunted became blurred.

As early as December a year ago, word among MPs was that Lumumba was dangling the butcher’s knife in the face of the victims. It was a matter of time before the steak holders hit back.

The constitution of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to replace KACC gave the MPs a perfect chance to eject the butcher they have always regarded as a sadist. One hopes there shall be another butcher low on sadism, and rich on discretion.

—Writer is The Standard’s Managing Editor Quality and Production.

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