President Uhuru Kenyatta's latest announcement regarding the fight against corruption is yet another act in what has become a bi-annual Kabuki Dance on the issue.
Shortly after the president's November 2015 announcement, Mr. Muriithi, a writer for the Daily Nation penned a piece whose title claimed (that) "Kenyans in Diaspora Welcome(d) President Uhuru Kenyatta's Renewed War on Graft". In the article, approximately ten (10) people, presumably Kenyans in the diaspora, took to social media to express their sentiments re: the president's latest pronouncement on corruption.
The British High Commissioner to Kenya was also one of those who "welcomed" the former colony's efforts on the kleptocracy that has only gotten worse since the Union Jack was lowered and the sun set on Britain's reign over Kenya. Said Commissioner Christian Turner:
"...the bold move by President Kenyatta was exactly what the country needed to make the next strides in development."
For the record, the ten people cited by Mr. Muriithi were evenly split between those who "welcomed" the president's latest efforts against corruption and those like me who were less than sanguine. That being the case, a more accurate heading would have acknowledged the split and since the writer cited me in his article, I feel compelled to respond.
Almost two years ago in February 2014, President Kenyatta launched a crackdown against corrupt officials -- some working inside HIS own Office of the President (OP). A year after that, I wrote the piece "Presidential Displeasure at the Pace of Kenya's War on Graft, for the Umpteenth Time" where I pointed out that Mr. Kenyatta had set an "unsavory" tone and precedent by making repeated pronouncements about his "displeasure" with the level of (and pace of the fight against) corruption in Kenya even though he appeared to be doing very little to deal with either. The president's impotence on corruption was underscored by his acknowledgement that graft was being perpetrated by members of his staff!
In August 2014 I wrote another piece titled "Another Round of Missing Billions and the Deafening Silence of WaKenya Halisi"; also on corruption in Kenyatta's government. The piece was prompted by yet another obscene amount of money -- KShs.8.3billion -- that was "suspiciously transferred into and out of the government's secret security accounts".
Early this year in March, President Kenyatta again made another passionate and articulate speech about graft, again in his administration! Standing before Members of Parliament (MPs) and reading from the "List of Shame", the president asked members of his cabinet implicated in graft to step aside until they cleared their names: Given the obfuscation Kenya's presidents are notorious for, especially on matters of official corruption, I won't even deign to offer how many on the list have been prosecuted, let alone convicted.
Anne Waiguru, the erstwhile Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Devolution and Planning came to symbolize the sleaze and impunity of persons close to President Uhuru Kenyatta. The president lost all credibility on the fight against corruption when he inexplicably dithered, equivocated and stood by Ms. Waiguru even after it became apparent to all save partisans and sycophants that she was responsible for the cesspool of corruption that was the department she headed, her claims of being the "whistleblower" notwithstanding.
Now we have Mr. Kenyatta asking Pope Francis to "pray" for him as "he leads the nation in the war on the corruption plague..." The president asked for papal intercession shortly after he had refused to intercede as the scandal over another round of missing millions (KShs. 791million) -- this time from the National Youth Service (NYS) coffers -- thundered on.
Talk about lousy timing if not outright chutzpah!
Given the examples documented above AND the fact that both the president AND his deputy William Ruto have been implicated in high crimes and misdemeanor of their own, I cannot fathom how Kenyans can "welcome" the "efforts" of a president who according to Caroline Mutoko has demonstrated inconsistency, bias and indecisiveness in his stewardship of the country -- including fighting corruption.
The claim that the president's critics "offer no solutions" was given some credibility by US President Barack Obama when he praised President Kenyatta's efforts on corruption while accusing the opposition of "doublespeak". Kenyans then latched on to Ms. Mutoko's self-serving, inconsistent and confusing "UK-is-the-devil-you-know" argument: That Raila Odinga is not a viable alternative to Mr. Kenyatta because he -- RAO -- "churns" the stomach of Kenyans -- whatever that means.
The recent presidential appointee to Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC) wrote that Kenyatta's nemesis does not have the answers to what ails Kenya because he is "unfocused...dazzled by his own voice and words...and better suited as a member of the opposition". "Caro" then offers the rather curious assessment of Mr. Kenyatta: That he is "indecisive, paralyzed and uninspiring..." Supporting Ms. Mutoko's assessment of UK is none other than Mutahi Ngunyi who characterized the president as a "political greenhorn...surrounded by people driven by self-interest.".
This is the link to my rebuttal of the rather interesting if not downright awkward argument offered by Ms. Mutoko. God knows how many times the Opposition has asked for a dialogue with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
If the many prayer rallies the president has attended have not ridded Kenya of corruption, I doubt that the Pope's once-in-a-lifetime prayer request will do so. On the other hand, unwavering political will AND a critical mass of public support may just do the trick.
Using language only he can muster, Pope Francis asked Kenyans "not to develop a taste for 'that sugar that is corruption' even if people around them engage in the vice."
On tribalism, the Pope cautioned Kenyans that their favorite pastime "can destroy (the country), it can mean having your hands hidden behind your back. It can only be curbed with your ear and your heart."
Kenya's presidential elections are just round the corner.
Will Kenyans heed their "ears and hearts" and reject leaders who have developed a ".....taste for the sweetness that is corruption" or will they return their "sons" and "daughters" -- those with the sweet tooth of corruption -- back to power so that they may continue to award "themselves (and their people) the playgrounds of the children's schools"?