On August 8 Kenyans will troop to polling stations to vote for their preferred candidates to take over the various leadership positions for the next five years. This year’s will be an historic general election. Just like the 2002 general election, Kenyans will be going to the polls with lots of expectations, many will be voting for change.
As usual, during electioneering periods, political temperature rises, with politicians exchanging barbs publicly. It is during this period that propaganda thrives and name-calling becomes politicians’ cup of tea.
However, the events of the past few weeks with regard to the presidency and the President’s response to issues are worrying. President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Jubilee Party leader, has of late been losing his cool and resorting to public outbursts that end up with insults.
In the past few years, Uhuru has been urging politicians from across the political divide to exercise humility and practise sober politics when addressing issues. In fact, he has been quoted on numerous occasions saying, “tueneze siasa za sera na wala siyo siasa za matusi (let’s politick on policies, not trade insults)”. On this, he looked genuine, even though no one has been insulting him. Only facts of concern have been pointed out to him to address.
For instance, in Turkana county, Deputy President William Ruto has always insisted that the county government cannot account for Sh50 billion disbursed by the national government. He has repeated this to the people of Turkana until it has almost seemed true.
But when the President and his deputy visited Lodwar, Governor Josphat Nanok had to put the record straight and shame the devil. He said in front of the duo and the people of Turkana that only Sh33 billion had been received by the county government from the national government and not the Sh50 billion that Ruto talks about every time he visits Turkana.
This seemed to madden the Presidency. They responded in strong terms. The President lost his head and used pejorative language targeting Nanok. The words he used on Nanok were purely unpresidential.
The same lies have been peddled against most opposition governors. In Mombasa, the Jubilee leadership has been claiming that the county government received Sh40 billion from the national government, which it cannot account for.
But when Governor Hassan Joho was prepared to attend a presidential event in his county Monday morning to set the record straight, a battalion of armed GSU officers barricaded his residence and office to bar him from accessing Mtongwe, where the President and his people were.
According to Joho, only Sh19 billion had been disbursed to his government for four years. He was ready to account for every single penny in the presence of the President and Deputy President.
Barring leaders from presidential events is an act of cowardice. The Jubilee regime thrives on lies, propaganda and pettiness and is not ready to listen to the truth. When confronted with the truth, they get angry.
The President has continued to lose his cool. He simply lacks patience, discipline and determination. The President’s actions and words have proven that he hates the truth and that he cannot create a foundation of fairness and openness.
A good leader must always be open to lead by example. Be receptive to new ideas. Be both a teacher and a learner. Value creativity and let people stretch themselves.
Barring people from presidential events is outdated, archaic and barbaric. It is backward and undemocratic.
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