Idle Chatter Won’t Deter Me
This Constitution has become annoyingly inconvenient! All my decisions are being questioned, queried and contested: recently, for instance, I announced forty seven new County Commissioners and people reacted as though I had shot someone. Yet, am I not the chief executive officer of Kenya Inc.? If a CEO cannot appoint his own staff, how then is he supposed to perform in accordance with the targets set by Vision 2030?
And what is all this noisy bedlam about the Gikuyu and our cousins the Meru and Embu being favored by my government? I do not really get it. Remember the good old days when brave and gallant Old Jomo was the CEO? Do you recall what he said in June 1971 when some, instead of getting busy in nation-building and growing the economy, were instead busy gossiping and murmuring about how privileged the Kikuyu were under his government?
Some want to tell us that Kenya belongs to all the people. Granted, I know that much. But I have a question to ask: when we were shedding blood, some languished in prison and some suffering in the forests, fighting for uhuru, where were the bloody others....If you want honey, bear the sting of the bee…
Was the economy of Kenya not growing impressively and exponentially under brave and gallant Old Jomo even though by November 1971 ministers hailing from the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru communities occupied nine out of the twenty-two or forty-one per cent of cabinet positions? Was the economy choking because eleven of twenty five or forty-four per cent of permanent secretaries were Kikuyu or because nearly half of the two hundred and twenty two African highest earners in the civil service at the time were Kikuyu? Did Kenya economically backslide or regress because four of the eight or fifty per cent of provincial commissioners at the time were Kikuyu?
This inane commentary is what we must condemn as siasa mbaya (bad politics). This was the reason we opposed Old Jomo’s successor Moi. This fellow promised to fuata nyayo (follow the footsteps) of Old Jomo and all we saw was such economic decline that by the time I took over from him, we were registering an economy that was in double-reverse gear.
And it is not that I am bitter with this nyayo fellow because he demoted me after a decade of faithful and diligent service as his vice-president. Even the World Bank reported in August 2007: “After two decades of stagnation and decline, the Kenyan economy has shown consistent growth in the last few years.” Poverty declined by six per cent in the decade following 1997.
Who was in charge for five of those ten years when the economy began to resurrect like Biblical Lazarus? This is why I said in 2007 as I sought Wanjiku’s votes, “Kazi iendelee” (The Work Goes On). But these pumbavu’s (cretins) are immune to simple economic fundamentals. Instead of applauding this monumental development, they are again busy backbiting that Kenya is ran by the “Mount Kenya mafia”. Yet there is no mafia in or from Mount Kenya: people there are too busy farming and building the economy to be trying to engage in activities such as racketing, gambling, drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime.
All one hears from loudmouths is not about the fabulous infrastructure we have constructed or the radical electrification that has been undertaken in rural Kenya; it is about the favoritism of Kikuyus in the public service. And did not the National Cohesion and Integration Commission point out that the Office of the Prime Minister, for instance, had a majority staffing from the Luo community with 21.87 per cent?
So why is no one shouting and banging tables about this? This is the problem with Kenya: people elect to see what they want and because they cannot attack our sterling economic performance, they seek to divide us on issues that really have no bearing on how progressive we have been. Things have become so bad that some misguided busybodies are asking to secede.
It is in times like this that I really wish brave and gallant Old Jomo was around. He would have none of this. He would really give it to them. Did he not teach the Somalis in North Eastern Province a dear lesson when they unilaterally decided they wanted to secede from Kenya?
He definitely gave them what they had coming. Maybe, I should borrow a leaf and also do the same to those who want to secede. I know not everyone would be happy: I am sure that, for one, those who call themselves human rights activists would condemn us. This is how one of them described Old Jomo’s actions:
Somali leaders were routinely placed in preventive detention, where they remained well into the late 1970s. The North Eastern Province was closed to general access (along with other parts of Kenya) as a "scheduled" area (ostensibly closed to all outsiders, including members of parliament, as a means of protecting the nomadic inhabitants), and news from it was very difficult to obtain.
But this, like the war against terrorism, is first and foremost about national security. And I am not about to begin compromising on it like some spineless, rudderless and opportunistic leaders have been recently doing. On this one even the constitution is on my side: at Article 5 it states “Kenya consists of the territory and territorial waters comprising Kenya on the effective date…” If Coast Province was not a part of Kenya on August 27 2010, only then perhaps can we begin to talk to anyone who wants to secede.
Emilio, June 2 2012
Mugambi Kiai is the Kenya Program Manager at the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA). The views expressed in this article are entirely his own and do not reflect the views of OSIEA.