The image of President Uhuru Kenyatta by cartoonist Patrick Gathara to illustrate John Githongo’s article ‘Looking forward to 2016’s grassroots rights groups’ in the Star of January 8 is shocking.
Gathara and Githongo’s hatred for Uhuru and all things Jubilee is well-known. But they have sunk to new depths of depravity with this portrayal of the President as a latter-day Frankenstein’s monster getting jumpstarted by Ainabkoi MP Samwel Chepkonga.
The pointless point Gathara is trying to make here is that Uhuru and Chepkonga are monstrous mutilators of the constitution.
the chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.
Gathara and Githongo are entitled to their own opinions however warped they may be, but they are not entitled to hate speech and images at the expense of others’ reputation and good standing in society.
The presidency has lately recovered a number of powers taken away by the new constitution. But this has been perfectly licit and done on the floor of the House in the presence of the opposition and media.
Uhuru did not just wake up one morning in the manner of Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh and arrogate the powers to himself. It is therefore totally unacceptable to harass him and his government over a thoroughly democratic process.
There should be hell to pay for Gathara’s Frankenstein’s monster and other nefarious portrayals of Uhuru in the Star.
Githongo’s endlessly droning criticisms of the Jubilee administration are a pain in the neck.
These two are incapable of saying anything new, interesting or truthful about Uhuru and his administration.
Too many of their images and words about the President border on defamation.
This frequent mangling and mocking of the President’s image is calculated to bring him into disrepute, particularly among younger, more impressionable readers and foreigners.
With operatives like Gathara and Githongo dedicating a great deal of their time to making Uhuru look mad, bad and dangerous, the Jubilee good-news story can be barely heard outside its support base.
Among many other good and positive things, this administration has waged the war on corruption with more vigour and attention to the investigative and due processes than all three previous administrations since Independence put together.
But is this good-news story getting told?
Runaway insecurity is getting slowly but surely fixed. During the festive season Kenya was a much more secure and happier place than, for instance, France and Belgium, where fireworks and street celebrations were banned for fear of Islamic State terrorism. But is this good-news story getting told?
To listen to Gathara and Githongo you could barely believe that Kenya has a competent government in place.
These two (and others) will plead free speech for their appallingly rude and obscene (yes, that’s an obscene image of my President!) manner. But free speech does not mean raining on the other person’s parade all the time. What a breath of fresh air it would be to buy my copy of The Star and to find an article by Githongo genuinely and sincerely praising an aspect or two of President Kenyatta’s leadership and management of the state!