FEAR STALKING

Our leaders should be afraid, very afraid

Large number of unemployed youth and a population without basic needs is a time bomb.

In Summary

• Thousands, if not millions, more are fading away in trading centres, estates, slums and village homes.

• I suggest that the presidency looks itself in the eye, takes a grip at the steering wheel and does what it promised Kenyans during the campaigns.

People's power
People's power
Image: Star illustrated

The presidency is at loggerheads, the Cabinet is in shambles, the Legislature is reeling in the pigsty and part of the Judiciary is on the take.

Though the Deputy President keeps hammering on the mirage that the President and he are still an item, it’s out for us to see that they are no longer the let’s-go-to-work, red-tie, white-shirt rolling duo.

Far from it; these days, the two rarely maintain eye contact. And the President would not come out to say he and his hitherto ‘Brother’ William are still a twosome. If anything he displays contempt and anger against those, especially from his region, who associate with his deputy.

Barely months after they awarded themselves a hefty house allowance that is now the subject of a court case, our insatiable members of Parliament are at it again. They want their salaries doubled and more outrageous allowances added to their monthly take-home packages.

And some have the audacity to claim that they are asking for more allowances to help Kenyans pay school fees, hospital bills and bury their dead. Why then don’t they just ask for ‘misery’ allowance? The monthly house allowance the ‘honourable’ members paid themselves can comfortably if not optimally employ five graduates.

In the other arm of government, corruption suspects never seem to graduate from courtrooms to Kamiti and going by media reports coming from our jails, many Kenyans are languishing in jail because a judge or magistrate did not perform due diligence or money changed hands in the course of their trials.

Simultaneously, a young man outside the Archives building in Nairobi is daily holding a placard aloft and loudly urging Kenyans to wake up and revolt against the plunder of our economy. Who knows how many of the graduates serving as poorly paid waiters in our towns and hawkers along the country’s highways have the same thoughts as the young man outside the Archives.

Before the divide within Jubilee, we would hear the President swear in public that he would not assent to a law meant to satisfy the greed of MPs, but now the divided presidency is not able to control its troops. For obvious reasons, no side wants to lose favour with its group of legislators. It has now taken the ‘former’ leader of the official opposition Raila Odinga to admonish the MPs against their greed. Who is laughing now?

As all this goes on, young graduates (not from Utalii College) in their thousands are serving as waiters in small restaurants in the city and other towns in the country. Many more are hawking bottled water, biscuits, yoghurt and third-generation energy drinks along Thika Superhighway, at the weighbridge in Gilgil and any other spot they can find space on along our roads. Thousands, if not millions, more are fading away in trading centres, estates, slums and village homes.

Simultaneously, a young man outside the Archives building in Nairobi is daily holding a placard aloft and loudly urging Kenyans to wake up and revolt against the plunder of our economy. Who knows how many of the graduates serving as poorly paid waiters in our towns and hawkers along the country’s highways have the same thoughts as the young man outside the Archives.

Such a large number of unemployed young people and a population going without basic needs is a time bomb; one that should scare our leadership, the rich and the middle class to the bone.

I suggest that the presidency looks itself in the eye, takes a grip of the steering wheel and does what it promised Kenyans during the campaigns. Let it forget its individual interests and even a legacy that will define an individual, but instead work towards giving the youth jobs and enabling other Kenyans to put food on the table. Kenyans are not asking for cake; they cannot afford ugali.

 

Let the Cabinet come together and work in the spirit of collective responsibility to serve all Kenyans equally and with equity. Let’s stop hearing of sections of the Cabinet meeting to strategise on modalities to develop areas they come from. Let us go back to the days of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi when the Cabinet worked as one and ministers were a respected lot working for the national good.

The legislators, who spew verbal diarrhoea about youth and women empowerment every weekend, should stop puking on our boots after overfeeding from our sweat. Those in the Judiciary should act like Caesar’s wife, stop taking kitu kidogo and halt corruption in its tracks.

Only then, will the man outside the Archives put down his placard and stop screaming himself hoarse. Only then will the graduates along Thika, Nakuru and the Mombasa highways get gainful employment, whether self or otherwise, and only then shall fear stop stalking.