- The Kibaki presidency was a new beginning that never was.
- The paralysis of the Jubilee era of errors needs no gainsaying.
Kenyans were rated the most hopeful people in the world during the first year of the Kibaki presidency. The year 2002 was when the united will of the Kenyan people elected Kibaki to replace Moi.
The Kanu regime had loaded it on Kenyans for 24 years. Runaway corruption, limitations of freedoms, detentions and patronage were routine. The end of the Moi era was expected to be a new beginning. But the Kibaki presidency was a new beginning that never was. The era degenerated into another season of anarchy. Multibillion-shilling scandals, including Anglo-Leasing, matured during this era of hope. Corruption, national exclusion and ethnic antagonism degenerated into violence after the 2007 General Election.
It was under the watch of Kibaki, who came to office through a free, fair and peaceful election, that ethnic slaughter took place following the mangled presidential election. Internally displaced people became his legacy. History is stubborn. It remembers Kibaki for the subverted 2005 constitutional referendum.
Kibaki, the man who was thought to be the best of the worst of his time, soon exposed his claws. Greek philosopher Aristotle was right when he said: “ ...he who bids the law rule may be deemed to bid God and reason alone rule, but he who bids men rule adds the element of the beast, and passion perverts the minds of rulers, even if they are the best of men.” The Kibaki presidency was supposed to be the launchpad of the ‘new beginning’ that was expected at Independence in 1963. It was a false dawn, a false start, one after another, and serial abortive new dispensations.
...he who bids the law rule may be deemed to bid God and reason alone rule, but he who bids men rule adds the element of the beast, and passion perverts the minds of rulers, even if they are the best of men.Aristotle
The 2010 Constitution was expected to herald a new dawn, when the rule of law would replace the rule of men and whim. About a decade later, trending political parlance still rides on the need for constitutional change. Politicians – some reluctantly and others passionately – agree on some changes, but they clash on whether Parliament or the people should shepherd the suggested changes.
During this seventh year of the Uhuru-Ruto co-presidency of the so-called Young Turks, cynics are grappling with a comedy of errors. The youthful leaders have faired worse than the old men before them. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are, by far, much younger than their predecessors, Kibaki and Vice President Moody Awori. The once dynamic duo have created a national paralysis of sorts. Age then has nothing to do with leadership. The President is on record defending the appointment of old people over the youth, whom he says have a high propensity to plunder public funds.
The Jubilee era represented regime change and generational transition in Executive leadership. But the burgeoning national debt, leaking Treasury, sprawling corruption, crony-driven appointments to public office and subverted priorities show relative youthfulness of the presidential duo has not added value to the political economy. Analysts agree the economy was buoyant under Kibaki. The gains have since been reversed. The paralysis of the Jubilee era of errors needs no gainsaying. Yet agents of the status quo crave continuity, under the guise the current co-president is the antidote for the Jubilee fumble and gamble. Really?
Kenyans, though, ever so resilient in the face of provocation, still have hope. Lazy optimists are conjuring ideas that sound like lullabies. There is a proposal to create a department of happiness to curb sadness among Kenyans.
Cynics could add, if it’s about creating offices and expanding bureaucracy, why not establish a department of cleverness to curb stupidity among Kenyans? Or the department of joy to curb sadness? Or the department of meritocracy to curb mediocrity? Or the department of work to curb laziness? Or the department of integrity to curb corruption? Or the department of morality to curb perversive immorality among Kenyans?
We, taxpaying citizens and voters, need to get serious after serial false starts and disappointments. People get the government they deserve. Change should begin with the electorate.