- They started to politicise the pandemic, growing angrier as its handling improved as well as overall national preparedness.
- So they hatched a plan. Drag the President’s relatives into the Kemsa procurement scandal and force a sham trial.
When the people happily welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, one group watched from afar aghast. Prior to Jesus’ arrival tax collectors were robbing the poor blind and money changers lined the temple corridors.
When Jesus arrived He converted tax collectors into generous souls who not only stopped stealing but returned what they had stolen, and flipped the money changers’ tables. The corrupt hated him; the Pharisees loathed him. He was a threat to their power.
Like Kenya, the Pharisees used religion as a political tool. They wielded influence over the temple because of their connections to the state; the same state whose officials imposed taxes and then stole them. As they saw it, the only cure was to eliminate Jesus. So they began to plot, with one main challenge: How to turn the crowds against Jesus and make his lynching legal?
Enter Judas. He was not asked to prove his case. The Pharisees would do that: They came up with false accusations against Jesus. They incited the public to demand the release of rebel Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus.
If you’ve been living in Kenya since the beginning of this year, then you will undoubtedly find this story eerily comparable to one of our own. Not long ago, the public was excited about the entry of Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe into the scene.
With his stellar performance record, a background untainted by graft, and a humorous, personable approach to accountability, Kagwe inspired us. For a moment, we were enamoured of him because unlike many, he found the need to report to the public he serves, delivering harsh truths with humour and a sense of hope we all needed—but lacked.
He glued us together as we chuckled over a ‘new’ language with words such as “gerrit, abnomary and rirry(?)”. Our children learnt the value of handwashing, and our youth sang songs about national cohesion and love—our need to mask for each other’s sake.
But then Kagwe “crossed the line”. He decided to fight corruption, the greatest impediment to the provision of quality healthcare. He forgot what had happened to his predecessors, individuals who entered the ministry with good intentions but who, upon reading the tea leaves, quickly faded into the office furniture the thieves sat on.
Perhaps if he had reflected on this, he may have gone slow on his immediate redeployment of scores of suspected corrupt staff, which included the entire procurement and finance departments. He may have thought twice about instigating queries on Kemsa, the ministry’s purported ‘Corruption Central’ where the Pharisees felt attacked.
Kagwe has disrupted the flow of cash to some very important pockets and it is thus no surprise that the Pharisees deemed his time was up. They started to politicise the pandemic, growing angrier as its handling improved as well as overall national preparedness.
So they hatched a plan. Drag the President’s relatives into the Kemsa procurement scandal and force a sham trial. The grand scheme to undermine the President’s commitment against graft and use Kagwe as a pawn was effected and within no time, there were calls for the CS’s resignation.
We’re at risk of replicating the Temple of Thieves by vilifying a man who has courageously fought for our sick.