COMMENT

The Prince is Uhuru's current playbook

Uhuru must have also listened to Machiavelli’s thoughts that “he who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.”

In Summary

• Uhuru has been too good to the Tangatanga brigade, Jubilee's faction allied to Deputy President William Ruto, despite their restlessness, instigation and constant noise.

•  Until it came to his attention that “any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good".

THE CORONATION : President Uhuru Kenyatta when he was endorsed the preferred presidential flagbearer for the Mt. Kenya region
THE CORONATION : President Uhuru Kenyatta when he was endorsed the preferred presidential flagbearer for the Mt. Kenya region
Image: FILE

Appearance is everything in politics. That is how Niccolò Machiavelli ended up with his famous quote thus, “everyone sees what you appear to be, only a few experience what you really are”.

In the current Kenyan political scenario, David Murathe, Jubilee's vice chairman, is among the few who know who Uhuru Kenyatta really is.

The rest of us will only judge the President through appearance. 

The appearance as we now see it is that President Kenyatta is applying Niccolò Machiavelli’s book, The Prince.

A bit of background is necessary here, particularly for starters. Machiavelli wrote the book in 1513, just after he was forced to leave Florence as a political exile.

Dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici, the book is Machiavelli's advice to the then ruler of Florence on how to stay in power.

 

Uhuru has been too good to the Tangatanga brigade, Jubilee's faction allied to Deputy President William Ruto, despite their restlessness, instigation and constant noise.

Until it came to his attention that “any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good.

Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires”.

Then the President, who happens to be a prince just like the title of the book, struck just like Machiavelli advises.

“If an injury has to be done to a man, it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” Everybody in town now knows that rebellion will be punished severely.

Former Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen failed to read the signs and insists on what ought to be done, long after what needs to be done was executed.

He should listen to Machiavelli’s advice to the Prince on such matters.

“How we live is so different from how we ought to live that he who studies what ought to be done rather than what is done will learn the way to his downfall rather than to his preservation.” 

Going to court is ‘what ought to be done,’ replacing the Senate leadership at the whims of the party leader is ‘what needs to be done’ to stay in power.

And here comes in the question for the President, on whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved.

 

The Prince is advised that “it might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.” 

Need I say that the Speaker of the Senate is the latest embodiment of that scare from Prince Uhuru? Further, Uhuru must have also listened to Machiavelli’s thoughts that “he who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.”

Just in case the President is unsure of his moves resulting from the noise that will follow, Machiavelli encourages that, “there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.” 

He also had some ideas for Tangatanga, who have been banking on their numbers against the President. He avers that “he who builds on the people, builds on the mud”. When push will finally come to shove in the Jubilee drama, the numbers will shift allegiance as a mud house moves upon minimal pressure.

Long live The Prince.

 Wambiya is managing partner Milestones  Consulting