By Dikembe Disembe
Irungu Thaitah introduces his book, Hard Tackle: The Life of Uhuru Kenyatta with an initial rider, ‘I do confirm this is what happened’.
Essentially, Thiatah lays claim to all the allegations, suppositions,rumours, half truths, innuendoes and outright lies he makes in his book as, though not entirely, ‘what happened’. An Al Jazeera correspondent, blurbing in, advertises it as ‘an explosive African drama, viewed from the front row’.
I would forgive the grammar, even appreciate it, as used in this book. If anything, Irungu calls for acceptance of such ‘errors’ as wholly his. Yet, in ‘Pain of reading Uhuru Kenyatta’s biography‘ [Friday, January 30, 2015], Dr. Nyairo glosses over the ‘real pain’ the book presents to its readers, which is, ‘a lie repeated’.
It is easy to understand why. Nyairo makes the mistake of comparing Hard Tackle with other literary works in the genre of biographies. This oddity, in my view, completely misleads daktari away from the real pain I have endured reading this book.
At this point, I must reveal I am not an admirer of President Uhuru, right from his time as Minister of Finance, as I believe he is a ‘cold and soulless’ politician, ready to sanction the suffering of the poorest and most helpless, if such an exercise would propel him one step ahead, in his journey to the top.
But (sic) I am also a lover of literary works – I like reading – and I do so simply to have the feel of things around me, toÂ be in the company of writers.
Ever since Uhuru Kenyatta’s ascension to the presidency, in the manner in which he ascended, known to both the birds of the air and the fishes in deep seas, the pastime preoccupation of a select group of Kenya’s ethnic elites in the academia, the judicio-legal profession, military, media and Â and even clergy has been to legitimise the Uhuru Kenyatta in public consciousness.
Whether it is the lowly regime blogger on social media spaces peddling Uhuru’s ‘humility’, or the ‘regimeÂ professor’ on Daily Nation column penning a reactionary analysis on Uhuru’s ‘win’ in 2013 and bulldozing others to ‘accept and move on’, or the magistrate in Nairobi and Kiambu too quick in jailing an anti-Uhuru citizen in a kangaroo style court proceedings, or the scary threats on the lives of those who do not support Uhuru and his regime, with a branding as ‘criminal activists’, or the diplomat at UN or AU, the race to legitimise Uhuru in the minds of Kenyans is a fierce one.
It is in this race, with the simple-mindedness of its executioners, that we find ourselves with Irungu’s book, Hard Tackle.
The strategy of all these people is simple: make Uhuru some small god, his jubilee government a ‘gift from heaven’, and, forever, make those who oppose him, or the policies of his government, the devil incarnate. That’s why Irungu has no qualms referring to Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor as a ‘170Kg. . . lesbian’.
When you finish reading Hard Tackle, all your sensibilities have been ductiled into accepting that Uhuru Kenyatta is unstoppable and Â infallible, yet, it is the creation of political leaders to whom writers confer such egotistical sense of immortality that lead to collective massacres of peoples, when such assumptions are stringently challenged, through democratically sanctioned processes, like general elections.
This book presents a flawed social historical analysis of modern Kenya – its politics, its economics, its social tensions, its cultural ‘wars’ – to a point where no other person or groups of persons who ever opposed Uhuru during his rise to the top, and continue to do so even now, have any contribution worth mentioning and that true ‘heroes’ of the country are those lined the roads, or offered their shoulders, to the son of Jomo, who lived the life of an average poor youth in spite of the opulence of the first founding family.
In Irungu’s book, even where common sense is empirical and evidence can speak for itself, every event has to be laced in conspiracy and propaganda. Hard Tackle is the height of Â what Historian Raphael Samuels refers to asÂ ‘Resurrectionism’ â€“ rescuing the past from the ‘enormous condescension’ of posterity. It attempts to reconstitute the vanished components of a Kenya ‘we have lost’
Throughout Irungu’s book, conspiracy thinking is the soft matter of Uhuru’s political maneuvers, which, sadly, now forms the cornerstone of Uhuru’s Jubilee Alliance regime. It chronicles everyday things as sensational events, and showers privileged elites – especially Kenyatta himself – as ordinary people. He even attempts to moralise the wealth of the Kenyattas as proceeds of ‘hard work’, which Nyairo poignantly captures; Irungu makes no ‘moral judgement on corruption’.
While the book is authored one year after Uhuru took over power, the same period journalist Jonathan Alter penned his incisive and prank-free The Promise: President Obama, One Year, Â it says nothing of that one year, ending its sojourns precariously in rhetorical questions which a year in power has given us all the answers to.
Irungu wilfully refuses to indulge in capturing Uhuru as President, a year in his reign, for the exact reasons he keeps repeating the obvious lie in book: Uhuru the divine one.
He concludes in despair, in fact, worry, like many who bought the garbage that was clothed as a ‘digital breakthrough’ in 2013 elections. He ponders:
Will grow a better economy like Mwai Kibaki in a decade of unprecedented prosperity? My answer: No! He won’t! He’s auctioned the decade to Chinese.
Will he stand for the Kenyan downtrodden like Raila Odinga has done in almost two decades, Irungu asks, and my answer: He sent police officers to teargas those Langata school children whose playground was grabbed by factotums in his government. To the downtrodden, no, he won’t stand with you.
Will he be a bulldozer like Paul Kagame of Rwanda or Yoweri Museveni of Uganda? Irungu asks, and I answer: Those are his friends!
So rather than Nyairo gloss over grammatical misgivings in ‘dodgy punctuation, a carelessly thrown preposition and misplaced pronouns’, the real pain is to ‘what end’ Irungu’s book leaves us. Hard Tackle is lost chapter in the biggest story of our time.
– – – – – – – – –
I read somewhere the author claim by raking in millions in his book, his story has been proven right? I doubt, I think he is making millions because he is cheating his readers. The book is cheap, so are the perspectives in it. Sad.
Dikembe Disembe is a blogger.