Is the President REALLY being Misadvised?
By Solomon Baraka Sudi
It was the former US President Harry S Truman who had before his desk the sign ‘The Buck Stops Here’.
Truman made tough decisions- the dropping of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the sacking of the powerful and wildly popular army general and World War Two hero Douglas McArthur among many others.
More importantly he owned these decisions regardless of the controversy they generated; he defended them before the public and history, and took full responsibility for their consequences. That is what the highest office within the gift of any people entails. That is what is expected of a president.
It is therefore sickening when we have to hear almost on a weekly basis our president shirking responsibility and failing to own his decisions in the name of being ‘misadvised’.
Even more sickening is when the mainstream media makes the whole public swallow this lie hook, line and sinker and put the advisors on the cross instead of the president himself. As a result the president has remained insulated from any criticism despite him being the problem.
No one denies that the president has to be advised. The decisions he has to make cover a wide range of areas that he cannot possibly be in the know of all their ins and outs. Worth remembering however is the fact that the advice he receives is oftentimes contradictory even if the people offering it are experts. At the end of the day it is left to the president to use his judgement and make a decision that is in his understanding in the best interest of the nation.
Advice cannot therefore be equated to decision. There are a whole lot of people who give advice but there is only one person elected by Kenyans to make decisions- the president. If the president therefore continuously fails to own and defend his decisions then that becomes a disaster in the making.
It is now in public domain for example that the bungling of the Westgate rescue operation began when the military stepped on the scene unannounced and dishonorably took over the operation from the Recce Squad that had thus far given a good account of themselves. But what many Kenyans rarely ask is who authorized the army? It cannot be the so called advisors; it is the president.
The whole responsibility of the Westgate misadventure therefore lies at the doorstep of the president but no one dares say so because the poor Ole Lenkus of this world and a bunch of other helpless ‘advisors’ have already taken the president’s bullet.
Another instance is the recent appointments debacle. How convenient it is that the president was ‘misadvised’ to appoint his friends!
Two thousand years ago Emperor Caligula appointed his horse Consul of Rome. History has never stopped laughing at him. To his credit the Son of Jommo has yet and most likely will not appoint a horse to any position but his line of thinking is as close to Caligula’s as the word itself.
Whoever is close to you, even if it is a dog, is fit for the job. If it backfires and the sword of public opinion is hung on your neck just say ‘It Wasn’t Me’ and everything will be alright.
Such shirking of responsibility for a man whose decisions affect millions of people poses a grave danger to our country. How does it feel when you are in an airplane or bus and the pilot or driver is unsure of what he is doing? The president has to inspire confidence among the people and at the moment that is not happening.
Sometimes I am left wondering whether Uhuru was really prepared to govern. I believe it is to our lasting shame and a testament to our broken political system that a man who for half a century had distinguished himself in nothing but worthwhile ascended to the highest office in the land. Our tribal politics might have forced history to bend so low and recognize this man but in due course it shall put him where it has dumped all its mediocrities- in its dust bin.
Right at the beginning of his presidency, Uhuru inaugurated a chain of blame games that has kept on growing as his incompetence has become more apparent. At the end of his presidency it might be as long as the equator. If the western countries were not frustrating his administration, it was Raila preventing him from achieving his goals. Now it is no longer Raila, it is his advisors.
In this whole narrative one person is conveniently missing- Uhuru Kenyatta. He was elected to govern, not to manufacture blame after blame. This habit of constantly buying insurance against failure must therefore come to a stop.