When in 2012 one Mitt Romney, a venture capitalist like Uhuru made a comment, in response to a question about pay equity, on â€˜binders full of womenâ€™ whom he had recruited while at Bain Capital, his conglomerate, he lost that election.
Now, in Kenya, we have one the richest man doubling as the president. Uhuru is a man of means. He his financial empire gives him every reason to celebrate 50 years of independence.
Unlike Uganda, where Museveni recently revealed that he owns huge herds of cattle being stolen by our own local border thieves â€“ I mean the pokots â€“ Kenyans rarely talk about wealth. Even in â€˜who owns Kenyaâ€™, wealth is sanitized in percentages and decimals. The rest of the details are lost on the â€˜juicinessâ€™ of the female presenters who feminize the whole wealth-flaunting process. It often charms to watch that segment of â€˜news bulletinâ€™.
Be that as it may, the milk industry in the country is now firmly under the iron grip of the â€˜first familyâ€™. First family is the compound word for the Kenyatta family. It is this family which produced the first president and the current president, and alongside it, the miseries and, or progress since independence.
The first family is a land family. Again, currently, it is the leading milk family. Brookside Dairy Ltd, the largest milk producing company in Kenya belongs to the first family. Particular, this whole family fiefdom trickles down to one man: Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.
So here is a president whose family owns the largest milk share in the country. He is a president promising jobs; decent jobs where people can raise families yet his private enterprises is sending hundreds of kenyans jobless in a bid to maximise profits. The case of Buzeki Ltd, former owners Molo milk, is tragically confounding.
When Uhuru acquired Buzeki, located in Molo, hundreds of formerly employed people lost their jobs, and with it, slithered in to joblessness to be promised more jobs by the same man who just sacked them.
Job creation in this country is a very complex thing. Jobs are not just economic variables of peopleâ€™s social existence. The manner in which Uhuruâ€™s company acquired a local milk processing company in another region of the country, sent hundreds of employees home, is believed to be planning to close huge operation areas of the company and move the jobs to â€˜another areaâ€™ is a political time bomb that has seen tongues silently wagging.
On the ground, kalenjins are saying how â€˜their jobsâ€™ are being taken away to â€˜the kikuyusâ€™. The â€˜us vis themâ€™ attitude in the Rift Valley, which this whole crap about tyranny of numbers was to cure, is everyday being threatened by such overt discriminatory actions.
The plain truth is; Uhuru is moving these jobs elsewhere. It is like the twisted Tom Mboya logic of the 1960s (African capitalism and its application to Kenya) where fish was to be extracted from Lake Victoria and processed in Thika. People lost jobs in one region, the same jobs were exported to another region. Half a century later, the economic disparity between Thika and Migingo island, or Kisumu, is exists for all to see.
By acquiring Buzeki, which had its major processing stations in the Rift Valley, and employed locals as well as expert labour available in the region and transferring that same labour Ruiru in Kiambu County ( where employment is heavily skewed towards the presidentâ€™s community), the president is only continuing economic tribalism; something the GEMA has always been accused of since independence. Sadly, he has already legally monopolised the milk sector, mta do?
Editorâ€™s note: When the president visited western Kenya recently, reports emerged that he urged the region to â€˜forget about sureâ€™ and invest on â€˜milkâ€™. How true were these reports?