By Shem Mukalo and Dikembe Disembe
President Uhuru Kenyatta jetted back into the country aboard a Kenya Airways flight from Schipol Airport effectively ending his Deputy’s fairy tale with the presidency.
For all its hyping, propaganda and media obsession,Kenyatta’s homecoming was deficient of the oomph and color that characterized CORD leader and father of modern democracy in Kenya, Raila Odinga’s homecoming sometime this year.
By any comparison,Odinga’s homecoming dwarfed that of Kenyatta by far, rendering the former the master of politics that can capture the national mood.
Even with powerful state machinery that wasted the over 6 man hours – President Uhuru wasted the country’s working hours by deciding, with lots of impunity, to use the single route that poor Nairobi working class, and the tarmacking class, trek daily on, in search of the elusive job.
From JKIA to Harambee House thousands thronged the busy route to ‘glimpse’ at the President, an unknown man in the streets of Nairobi. Save for television images and newspaper photos of Uhuru Kenyatta, the man, an embodiment of the political and financial creme de la creme of the country, is a total stranger to daily working people.
Those with no option at their work places work up by 4am, with many arriving at work minutes to noon.
Not everyone was amused, even as all got overwhelmed with the excesses of state power, from police to military to media, that completely scripted Uhuru’s return as some triumphant breakthrough for the nation.
“Uhuru Kenyatta came back to the country to a rapturous welcome. Deservedly or not, that is politics of your heart and discernment. Call it PR, call it politics, call it whatever, but one thing has and might never be solved… The case itself. Whether you feel Uhuruto are innocent or not, that is your debate. My thought is, the further we sweep 2007 under the carpet and say ‘Kenyans have Moved on’ the more pain we cause ourselves. I celebrate the Presidency, since it is a sign of National Unity. But I pray for whoever it was that lost an arm, a leg, a loved one or their own life. I still feel bitter for someone who hurt me three years ago, and I imagine whoever was a victim from wherever may have a more grieving script. Unless we heal that and forget that politicians are a passing wind, then we are digging a certain grave for our children in the future. Remember, 2007 was a culmination of many years worth of agony. Call it names, but PR will not solve the underlying issue. They may be just thousands of victims to the millions who have ‘moved on’. But it is the same thousands who will give birth to the future’s millions. Let us not only play the gimmick we like playing, but pray and do something positive too for these crop of forgotten few. They have a log in their hearts, the only people who can move those logs, is ourselves,” observed a passive onlooker.
For all its drama, Uhuru’s return remains a paid for entertainment break for a country lost in its own internal contradictions, and, global failures.
His empty call for an end to tribalism (ujaluo, ukikuyu, ukalenjin) has been met by chuckles, if deafening laughter, Â as national statistics reveal his government is an exclusive Â hegemony of his own Kikuyu community, assisted technically by members of his Deputy’s Kalenjin community. For all his pious call to end tribalism, President Uhuru has consistently refused to make known all public appointments under his regime, for the monster – tribalism – is hidden in the high figures. In short, without concrete action, President Kenyatta lacks the moral authority to pitch against tribalism.
Egregiously, while at the ICC, where he endured three hours of pensive listening, the victims lawyer effusively opposed termination of his case, quoting the wanton neglect of victims of 2007-08 post election violence. Â Uhuru and Ruto have run a government whose magnanimity begins with kikuyus, and Mt. Kenya, and ends with kalenjins, regardless of the situations of the other 40. While their candidacy promised to unite the country, and went ahead to unite their two communities, their presidency has been the most discriminatory in so short a time that it dwarfs any other current regime under the sun, save for Syria under the ruthless monster called Bashar Assad!
The big question is whether President Uhuru realizes the need to unite the country with deeds, not empty rhetoric scripted, allegedly, by a British PR company, BTP Advisers. Propaganda is good for ‘politics of the moment’ but disastrous for nations. History is replete with leaders, elites and government regimes which tried it, and, lost their nations in it.
In our view, Uhuru’s return should not be tweeted away in utter mindlessness. Let us discuss it and, beyond the roadshows and pettiness of photoshopped images, come to a public judgement that the country should move on with substantive attempt at reconciliation, development, respect for political pluralism and love for honesty.