By Dikembe Disembe
The world is aware, so is Kenya, that Uhuru Kenyatta is the president of the Republic of Kenya. Part of the world is comfortable with his presidency, another part, at least from public statements from their leaders, is uncomfortable.
In Kenya, Uhuru’s presidency is as controversial as it is in the world. He has his backyards; especially in his ethnic central kenya and his deputy’s Rift Valley. He is widely liked, even revered, in these two regions.
There is also another part of the country that took time to accept (that he rigged himself in) and move on (with him both as president and as an ICC suspect who is a president). Let’s be clear, not everyone in this country like the presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta. Whether he secures trillions in ChineseÂ Renminbi to Nairobi or not; whether he distributes a million title deeds to selected squatters in Coastal Kenya or not; there are going to be patches of Kenya that will not bow and ululate because Uhuru Kenyatta is the Republic’s president.
The question is: what will he do with such people? Citizens born of a generation that booed and heckled and pelted his father with rotten eggs? Citizens raised up in the tyranny of Moi and political chicanery of Mwai Kibaki? Citizens not used to political dilly dallying and pussyfooting? What will Uhuru do ‘on’ such Kenyans?
Since his election, two contrasting messages have been coming out of the presidency. Both covert and verbal. On one hand is a pretentious president talking about ‘wakati wa siasa umepita sasa tujenge nchi’, on the other is a Jubilee government president always angry and bitter with his arch political rival Raila Odinga and the CORD coalition.
When Uhuru is addressing a ‘jubilee only’ audience, like those he yesterday addressed in Eldoret, it leaves you, a CORD affiliated citizen, wondering whether he is your president or the party leader of the coalition in government.
Uhuru, when cheered by a crowd of some tens of hundreds of roadside supporters, often forgets that he is the President of the Republic of Kenya, a position he chanced upon through a nexus of systemic and institutional failures of core bodies which ought to have delivered him a clear mandate to lead without suffering these new bouts of political schizophrenia.
Kenya is a pluralistic society. For a president who claims to have ‘won’ a free election to constantly and violently attack his opponent, whom, more often than not is denied the chance to reply,or chooses not to, only Â widens both the historical divides, and the current anxiety being caused by his increasingly isolated government.
Kenya has two distinct facts. The country as a state can be subjected to Uhuru’s fiefdom. He owns the machinery that monopolises violence – the security organs. But Kenya as a nation can never be tamed.
Uhuru continues his local tours with Raila Odinga, his former political opponent, as the pet subject. Yesterday, he was in Eldoret, and in front of a national audience; scathingly attacked a fundamental democratic right of a man whose statesmanship, just a few months ago, ‘gave’ his government the ‘mandate to lead’ a ‘united country’.
Raila Odinga has every right to ask of his country certain political bargains. Whether a referendum on how the country’s national resources are to be shared or a parliamentary push to amend the VAT bill, or any other political question; Odinga embodies the wishes of a minority which Uhuru’s tyranny of numbers may not represent.
Political dissent is a 21st century enginuity.
Founders of democracy as the safest rule of man, while coining the term ‘majority way’ as the best expression of a government, also allowed ‘minority say’ to thrive. In 2002, after roundly being rejected by Kenyans, Uhuru was tasked with leading a minority. Did Raila, then a popular majority leader, ever vilify his role? And while he metamorphosed into the government, leaving his ‘minority leader’ role in shambles, a move which shocked the world, a few voices still remained to ensure the country’s democracy was not stifled in official one voice – tyranny of the majority.
Statements like “now he is going round the country inciting people to go for a referendum. He is just seeking relevance. He should join us or leave us alone to build this country”. These statements reeks of personal vendetta. One wonders: If he can say this openly now, what was he able to do in 2007? Isn’t’ he guilty as charged at the ICC? Never before have I seen a dimwitted, petty and reckless comment coming out of any leader of this country. It alarms more when such a statement is made by ‘the’ president of the country.
Kenya has two distinct facts. The country as a state can be subjected to Uhuru’s fiefdom. He owns the machinery that monopolises violence – the security organs. But Kenya as a nation can never be tamed. The fact that no one is in Nyayo house proves this. The fact that people like Raila Odinga, detained, tortured, and incarcerated for years, outlived state violence to found a second republic based on the liberating ideals that any citizen of this republic was free to join and propagate any political view; alone or with others, proves to us beyond any iota of doubt that Uhuru Kenyatta, the current president of Kenya, is just but a passing cloud. A small cog in the country’s ever revolving wheel of justice, tolerance, equality and freedom.
And Mr. President, 20 years in power is a very short time. There was Kibaki who stuck to power and watched the damned country go up in flames. Today, whether he remote controls you and your jubilee government; the fact is, to a great many Kenyans, he is mortally dead. You, Mr President, after your so called 20 years, will also pass.