STATE MUST PROTECT LEGITIMATE BUSINESSES:
About a week ago, the Governor of the County of Mombasa Hon Ali Hassan Joho stood up against the bullying tactics being employed by the National Executive particularly to bully governors from the Opposition.
This well intended challenge to the presidency which has the backing of the Constitution, was certainly not received well by the National Executive. Revenge was sure to follow and it has.
Yesterday, the government shut down two container freight stations belonging to Governor Hassan Joho’s family.
KPA Managing Director Mr Gichiri Ndua gave no reasons for closing the facility. It was done through executive fiat.
This development would not be so worrying if it were not for its echoes of a return of an old order Kenyans are only too familiar with.
This is not about the governor and his businesses. It is about the return of strong arm politics, intimidation and blackmail to fight the Opposition, individuals and communities into surrender.
It is a return of the old order of starving individuals and communities into submission and surrender.
It has sad echoes of the1970s and 1980s when businesses were deregistered, slapped with hefty taxes and shut down because the owners were perceived to be anti government or unwilling to toe government line.
The shutting down of banks associated with the likes of Andrew Kimani Ngumba in the 1980s and the forced collapse of businesses of Mr Kenneth Matiba in 1990s come to mind.
In the end, it is the economy of the nation that is going to be crippled. It is the youth of our country who are going to suffer joblessness.
This emerging pattern must be nipped in the bud. Kenyans must stand firm and refuse to be blackmailed and intimidated.
I appeal to the Jubilee government to accept that Kenya is a multiparty state by law. That is not negotiable.
Let Jubilee accept that in a multiparty environment, we can disagree without being disagreeable.
Jubilee must put the interests of Kenya above self preservation.
A nation is in peril when all that the leaders do is plot and scheme how to subdue real or imaginary opponents.
Kenyans deserve an explanation on the closure of the two businesses associated with Governor Joho.
It is our understanding that the government should create jobs, not kill them.
We want an assurance in word and deed that the government shares this position.
HON RAILA ODINGA, EGH
JANUARY 29, 2016.