By Dorcas S
Back in the heady days of President Kenyatta’s nascent government, his handlers, conscious of the Scarlet “CaHS” tag that antedated his name, desperately sought to link his presidency to that of US President and half-Kenyan Barack Obama who had stratospheric approval ratings – outside the US – and a Nobel Peace Prize to boot!
The Kenyan media and blogosphere was chockfull of articles that likened the two baby-boomers in every which way save their private and personal habits; and even there, someone couldn’t resist pointing out that the two country executives were both left-handed!
Conspicuously missing from the breathlessly hyperbolic comparisons between the two men were some “minor” details:
That the Kenyan president was a crimes-against-humanity suspect (CaHS) while POTUS was still wrapping his head around the frankly undeserved Nobel Peace Prize even as he struggled to rescue the US economy from total collapse!
That “Mr. Kenyarra” was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth thanks to fortune left by a father – Kenyatta Pere: A fortune whose probity remains forever suspect. BHO on the other hand was raised by a single mother and by grandparents – thanks to a father who went missing early in his life.
Fast-forward to 2017 and the two boomers are at different stages in their lives. The comparisons, still stark and misplaced, have all but petered off. Mr. Kenyatta is headed towards his re-elections unlike the termed-out Mr. Obama.
Unlike the 44th POTUS who looked absolutely rejuvenated back from a kite-surfing vacay with his kazillionaire friend Richard Branson — on the latter’s private island no less, UK is becoming unhinged right in front of the country, simultaneously flailing at “shetanis” – real and perceived – while looking to his mom and mentor to rescue the teetering start to his re-election efforts.
In the process, Mr. Kenyatta has severely reduced the gravitas of the office he seeks to re-occupy come August this year.
Mr. Kenyatta, Obama’s “brother from another mother” (my characterization) has been reduced to “dabbing” with B-list “celebs” and breathing fire at opponents, some non-existent. His handlers have also been reduced to a Sean Spicer-like role of trying to explain the inexplicable or contort themselves into pretzels while doing so.
BHO on the other hand, continues to be – well – BHO: the ultimate embodiment of cool and equipoise complete with a posse that includes the uber-lords of cool – Jay and Bae! This he does even as his predecessor President Trump goes on a twitter-tirade hurling wild-eyed accusations at a man who left office with a 60% approval rating and an offer to become President of France!
Seriously though, how do Manoah Esipisu, Dennis Itumbi, Pauline Njoroge and the shadowy “36 Bloggers” explain Mr. Kenyatta’s rants against governor of Turkana or the opposition leaders?
Or his defeatist-sounding flippancy “kwani mnafikiria dunia itaisha? Weee…wacha stori mingi hapa bana. Dunia ita endelea!”
What’s with the churlishly thin-skinned pushback against the convenient straw man that Uhuru “ako no haja na mafuta ya wengine”?
What of the apparent coming together of his re-election strategy AFTER his mother and former First Lady Ngina Kenyatta met with former President Arap Moi?
Let me venture outside my comfort zone into the murky world of psycho-analysis and offer a take on President Kenyatta’s lava-like meltdown over the past month or so:
I think the Governor of Narok touched a raw (presidential) nerve when he called out the specter of funds from the region’s budding oil industry being siphoned off by the central government (read President and those close to him). Gov. Josphat Nanok wondered why oil revenue estimates dropped from “matrilioni” down to “bilioni ishrini na mbili”. He went on to offer that the good people of Turkana “wana uwezo kusimamia pesa hi na kuiweka hazina ambao ni ya kesho na kesho kutwa” i.e. have the wherewithal to develop and save the oil revenue for a rainy day.
By firing that warning shot across the presidential bow, Gov. Nanok spoke to what most Kenyans agree has been the Achilles Heel of President Kenyatta’s first term: That it has been marred; utterly stained by the gross theft of public funds and resources by his family and friends alike.
In an attempt to change the narrative (a la DJT and his early AM twitter-fest against BHO), President Kenyatta essentially projected his thinking/fears onto Governor Nanok and others like him who have had enough of the last four years.
What’s that saying again? The Guilty Are Afraid?