By Dikembe Via Facebook
Rather than look at the appointment of Dr. Patrick Ngugi as that of ‘another Kikuyu’, the more poignant question would be, ‘which kikuyu’. I will explain.
I think this is where the debate gets fuzzy. It is also where we lose the Kikuyu hoi poloi: the tout, the mama mboga, the jobless graduate, the one on the street selling rat and rat, hander-kerchief and bottled juice in he same walkway where the pickpocket and the whore does their thing, joined by the rest.
Those of you who have read Irungu Thiatah’s unauthorised biography of Uhuru Kenyatta ‘Hard Tackle’ must have gone through this chapter where the author labours infinitely to ‘de-link’ President Uhuru from ‘white people’. The author claims how the Kibaki government did away with IMF and WB and other western ‘prefects’ of Kenyan development and how Uhuru, then Finance Minister, sealed all loopholes of white collar indifference to the economic sovereignty (whatever this is) of Kenya.
I roped in Thaitah because he is a pathological liar. At no point, and in no institution, has ‘whiteness’ pervaded more than now, and more than in Kenya’s financial sector. President Uhuru embodies this whiteness. No one believes in the Caucasian, and the Caucasian neo-liberal institutions, including its propaganda outlets, than Uhuru.
If it was possible to reserve the governorship of Central Bank to a white man from IMF or World Bank, President Uhuru would have appointed a Mr Christopher Connor or Michael Jameson to the position. The number of white men with ‘white ideas’ about governance, delivery, PR, etc dot every facet of the Jubilee regime.
When you read history, you will know how IMF and WB came here.
The precursor, however, has often been corruption and runaway embezzlement. I’m sure some of you did papers on Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) and aid conditionalities of the late 70s through to the 80s and 90s. If you struggle, like my senator Moses Kajwang this morning on TV, to define Uhuru’s economic model; or the model his regime is laying out for the country; here it is: neo-liberalism!
Neo-liberalism, to me, is the crudest form of vulture capitalism. As with any other ‘neo’ thing, including ‘neo-imperialism’, the neoliberalistist is primarily concerned with making profits.President Uhuru Kenyatta has mortgaged the country to a neo-liberal agenda complete with all the institutions of neo-liberalism. Ever asked yourself why all critical sectors of our economy today has some former IMF or World Bank factotum as head or ‘special advisor’? Ever wondered why every critical sector in our economy has been privatized and commoditized and eventually financialized.
Simply put, financialization is the rise of the financial sector as the single largest contributor to gross national produce. It transactionalises human existence. It puts a price tag on not only the brain, but also the heart.
In Kenya today, the financial sector has surpassed the traditional industrial base of agriculture, horticulture, and manufacturing.
This shift, from industrial capitalism to financial capitalism is best espoused in the latest government budgetary processes and allocations. The money allocated to industrial and enterprise development is pocket change to the billions allocated to financial systems like IFMIS and institutions.
In highly financialized countries, the banking sector, the insurance sector, asset management and venture capital far outweigh other sectors of the economy. It is thus not surprising that Kenya is the ‘home’ of the most ingenious money transfer platform – Mpesa – with its newer variants like Lipa Na Mpesa and gikmakamago.
You may also have observed that the nation’s billionaires are no longer farmers and fisherfolks and manufacturers but owners of financial portfolios and venture capitalists – the Mungas, the Kirubis, the Mwangis, the Collymores – owning the Equity Banks, the CFCs, the Britams and the Safaricoms of this world.
In short, President Uhuru is setting the country to be ‘of the haves, by the haves, for the haves’. The have-nots: tough luck – eat your tomatoes!
You now know that the most critical market is not the fish market at Rodi Kopany where my grand mother Doris Akeyo Nyar Dibogo buys omena but the Nairobi Security Exchange! You are already aware that sugarcane farming, maize farming, millet farming no longer count much and that goat keeping has been left to the pokots and Turkanas to fight over and die over -who cares!
You now know that it is a worse day when the shilling is being defiled by the dollar in Nairobi than when 147 children of a lesser God (Obel Sibuth) are butchered in some university college called Gah Ree Sah.
You now know that Britain gave its aid money to investors building a first world Garden City along Thika Superhighway where the cost of a cup of Dorman’s coffee plus a plate of chips is enough to feed a family of six in Wasweta village (google where that is) for a whole day, claiming that doing so will give more youths jobs as casual labourers, thus contribute to ’employment’ in the ‘informal sector’.
You know now that Obama is coming to Kenya as the final trophy, for being the home of ‘entrepreneurs’.
You now know that the government froze employment long time ago; the manufacturing sector is dead; agriculture is dead; tourism is limping and yet the financial sector is the fastest growing in Kenya, complete with currency manipulators and ponzi scheme ‘industrialists’.
You now know going to the university is not the main thing here; and that you effectively submit yourself to the high risk financial Kamiti of Helb loan, complete with monthly penalties of Ksh 5000 even though your freshly acquired degree in project planning is already redundant, as all multi-billion projects are now being discussed in DP Ruto’s office, with Chinese who speak Yen and the Dollar, not English and, worse still, not Kiswahili!
You now know NYS is more critical to the Jubilee regime than the University of Nairobi, and that a wi-fi in Kibera downloads more jobs and food than a paper from Moi University!
You now know having an Mpesa business, or eggs business, or ‘any business’ attracts more funding from Uwezo fund and Youth Fund than having a nascent talent, or an abstract idea, tucked in a CV.
You now know teaching and nursing are no longer any nobler, and that the role model is the peer with shares in Equity, or Safaricom, or both!
You now know if you are left behind, even if your brother becomes President, you can still die of Pneumonia, for in this ‘fastest growing economy’, there is a price tag on not only the brain, but also the heart.
And so, for me, the more critical question should be ‘which Kikuyu’ is Dr Patrick Ngugi. In fact, rather than look at Ngugi as a Kikuyu, let us freeze in time and see him as a Kenyan, with the question persisting: Which Kenyan is he?
Can Ngugi bring new thinking in Kenya’s economy? Can he create new wealth? Is this Uhuru’s financialised model able to create new wealth? Who are Uhurunomics biggest winners? And the losers, will they ever catch up? Or, will they die trying, like billionaire Mwai Kibaki’s brother?