By Gordon Opiyo via FB
My morning thoughts today come a little later because it is slightly political and I wouldn’t like to connect it to spiritual matters.
Today, I have been thinking about the vanity of power.
I have been thinking about the fickleness of power
I have been thinking about how short term power is
I have been thinking how blinding power is
I have been thinking how sweet power is
In short, I have been thinking about guys I have interacted with.
Before the 2002 elections, I spent considerable time with the “young Turks”. These were normal MPs, whose mission was to remove Moi. As part of my job, I spent a lot of time with James Orengo, when he was fighting to wrestle Luo leadership from Raila.
Most of the MPs and activists of the 1990s were simple people. We used to meet in normal kiosks. Njungunas in Westlands was the preferred place.
At the same time, I used to meet powerful Ministers during the Moi Era.
One thing you give Moi was the fact that he knew how to use power. His Ministers were really powerful.
Then 2002 happened, and I was still in the job of meeting the guys who took over in 2002.
The change in the guys who were fighting Moi was shocking. I remember in 2004, a powerful Minister from Meru region, who was feted by the several NGOs for being an anti corruption activist, changing overnight. When my colleague, Benson Riungu visited him, he removed his glasses, and asked “Do I know you?” this is someone who spent several years with Benson…. But when Power came, he could not remember “simple fellows”. He didn’t last long after that. He resigned in 2006 after being mentioned in a corruption Scandal. And he suddenly remembered who Benson was.
I was in shock when I saw in TV, a mega project in Ruai being flattened. This is because, I knew that even taking photos of the area landed several people in police cells. Police were instructed to beat up any person moving around the area. The place was feared. Just like a Mombasa hotel under construction, the instructions were to deal ruthlessly with anyone, especially journalists, who came asking questions.
But the demolitions took place, live on TV, with cameras rolling. The same police that were used protect and harass people asking questions about the mega project, were the ones flattening it..
To me, that is a lesson to all of us.
However powerful you are, be civil.
However powerful you are, never misuse it.
However powerful you are, never insult and beat up journalists.
However powerful you are, be fair to everyone.
Because, you will need people when you are down.