For the first time in the history of the motherland a sitting President of the Republic of Kenya was booed and jeered loudly at a public function! Yesterday, during the Labour Day celebrations President Kibaki was on the receiving end of loud jeers and grumbling, even as some wananchi walked away throwing their arms angrily in the air at him.
Trouble started when the President tried to explain to the people why announcing a salary increment for those in the minimum wage bracket would be impossible. He was reacting to loud calls from the crowd at the end of his speech, that he say something about minimum wages. It was too much for the crowd to take and loud voices of discord and grumbling echoed Uhuru Park where the function was being held. In my view this was but a minor sign of terrible things to come.
It is one thing to steal an election but it is quite another to handle some rather unique problems now emerging that are just crying out for a fresh pair of legs (see the latest raw notes to find out the evidence that the NSIS has which proves that President Kibaki did NOT win the elections).
The President quite rightly explained why considering the current situation in the country, it was impossible for the government to raise the minimum wages. Excellent economics but poor politics. Later the Labour Minister John Munyes, obviously under instructions from the President called a press conference to announce that the government will be naming a committee today to look into the issue of minimum wages in the country (an old trick to deal with a deadly new unique problem).
Actually the whole problem is much more serious than most people realize. As you read this, the world is on the verge of what will perhaps be the biggest crisis ever witnessed for many decades. World food prices are dangerously spiraling out of control and experts predict that within the next 6 months prices will multiply many times upwards. In Kenya's case , things have been made a lot worse by the crisis created by post election violence. That puts the country in very grave danger. Indeed even before the worldwide food crisis had emerged, experts were already warning of looming famine in the country. This is a problem that has the capability of wiping out the current government and crop of politicians from existence.
When you consider the fact that we have already seen serious food riots in many nations across the world ranging from Cameroon to distant Haiti, then you will swiftly realize that the grumblings heard at Uhuru Park yesterday were a mere symptom. This is one lesson retired President Moi knew very well. And that is you can govern the masses and use all sorts of tactics to get away with stuff, but hungry people are deadly, unpredictable and totally ungovernable. Just try and go hungry yourself for a few days and see what happens. Studies have shown that humans become nothing short of animals when threatened by hunger and indeed there are many tales of humans turned into cannibals by hunger right down history. And by the way the last thing you want to do is deal with force (as the Kibaki regime loves to do at the least excuse) with hungry people.
Interestingly, this is one lesson President Mugabe of Zimbabwe is bound to learn a little late in the day. The official results clearly show that there is need for a re-run of the presidential elections in that country. The thing which will continue to puzzle Mugabe for many years is how a President who has distributed land to tens of thousands of peasants can lose an election. The answer is pretty simple. The people of Zimbabwe are going hungry!
Clearly this is one challenge that the current crop of dinosaur-age politicians are ill equipped to handle as the idea of the formation of the minimum wage committee clearly shows in a country where there are way too many committees who come up with recommendations that are neatly filed away and continue to gather dust only for the next administration to form more committees to duplicate the same reports already gathering dust in government archives.
P.S. Yet another crisis is looming in the near horizon as the government started a forceful re-settlement of IDP’s in the Rift Valley this morning. The operation is being handled by the largest police operation in the history of the country. The idea is to re-settle people under heavy police guard. Chances are high that this could trigger fresh violence because many members of the Kalenjin community who took over farms from IDPs have already planted and it will be interesting to see if they will just quietly and meekly walk away from it all. Rift Valley MPs have clearly protested any plan to quickly re-settle IDPs without thoroughly looking into the underlying root problems of the crisis in the first place.
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