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Friday, September 18, 2009

Deadly Decisions And The Kibaki Succession Part I

How did the bloody revolution in Zanzibar in 1964 affect Kenya and especially the tradition of tribal appointments that persists to this day?

It is fairly easy to criticize without understanding things properly and that is exactly what Mwai Kibaki did before 2002 and the next president of Kenya had better not make the same mistake. The lives and livelihood of millions of Kenyans depends on this mistake NOT being repeated.

And so in this post I will think aloud in an effort to understand all that is wrong with decision-making at the executive level in this country so that the next president of Kenya deliberately takes a very different path. This is a preamble to one of the most disturbing posts I have ever penned here.

Why are all my posts these days about the presidency, I hear you asking? Fair question.

It is because I am of the view that what will save Kenya is decisive leadership at the top (at the executive level). I have never believed in management by committee which is exactly what parliament is. And I am not trying to pour cold water on the heroic deed in the august house last night.

For starters it is important to appreciate the fact that Kenya is exactly where she is today mainly because of executive decisions made within the walls of State House over the past couple of years since early 2003. Don’t forget that the executive in Kenya is so terribly powerful that even Kings from ancient times brought back to life today to see for themselves the power wielded by the president of Kenya would turn red with envy.

Have you ever wondered why it is that decisions made by the executive just make you wonder what kind of advisors are surrounding the president and if they really do have something in the space between their ears? Have you wondered why it is that certain key posts in government cannot be filled by any other tribe outside GEMA or the Mount Kenya tribes as some would like to call them? A good example is the Finance docket. What tribe is the minister of Finance? What tribe was his predecessor? And what tribe was the acting Finance minister before the current appointment? What tribe is the PS? What about the Central Bank of Kenya? What tribe is the governor who was appointed instead of a very capable and brave Kenyan woman called Mrs Mwatela? Remember her?

But closer to the subject of my post today let us take a look at security. What tribe is the head of intelligence in Kenya? What tribe is the new police commissioner? What tribe is the minister in charge of internal security? Did you know that all the ministers in this docket during the Kibaki administration have come from the same tribe? Mere coincidence? Or will you choose to give me an Alfred-Mutua-spin answer to counter my facts. Remember the one about the government having more Luhyas than any other tribe according to a Mutua audit. That made me think that maybe the government employs too many watchmen and cooks. Excuse my joke but my mother hails from the land of ingokho, feelanga free and natuma-salamu so I guess I am allowed this joke.

Kenyans need to know that there is a good reason to everything and many of the answers can be found in history. As I told a friend the other day, to understand the Kibaki administration you need to understand the Kenyatta administration because the difference between the two is continuously blurring before my very eyes every day.

To shed more light here, lets go back to 1964. The then infant Kenyatta government was just beginning to settle in and the mood deep inside that administration at the time is important to note here. That mood was ruled by one central emotion; fear.

Let me explain. In that year some rather frightening events unfolded in rapid succession. The year started with a very bloody coup in neighbouring Zanizibar. The coup was orchestrated by a Ugandan policeman called Okello. One description of the events in Zanzibar in Januray 1964 sums it all up rather neatly. They said that there were “rivers of Arab blood flowing on the streets of the Stone town.” Closer to Nairobi, this was closely followed by a very serious army mutiny at the Lanet barracks in Nakuru. Details of it are still very scanty to this day, but Tom Mboya played a key role in finally getting things under control. Read more about this in an earlier Kumekucha post HERE.

Events across Africa and especially in Nigeria where military coups were happening at a speed that is almost similar to the way that country produces movies these days, were causing even more fear in the corridors of power in Nairobi.

The writing was clearly on the wall. The priority had to be how to survive. Development and fair appointments based only on merit would have to take a back seat. It was clear that any wise African president had to find people they could trust and preferably folks they could speak to in their mother tongue. And this had nothing to do with properly understanding instructions. This led to a very dangerous precedent where the president’s closest advisors increasingly became people form his community and ultimately from his village. To prove it, it is instructive to note that at the height of the Kenyatta administration, oaths were taken by senior offivcials in government and the security forces to ensure that the presidency would never cross River Chania (that is the river that divides Kikuyus from Kiambu with their close brothers from Nyeri.

What many Kenyans may have not realized at the time is the grave danger of having all your closest advisors being people from your village who all think and reason the same. What do you think that does to the quality of decision-making?

I was watching a DVD of my favourite TV show, 24 the other day and in it the president of the United States had all his advisors around him and was listening to two sharply opposing views on how to handle a major crisis. That is how it has always been and should be since ancient times. It is how great Kings like King David and King Solomon (the wisest of them all) went about their business successfully.

If you really think about it, you will now begin to realize why the quality of decision-making in the Kibaki administration has been wanting and has often disappointed even his closest allies.

Imagine the situation in State House Nairobi shortly before the 2007 presidential election “results” were released. I would bet you a nyama choma lunch of my favourite juicy goat meat that all those around the table were in agreement that trouble would come from “those stone-throwing Jaruos who carry stones in brief cases to Gor Mahia soccer matches at the stadium.” What do you think they would have said if somebody as much as suggested that the whole country was in a foul mood after a presidential campaign that started immediately after referendum vote over a new constitution? Do you think you would have been given a hearing if you had pointed out that the Kalenjin community could cause serious trouble in the Rift Valley? How many Kenyan lives did that decision cost? Ooops I know figures vary from a paltry 600 to the Kumekucha 5,000.

Now imagine the situation in State House shortly before the decisive cabinet meeting recently to pass a decision over the Hague-versus-local-tribunal-to-try-post-election-violence-suspects issue. I can almost hear several people I know telling the president; “I don’t see any crisis here. You are the president. Tell them that it will all be sorted out by the Truth Justice and Reconciliation commission. What can they do?” In this decision lies a grave danger and a common trend within the corridors of power since 2003. This trend is where decisions are made that instead of solving the problem escalate it while postponing the explosion to a later date. That is exactly what happened when the Kibaki administration ignored intense pressure to postpone the referendum on the new constitution in 2005 and instead concentrating on cooling temperatures countrywide. The decision to go ahead with that referendum postponed the explosion to a much bigger one in early 2008.

…To be continued soon

N.B. My next post will be a continuation of this one where I will focus more closely on the appointments in security and what the real motive behind them is. I will also say something surprising about why Justice Ringera was re-appointed.


Anonymous said...

yes you are right about fear...I read recent reports in a book about Africa by a famous Polish reporter; on the day of the coup in Zanzibar he was in the interior of Kenya; suddently a large and fast convoy of piki pikis, police cars and mercedes benzs forced him off the dirt road. The Polish reporter recognized this as the President's convoy...he followed them from a distance for a couple of hours...the convoy sped to Harambee House in Nairobi...a few hours later the news of the Zanzibar coup broke out on BBC....

Anonymous said...

apparently by the middle of Moi's tenure all the economic advisors in the Ministry of Economic Planning were not western trained economists!

Anonymous said...

that's a breath of fresh air, it is stories like this one that got me hooked to kumekucha.

SNIPER96 said...

wacha kuhara na mdomo

Anonymous said...

And while at it don't forget to write about the Pepo Mbaya mafia (Orengo, Nyong'o, Midiwo, etc) surrounding our PM advising him in dholuo. It is sad, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Its with deep sorrow that in Kenya & for a couple of years to come. it'll remain "illegal/tribal" for a President to have close allies from his/her own tribe. Tribes should be our diversity...I believe the entire cabinet can be run by an abled group of same "tribe" professionals/individuals. BUT no you say! they're all the same tribe they'll favour their own daaaah. Fellow Kenyans, it is & should be the character not tribe!! I wonder what would happen if (e.g) Barrack was to vie for Presidency in Kenya? (him being a "Gikuyu" or "Kalenjin") It will obviously be a disqualifying move for an abled Gikuyu or Kalenjin to run in 2012?? What we need is a change of mind & MAX accountability!!

Anonymous said...

This is a good post. Kudos

Anonymous said...

Vote any pig you want to be the president, but dont allow stupid politicians like Uhuru, Ruto, Mutula and Kalonzo to use the tribes to support corruption.

Time is ripe for Kenyans to punish thugs in Mau, Kebs, KAAC and all other gov. institutions irrespective of tribe. We are all Kenyans and bad things affect us all.

M-Pesa said...

Chris, thanks for condemning this raw tribalism which is far worse than Kenyatta's era.
Yes, I agree that Kibaki wraps himself with his fellow tribesmen and packs all the sensitive dockets with his fellow Mt Kenya Mafia. But what has Raila who claims to have equal powers with the president done about this madness? Actually this tribalism has become worse since Raila joined the Govt! I want a link posted here showing that the Prime Minister has condemned this naked tribalism exhibited by the president. I want to see just one word, yes just one, showing Raila's condemnation! And how can we tell or make sure the next president-whoever-will not repeat this evil, raw and naked abuse of power?

Anonymous said...

I hear that Amos Wako is being forced to resign to pave way for a Kikuyu. Eh, and u expect that there wont be a bloody revolution??

Anonymous said...

This monster called tribalism (and especially the way it dictates the presidency, as Chris has so clearly illustrated here) will be the biggest challenge for the next president.

Everybody needs people they can trust. It is naive to think that anybody can operate at this level effectively without a few village home boys in key positions.

So the big question we should address is how does the next president of Kenya surround himself with people he can trust without being tribal?

More so because to be successful the next CEO of Kenya must do some pretty dangerous things (mostly dismantling age-old cartels who will definitely want to plant their spys at the centre of power and to throw plenty of spanners in the works).

Anonymous said...


You and your obsession with Raila is very amusing.

You have, in the past, very many times accused Raila of calling Kikuyus "kabila adui." This, of course, is a very big lie. A very big fat lie; a figment of your very fertile imagination gone wild.

You have been challenged several times to post a link over here showing Raila uttering those words lakini wapi. At best what has been heard from you as regards this "kabila adui" accusation is a very loud Mwai "pumbavu" Kibaki type of silence.

Once again, for the umpteenth time, I challenge you to post a link over here to prove your accusation against Raila or forever shut up about this "kabila adui" nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Raila surrounds himself with Jaluos, he appoints his brother to the most important ministry (finance), he appoints his sister as a US Consular, he allows his son and fat wife to sell illegal maize too Sudan precipitating an unseen before starvation, he appoints ministers who have a history of looting public coffers to important ministries so as to maintain his bloody seizure of half power.

and the list is endless...chris, continue where you stopped after your blog cheered as Kikuyu were slaughtered after 2007. YOU ARE VICTIMISING A WHOLE COMMUNITY OF 4 MILLION PEOPLE INSTEAD OF THE RICH INDIVIDUALS. One day your turn will come and your children will pay with their blood for your sins. That day your Kamba witches will not help you. Dont say you were never warned. Same applies to Okello, Taabu and Mwarangethe.

Kumekucha Prefect

Anonymous said...

I guess what chris is telling us is that Kikuyus have taken everything in Kenya. That is not new, he is reading from the familiar ODM book of Kikuyu hatred.

Anonymous said...

Kumekucha Prefect,

Wewe ni PUMBAVU sana. Get your head out of Raila's ass - you keep on insisting on "poking" and seeking "hosting" over there. Shame on you! There are much better places to expose your head to.

You accuse Chris of cheering when Kyuks were "done" what they were done after Mwai "pumbavu" Kibaki STOLE the elections in broad daylight. Well, despite the fact that Mwai "pumbavu" Kibaki stole the elections in broad daylight, I used to hear virtually all of the Mr Kenya people fraudulently insisting that Mr Pumbavu won the election fair and square.

That is the language of accomplices and people who agree with the THEFT of the elections. Such people do not invite feelings of friendship, companionship and togetherness. They invite what happened to them at the beggining of 2008.

So, Kumekucha Prefect, you reaped what you sowed. You cannot plant THEFT and expect to harvest peace. No Way!!

And so you know, this is not out of the fictional "ODM book of Kikuyu hatred" that you clowns seem to think exists. It is reality; the harsh naked truth.

M-Pesa said...

I'm still waiting for that link of Raila condemning Mwai Kibaki's naked tribalism in his appointments. Looks like birds of a feather f#@$%#ng flock together! His nose is so deep in the eating trough he can't see the naked tribalism around his sorry self. This ignorance is hurting his chances of presidency come 2012. His community is also hurting his chances even worse with their irrationality and sense of entitlement...

Anonymous said...

M pesa do the honourable thing and shut up; You do not answer a question with another!

Anonymous said...

Hear what Francis "Matharau" Muthaura has to say on Kioko Mang'eli:

"The head of the Civil Service, Mr Francis Muthaura, has maintained that Dr Kioko Mang’eli is no longer the boss of the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

Mr Muthaura, who is also secretary to the Cabinet, has prepared a brief for President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on why the Kebs boss had to be sacked."

Anonymous said...

When it comes to making decisions, the very indecisive Kibaki seem to think it is like the process of shitting.

Whenever he - very rarely - gathers the guts to make a decision it always results in shit and the stench of shit all over the place.

The guy just cannot make an inspiring decision. No wonder he had to steal the elections of December 2007. That was the only "way" he could get back to power because he could not have won and did not win the elections of 2007. He is the ultimate pumbavu.

chola said...

kumekucha if kibaki or raila were god angels would kikuyu and jaluos, what if they devils could demons be tribal

shocked said...

If the support and unity KANU got from Kenyan citizens at the dawn of Kenya's independence had remained intact today, Kenyan would have been a well developed and properous nation. But that was not to be. Tribal machines intentionally put in place to create perpetual chaos in every emerging "independent" African country have kept Africans dependent on the former colonial powers and their allies! African countries whose poor citizens have paid the ultimate prize for the western wars against communism are being asked to wedge war against the muslims among them in exchange for ???. When the communist Soviet Union fell, Africa was abandoned for the greener pastures in the disintegrating Communist Soviet block countries!
If there was a genuine communism threat to Africa, the tribalism button would not have been so frequently used as a major divide and conquer wedge to control the African population! Africans must understand what the fight is all about in order for it to develop. Are we fighting communism, islam fundamentalists or other tribes within our territories? Since war is very costly, when can Africa expect to be in peace and prosperous or is it going to be perpetual beggars' continent with vast natural resources?

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