There is nothing wrong with anybody wanting to be president of the republic of Kenya, after all it is their constitutional right. But there are many times when I am extremely grateful that wanting and becoming president are NOT the same thing.
Before I talk about the central character I want to talk about in this post let me start with some encouraging news on the forthcoming presidential elections. It seems that finally we have some very different kind of candidates thinking of standing for the highest office in the land. My view is that as many of these kind of people should be encouraged to stand for the presidency so that, among other things it forces a change on the ground rules where Kenyans can now begin to look beyond the tribe of the presidential candidate and instead focus on their vision and potential to bring about real change in Kenya.
Some of the faces we are likely to see that are exciting me include former chairman of the Human Rights commission, Maina Kiai and Mwalimu “error in the budget” Mati. None of these gentlemen are anywhere near being perfect for the job but then standing for the presidency does not mean being the ideal candidate. There are a number of other interesting names lining up that I have opted to leave out at this time. But please keep your eyes focused on this space and I will spill the beans soon.
But back to the main gist of my post today.
Insider sources are telling me things that make my ears ring and emotions well up inside me (not good emotions I can assure you).
Have you heard of a lawyer called Mutula Kilonzo who is now Justice Minister? I am sure you know plenty about the current Mbooni legislator. But chances are that you hardly know anything about his past. This Kumekucha post should update you quite a bit on that.
Anyway, in recent times you will have noticed that Kilonzo seems to be campaigning for something. He clearly stood on the side of majority of Kenyans when the cabinet was debating the controversial subject of forming a local tribunal to try post election violence suspects and ended up opting for a lame truth and reconciliation commission. Mutula said some very nice things that must have endeared him to many gullible Kenyans. More recently the “recently brave” legislator has named names in parliament of people he says are corrupt including the president’s bosom buddy and close advisor Eddy Njoroge who is the CEO of Kengen.
Some political analysts have noted what Mr Kilonzo is doing and have suggested that the man is still campaigning for Kalonzo Musyoka who is expected to try for the presidency again in 2012. What these analysts don’t know is that Mr Musyoka and Mr Kilonzo are not the friends they were during the 2007 presidential elections. What is emerging is that Mr Kilonzo has seen many political blunders that Musyoka made in 2007 and believes he can do a much better job this time round.
In fact Mr Kilonzo believes that he even gathered plenty of experience from that race. Did you know that it was Kilonzo who was behind the infamous “wiper” slogan that Kalonzo Musyoka used in his presidential campaigns. Now I have a question to ask. What exactly was that wiper business all about? What did it mean? Did the common man (voter) understand what it was supposed to mean? I am still buffled as we speak and don’t have the slightest clue what it was meant to say. What was Kalonzo Musyoka wiping? I suspect it had something to do with the windshield wiper of a car. Now how many matatu-travelling-Kenyans can identify with that?
And this brings us to the main weakness this would-be presidential candidate would have in any race for State House. He is totally out of touch with the ordinary folks on the ground. We can start with his vast Mbooni constituency where as you read this Kenyans are starving. Fellow Kenyans things are really bad with our brothers down there, believe me. No deaths have been reported so far but my sources on the ground tell me that things are catastrophic and if you visited the place you would not believe that you were still in the same Kenya where some readers of this blog had a five course lunch today.
This is why I get upset when some characters announce their interest in being president. You see it is fairly easy to read their minds. What do you think they are dreaming about? Helping Kenyans? Improving the lot of ordinary folk? OFCOURSE NOT. They are dreaming of long motorcades (much longer than that of the president of the USA for instance). They are dreaming of honour and glory for themselves. And that is one reason why things went badly wrong shortly after we emerged from the polls in 2002.
And you can be sure that this is the same thinking that the whole lot (e.g. Kalonzo Musyoka, Mutula Kilonzo, Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto etc) have. They are all oblivious of the kind of pressing challenges facing ordinary folks that need to be addresses like yesterday.
I will finish my post with a short story from some of Mutula Kilonzo’s constituents.
In the run up to the last elections, Mutula asked some constituents from Mbooni to organize a “small crowd” (mainly for the TV cameras) to pay a “courtesy call” to a group of politicians from Ukambani (including Mutula himself) who were having a meeting in Nairobi. When the constituents asked how the poor folks were to be transported all the way to Nairobi (to get to Nairobi from Mbooni you need to travel to Machakos first where the fare is the same as what you will pay from Machakos to Nairobi), Mutula advised that they get transport on credit and the bill would be footed the minute the Matatus arrived in Nairobi.
When the group arrived in Nairobi Mutula received them warmly and promised them that they would get money at the end of the meeting. When the meeting was over he changed his mind and told the rural folk to pay their own transport back and then their leaders would visit his offices at Corner House in Nairobi on Monday to collect the cash to pay all the expenses.
To cut a long story short those leaders of the group from Mbooni ended up being stranded in Nairobi without even the fare to get back home after several promises failed to materialize weeks after that Monday. To this day, almost 2 years later, Mr Kilonzo has NOT honoured his pledge to his poor constituents who were forced to foot the bill. And to make matters worse, the people of Mbooni never see their MP on the ground these days. He is too busy building his national profile (and now you know why). Chances are that he will rush to Mbooni at the very last minute and the people will vote for him to be president (almost to a man) because he is one of their sons. Or so it seems (I hope that they can give him the nasty surprise he deserves, especially after the hunger pangs they are suffering just now).