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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ads Posted February 18th 2006

See Mutahi Ngunyi Column At The bottom of this page

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Kibaki and an LDP nail in the wall

Story by MUTAHI NGUNYI / Insight column
Published in the Daily Nation newspaper - 9/26/2004

Those who went to High School in the mid-1970s will remember a book called Hekaya Za Abunwasi. My favourite story in this little ‘adventure book’ was about a certain Mzee who set out to buy a house from Abunwasi. There was only one condition: Abunwasi was ready to sell everything in the house, except for a nail on one of the walls in the sitting room.

The old man thought about it and concluded that he would buy the house anyway. After all, the small nail in the sitting room was nothing. Money changed hands, the deal was sealed, and the Mzee moved in. Two weeks later, Abunwasi was at the old man’s door knocking. He wanted access to his property – the nail on the wall. Shocked by the turn of events, the Mzee had no choice but to allow him in.

Relishing the moment, Abunwasi removed his smelly jacket and went ahead to hang it on ‘his’ nail. He made sure it did not touch any walls, to avoid a lawsuit of course. Then he left. The following week, Abunwasi was at the old man’s door again. This time he had bought a big fat fish, which was beginning to rot.

Without saying hello to the Mzee, he went straight to his nail in the sitting room, removed the dirty jacket and hung the bag of smelly fish. For a good one week, the entire house had a harrowing stench of rotten fish! At this point the old man discovered that he had been tricked. And of course, Abunwasi was at hand to buy him off at a throw away price!

My Form One teacher gave us the moral of this story. She told us that there are no half measures in life. If you decide on a course of action, you must take its full measure. If you settle for less, someone will be at hand to sort you out! And this is President Kibaki’s problem with LDP. He has remained double-minded in his dealings with the party. He wants them in government, but at the same time, he does not.
Retaining LDP in government and downsizing them from within is bad strategy. You can downsize them to a point where all they own in government is a nail on the wall. But knowing LDP, this is probably all they need: a nail. Like Abunwasi, and from a simple nail, these people have potential to make the entire government stink. Therefore, the president should either embrace them in total, or reject them in total. Anything in between is disastrous. Since he has started the process of firing them anyway, he should complete it and with speed.

Let us flip this argument now. Unlike ministers Njenga Karume or Chris Murungaru who are in cabinet at the pleasure of the president, the LDP brigade bought their way into government. If you fire them, you have to refund their money to the tune of 1.5 million votes. Put differently, LDP represents about 1.5 million shareholders on a board called the Cabinet. If they quit, their shareholders by extension quit with them. But what does this mean anyway?

Democratic practice would demand two things from President Kibaki in the event he fires 1.5 million shareholders through their representatives. One, he would have to conduct a plebiscite or a referendum. The idea here is to establish whether the remnants in his government enjoy popular legitimacy, or whether what he has is a bastardised government. If the Kibaki government fails the plebiscite test, it would have to go for the second option: a snap election.

The point here is to seek a fresh mandate. All this however, is not a legal or constitutional requirement. It is just what a decent democratic government would do. And if he fires 1.5 million shareholders through LDP and fails to do this, he would be seen to occupy the position of president fraudulently. This, I must add, is a moral argument.

But who cares about morals and fraud? If the president has no moral authority over the country, he will behave like a parent whose kids no longer listen to him. Inevitably, he will use force in order to be heard. And indeed, if the LDP brigade is cut off from government, we should expect increased repression.

And now a Biblical story for the LDP brigade. Once upon a time, four lepers were stuck outside the gate of Samaria after a siege by Syria. Desperate for food, they argued that if they got back into the city, they would definitely die. And if they sat at the gate, they would also die. The only option they had was to sneak over to the Syrian army camp and gamble for food. They argued that the Syrians might kill them, but they might not! And so they decided to sneak into the enemy’s camp.

As they headed there, their footsteps sounded like the roar of a huge force of cavalry. The Syrian army reasoned that the King of Israel must have hired Hittite and Egyptian troops to attack them. And scared to death, the Syrians abandoned their camp and ran for dear life. When the four lepers reached the edge of the camp, there was no one on site. They walked into the tent and had the ball of their life. Their gamble had paid off.

Like the four lepers, LDP can decide to be bullied into submission, starvation and possible death. Or they can decide to take President Kibaki head on. And like the lepers discovered, once they took the first step, God made their footsteps sound like the roar of a huge force.

In our case, however, we are not sure which side God is supporting. And this is probably why LDP should advance with caution. Like it or not, the coalition cannot be broken without the two parties tearing each other apart. But in the meantime, and like Abunwasi, LDP should maintain the nail in President Kibaki’s sitting room.

However, they should go easy on the rotten fish and the other stinky things they have been hanging on it!


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Anonymous said...

1。那混合物是更缓慢的 ... 但是 Lexus 的即将到来混合版本 ' 将是比气体气体更快的唯一的版本如好地有多马力。不要自夸速度,但是我被吸引轮流开送行为 90,是警察给我一次休息。
... 只是通过在城市乘公交车往返我储蓄过来 $ 5000/yr 与我的以前的汽车,吉普车切诺基相比。超过 5 年,会是 $ 更不用说会进一步增强我的储蓄的最近的比率远足的 20K。这样除非你是在你的父母的地产上吸的一个浪费的儿子,你的声明是一束公牛。

Anonymous said...

3. 45 (90 r/t)
45mpg 天是 2 我的车上> 8 加>>比。那每天是 6 >仑的一笔>蓄, 120 月, 1440 每年者 5040 (根 3.5 元/) ... 加上它发表 1/10th CO2。多愚蠢是它不要骑一个,去算进今天和年龄。
4.缺少了解 ... 是真的,实际上我个人这样那样喜欢它我可能享受所有鼓励;税,合伙用车,免费停车米, prius 业主之间的秘密的信号,等等;这样自私地说那我真地在那里在享受在所有气体汽车业主上的所有权那没有一个想法多少我这辆汽车有的嬉戏。我 junked 我的 SL,郊区对我的 Prius ... 你应该也。


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