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Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Four Thieves

This is the time to ask some very serious questions. ODM presidential hopeful Raila Odinga in his current tour of the United States has pledged to fight corruption. It is important that we get a little more specific (Phil, I urge you to allow me to do this without requesting an apology from me later).

What Raila is saying about corruption is good. Only that we have had it before. In fact it was spoken much more emphatically by Baba Jimmy who emphasized it with the words “zero tolerance” to corruption. And the guy looked so serious then that I started getting impatient for the election day to come so that I could cast my vote for him.

It reminds me very much of what many women do to seduce a woman in the good old days when the aggressor in these matters was only the man. These days I am told women approach men and tell them bluntly “I want you.” Anyway in those days you would promise your “victim” heaven on earth knowing very well what your objective was. Once you had “scored” everything changed and women had to fight very hard to retain a man in those days.

Well, the season to be seduced is here with us again and politicians are carelessly and recklessly whispering sweet nothings into our ears. Pole sana. This time we (at least I) have learnt a lesson and I refuse to take promises at their face value.

It is therefore important for us to analyze the reasons why Baba Jimmy failed. To do this I will tell you a short story.

Once upon a time there were four thieves. One day one of the aging thieves decided to turn over a new leaf and went round preaching all over the village and beyond that it was time for the villagers to take action against thieves. To be honest the aging thief had never really been a thief at heart and his only mistake is that he had shared in the loot a few times and the rest of the time he had conveniently looked the other way.

The three thieves who were still making a killing from their activities started getting really worried about the latest development and they held several meetings to discuss what to do.

Then one of them came up with an idea. They noticed that the aging thief was struggling going round from place to place walking while leaning heavily on his walking stick. So they gave him a gift of a donkey, which he accepted gratefully.

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The aging thief soon became so popular that the villagers forced their chief out and installed the aging thief in his place with one mandate, to rid the village of thieves.

So the aging thief gathered all the thieves in the centre of the village ready to burn them alive in front of the wildly cheering crowd. Amongst the thieves were his 3 former colleagues. They quickly pleaded guilty but made one request which was quickly accepted because it sounded so reasonably. They volunteered to name all their accomplices.

The one who spoke on their behalf asked a question;

“If something is stolen and then it is given to a friend of a thief as a gift, is the person who receives the gift also guilty?

“Of course.” The crowd roared.

“So both should receive the same punishment?”

“Yes.” The crowd roared, now getting very impatient.

The man pointed to the donkey they had given the aging thief as a gift.

“That donkey is stolen and it belonged to Mzee Hekima. I gave it to your chief as a gift.”

The crowd went silent and suddenly everybody was very confused.

You can guess what happened in the end. All the thieves were released. Nobody was burnt at the stakes that day.

Known thieves of public funds in Kenya have given out “Donkeys” to President Kibaki’s campaign in 2002 and are doing the same this time round. Known thieves of public funds have not only given “donkeys” to Raila Odinga’s presidential campaign, but many of them are very senior powerful office bearers in ODM.

Please draw your own conclusions based on my story. You will begin to understand why Mwalimu Taabu is NOT backing any horse.


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