In a few days time (how time flies) Kenyans will go to the polls to make perhaps the most important decision humans on these shores have ever had to make in East African history.
The saddest thing of all as that day rapidly approaches is the fact that the real issues in these elections have deliberately been crowded out by non-issues. Contrary to what many folks think, Elections 2007 is not about tribalism. Actually it is about money and corruption.
Let me explain.
There is plenty of evidence that the Kibaki administration started out very serious about fighting corruption. In recent times it has often been suggested that they never intended to do anything about it. That IS NOT TRUE.
To bring into perspective the decision you and I have to make seated/standing inside some polling booth it is important that we understand where and why that fight against corruption ended.
Actually all was going well until sometime in mid 2004. Just before things went terribly wrong, impeccable sources have it that a deal had been struck (with some of the thieves of public funds) to have quite a hefty sum of money returned into the country. For a moment it looked like Kenya was about to make a dramatic turn in the right direction.
Reports on exactly what triggered the derailment of the fight against corruption at this stage are varied. Some sources say that insiders convinced the president that his administration was doomed without a “reliable source of funding.” Others say that intelligence reports showed evidence of destabilization of the Kibaki administration by some very rich individuals in the former Kanu government using their ill-gotten wealth. The truth will probably never be known.
What happened next was that some very prominent personalities in Kibaki’s inner circle made “private deals” that effectively killed all the good progress that had been made. One of those characters (a cabinet minister) was suddenly flash with cash and bought shares in Lewa Downs even as he undertook expensive private construction programmes in Meru and Karen in Nairobi, all at the same time. His cabinet colleague who had been dodging auctioneers in the run-up to the 2002 general elections suddenly paid off all his hefty debts and also got involved in major private construction projects in Nyeri.
But what many people who were aware of what was happening did not realize at the time was that the president’s re-election team for 2007 was effectively coming together at that particular juncture.
Those “private deals” are the real reason why retired President Moi and the Kenyatta family have solidly thrown everything behind the Kibaki re-election campaign. These are all individuals, so where does tribalism come in? How is it that these elections have become so charged with ethnicity?
The answer is very simple. A large percentage of Kenyans have been “cheated” in much the same way that the masses of Kenya have always been fooled. We have been hoodwinked into defending thieves and corrupt individuals using the old time-worn but very effective strategy of politicians in these shores of saying that the entire tribe/community is under siege. The right Kenyan term is; “our tribe is being finished.”
Interestingly the Kalenjin community, whom other Kenyans have always assumed (very wrongly) are not intelligent, have NOT fallen for that old trick this time. However the house of Mumbi whom Kenyans have always held in high esteem assuming that they are extremely intelligent have swallowed the bait hook line and sinker. The message to the Kikuyu has been simple and effective. It is; “if Kibaki is not re-elected, the Kikuyu will be finished.” This is the kind of rubbish that even a crocodile on the Tana River with its’ powerful jaws wide open cannot swallow. Yet it is the feeling amongst most of our Kikuyu brothers and sisters.
The true position is that the Kenyatta family and the Kibaki family stand to lose a lot of money if President Kibaki is not re-elected. Of course both families had no intention whatsoever of sharing that loot with the community or putting it into any community-based projects for that matter.
My humble message to my Kikuyu brothers and sisters (and indeed my in-laws) is very simple. Whatever voting decision you make on 27th is your democratic right. But just remember that you and your children’s children will have to live with the consequences of your decision for years to come. If I were you and still felt that warm fuzzy filling towards my tribes mate that is unshakeable, I would rather look at the other candidates from the community like Kenneth Matiba and Pastor Pius Muiru. A vote for these two will be much easier on your conscience for years to come. The harsh reality of this matter is that a vote for Kibaki is a vote for Moi and the billions he and his family have stashed away abroad. It is a vote saying that the status quo should be maintained at all costs (kazi inendelee).
If you feel very strongly about voting for a candidate who has no chance of winning then why not throw your weight around Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM-K (I dare not mention Raila because that name provokes the kind of emotions we all know amongst the House of Mumbi). A solid Kikuyu vote for Kalonzo is enough to get him into State House. In my view he is the least qualified of the 3 major candidates, but conscience is everything and such a decision would also rest well in the conscience of my Kikuyu brothers.
It is instructive that PNU is the only political party amongst the big 3 that has not dared mention the issue of fighting corruption in its’ agenda. That is commendable. They are sincere.
P.S. If this post means that Kumekucha has broken the rule of being neutral, so be it. However in my view, being neutral does not mean throwing the truth out of the window. Here’s some more “neutral truth” for you. Many individuals in ODM are corrupt and have helped in fleecing public coffers. That one is also a fact and Kenyan voters will need to consider this very carefully as they cast their votes for their MPs. My advice; vote individuals and ignore party affiliation, because political parties in Kenya are not worth the paper on which their registration certificates are typed on.