Lessons From Kibaki to Team Uhuru and Ruto

If we had someone else for President other than Kibaki, 2003-07 would have been a complete waste. And 2007-13 would have been an even bigger waste. The talk about MoU and nusu mkate (half a loaf) meant nothing to the old man. He concentrated on the core business of the presidency and delivered the first score home under the ERSWEC (Economic Recovery Strategy and Wealth and Employment Creation) Programme.

He put together some really brilliant brains that designed Vision 2030, which looked beyond 2015 and the politics of the day. Under Kibaki, some really ambitious infrastructural projects were initiated. The road to Nakuru and Thika Superhighway are statements of facts. As Finance minister, Uhuru Kenyatta designed some really brilliant austerity measures that significantly reduced recurrent expenditure.

At a time when the country was at its lowest, it was Uhuru who midwifed the ESP that quickly put some money into pockets and renewed hope among Kenyans. There are a few political parallels between the period 2003-2013 and the current one: Disgruntled voices are heaping all blame on the leadership and calling upon Kenyans to force the government of the day to “pack and go”.

This happened in 2004-07. Political campaigns have started in earnest one year after elections as they did in 2004, one year after the 2002 general election. The players then and now are pretty similar; they are the same faces. While Kibaki had the grace, wisdom, and humility to take it all in stride, in one smile, and in one dismissive phrase ” hiyo ni upumbavu”, his youthful predecessors appear keen to respond to every accusation levelled against them.

They (President Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto) are stuck in the daily monkeyshines that one wonders if they know they are the ones in charge. Unlike Kibaki, Uhuru will respond to everything said by Raila, even the least deserving of his response.

The two gentlemen seem unaware that they have in their stock enough loudmouths to do the lowly job for them. Instead, they have become masters in a choir whose tune can only breed chaos and confusion. Given the challenges facing the country today, the presidency needs to spend more of its time crafting solutions.

From terrorism, a dwindling economy, rising unemployment, food insecurity, global geo-econpolitics that hinges on another cold war; population burst to climate change, Uhuru and Ruto have more than a mouthful to chew. Their choice to go petty can only mean they have run short of ideas and chosen the easy path: blaming the other side and treating Kenyans to the alluring drama of “something called next time”.

Uhuru and Ruto should learn from Kibaki to ignore the ‘croaking of frogs’ and embark on the core duty of leadership. The two should marshal their charges around their pre-election promises and challenges of the day. Article 10 of the constitution provides a starting point.

The two should develop programmes to actualise the values and principles spelt out in the constitution. If they continue hoping that Kenyans will see in their failure a contribution from those upon whom they did not bestow responsibility, they will only have themselves to blame. Kenyans know who their President is and what he must do. The President can only meet their expectation.


The writer comments on topical issues.

-The Star

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