Why I found contents of President’s article in ‘Washington Post’ amusing
I read with amusement an article in the Nation newspaper on December 20 that referred to an opinion article by Uhuru Kenyatta writing as President of the Republic of Kenya in the Washington Post of December 18, 2017.
In that article, Uhuru criticised the opposition for allegedly failing in its oversight role in his first five years in office.
He said the opposition failed to hold his government to account during the time he implemented major infrastructure modernisation, health sector and education reforms.
Why was I amused? Was the President inadvertently admitting that all those activities he undertook in his first term were done in an unaccountable manner but the opposition failed to call his administration out?
We all know Kenya needs the standard gauge railway but not at the cost his administration incurred.
We all know about the health sector containers still stuck in Mombasa that set us back Sh1 billion plus.
We all know about the looting in the ministry of Devolution, especially through the National Youth Service account.
We all know about the Afya House Sh5 billion scandal involving some of his relatives.
We all know about the sudden wealth acquired by people in his administration.
We all know the scandal at the judiciary where they suddenly found themselves with such a huge budgetary allocation they didn’t know what to do with it but steal it.
We all know that five years down the line, his promise for Standard One children to get laptops is all but dead.
We also know that many of the culprits fingered by investigative agencies, including the parliamentary watchdog committees such as PAC, have since been allowed to walk free because the anti-corruption agency EACC was “not properly constituted” at the time these suspects were charged by the agency in court.
To add insult to injury, we have seen some of these suspects allowed to vie for elective positions and win with no admonition from his administration but instead receive congratulatory accolades from him and his lackeys.
Indeed one such person has been elevated to the top echelons of an organ charged with coordinating devolution and the President himself ensured that this happens.
So the President has known all along that his administration has been unaccountable to the people?
He has admitted it by accusing the opposition of not holding his administration to account.
If he knows this, as he has admitted that he does, why doesn’t he respect Kenyans by stopping the unaccountable behaviour?
I wish to tell the President that the opposition has not failed to hold his administration to account.
All the above mentioned misbehaviour by his administration has been pointed out by the opposition but it is his administration that has failed to take action against the perpetrators or even attempt to recover the “loot”.
Or perhaps there is more that the President knows his administration has done in an unaccountable manner that the opposition hasn’t figured out!
In that case all he should do is stop that behaviour by his people.
Because he says in his article in the Washington Post that “the opposition has failed in its role to scrutinise and seriously inquire about government programmes”, I demand the President reveals the unaccountability of his administration’s programmes now that “the opposition has failed to do so” and yet he seems to know.
A strong, bold and inquisitive elected opposition that he demands does exist.
It is just that apart from writing in foreign newspapers about it, his administration either ignores, intimidates and where possible bribes some elements in the opposition to look the other way as the plunder by his administration continues.
My take is that the President is telling Americans “hey look, I am only bad because the opposition at home allows me to be bad…”
When the President’s actions in deed and word are questioned by the opposition in Kenya, he throws tantrums and moves to clamp down on Parliament as he did after the Supreme Court ruling.
He urgently and desperately wanted Parliament to change electoral laws before the repeat election.
He had GSU surround Parliament and intimidate lawmakers as they went in.
How he can turn around and now blame the opposition for being weak beats all reason.
Does he want the opposition to also arm themselves with vigilantes as they go to Parliament so that he doesn’t see them as weak.
Mr President, you need to re-examine your intentions.
All of us must accept that election theft by rigging and other shenanigans is not going to grow our democracy.
And the President trying to blame the opposition for the failed attempt at democracy is totally unhelpful and outright dangerous.
Who is in a better position to grow and entrench democracy in Kenya if not the President and his Deputy?
As for the rest of us, we occasionally strike a blow for democracy in courts of justice or in Parliament but Jubilee, under Uhuru, quickly rolls back these gains.
Emboldened by having pilloried the ICC into capitulation, I believe jubilee is now hell-bent on dismembering our judiciary, colonising Parliament and, after weaponising development, will eventually annihilate devolution.
Dr Eseli Simiyu is MP for Tongaren constituency and Ford Kenya Secretary-General