by Mukurima X Muriuki
Dear Uhuru Kenyatta
Mr. President, first of all I want to wish you the best in your new year. My prayer is that the righteous winds of blessings continue to blow in your in direction and that you may find favor in God’s eyes. Once again Happy Birthday, Mr. President.
Mr. President, 2 years ago I lost my grandfather to bone cancer. He was a great man. I learned so much from him. Every history that I got acquainted with about Kenya was through him. He was what anyone would ever hope for in a grandfather. He had been around, you know, for quite a while. He used to narrate to me the struggles he and others had to endure in pursuit of independence, the sacrifices patriotic men and women made in the hope that they hand over a free and liberated Kenya for the sake of their children and their children’ children. My grandfather took every civil obligation very seriously. Every time a chief, who would summon a baraza, he would be among the first to arrive. During national holiday celebrations, he would attend the local ceremony that would be presided over by the D.O. He did so, not because he was a KANU stooge, or that he liked Moi; his conviction was that only through observing and learning about Moi’s policies, if any existed, could he make an informed choice when it came to voting and not just cast his ballot out of raw emotions.
In 2002, I cast my vote for the first time. I did so at Lower Baricho Primary School polling station early in the morning. I can never forget the thrill. In fact that morning it rained heavily and oh my, the fragrance as the raindrops hit the soil! Nothing beats that, not even a glass of Kata Pingu! Unfortunately, Mr. President, I did not vote for you. I was swallowed by the Rainbow movement and voted for Mwai Kibak, who by then was a reformed tribalist. But I still voted for him. My grandfather, well, had a different line of thinking and he voted for you. Imagine that. He cast his vote, in 2002, for Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. He saw in you, a young man who could rescue the country’s ship that was stuck in miry clay of corruption, a leader who could ensure that every Kenyan had a decent shot at life. Later on, and as recorded in one of his diaries, he saw you as a break from the norm. In his thinking, you represented change. The rest, Mr. President, is history.
But what if he heard the confession you made the other day? See, just a few days ago, the world saw and heard what you said, an admission that you were incapable of fighting corruption. All I want to ask you, Mr. President is: “Where the hell is the Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta my grandfather voted for in 2002, and in whom he envisioned a change agent?”
You know what hurts and irks so many people Mr. President? A few days after you made that bold declaration; a report came out that about 5 billion shillings had been looted from the ministry of health. Mr. President, just think about that for a moment and let it sink in. People stealing billions of shillings from the ministry of health, yet women and children are dying everyday, their lives halted by diseases that would have been prevented had some humongous amounts of money been put to the correct use instead of being siphoned by cartels that really don’t care about their brothers and sisters.
What if the government had allocated this money towards research related to say a cure for cancer, or something close? Is there a possibility my grandfather may have benefitted from such a cure and I could still be tapping into his wealth of knowledge today? It is tough to imagine the many Kenyans who have died as a result of such a deplorable healthcare system riddled with such corruption. It is a shame when you think the audit reveals this is just a tip of the iceberg!
I tell you what Mr. President; it is being morally, intellectually, spiritually, and politically insincere when you say you don’t know what to do about the prehensile tentacles of corruption. You know why? Because the government, your government, is full of political hacks! It is as simple as that! Most of the government appointees are political refugees and cronies with no integrity whatsoever, whose significant qualification is their mastery of the now infamous “Pay to play.” These political hacks don’t know what public service means. I doubt if they have been to an ethics class in the first place! You know it, I know it and everybody knows it, Mr. President! It is a disaster (add Trump’s pompous voice).
Finally Mr. President, allow me to share a very short story with you. Once upon a time, actually in 1984, my grandfather owned a matatu christened “Mukurima Shambani Baricho.” One day in the dead of the night while he was sleeping, 4 men entered his compound and stole this vehicle. Actually I would not call it stealing since they just drove the car away having obtained a copy of the key from someone! In addition, their mission was so well coordinated that it was obvious someone had tipped them off. It was like duck to water. Have you watched the movie American Ninja one where Michael Dudikoff quips “way too easy?”
Well, whenever I asked grandpa for details on what exactly happened that night, this was his well-thought out answer:
“A hyena can only enter the compound using the hole created by the family dog.”
Mr. President, do your job and get those family dogs the hell out of government.