When I was coming of age, Kenya was undergoing a marvelous political transformation. The fruits of the second liberation were ripening. Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga led a host of other revolutionary politicians, and in a wave of political victory against then President Daniel Arap Moi and the despotic KANU machinery—the first ever since independence—multiparty…
The man whose picture simultaneously stared into my eyes and into the distance past me has now rested. The hero pilot who steered the plane that was definitely headed for a devastating crush back to safety and laid a basis for safer flights has bid us goodbye. I celebrate his life even as I mourn his demise.
For restoring hope to the hopeless, for rekindling the dying flames of a Kenya where dreams and aspirations are possible and realizable, for a life of service well lived in service, for setting an example and being a yardstick in an impossible environment, for doing more and talking less, may Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki find a special place with the saints and the angels. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
The Supreme Court’s verdict nullifying the BBI process is another landmark ruling, hot on the heels of others that have spoken to power in the past decade. The judgement and its near consistence with rulings on the issue at the High Court of Kenya and the Court of Appeal of Kenya bolsters Kenyans’ confidence in the country’s judiciary. Ever since the reforms that came with the constitution of Kenya 2010, the judiciary has set itself apart as a fair player among the three arms of government. Nowhere has the separation of powers been more potent and meaningful than in the interaction between the judiciary and the executive. Even against the odds of reduced budgetary allocations and threats from the president himself, the judiciary has stood tall and rebuffed every attempt at encroaching on its constitutional mandate.
It’s a girl the physician announces
Shrieks of ululation break through the silent halls
Three, four, five, the audience counts
Six? It’s a wonder
She’s a wonder
A lioness, and a dove
Russia’s possession of nuclear weaponry no doubt makes Putin akin to a suicide bomber. Approaching him can mean death. Poking him may bring about woe and anguish. But isn’t tiptoeing around a terrorist akin to massaging a crocodile’s tail?
It would not have been impossible for the US to go it alone with the sanctions. But wouldn’t that have minimized the impact to the Kremlin? Alternatively, the US could have somehow forced Europe to comply. What kind of leadership would that have been for a nation priding itself in the principles of democracy though? And what kind of a relationship would the White House be crafting between the US and its allies?
Now, Uhuru and Ruto are the greatest of antagonists. Their former common foe is Ruto’s adversary but Uhuru’s best friend. All this with nothing having changed: the corruption issues that Raila used to castigate Uhuru’s government for have not been resolved and Ruto is still Uhuru’s deputy having been his treasured running mate twice! But Raila’s current opinion is that Ruto is corrupt, and Uhuru a good president. Uhuru now echoes Raila with the claim that Ruto is a thief.
Like a blank page,
Clear as crystal,
Yet hazy as a psychic’s prediction,
Like a gift waiting to be unwrapped,
But peeling itself away each second,
Heavy in the chest a heart races
Disobeying the force of will a pair of eyes pursue
Bend after hairpin bend a hunt ensues
The one loses the other before either ever belongs
President Kenyatta has systematically hijacked the fruits of the second liberation that, having been delayed during KANU’s stint at the helm between 1992 and 2002, had begun ripening under NARC and later the Coalition government.
For one, Kenyatta obliterated the opposition in the guise of uniting the country through the handshake. Moreover, the president sought to discredit the fourth estate by mocking, demeaning, and attacking the media using words such as “Gazeti ni ya kufunga nyama.” Additionally, the government eroded the right to peacefully demonstrate by countering peaceful protests with teargas and beatings. Then, using cabinet secretaries and other executive officials sycophantically loyal to him, the head of state weakened the other arms of government—the judiciary was brought to its knees through a reduced budget while the legislature went to the dogs when the sinister pact between the president and Raila Odinga gave the former unfathomable power to unleash severe punishment towards the law makers who dared stand up to his ridiculous stances.
Wasn’t it Uhuru Kenyatta that framed Raila Odinga as a power-hungry monster who was behind his and William Ruto’s woes at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2012/2013? Didn’t he angrily brand the former premier a Kîmûdû and use a host of other unmentionable diatribes on him? Wasn’t he the one that promised a twenty-year reign of Jubilee divided between himself and William Ruto with the words, Wangoje yangu kumi na ya William kumi? Didn’t he mock the opposition with Endeleeni kumeza mate na sisi tuendelee kula nyama? Didn’t he stand side by side with William Ruto as the latter lied through his teeth about the nine stadia?