When we shout down the President’s messenger, we shout down presidency

Could we be drifting into Fascism of the latter day?  The creeping intolerance and hero worship in Kenya is amazing. Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang€™i is not allowed to read President Uhuru Kenyatta€™s message in Kisii. The President is considered a political outsider here. So, too, are his messages and their bearers.

Elsewhere, Bomet County Governor Isaac Ruto cannot attend a function in Migori County. That is a CORD county while he belongs to the Jubilee Alliance. His party wants to persecute him for going to a CORD area. Mr Raila Odinga€™s aide, Eliud Owalo, cannot criticise the limping performance of Mr Isaack Hassan€™s Independent Electoral Boundaries and Electoral Commission. Meanwhile Mr Odinga,President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto assume supra human status in their cultural backyards.

Their tribesmen demonise everyone who does not belong, or toe the thin tribal line. Outsiders are welcome on condition they are valued political clients. The ethnic based political intolerance in our country reminds you of the destructive philosophy that was Fascism, at the apogee of World War II. The tenets of Fascism remain today as they were then. There is a narrow sense of €œnationalism.€ In our day and country, the nation is the tribe. The individual must identify with the tribal nationalism or be understood to be a traitor. Tied in the same knot is a shallow construct of patriotism. The individual must be seen to be patriotic to the tribe at all times. It does not matter that the tribe has embraced a decadent cause. The slightest diversion is called treachery.

There is something exceedingly primitive in this brand of politics. You are taken back to the origins of life. Human beings organised themselves into definite groups based solely on birth. In which tribe were you born? The group assembles around near cultic leaders. The leaders cherish their deification. We could say more €“ about, for example, the role of the dictatorial party to which all members of the tribe must belong or perish; xenophobia, chauvinism, abhorrence of criticism.

Let us look at the matter of Dr Matiang€™i and Prof Sam Ongeri. They were petrified in Kisii by what some have claimed was a hired crowd. I do not believe in this bit of hiring. Nobody in Kenya has the capacity to rent such a crowd. But you can indoctrinate it with dangerous Fascist philosophy. They cheered Mr Odinga, punctuating his every statement with laudation. They even chanted, €œOur President.€ Then, at the critical moment, they shouted down Dr Matiang€™i. They left him stranded with President Kenyatta€™s message.

Now a people could hardly expect to sink lower than this. Even if you do not like President Kenyatta, he is the President €“ our President. This includes those who, like me, did not vote for him. Ultimately, it is not Kenyatta the man whom we disrespect, it is the office. The Presidency does not belong to President Kenyatta. It belongs to Kenyans. When we shout down the President€™s messenger, we shout down our Presidency. It€™s a shame. Worse still, it smacks of creeping Fascism.

Meanwhile in Bomet the Governor is in trouble with his party. Sycophants say that he is fighting the party leader, Deputy President William Ruto. Their evidence is that the Governor has emerged as one of the most clear and loud voices on devolution.

Whether he speaks because he believes in devolution, or whether he does so for purposes of selfish political preservation, Mr Ruto has been saying what is in the Constitution of Kenya (2010). However, since this detracts from what seems to be the intent of his party leader, some Members of Parliament from his party have demonised him. They say he should be impeached for protecting the Constitution. If this does not begin frightening you, you live in the fools€™ paradise.

President Kenyatta and his Deputy do not seem to be sincere in their commitment to devolution. Already, two senators €“ Kithure Kindiki of Tharaka Nithi and Kipchumba Murkomen of Elgeyo Marakwet €“ are in trouble over the same issue. Jubilee accuses them of undermining their leaders because of their call for faithfulness to devolution. In essence, President Kenyatta and his Deputy have managed, within 100 days, to push the Senate and the Devolved Government into the Opposition. The Opposition is not a political party. It is a movement. Movements operate open door policies. Anyone can join in or leave at any time. You do not even need to structure yourselves into a recognisable formation. You simply flow in a certain manner. By equivocating and prevaricating on devolution, President Kenyatta and DP William Ruto have pushed even their own governors and senators into the flow of the stream that is the Opposition. I doubt that any amount of threats and intimidation can shut them up. The only thing left for President Kenyatta and the DP to do, if they want back their people, is to be faithful to devolution. Otherwise expect more Isaac Rutos from allover the republic. It is going to be an unbeatable groundswell of Opposition voices.

As for Eliud Owalo, I laughed when I heard them say he was plotting to destabilise the Government. Mr Isaack Hassan and his team have failed this country. As JM Seroney of Tinderet once said, you do not substantiate the obvious. If I heard him right, Hassan recently said that he would not take an oath to tell the truth because he did not €œwant to tell lies in this month of Ramadhan.€ I am still trying to understand what he meant. However, going as it has done so far, Mr Hassan€™s IEBC will be the undoing of this country. You don€™t need Eliud Owalo to tell you this. The writing is on the wall.

Finally, the emerging trend where elected leaders blindly bleat the party line allover the place is not good for any country. Regardless that they are in CORD or Jubilee, elected leaders must demonstrate that they are more than edified automatons. They should not bleat things like, œComrade Napoleon is always right. Thanks to the wise leadership of Comrade Napoleon.€ Citizens who worship such leaders must, for their part, prepare for their own damnation


Barrack Muluka

Barrack Muluka is a publishing editor as well as a social and political commentator on global affairs. He is a regular opinion leader on the BBC, VOA and RFI, as well as on local radio and TV in Kenya. He is a columnist with The Standard and has been published in local and international publications, including The Nairobi Law Monthly, the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation’s Development Dialogue and the Daily Nation of Kenya.

-The Standard



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