History Will Not Judge You Kindly, Mr. Kibaki.

Disclaimer: The letter below is meant for diasporadical purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

Dear Mr. President,

In Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”, Mark Anthony standing over Caesar’s bleeding corpse says: “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.”

Kenyans being Kenyans may continue to have short memories but there is no doubt that posterity is still likely to remember your failings more than the good you may have done for your people during your two term presidency.

As Kenyans anxiously await the year, day, hour, minute and second you leave the Office of the President accompanied by your wife First Lady Lucy, I cant help but wonder: at what point did you change from leader to ruler?

I ask because we believed you were a leader when we elected you the first time [as for the second time, I wont get into that right now] because leadership is what we’ve sorely needed to steer Kenya forward.

But like every other African despot strongman megalomaniac president known to history, you started out a leader then became a ruler as the power got into your head and as the sychophants and court poets alienated you from the people. It is indeed rare that a ruler can be a leader and do a better job of both.

The difference between ruler and leader?

Well, a ruler has no place in any modern democracy to begin with, since he governs as a sovereign and not as a servant of the people. The ruler is answerable to no one and runs the country as an extension of his personal property. This is quite different from leadership. A leader is creative, adaptive, and agile. He looks at the horizon and not just the bottom line. He acts in the greater good which necessitates having a goal, a direction, an objective, a vision, a dream, a path and a reach.

The bottomline is this: you have destroyed all trust the people may have had in you. Decimated it, actually. In this regard, I echo the sentiments of Prof Yash Pal Ghai that you have consistently betrayed the public trust, trashed all your promises, squandered all the goodwill your people had towards you and hence dashed all hopes of leaving any form of a legacy after your death or welcomed retirement, whichever comes first.

On the subject of the new Constitution, we all knew that your frantic last-minute spirited push for this New Covenant was only motivated by a sense of urgency to leave a lasting legacy. Sadly for you, the Promulgation of the New Constitution will never be your legacy. It is Kenya’s legacy. In fact it would have happened earlier but for the interference of you and your immediate predecessor. Hence, your legacy will, and should remain, your efforts in getting in the way of that historic promulgation day. Even after the coming into force of the new Constitution, you continue to take us back to the old politics of nepotism, tribalism and cronyism.

As for the current constitutional impasse between your coalition partner Raila Odinga and yourself, I believe your puppet Alfred Mutua when he says that you engaged in consultations before making the public nominations of Chief Justice, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget. In fact if people are writing history correctly, they will not fault you for being consultative in your approach to leadership. You’ve been over-consultative, in fact. But your definition of consultation goes against the Constitution and it is the very hallmark of your Presidency. Throughout your terms in office you have surrounded yourself with a mixed batch of goons, thugs and crooks on whom you have too heavily relied on for advice and counsel on how to run this country. This does not amount to consultation, at all. This has been a recurring and consistent trend throughout your tenure. Indeed there have been many other instances when it has more than apparent that you had completely abdicated your powers and left the affairs of Kenya in the hands of a clique of close confidants who owe allegiance to no one not even you.

And now, let me tell what your legacy will be: governing Kenya like a tribal village, paying lip-service to the fight against corruption, representing the living embodiment of impunity, dwarfing Daniel arap Moi’s 24 year dictatorship in only 8 years of office, insulting the collective intelligence of the Kenyan people, vomiting on the shoes of West and other development partners to no ends and making Kenya a laughing stock in the international community.

It is my sincere hope that you will be the last of the breed of Presidents we pay Kshs 2 Million every month and then beg them to do their job.

Yours,
N.V

20 thoughts on “History Will Not Judge You Kindly, Mr. Kibaki.

  1. I don’t think Kibaki will be judged harshly: everyone will probably quickly forget that little niggle with the disputed election in December 2007 and the bloodshed and displacement afterwards. And the little AngloLeasing distraction. Kibaki will be fondly remembered for a recovery in GDP growth and a new constitution and generally treated like a venerable elder.

    One of the reasons I would argue so? It’s in your article: Has Kibaki ever been Mr Clean, Mr Progressive even before he became president? Not a fence sitter? The people he came to power with were not a new administration – they were a reshuffle of the old order, with plenty of legacy issues. We forget, don’t we? We actually took his ‘corruption will be a thing of the past’ campaign promise at face value.

    There are ever so many thieves who still run around freely. Steal a mobile phone, and you’ll be beaten to a pulp. Steal a couple of hundred million, and you’ll be hero worshipped. Kamlesh Pattni, for example. Or you can just continue as MP, or maybe become governor. Memory space for misdeeds seems really, *really* limited.

  2. Kenyans are generally a forgetful breed. People are now singing Moi hero songs after almost sending him into exile in 2002. We are to blame for most of what we are seeing. But in his defense, this country has seen a lot of growth in his tenure including the freedom of speech you seem to have here. In a past era you’d have been shut down without a second word.

    True, he hasn’t been the best we can do, but if you look at the people starting to campaign, it shows we could have done much worse!

  3. NV, while I share your anger and disappointment, I am inclined to agree with Andrea Bohnstedt and Murasta on the incorrigible forgetfulness of Kenyans.

    We are Kenyans, we know ourselves. Especially if the way we’ve dealt with Daniel arap Moi is anything to go by.

    Believe it or not, future generations will most likely see Kibaki as the man who gave children from poor families the opportunity for free education, and a president who opened up democratic space in Kenya, and gave the country its first real taste of political freedom.

  4. You astound me w/ your take on the situation (LOVE IT! & I agree w/ you!). Bless your heart and bless Freedom of Speech…of expressions, both of which are integral hallmarks of a democratic society.

    Proud of you mon NV!

  5. Hm. Has DiaspoRadical become a soapbox for tarnishing Kibaki’s name of late or what? Like you said NV, history remembers one’s evils but he aint gone yet, lets not be the first to propagate the man’s shortcomings. Plus, for insider info about what really went on recently between raila and baba jimmy, check out @oleitumbi on twitter and let mainstream media houses keep at what they are paid to do: PR.

    • leadership starts at the top and Koala’s Kibaki’s lethargic laissez-faire approach leaves alot to be desired. Just saying it like it is, buddy.
      As for @oleitumbi, I have several queries about the source of some of his info. hmm.

      • Me and him have been on the same page so far. Maybe we are getting our info from the same place? hehe.

        Kibaki is doing what’s best for the country. I’m not exactly pro-him but I’m proud of what he does behind the scenes for Kenya. The truth of the matter is, most wouldn’t be able to handle the truth about what happened during PEV, much less what had been planned. When you do your research and find top gvt officials had flown their families out as soon as they’d voted…., when you discover what the stance of the army was pertaining the election results…, when you come to grips with the fact that many American families (living in plush Gigiri and Runda) had packed up and left as early as August…

        People don’t want the truth, and even if they did they couldn’t handle it.

  6. Watch kenyans pull some crazy suprises come 2012 and elect the same goons into power for some lame excuse or another. We get the leaders we deserve. The question should be..whats is your legacy dear mwananchi. Yes you…what is the legacy you leave your children to inherit, what is your legacy when you die, what did you do for your country and for one another. The power belongs to the people, its about time people woke up and took responsibility for all the mess we find this country in. Only then will things start to change. Yeah i said it…its all our fault!!

  7. The authors judgement – reflected in his authorship – is clouded by a clear abundance of emotion. The crux of his arguments are rooted in sentiment, as opposed to a pragmatic awareness of the state of our beloved republic.

    Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, but just as important is the responsibility that accompanies it.
    I too desire progress for and in my country, but let us vest our passions in progressive debates as well as actions, and not retrospective rumblings.

    I stand to be corrected, but indulge me as I pose the following; what has the article achieved save airing bitterness albeit articulately? I can infer no suggestions… well, there is a wanton disrespect for our President, and by that I take it you want him to vacate the throne. At the end of the day, he has done more for our country than he is given credit for, and a lot more than a lot of nay sayers ever will. I agree he has had his moments of flawed judgement, but so has every great leader you can think of.

    I express as much, not because of any bias towards any political factions… if I have any bias, it is for my country-women and men.

    I greatly respect your desire for progress, otherwise you wouldn’t be so passionate, however, let us not get carried away.

    “Appetitus Rationi Pareat”
    ‘Let your desires be ruled by reason.’ ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero.

    “Men decide far more problems by hate, love, lust, rage, sorrow, joy, hope, fear, illusion, or some other inward emotion, than by reality, authority, any legal standard, judicial precedent, or statute.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero.

    I write all this with the utmost respect, I welcome you to disagree with me where you or any other person audience to my brief comment sees fit. I thank-you if you have gotten to this point.

    Health and happiness to you and yours.

    • My blogging is meant to encourage people to think. Verily, I admit that in appealing to the emotions and common conscience of my readers, I awaken my own.
      That being said, it is our aim here at DR to speak freely on wide range of issues we feel passionate about. We dont claim to be experts or scholars but we never shy away from airing out our grievances and thoughts on any issue, and we eagerly await views and comments on the same.

      As for views on Kibaki, I submit to you that even this “opening up of the democratic space in Kenya” which he’s often credited with has been through the resilience and fortitude of the Kenyan people, not his administration.

  8. @IntellectualHedonist @Murasta @AndreaBohnstedt

    The common thread running through your three comments is the innate forgetfulness of Kenyans and this much I concede in the opening paragraphs of my “letter” to Baba Jimmy.

    But, I believe Kenyans will look at Kibaki, his bloated stomach and equally bloated cabinet as an example of what NOT to vote in come 2012. They’ll be looking to elect the anti Kibaki’s of this country. A candidate that will champion the spirit and letter of the Constitution, a candidate who’s manifesto shall be anchored on a representative power-sharing formula that includes all communities, genders, ages and classes of Kenyans, a candidate who has a credible plan and budget to expand the country’s physical and communication infrastructure among other things.

    Since 2007, I believe Kenyans have come to terms with just how powerful their vote is and will demand candidates to pull out their CVs and prove to them that they are capable and trustworthy. In this regard, the past memories of Kibaki and indeed Moi will be in their minds as they decide on a suitable President for this nation.

    • I beg to differ NV. I don’t think it’s forgetfulness. I think it’s lack of exposure.

      He who does not know tends not to know that he does not know.

      Simply put, when I lived in the village I thought the local town center was the peak of modernity. I did not know anything better simply because I could not imagine anything better.

      Well, that’s the majority of Kenyans. They don’t know any better. For many, greeting the hand of the local mp who drove in on a luxury Benz is as good as it gets. Because, according to him, that’s the epitome of power. He’s never heard of the concept ‘servant of the people’ let alone democracy. BUT this is gradually changing. And for all his shortcomings I think that this is one thing that Kibaki will be remembered for: Education. Not (just) the FPE :) but also allowing an atmosphere (perhaps through his passivity) for people to become more aware: especially politically.

      That said, history is also defined by the future: it may get better or it may get worse. However, I still think that history will remember Kibaki’s regime as the point when things turned around in Kenya…

      • Nyam,

        I dont disagree with you on the lack of political maturity among the populace that would for instance translate in a failure to appreciate the fundamental concept of “servant leadership”.

        But my point remains, and it is illustrated by the reality we grapple with every day. The Constitution has brought in a whole new culture of accountability, transparency and openness. Our people must be up to the task and if it requires civic education country-wide, so be it! That’s what the new devolved system of Counties are for!

        We must educate and elevate our people!

  9. I would hereby like to RT nyam’s comment. The masses live in a world apart, believing everything they are told and who can blame them? Not everyone studies political science (nor economics at The London School of Economics). In the ideal world, countries and governments are deeply rooted in policies and whatnot but in this real world of whims and humanness, politicking and ‘secret society’ type happenings where a cabal of acquaintances make things happen as they happen.

  10. Simply put, Kibaki has been a disappointment and he will remain to be that. The reality is that Kibaki has in the first term, make Kikuyus the most disparaged society in Kenya without seeming to do so.This was an effort that Moi tried for 24yrs and hardly succeeded.

    On corruption, its worse to even name Kibaki a reformist, he is a status-quo man and he seeks to maintain that.

    The good thing about his bad presidency is that its coming to an end. It will be a real good-riddance.

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