Wednesday, March 25, 2009



March 23 2009

OURS IS A TRULY GREAT and awesome land. The land of snow-capped peaks on the Equator, sun-kissed beaches, the great Rift Valley, endless savannah teeming with wildlife, the great wildebeest migration, the splendour of Lake Victoria, the cave elephants of Mount Elgon, and all the other wonders that would make Kenya the world’s premier tourist destination were it nor for inept marketing.

To the list of uniquely Kenyan features, we can add the country’s position as the quarrel capital of the world.

Yes, when it comes to human achievement, we can add to fleet-footed runners, all-conquering rugby sevens, an entrepreneurial streak that makes gold and diamonds out of thin air, and a capacity for quarreling second to none.

Quarreling is indeed a national pastime, without which there would be no life. Leaders are selected or elected, not on their honesty, experience, qualifications, programmes or ideology, but on how adept they are at quarreling.

And this is not just picking quarrels with those on the opposite side of the political spectrum, but about finding cause for quarrels even within your own party.

A leader who is not forever on the warpath against enemies, real and imagined, swiftly drops out of the radar and is considered a wimp, a softy, a weakling.

So we celebrate the brave and fearless leaders like Raila Odinga, William Ruto and Martha Karua, the rating being based purely on the decibel count they generate.

For those leaders who are not too voluble, Mwai Kibaki, Musalia Mudavadi, Uhuru Kenyatta, for instance, we see lack of spine, lack of leadership, remote and aloof accidental leaders who don’t know how to protect their turf and how to take battle to their foes.

Then there are the wannabe national leaders trying to make themselves heard above the din. We can go back to history and come up with a long list of fellows who rose to great power purely due to their ability to make the noise that most attracts the attention of their political patrons.

We had Kihika Kimani, Shariff Nassir. Kariuki Chotara and Mulu Mutisya in years gone by. A more recent generation has included Otieno Kajwang’, Danson Mungatana, Joshua Kuttuny, Kalembe Ndile and others known more for their vocal cords than anything else.

Even when we at first might dismiss many of the noisemakers as just court jesters, buffoons or just plain irritants, eventually they are the ones likely to outlast everybody else and rise to ethnic, regional and eventually national leadership.

THAT IS BECAUSE WE SEE THE CAPACITY to wage verbal battle as a reflection of the capacity to wage real war on behalf of party, community, region or other interest when push comes to shove.

I don’t know whether it is in the Kenyan gene, but for some reason, we place a premium on fighters and warriors. That is why, eventually, we create and sustain not statesmen, but ethnics warlords.

Now, ethnic warlords, whether in Somalia or Kenya, Sierra Leone or Liberia, Congo or Rwanda, do not easily take no for an answer.

The concept of losing an election is pretty alien here. And that is why our elections are bound to forever degenerate into ethnic bloodshed because our brand of leaders will always call their people out to war.

I don’t know how much civic education and how many peace workshops it will take to cure that particular defect in our body-politic.

This is not something that can be cured with the national cohesion programmes under the national accord and reconciliation process. We need more than a generation, and with another election due on December 2012, if not sooner, we don’t have the luxury of time.

I have a quick simple and drastic solution. Do drop me a line, however rude, if you have a better proposal.

I hope the good men and women we have appointed to provide us with a new constitution are reading this: Ban any parliamentary candidates from seeking a seat in their “home area”.

For this purpose, define home area as province of birth, province of birth of either parents; home area as listed in the national identity card; province of residence; and any province where one has resided continuously for at least two years in the past, including the place where one attended school.

What would be the effect? It would man that Uhuru Kenyatta might have to seek a parliamentary seat in Ugenya; Raila Odinga in Kirinyaga; William Ruto in Imenti; George Saitoti in Webuye; Musalia Mudavadi in Mvita and Martha Karua in Keiyo.

With a stroke of the pen, we will have wiped out the concept of ethnic leadership in our midst.


Submitted by SJ502
Posted March 24, 2009

Lol...well intentioned proposal but it will not work Gaitho...Why? a Kenyan warlord is first an incurable loser (they’re so unlike the hardworking President Obama) and they totally lack a national appeal beyond their home turfs. My proposal: - Kenya adopts the traditional Women Groups 'Mwethya' concept in the constitution...that State House gets 'Merry-Go-Round-President'. That’ll make instant impact as Kikuyu and Kalenjin men and women, for example become eligible as presidential candidates in another 200 years. No more tribal wars, no dynasties and the good news is we'll all be dead anyway!

Submitted by lilkeke
Posted March 24, 2009 08:13 PM

If only the kenyan public was as smart as you!anyway, Kenyans will live to suffer from their ignorance!