Sunday, August 2, 2009



AUGUST 1, 2009

Perhaps Lessonet should learn to let the devil carry his own cross
Some of those shouting loudest on Mau top list of land grabbers By Barrack Muluka

Those who would aspire to hold high office would do well to reflect with Confucius when he says of men and women; "A noble man concerns himself with what is good. An inferior man with what is profitable."

The noble leader concerns himself with matters of State, the inferior chap with parochial merchandise. The inferior man’s merchandise lacks the power of stay. It will decompose in a matter of days, if it is not dealt with urgently.

The profit of the inferior man is therefore founded upon rot. It cannot support anything good, nor can it be supported for long by what is good.

Even if rot is itself initially supported by what is alive and well, it can only be for a short while. For that which supports rot must shortly be infected and go to rot as well. Such is the way of nature. And the laws of nature are unalterable.

Brought closer home and to visibility, those who believe that they are presidential material and would aspire to be presidents sometime, ought to behave like presidents in waiting. They cannot afford to be ambassadors and salesmen of contemptible and narrow sectional merchandise and propaganda at the expense of universal good. In the Kenyan and African case, they cannot afford to be tribal chieftains. They cannot shout and proclaim war cries for tribes even when they should recognise the short term character of the goals their war cries seek to achieve for the tribe.

The shouting and chest thumping over the Mau Forest by sundry gentlemen who claim to be leaders from the Rift Valley Province has all the marks of amateur but dangerous ‘shoutants.’ They claim to speak for the tribe even when they should know that the good that they seek for those they claim to speak for is founded upon rot. It cannot withstand the test of time. I had never thought that the day would come when we would find ourselves arguing about the merits and demerits of saving forests and water towers. The relationship between the survival of the forest and the rest of the ecosystem is a matter of such common sense that we must pity ourselves if we must lecture anybody on this. Worse still, we must pity ourselves if anybody who claims to answer to the tag of a leader would seek to be the beneficiary of such a lecture.

But in point of truth these gentlemen do not need lectures on the environment. It is not that they do not know that they are the purveyors of the annihilation of this generation and the guarantee of no future generations – or at best desert generations in the region as a whole. But the expediency of their short-term goals is such that they must close their sight to the future. They must urgently create the impression that some community is under assault by the rest of the Kenyan nation.

They must feverishly run from one rooftop to the next working up the crowds they claim to speak for and making war cries and angry claims of betrayal. They must in the process intimidate, threaten and blackmail the world the way only owners of lethal private armies can do.

The singular lesson emerging from the Mau Forest controversy is the callousness of leadership whose foundation is tribal patronage. It is very important for those whose only asset is that they are tribal spokespersons to cast the tribe all the time as an endangered species and themselves as the saviours and protectors of the tribe and tribal interests.

But is it possible that the same mouth that shouts untenable things for the tribe can also find within it space to speak for the larger nation? Some of the gentlemen screaming angry and destructive ethnic things are known to be eyeing the highest seat in the land. If they are this virulent when they are not yet in power, how more vicious will they be, should they unfortunately get there someday?

But these same people were running allover the country not so long ago, peddling themselves as reformists. They uttered convenient populist sounds on just about anything – including forests and other natural resources, which they blamed the then Narc Government of abusing. The question has been asked repeatedly, who are these former Kanu people who have been hiding in ODM claiming to be reformists?

Who is it that is asking to be compensated for stolen property that has been found in their possession? When you handle stolen property you do not get compensation for it when the owners catch up with you. You go to jail. That is what we should be talking about – jail.

The Kanu chickens are coming home to roost, once again. When times were tough, they recognised in Raila Odinga the captain of the ship they believed would dock in the right harbour. They put on the correct disguise and got on board.

Now that they are home and dry, it is easy to accuse Raila of betrayal and to behave like slave owners and commanders of private armies. Perhaps both the Prime Minister and the President can use this opportunity to thin down the Government and give the country a lean, focused and efficient government? We are getting tired of the unending irritating threats, intimidation and innuendo from inferior leaders. Who can save us?