Tuesday, September 29, 2009



By Jerry Okungu
September 29, 2009

Compared to the first two presidents we ever had, Kibaki’s story when it is finally written, will be the richest and most colorful. It will be the most readable chapter in our national history because of the endless drama that has characterized it.

If Kibaki had ruled America for just one year, tons of books would have been churned out by biography experts. Even Hollywood would have butted in with a movie such as Two Centers of Power or even better still, The President who lost the Power to Lead.

Forget the last seven years of President Kibaki’s rule. Just these last three weeks have been enough drama for the President. I only hope that those handlers that are close to him will one day write down their memoirs and allow Kenyans to have a glimpse at how intrigues of power enriched President Kibaki’s legacy in his last days in politics and more importantly, who advised him on what and how he reacted to such counsel.

Can you imagine that in the last three months, President Kibaki has had to deal with the sensitive issues of Mau Forest, cabinet failure to set up a tribunal as required by the ICC, settlement of the IDPs, the controversial appointment of Bethuel Kiplagat as chairman of the TJRC and an even more stormy reappointment of Justice Aaron Ringera to the KACC that has put him in collision with Parliament?

As if all of the above have not been enough headaches for one man, he has had to deal with problems of travel bans from the United States’ State Department targeting some of his ministers and top civil servants in his administration.

The way I see it, President Kibaki is going through these problems because he thrives in chaos. Had he not enjoyed the situation, he would have moved fast to deal with his advisors as he asserts his authority on how things should be done his government.
The President is in a quagmire because he is surrounded by wrong advisors; opportunists that would rather lead him to the gallows as long as the y benefit from the chaos that the President now finds himself in.

Many of the problems that Kibaki is currently dealing with are political and can be easily sorted out politically without unnecessary debates in the cabinet. In any case, the present cabinet by its sheer size alone is the wrong place to have any meaningful discussion. It is a crowd.

If Kibaki had good advisors and a solid cabinet, he would have not discussed the plight of Mau Forest thieves in the cabinet where some of those thieves sit. He would have ordered the eviction of illegal squatters and loggers from Mau Forest and any other water towers through an Executive Order. Today, the Mau Forest issue would be history and Kenyans would have moved on with their lives.

If Kibaki had genuine legal advisors in the name of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, they would have advised him to nullify all title deeds issued fraudulently in the past even if on orders of the past heads of state. He would have ordered the arrest of those wealthy Kenyans who infiltrated landless squatters to allocate themselves huge chunks of Mau Forest and charged them in court. Had he done these things, we would today be discussing the plight of land grabbers in police cells and law courts rather than how to compensate thieves in our midst.

If Kibaki had good advisors, he would have bypassed Parliament a long time ago on realizing that interested parties would not allow the bill on a special tribunal to pass. He would have called Justice Gicheru, empowered him to set up a special court within the Judiciary and charge all suspects in Waki’s list with assistance from the ICC prosecutor. As long as the special court met international standards, today Ocampo would not be threatening to set up tent on our borders and Ranneberger would not be singing impunity songs on our heads.

Had Kibaki formed a lean and solid cabinet even with the coalition challenges, his orders on IDPs Operation Rudi Nyumbani would have been carried out to the letter. We would today not be talking of IDPs on the eve of El Nino rains. We would today not be giving fresh ultimatums a year later. Heads would have rolled had some wayward minister failed to carry out his instructions.

The way I see it, some of Kibaki’s advisors have for a long time been sabotaging his presidency. The reason I say this is because every time President Kibaki goofs on a public appointment, his advisors never utter a word. They stand aside as the public ridicules the President.

For how else can one explain why Bethuel Kiplagat was appointed to head the TJRC instead of Bishop Gitari or Justice Waki? When Mandela appointed Tutu to head the TJRC, it was his standing in international circles but more so his courage to confront injustice when he saw it that convinced Mandela that the Bishop fitted the bill. It had nothing to do with his diplomatic flattering abilities.

Finally, the reappointment of Aaron Ringera summarized the level of dishonesty among the President’s men. They threw their master to the dogs!