The collapse of the house of cards that is the Jubilee government started on March 26th 2015. On this fateful day, I watched in shock and disbelief as President Uhuru Kenyatta presented a “list of shame” in his annual statutory state of the nation address in parliament. This was a desperate move to show that he was committed to the fight against corruption. It was his signal that the battle had started. I listened in disbelief and at the end of the address I remember muttering to myself, “mene mene terkel urpashin”. When I was in Sunday school, I was taught that the simple translation of the phrase is “Uthamaki ni wa thiira”, (“Your kingdom is finished”). Uhuru had begun the fall of his own regime.
This was the wrong move in more ways than one, all of them characteristic of the fatally clueless and inept Jubilee government.
Can Uhuru’s government survive a serious purge on corruption?
The answer to this question is a resounding, no. I have explained why in detail in two previous articles http://profmichaelwainaina.com/mr-uhuru-failure-fight-corruption-not-done.html and http://profmichaelwainaina.com/uhuru-system-ya-majambazi.html
What I am not sure about is whether Uhuru knows this. If he does, why would he make such a hopeless attempt to fight corruption? I do not see how Uhuru can fight corruption in the Jubilee government and survive the purge. The best example is the list. It is Jubilee’s flagship action against corruption. When you ask Uhuru what he has done about corruption, he shouts that he presented a list in parliament and asked Cabinet Secretaries to step aside.
The question is, then what?
And the answer is, “then nothing”. Uhuru would have been better-off never having touched that list.
Why is this a bad thing for Uhuru politically, and why is it the reason his regime is over?
Simple. He admitted to corruption in his government, and then failed to decisively act against it. As a leader you cannot admit to a problem and then prescribe a solution that fails to work. This is a fatal mistake. What you do not finish will finish you. The best way to analyse this is to look at Uhuru’s actions against the Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power”. You will notice that the move breaks a number of those laws, and my contention is that Uhuru’s government will not survive these transgressions, mene mene terkel urpashin.
Greene’s law number three says, “Conceal your intentions” and Law number 4 says “Always say less than its necessary”. In presenting the fatal list, Uhuru broke these laws in more ways than one. And to make matters worse, he broke them with both his foes and his allies. First, he exposed himself to his allies that he was ready to throw them under the bus in what they instinctively knew was a futile attempt to fight corruption. The sages of yore warned, “mburi iguthinjwo ndionagio kahiu” . (You do not show the knife to the goat you intend to slaughter.) Those whom he sacrificed have become his enemies, as he confessed during the Statehouse Summit Circus on Corruption. But worse still, those that were left with him are now suspicious of him. Most of those who are corrupt cannot trust him. He showed them the knife.
For his foes, he showed that he could be intimidated to take a lame action against a problem he could not solve. He admitted to corruption in his government and then took hopeless actions against it. His foes no longer have to make a case for corruption in his government. All they have to do is make a case for his inability or unwillingness to fight it. They have even gone further in their boldness. They are not just accusing him of inability or unwillingness in the fight against corruption, they are now accusing him of complicity. The Afya House scandal has been called “President Kenyatta’s own”.
By saying more than is necessary and by revealing his intentions, his allies find him untrustworthy and treacherous. He declared war on graft, drew the sword and only felled his allies and lost the fight to his foes. The foes find him weak, ineffective and limping and are moving in for the kill, using the sword provided to them by Uhuru himself. If corruption is going to be the main contention in the 2017 presidential elections, it is because Uhuru made it so. When push comes to shove, his allies will abandon him, and his foes will move in for the kill, mene mene terkel urpashin.
The so called fight on corruption as heralded by the list was dead on arrival. Again this was due to transgression of Law number 15, “Crush your enemy totally”, Law number 23, “Concentrate your forces”, Law number 28, “Enter Actions with boldness”, and Law number 36, “Disdain things you cannot have”.
First, there is the matter of what happened or did not happen to those in the list. The “implicated” CSs are still walking around as free men and women and some of them are now garnering for political office. Worse still, we have been warned that their cases cannot be sustained in court because investigations were done without a functional EACC Commission in office. The sacked CS’s are not happy with Jubilee. Uhuru, in his haste to commit the worst mistake of his regime, forgot Lyndon B. Johnson’s warning that when it came to politicians, it is better to have them on the inside peeing out rather than have them on the outside peeing in. If Uhuru had decided to fight corruption, those “cat-walking around speaking a lot of English” should have been crashed completely. He should have concentrated his forces and entered the fight with boldness, not in half measures. If he knew he could not enter with boldness, then he should have adhered to rule 36, “disdain the things you cannot have”. He should never have admitted to corruption in his office and his government.
This indecisiveness and transgressions of laws 15, 23 and 28 are to be seen not in who was on the list, but who was NOT on the list. This is actually the bigger reason why the list presented in parliament was considered a big joke by the people of Kenya. The person whose Devolution Ministry was involved in one of the biggest heists of the Jubilee government was not on the list. This raised eyebrows and later became one of the greatest omissions of the list that made the fight announced by Uhuru look like a con job.
But there was another very serious omission, which people talk about in hushed tones. This fundamental omission was recently touched on by the Governor of Kilifi, Amason Kingi, when he decided to give a dress down to the Deputy President for daring to lecture him about corruption in his County. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzD2KcOVzJQ. He said that the DP cannot lecture him on corruption because he lives in a glass house and should not throw stones. He went on to say “uliza hata mtoto wa miaka mitano…umulize ni kiongozi gani ambaye ni mwizi zaidi katika jamhuri ya Kenya, atakwambia”. (Ask even a five year old who the greatest thief in the republic of Kenya is, he will tell you”)
The question is, “does Uhuru know what a five year old in Kenya knows?”
How does he explain that the list did not include the name of “the greatest thief in the Republic of Kenya”.
If Kingi is to be believed, if the list was to be given to a five year old, he would ask, “ako wapi fulani”? (“where is so and so”?). By demonstrating that there were some people who had more political capital and could not be sacrificed, Uhuru substituted himself with those he could not sacrifice, mene mene terkel, urpashin.
What the infamous Statehouse Circus on Corruption showed was that besides the list, its gaps and indecisiveness, Uhuru did not have an actual plan. This is a transgression of Law number 29 which says, “Plan all the way to the end”. The list was not part of a process, it was an event. A disastrous one. A plan-less one. During the cartoonic summit, a pitiful President called out the EACC CEO and told him “Wewe Wakho wewe ulinisimamisha hapo, mbele ya mbunge…na wewe ndio uliniambia hawa watu wako (kwa ufisadi)…mpaka wa leo this is two years, hujaniambia where their guilt is”. ( You Wakho you are the one who made me stand in front of parliament (to present a list)…you are the one who told me these people are corrupt. And yet until today, two years later you have been unable to demonstrate their guilt.) See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgEFC2Gl2CY.
Sometimes the cluelessness of Uhuru and his government are shocking. He is admitting that he went to parliament on the word of an underling, without a comprehensive plan on how things would end. He forgets that he was the one who was politically invested in the fight against corruption and not his underlings. He should have never accepted a list without a fool-proof plan of how the event that would be kickstarted by the list would end. Successfully. He ought to have examined all eventualities and possibilities before he went with empty bravado to parliament. Typical of the Jubilee government, he entered action without a plan. His underlings are now scratching their beard, while he is the one who faces an election next year and a very angry population. Very angry. Mene mene Terkel Urpashin.
When you transgress these many laws of power, it only proves one thing: You have no clue about what you are doing. With the elections 8 months away and the war on graft all but lost, Uhuru will only rely on one thing to get re-elected. A tribal vote. That is why those “known by five year olds as the greatest thieves in the republic of Kenya” were missing from the list. I have advocated for a new non-ethnic political narrative to inspire the people outside this tribal narrative. When this happens, Uhuru has nothing to sell to the people, and the person known by even a five year old as the biggest thief in the republic will not help him. He will be a one term President. He admitted to heading a corrupt government, presented a hopeless list in parliament which antagonized his allies and emboldened his foes. It showed him as incapable of fighting the corruption he had admitted mires his regime. When you are in power, you do not admit to mistakes that you cannot fix. On 26th March 2015, he went to parliament with a list he should never have touched. The list turned out to be a comedy of errors. On 8th August, 2017, he will receive a note from the people of Kenya, when he opens it, the words written in bold will be, mene mene terkel urpashin.