By Udi Kagwe
It is difficult for anyone to deny that Kenya is at a good place today. Certainly much better than in years past. A brisk walk around Nairobi reveals working city traffic lights, clean parks (yes, even the Jevanjee Gardens are in impeccable order), painted and well repaired roads.
Driving to Mombasa, as many of us did over the jut ended holidays and we find that the road is well built and well done. The parts finished between Mtito Andei and the outskirts of the coastal city are well done and in good order.
The various industries from agriculture to tourism to ICT are opening up and there have been a good number of indusries opened. Investment in Kenya by kenyans has increased and data from the Central Bureau of Statistics is glowing.
As I write this, over 50,000 foreigners are gathered in Nairobi from all over the world for the next five days. They are attending the 7th World Social Forum at the Nairobi’s Kasarani Complex. Word has it that well over half of these people are not staying in hotels, but are put up in people’s houses across Nairobi. An estimated Kshs. 100,000,000 is being injected into the economy this week.
Just the other day the Kenyatta International Conference Centre was re-admitted into the association of conference venues called International Congress and Convention Association and also International Association of Congress Centres, after many years in exclusion.
All these and many more issues would indicate that President Mwai Kibaki is sitting pretty to be re-elected for another five years ass Kenya’s leader. Or would it?
As things look right now, the most obvious blemish on President Kibaki’s administration is the ever unfolding Kshs. 50 Million corruption scandal, in which key members of his cabinet, David Mwiraria, Energy Minister and poet, Kiraitu Mutungi as well as his number 2, Kenya’s favorite uncle, Moody Awori.
Some shenanigans are clearly being held as Justice Aaron Ringera attempts to clear the ministers of any wrongdoing. A key positive thing about todays Kenya is that there are no media inhibitions and we quickly heard stinging critisism and condemnation of the action to the extent that the Attorney General was forced to back track – if ever so slightly.
In Oxford, the indegefatigable Czar of Fighting Graft, John Githongo has vowed to fight it out to the bitter end. As far as he goes, there shall be no sweeping of anything under any carpet.
Essentially what this means for Kibaki is that he’s in a bad position and if not handled well, things could go awry for him. On the one hand, he has to keep his friends close if he is to return to power and on the other, the county will have him for dinner if he doesn’t deal with it.
All indications are that he is asleep on the job and that he has refused to do anything about the situation.
Don’t under Estimate Kibaki
It would be a dangerous mistake to assume that Kibaki has gone dormant. History has shown that he is a wile individual and that his silence always means something.
In Former President Moi’s cabinet, Kibaki was the most closely watched by Moi’s men because he was perceived as the greatest threat. No wonder because it was he and “Sir” Charles Mugane (jokingly pronounced Mue-Gain) Njonjo, who outmaneuvred the Kiambu Mafia from making a travesty of the constitution – by simply announcing the cabinet’s support for the Vice President.
During this time that he was being so closely watched, Kibaki spent his time very conservatively, nary being seen in secret meetings. Stories are told of how he told people at the Muthaiga Golf Club to stay away or else they would be in trouble.
On December 25th 1986, Kibaki resigned – with a press statement rather than a quiet reignation letter to the president. Barely a week later, he announced the birth of DP – complete with National offices at locational levels.
A similar stance was taken in the previous election and some analysts claim that Kibaki actually manipuated the opposition leaders to agree on him. Certainly before he was seen at the breakfast meetings with Charity Ngilu and the late Wamalwa, he was as always a deep river, running silently.
Beware of the falls.
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