Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mutua always gets it all wrong ( In reference to Government of Kenya Sopkesman on corruption Issues raised by US Senator, Obama on his recent visit to Obama's homeland)

Quoted from Steve Ochuodho article in the EA standard newspaper of September, The 16th.

I listened with dismay to Dr Alfred Mutua’s rejoinder to senator Barack Obama’s candid, lucid and informative speech at the University of Nairobi. The senator exposed the soft underbelly of corruption and tribalism that is driving this country to the brink of collapse.
Mutua and Kenyan Ambassador to the US, Mr Rateng’ Oginga Ogego, should navigate the import of the senator’s speech under five points; tribalism, corruption, deceit, insecurity and fear of free Press.

It is not a secret that tribalism is rife in the Government. Today, nearly in all the parastatals, either the managing director is from Mount Kenya region or his deputy and chief managers are. Does Mutua know that Government institutions are either headed or run by people from the same region?

Does he know that most Kenyans are aware that in all the ministries, either the minister his assistant or the permanent secretary, or all of them, must come from Mount Kenya region? Is it true that Mutua and Rateng’ do not know that those from Mt Kenya region are favoured in employment in the Public Service, police and the army? Could Mutua give us the names of all the DCs, OCPDs, OCSs, and procurement officers in ministries and parastatals?

Government tenders, procurement and contacts are focused at improving only one region.
Kenya today is divided along tribal lines and graft is a crisis. It seems Mutua is not aware of Anglo Leasing, Goldenberg and countless commissions. I also believe that the lop-sided use of Government resources, vehicles and military planes in campaigning escaped Mutua’s attention as an aspect of corruption.

Remember Artur brothers becoming deputy commissioners of police? Who authorised their appointments?

As for insecurity, Kenyans today live in fear of thugs and the police? It is still fresh in the mind of most Kenyans how an Oromo peasant was plucked from his humble village in Ethiopia and forced here as a Mau Mau hero.

It is not lost on us that what happened to the Standard Group premises in March was nothing but an act of terrorism. Please Mutua, turn to open mind approach and not open mouth approach, for mediocrity never wins applause.

The other aspect that the senator talked about is the culture of deceit by our leaders. Mutua, what happened to the promise of leadership by consultation, MoU, new constitution, equitable distribution of resources and zero tolerance to corruption?

It is Narc, which the people gave the contract to run the Government and not Narc-Kenya or government of national unity? Anyway, it is regrettable that persons and institutions that are set on the path of self-immolation will inevitably swagger to their doom.

As for free Press, the raid on the Standard gives us the short of it. If the Government had the goodwill of the majority, it would not have a problem with Press freedom.

But as the Press keeps on exposing the Government for what it is, the State feels uneasy with a free Press. It knows well that throughout history, the media have played a major role in bringing down corrupt and despotic governments.

Mutua, having watched and listened to the revelations at the Kiruki-led Commission, I am sure that right thinking citizens have concluded that in all things, deceit arrives first, dragging fools behind. Truth is always late.

It seems that, after more than three years of political turmoil, the strategies for the future are in tatters. Our ambition today is merely to survive as a nation.

Many well-informed citizens are convinced that however threadbare the country’s unity may appear to outsiders, it is still too tough to be torn irreparably.

Kenya is now more divided, more unsafe, more expensive to live and invest in and more stressful than at any time.

Primordial passions are raging everywhere as people scramble into tribal tents.
As Senator Obama discovered, it is hard to give understanding to someone with no will, and more difficult to give will to someone with no understanding.

Anybody who is observing Kenya from a distance will tell you governance is failing. That is why about 60 per cent of citizens live below poverty line. Security has collapsed too. Every day, people are killed, by the police or robbers.

Recently, in Kisumu Likoni and now in Laikipia and Marsabit people were killed without care or comment from the likes of Mutua.

Most infrastructure has collapsed, services too. Morality has. Leadership almost has. People are plucked from their jobs on basis of tribe. The Government survives by use of tribalism, ignorance, title deeds handouts, district creation, propaganda, violence and intimidation.

* The writer is a risk management consultant: