Clever theatrics will never make a great leader, force of convictions will
Prime Minister Raila Odinga is in danger of losing his voice just when he needs it most. With an election in less than a year, and with hordes of radicalised tribal voters being marshalled against him, it will take the votes of the better-educated middle-class Kenyans to see him into office.
The property-owning, economically ambitious middle-class, which is spread throughout the country is concerned about political stability.
It also does not wish to be associated with a corrupt, unstable banana republic characterised by flare-ups of bloodletting.
I respect myself as a citizen and I take very seriously my patriotic duty to this country, which my father and his age-mates shed their blood for. We honour those who died for our freedom by being free, by being independent.
I am, therefore, not going to vote according to the wishes of some tribal chief, nor am I going to be manipulated by some simple-minded political operative. It is people like me who, if they try a little hard, can evaluate candidates with some measure of objectivity.
The middle classes are as tribalistic as anyone else but they have a better chance of identifying their interests and voting accordingly.
Why am I shooting my mouth off? As a country with a history of assassinations, it takes a very insensitive person to dismiss out of hand a leader who says his, or someone else’s life, is in danger.
But it takes a particularly reckless and desperate politician to make such a claim as part of some cheap propaganda. The only way Mr Jakoyo Midiwo can avoid this characterisation is if he has good evidence.
When the life of your leader and the stability of your country are in danger, you don’t go to a funeral/rally. You go and see the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Chief Justice, the Commissioner of Police, the chief of intelligence, the head of public service, the President — you go to the people who can protect him.
It is only after you have seen these offices that you can tell Kenyans: Yesterday I went to see the Speaker about this plot, which I have uncovered to assassinate my leader.
Surely, if this is some clever drama dreamt up by Mr Midiwo, I am sure Mr Odinga does not need it to get elected.
I remember there was a case about a grenade found outside the PM’s office some months ago. What became of that? I also remember the case of the Armenian mercenaries who were allegedly here as part of a plot against Mr Odinga. And what became of that?
Great leaders are not made or sustained by clever theatrics but by the demonstrable force of their convictions. Look at Aung San Suu Kyi; her voice, even when she is quietly in detention, is strong.
Mr Odinga will find his when he silences those smart alecs — or plotters — who would play with things which can plunge the country into bloodshed. Shame on them!
I have just spent an hour in very bad traffic on these beautiful and expensive roads that President Kibaki has built for us. I am angry and frustrated at the incompetent fools who are supposed to be managing transport in this city.
Smart people like Transport Minister Amos Kimunya ought to know that roads alone are far from enough. You can’t, for God’s sake, move a city in vans. You move a city via a mass transit system: trains, trams, buses.
The way to decongest the city is to gather all these vans a safe distance from the city and invite the patriotic boys of the Kenya Air Force to engage in a spot of target practice. You replace them, and the ill-mannered louts who operate them, with clean, efficient, safe buses.
A few years ago, there was a bus outside my gate every 15 minutes which dropped me off at ICEA building, across the street from Nation Centre. Often, I’d just leave my car and take the bus.
If the Kanu regime, which was corrupt and generally clueless could sustain an efficient bus service, how come the “reformists” of the coalition government can’t?
For Christ’s sake, do a public-private sector partnership thing and form a bus company partly owned by the City Council of Nairobi, or form a parastatal.
We don’t care who owns the vans or who is employed in them; we just want a smart, clean efficient way of getting around.