Security boss has right recipe

Tuesday May 13 2014

Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku addressing a press conference on the killer liquor on May 8, 2014 at Harambee House. PHOTO/GERALD ANDERSON

Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku addressing a press conference on the killer liquor on May 8, 2014 at Harambee House. PHOTO/GERALD ANDERSON  

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For more than two months, a cookery show has been airing on a local channel and I would not have written about it if it did pass as an indigenously conceptualised reality television programme.

Also — I have to acknowledge — I am going gaga over it because I not only love culinary arts, but the producers are my friends and to get the concept right, they worked with the extremely creative Eric Wainaina, an evil genius who does not shy away from admitting that he drinks in days, not hours.

In my book, it is an all out local production because, unlike other reality shows that have been shot and aired in Kenya, this one has no foreign consultant behind it, and the crew comprises young men and women who honed their skills in local production houses, all in the spirit of keeping it Kenya.

Kikwetu Super Chef, as the show is called, could not have come at a better moment, considering that Kenyans are increasingly wondering why a former hotelier ended up being tasked with handling their security.

The reason Kenyans are so cross still beats me because at the outset, there were warped and tasteless arguments against medical professionals for demanding that one of their own, who understands their issues, be in charge of the health docket.

They were duly informed, by random Kenyans, no less, that their line ministry must not be headed by one of their own since that would be tantamount to demanding that a morgue superintendent be a dead person.

To many Kenyans, a former hotelier is basically a chef, and therefore, not strong enough to stand the heat of the security kitchen.

To an extent, they are right because in the hospitality — that is the hotel — industry, most senior managers started their careers in the kitchen and, before getting those corner offices, went through different departments and learnt how to make beds, put their feet in their mouth, mix drinks and their metaphors too and look all confused just to enable them to understand clients’ need.

Such an all-encompassing training regime makes a former hotelier the best person to serve the public, or any other people. The reason is that he knows all their needs from the time they wake up to the time they get killed by exploding mattresses or in mass transport — or as they stagger home or while in their homes after consuming toxic drinks.

Disparaging a person because he was supposedly a chef is wrong because chefs are extremely meticulous people who understand their stuff and know how to take good care of people, literally writing.

On a personal level, as a person who buys kitchen equipment at the drop of a spoon, and as a foody who cooks for free and enjoys molecular gastronomy, I feel offended when a chef is not given due respect. But I digress.

If Kenyans were to take stock, to use a culinary term, they would discover that, for ages, their lives and property have been on the back burner even as the so-called experts have been in charge of the security docket.

Granted, securing Kenya is a different kettle of fish and such a task should be assigned to a “qualified” person, but those who are shouting the loudest about the incompetence of the current security boss have failed in their previous assignments too, and it is safe to say this is a typical case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Well, the current boss might not be the sharpest knife in the kitchen cabinet, and his assurances, always garnished with threats, should be taken with a pinch of salt, but the security docket still needs him. After all, aren’t criminals always grilled before being tossed in jails, and who is better placed to oversee that they end up in hot soup, if not him?

Truth be told, the current security boss looks tender, but he does not mince his words. He always makes it clear that criminals will be hunted down and not only brought to book — and that rhymes with cook — but cut down to size if they try to blend in with law-abiding citizens and melt away.

It is easy to conclude that his recent action of targeting certain individuals might whip up emotions and stir communal hatred because the main issues causing insecurity are being skimmed over, but continuously roasting him is not helping matters, so Kenyans need to simmer down.

So far, things have not boiled over, probably because after sifting through the evidence garnered from the troublemakers who were netted by law enforcers, he has found new methods of fighting fire with fire and rendering the miscreants inactive.

Bland arguments against his style have filled the Kenyan cyberspace and anyone who is a nobody is offering some sort of advice, but his reaction has been lukewarm and he is not getting distracted from his primary duty — because he knows that too many people in the kitchen is a sure recipe for disaster.

As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth, and if the opinions and suggestions of all the half-baked experts were to get into his head, many security operations would grind to a halt and it would not take long before the country goes up in flames.

Kenyans should remember that their country always has Kitchen Cabinets, and this is the only time that a real hotelier has been assigned some duties therein.

Consequently, they should be happy because, finally, there is someone who might just have the correct recipe for the much touted National Cake, which has never been equitably shared out.

Is he right? Send your comments to [email protected]