The Star (Kenya)

Which mad­man will tell Uhuru the truth about BBI ref­er­en­dum?

- PUQI I YUSUF @ the es­tarkenya e writer is a fel­low with Deepsea ink Tank deepsea­thinkers24­7@ Politics · France · Paris · Uhuru Kenyatta · Kenya · Henry IV of France · Raila Odinga

The story is told of how King Henri IV of me­dieval France fell in love with the twen­tytwo year old no­ble­woman Hen­ri­ette d’en­tragues.

e ul­ti­mate cour­te­san, Hen­ri­ette, of­fered the king far more than beauty. She pos­sessed a grace, a charm, a cut­ting wit, and de­mand­ing and im­petu­ous pas­sions that ex­cited him. And be­fore Hen­ri­ette had sex with the king, she de­manded out­ra­geous sums of monies, to which the love-starved monarch read­ily as­sented.

His Min­is­ter of the Trea­sury, the duc de Sully, who de­scribed Hen­ri­ette as a ma­lig­nant wasp, was of­ten com­pelled to fork out large sums of monies from the pub­lic trea­sury to meet the in­sa­tiable greed of the King’s beauty un­til he could not take it any­more.

When the king told him he was a mad­man for not oblig­ing to Hen­ri­ette, the duke replied that he wished he were “the only mad­man in France!” King Henri IV’S end was tragic. He was as­sas­si­nated by a mad­man in the streets of Paris.

is story is why Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta needs a mad­man to tell him the truth he would rather not want to hear. e coun­try is in a ter­ri­bly foul mood and the econ­omy in an equally nasty state. at’s why who­ever is ad­vis­ing the pres­i­dent to push for a ref­er­en­dum at this time is ac­tu­ally play­ing him a Hen­ri­etta.

To push for such an ex­pen­sive and gi­gan­tic po­lit­i­cal un­der­tak­ing when the real ur­gency in the coun­try is fix­ing an econ­omy in dol­drums is to por­tray the Pres­i­dent as a leader in blithe un­con­cern of his peo­ple’s plight. I do not know which path­ways and by­ways the Pres­i­dent walks but should he ven­ture to take a walk along the city paths, es­pe­cially those of­ten fre­quented by wananchi, he would cer­tainly feel their at­mos­phere —bro­ken, empty and help­less.

Not that this pal­pa­ble bro­ken­ness was not there prior to Covid-19 lock­downs. How­ever, the crushed feel­ing has per­sisted in in­ten­sity fol­low­ing in­ter­minable cor­rup­tion and prim­i­tive ac­cu­mu­la­tion by tractable pub­lic of­fi­cials and a pres­i­dency that seems aloof from the peo­ple.

So far, the fight against in­sid­i­ous cor­rup­tion has re­mained a hy­per­bole an ex­ag­ger­ated claim and risky theatrics no sub­stance.

It’s true the Pres­i­dent needs a mad­man to rouse him to re­al­ity.

It also seems likely he is not sur­rounded by a mad­man to fear­lessly tell him the truth, but by a claque of schem­ing bu­reau­crats se­ri­ously out-of-touch with the re­al­ity of the ma­jor­ity of cit­i­zens.

ree in­ten­tional hap­pen­ings are work­ing to his dis­ad­van­tage. e first is Raila Odinga’s BBI push. Had the ref­er­en­dum been con­ducted in pre-covid-19, the lack of in­ter­est among the pop­u­la­tion would have been min­i­mal. Its bullish push by an equally as­sertive driver is only serv­ing to alien­ate fur­ther an al­ready dis­il­lu­sioned peo­ple who con­tinue to view Uhuru’s ten­ure through jaun­diced eyes.

And as Raila ad­vances his BBI agenda, Ruto is pok­ing holes into it, and the pub­lic loves him for do­ing so. e re­sul­tant sup­port seems to spur him on in this cru­sade. Ruto has seem­ingly be­come the mad­man in Uhuru’s gov­ern­ment and a shooin for 2022 polls . Al­though he is not di­rectly telling the Pres­i­dent what not to do, he is ac­tively telling him what to do through rid­dles that are easy to de­ci­pher.

Ruto’s un­de­terred push for the pres­i­dency and his covert con­tra­dic­tion of Uhuru is serv­ing to en­dear him to the cit­i­zens. Uhuru finds him­self in an un­fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory as far as Ruto is con­cerned.

His gut feel­ing seems to tell him that of the two pro­tag­o­nists with sim­i­lar per­son­al­ity pro­files Raila and Ruto the lat­ter is more than likely to tell him the mad truth of things as op­posed to the for­mer, whose record of use and dump is fa­mously doc­u­mented.

But the Pres­i­dent is caught up in a fish net of sorts. He owes the con­tin­ued func­tion­al­ity of his regime to Raila, who af­ter be­ing re­ha­bil­i­tated via the hand­shake reined in on his ma­raud­ing troops. Raila — the ‘only mad­man in Kenya’ who has dared to tread where the devil has feared — is re­li­giously re­lin­quish­ing this ti­tle to Ruto, the brand new ‘only mad­man in Kenya’.

And Ruto is us­ing his new ti­tle with rel­ish, and as he does so, Uhuru is sys­tem­at­i­cally be­ing iso­lated from and by the pub­lic. e Pres­i­dent ap­pears im­mo­bilised by the turn of events and can only watch as things un­fold.

e third event that has con­tin­ued to harm Uhuru’s ten­ure is the poli­ci­sa­tion of the coun­try. Covid-19 has cer­tainly made the po­lice gain more pow­ers and promi­nence than is nor­mally the case. e whip­pings, brib­ing and blar­ing sirens at the com­mence­ment of the cur­few hour has only served to in­ure the pub­lic to po­lice vi­o­lence.

Put an­other way, the cur­few is no longer seen as a mea­sure for pub­lic health and safety, but as a tool to sti­fle con­trary, but help­ful voices.

Does the Pres­i­dent have a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to win peo­ple’s trust?

This will de­pend on whether Raila wins his BBI gam­ble or Ruto suc­ceeds in alien­at­ing him from the vot­ers, es­pe­cially those from Mt Kenya. Should Raila lose the BBI bet and Ruto fails in his bid to wrest con­trol of the vote-rich moun­tain, then Uhuru could sal­vage his legacy.

But the ver­dict is out there whether th­ese two wor­thy men can si­mul­ta­ne­ously fail in their in­di­vid­ual bids!

 ?? /PSCU ?? Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta reads the BBI re­port
/PSCU Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta reads the BBI re­port

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