Kenya ruined by foolish leaders

By Stanley M. Mjomba

The latest corruption scandal afflicting the Kibaki government is yet another episode in the theatre of mediocrity afflicting Kenya, and fuelled by a cruel, corrupt elite with an aristocratic strangle hold on power protected by the security forces.

Decay and ruin in Kenya

Decay and ruin in Kenya

Kenya’s recent ranking among the world’s failed and failing states is, in large part, due to what the authors of the ranking describe as, “a fractured elite.” The Grand Regency saga and the calls for the sacking of Finance Minister Amos Kimunya are driven by infighting between various factions of the elite and not out of a sense of duty to the Kenyan people.

The worst manifestation of how Kenya leaders, both opposition and government, have run the country down was the violence witnessed early this year following disputed elections. Tribes turned against each other, edged on by politicians willing to shed blood in order to score points against their opponents. People who had lived peacefully for 50 years suddenly found fault with each other. After the violence, the elite were quick to talk of a return to normalcy while hundreds of thousands slept in fields: destitute and hopeless.

The same politicians felt no shame heading to foreign capitals to plead for Shs31 billion (US$500 million) for reconstruction, without saying who had caused the destruction in the first place.

The story of the Grand Regency underlines how an insensitive and visionless elite can hold a country hostage and ruin the hopes of hard working Kenyans. The hotel was built with funds stolen from the Central Bank by Kamlesh Pattni in collaboration with former President Daniel arap Moi. Every member of Kenya’s elite partook of Goldenberg money. It is ironical and painful to see the same people today pretending to be holier than though.

Look at Mutula Kilonzo, the Minister of Nairobi Metropolitan Affairs, loudly proclaiming how he helped sell the Grand Regency to Pattni in the early 1990s. Isn’t this a confession from Kilonzo of having aided and abetted grand corruption? Is it any wonder that soon after he became minister, his biggest client – Moi – expressed confidence in the Nairobi Metropolitan ministry?

Listen at Cyrus Jirongo remodelling himself as leader of the Grand Opposition. This is one man who should not even be talking. He should explain to Kenyans how he became rich through Youth for KANU 92 and where the money came from. I am sure Kenyans, whose memories are famed for forgetfulness, would be interested to know that Jirongo’s deputy in YK92 was one William Ruto, currently Minister for Agriculture and chief of the Kalenjin.

Well, I’m not defending Kibaki. If it wasn’t for his poor leadership skills (if any), Kenya would be a much better place to call home. Neither am I saying that Amos Kimunya is any better. He is the latest blue eyed boy of Kenya’s elite to be duped into doing their dirty work. Because of being made to feel important, Kimunya assumed an air of arrogance that lost him the friends he so badly needs today. Soon, Kimunya is going to be dumped just like all the rest. Can’t Kenyans see? Unless you are born from one of Kenya’s top families, you are just another piece of trash to be used and tossed away like toilet paper.

I’m not writing this because I am pro-this or pro-that party. All these parties are nothing more than big lies aimed at masking the truth from Kenyans. That is why political parties have become meaningless. When Mobutu was president of Zaire (now Congo) they had hundreds of political parties and Mobutu was happy that Zaire was a democratic country. Well, we all know what happened to Mobutu and Congo afterwards. People in that country are fighting so much that they eat each other for food.

My wife recently asked me whether things will get better in Kenya. My answer was a big NO! Kenya will continue getting worse. Our ranking as a failing state will get lower and lower. We may think that we are better than Zimbabwe, that we will never become another Somalia. But I fear that, at the rate in which we are going, we are working very hard to get there.

The Nairobi Chronicle welcomes written submissions from readers. Please write to Submissions will be edited but only for space and enhancement of clarity.

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