Tuesday, 9 September 2014

So what if Mr President was pelted with rotten eggs?

So what if Uhuru Kenyatta was pelted with rotten eggs? Who gives a rat’s shit if the president was heckled; meeting disrupted by ‘rowdy’ youth? Who cares whether it was ‘local politics’ or national?

Look George Bush ducked for cover from a missile shoe in Iraq. Obama was heckled just last month at a press briefing on GITMO: 

I will say three things here quickly and succinctly for ye who have got an ear to listen. I will leave my neck (as per usual) for you to chop, ye who are already Jubilee or CORD on whatever matter. But I will leave an open mind as well for ye noble Kenyans who argue facts. Three points:
  • The two way traffic thing that is RESPECT
  • Hooliganism amongst the youth: - the microcosm of moral rot; unemployment; inequality (ethnic and socio-economic) in our country that we have paid lip service to fixing for way too long
  • Genuine solutions – not gimmickry and political expediency

There is a chronic self-entitlement that president Uhuru and the people who believe he belongs to them portray in this country that is appalling and nauseating. Respect like the old adage goes – is two way traffic. It is earned, not thrashed down people’s throats. And there are two things that Kenyans must learn to separate: - i) RESPECT for the institution of the Presidency of Kenya; and ii) RESPECT for the person of Uhuru Kenyatta. Those who combine the two and sit on moral high horses administering tirades at us all who would like to distinguish the two are moral conmen that must be treated with the contempt they deserve. If you want me to respect you and regard you as ‘My President’ which is a high honor I would love to accord the gentlemen at state house – Give me reason to do so. You don’t get that by yelling at the top of your voice at roadsides and public rallies about how important you are and deserve exclusive RESPECT.

You rarely see people call President Kagame names, or vilify him on social media or disrupting his meetings. It is because he has earned their respect. He picked up a country at the brink of the precipice; on its knees destroyed by ethnocentrism and sectarian politics no different from the Kenyan case. He has helped unite the nation, and bring it to the global arena of international political economy. Rwanda’s economy grew on average 7% over the past decade; country showed best progress in Africa in combating poverty; reducing maternal mortality; country now has one of the best healthcare systems in the continent – spending largest on health (8%) in East Africa; basic public goods and delivery of services is impressive.

You my president has spent your year or so making yourself look good; clearing your name. Reminds me of the Swahili saying: Kizuri cha jiuza, kibaya chajitembeza (If you have to say you are awesome, then you aint)

Quit posturing as a tribal chieftain; respect the rights of every Kenyan and accord then the respect and dignity that they deserve (especially those who did not vote for you). Act like a stateseman! This is far from wearing military combat regalia; sharing meals at backstreet food kiosks; pall bearing at funerals; dancing with kids or giggling at public events like a sorority girl. READ i) meritocracy in public service; ii) genuine interest and action on furthering devolution; ii) decisive action on insecurity, iv) addressing high cost of living; iv) and according young people meaningful space at the decision making table (just to mention but a few).

On Hooliganism amongst Luo youth
What we like to call ‘rowdy youth’ or ‘hooliganism’ in Kenya is a microcosm of the inequality, unemployment and moral rot in our country – leaders using young people to further their political interests, promising heavens and delivering hell. 

FOREMOST: Young people in Kenyan must now clever up, however desperate and hopeless the situation, and desist from utlilising their energy in furthering political agenda that they least understand.

That said, hooliganism amongst the youth is a problem in Kenya – not an exclusive domain for Luo Nyanza like some people would like to paint it. They are hired by Waititu, Sonko, Kidero, Ongoro etc here in Nairobi when needed to disrupt traffic and make political statements.

Yelling and vilifying the youth with 140 character tweets or facebook updates will never fix the problem. It is not rocket science – fix the economy; increase real economic and employment opportunities (NOT Waiguru’s fake jobs) and you will wish to see young people hanging around politicians, chirruping and pelting stones. Until we substantively address unemployment, deep rooted economic inequalities that lock out the youth from active participation in the economy – young people will keep throwing stones. And God forbid, one day they will blow up this nation.

On Genuine solutions – not gimmickry and political expediency
This is the point where I ask you to listen; and you should. And this is the reason why President Uhuru will keep hustling for respect in futility. The president and his Jubilee government must quit pretending to offer solutions when all they do is attend to their idiosyncrasies far removed from the plight of the people they purport to care so much about. That’s the nonsense that is the Uawzo fund; and that’s the nonsense that is the 1.1 billion shilling pocket change he flew to go peddle in Migori County yesterday.

Look I was born and raised in Miwani – at the heart of the Sugar-belt region in Kenya. The poverty is despicable for a region that boasts the only ecological zone in Kenya that can efficiently produce sugar – and it used to do so. Sugarcane is a lucrative business known world over. So what keeps them poor? The sugarcane industry in Kenya (and this is where you are free to call me conspiracist) was deliberately brought to its knees and neglected by 4 consecutive administrations because of political-economic reasons we can argue on another platform.

My point is that the 1.1 billion shillings that the president went to dangle in Nyanza has very little to do with fixing the real chronic issues that have killed sugarcane farming in the region. Why do I say so? There are 5 milling factories in Luo Nyanza – Muhoroni, Chemelil, Miwani, Kibos (all in Kisumu County) and Sony Sugar in Awendo. I can tell you for a fact that the problem with those industries is with the MANAGEMENT and not the areas that they owe farmers (which is the non-problem the president went to fix). They have always been mismanaged, people used to walk into those factories and emerge with sacks of 50shs notes during KANU campaign time. That’s why they end up not paying farmers, that why they end up suspending operations, that’s why they are perennially in receivership and always squandering farmers investments.

Mr President – PRIVATISE all those cane milling factories and let the private sector do what they do best. We have invested a lot in improving the private sector in this country, they must now be let to reap us benefits. Kenyans in the sugar-belt region care least about who owns Chemelil sugar factory – so long as it is crushing cane and paying famers in time; so long as Miwani sugar factory can keep employing fork lifters, electrical engineers, cane cutters from the area etc; so long as Muhuroni Sugar can keep generating spillovers in terms of Small Micro and Medium Enterprises and informal sector business like they used to do. Your graceful 1.1 billion clearing areas won’t fix the real problem but simply kick the can down the road – as you dance your way home with political mileage.  

Free public money from such wasteful, abysmal expenditures and use it to invest in proper infrastructure in the sugarbelt region – the feeder roads in the area that make cane farming a nightmare. Farmers cultivate sugarcane but cannot afford tea with sugar! Even after painstakingly tilling and patiently working a farm for 18 months. So when someone sits somewhere and calls such a farmer lazy – you baffle me.

You see, Mr President the 1 billion shillings allocated to Athi Galana irrigation project in FY2013/14 is such kind of ‘in-genuine’ solutions that fail the feasibility and allocative efficiency test. Same as this 1.1 billion areas clearing PR exercise. Go to Siaya County at the former Yala Swamp and you will see what private sector investment in agribusiness can do – Dominion Farm.

I wonder - If it wasn’t politricks then what? - I ask myself; why did the president choose the one political hot bed in Luo Nyanza to go dishing his political confectioneries? If he was genuine (and I would love to believe that he was), there are 4 other cane farming zones in the sugarbelt region all in a politically conducive, receptive Kisumu County. Why did the president choose the one county where political tensions were ripe; where a governor had just been threatened with impeachment up to the supreme court; the controversial ODM-PDP-Jubilee governor? To fuel tensions and blame it on the perennially politiking, lazy, hooliganist, intolerant Luos?

NOTE: I am well aware that there are those who will disagree with me from the 1st sentence; there are those who will agree with me from the title. Well – accord yourself the dignity to reflect and argue suitably.

Don't be too full of yourself


  1. i dont comment on politics but you have said enough
    1. politics aside what is the role of the local leadership what have they been doing over time in their respective areas not only in luo nyanza? i would wish you separated what the central leadership ought to do and what local leadership ought to do and i feel the central gvt has a lesser job here.
    2. i have checked several documents and the governor said as i listened on TV. one reason why sony sugar was established was job creation. with that as an objective which politicians and the administrators use lead to the same question i always ask my agemates why do we have posta kenya if not to have jobs only but at what cost? innefficiency is costly,
    3. my observation has been the consistency of destruction. someone wrote the other day if some fans of a team win they destroy property and disrupt traffic, if they lose they do the same-what is normally the offence? who is the offender? what are their grievances?...so is it that they have heckled all leaders? does it mean all other leaders who have visited migori have done much...my take is citizens should take on the local leader head on and the spiral will go up.
    as far as am concerned i have no business bothering with the president or presidency any more its the governor who i should address appropriately and again respectably as an elected leader. as a practising economist i see more opportunities for the youth than ever before - i dont have facts but it saddens me to hear they are for instance not taking up that uwezo thing you are talking about.

  2. You are very tribal, very intelligent but tribal. I am sure you have friends of all tribes but would give preference to your kinsmen. You mask yourself in your vocabulary and foreign clothes. This article would only serve to appease your kinsmen but not mend bridges. Respect of authority, FYI is NOT earned. We respect authority because it a duty of ALL citizens in a country. PS You will wait till the cows come home for the president of any day to solve your problems, spend more time engaging the those youth instead spewing misaligned thoughts on social media

  3. My brother, our problem is that our tribal and political leanings makes it extremely difficult to look at the facts. The problem is made worse by the strange feeling of entitlement that is at its worst in our political history. "Development" whether defined by dishing mosquito nets, clearing of debts that are due to farmers or by anything else is not a favour from government. We are not yet politically mature, the hecklers and those who think the hecklers are primitive are cut from the same cloth, both of them too blind and too afraid to confront the real issues. Until we will have leaders rather than "leaders" then there will be more heckling. Whether the heckling is done openly or done silently lest we embarrass "one of our own" is not the issue, the issue is that we are in the mud, the earlier we open our eyes the better. The PR and the facebook photos that seeps in the minds of the gullible will hold, but not for long: no lie can live forever and truth crushed to earth will rise again.

  4. Indeed, sometimes, a president needs to be booed; the citizens are just expressing their dissatisfaction. I doubt they were booing the 'presidency'.

  5. Why suddenly many people are coming up with theories about LUO youth.Some KISII youth heckled the President a few months into his Presidency n no such theories were thrown around.Last week at the Coast some peolpe heckled the President n it did not generate the so called thinker to spurn theories as to the cause .Why is this one being treated differently.Ibelieve another heckling will occur n it will b in another part of the nation.KIBAKI brought us this freedom dont take it away

  6. Interesting read, however, there is no such thing as 'self-entitlement'. Entitlement by its nature relates to self and as such, 'self-entitlement' as you have used it, is appallingly redundant.
    Second, people in Rwanda do not respect Kagame, they fear him, understand the difference. I'm not sure I understand what the relevance of the Kagame comparison is, but I can assure you if Uhuru were to resort to Kagame like ways of earning 'respect' many of the opposition leaders would be long gone.
    Luo Nyanza's sugar belt has an obvious problem that you and I believe local leaders there see but do nothing about. Be it infrastructure, or management. I do not believe that only the government should bear the responsibility of the farce that those sugar mills are.
    Patient or not, if you till land and wait 18 months for a crop to mature, which you rely on as a primary source of income, you do not need a scientist to tell you that you are either foolish or lazy. Why have thousands of small scale cane farmers whose indulgence in the business always seems zero-sum? There must be another crop that can do better, but, of course thinking out of the box is an incredibly painful thing to consider.

  7. Why can't the president before engaging in unnecessary public relations that keeps backfiring. And by the way,the much talked about "goody" from the president was a loan. How do you give a loan to an already fund trapped institution???