Is Kibaki doing good for Kenya?
Posted by African Press International on February 18, 2009
By Otuma Ongalo
Is President Kibaki a good driver let down by bad conductors who have failed to alert him that there is mischief on his bus?
This analogy featured prominently this week as the storm raised by corruption scandals gained momentum.
A good driver with a duly issued driving licence should keenly monitor activities on his bus. He cannot afford to see no evil and hear no evil even as the bus rattles across potholes and bumps.
With the benefit of rear-view mirror, he should be sensitive to any slight commotion among the passengers and ensure the conductor is not up to any mischief such as stealing passengers unga from the rack or siphoning oil from the fuel tank.
He can, without losing concentration, notice the passenger trying to pickpocket his neighbour and order the conductor to evict him or have him arrested.
Alternatively, he should ensure that he only works with a competent conductor to spare himself the worry of mischief in the bus.
A good driver cannot afford to sleep behind the wheel even for split seconds, regardless of the many years of excellent work.
He is in charge at all times and cannot pass the buck to the conductor when things go wrong. He should ensure slight mechanical defects are fixed before the damage becomes costly.
Two good drivers steering the wheel and engaging gears at the same time are a recipe for a major disaster. The main driver may, once in a while, delegate his task to an assistant but he still shoulders the ultimate responsibility.
These, and many other responsibilities, are the hallmarks of a good driver. Has Kibaki scored so well as Kenya’s driver but has been let down by his conductor(s)? I do not think so. He portrays the image of a driver who has lost track of his conductors’ activities and they have now become rogue.
Whether he has or doesn’t have a duly issued driving licence is no longer a major concern. What is not debatable is that he is in the driving seat, must ensure a smooth ride, and the buck stops with him.
The President’s see-no-evil-hear-no-evil modus operandi is legendary. He keeps silent or takes no action during critical moments. As the nation reels under corruption baggage, he is yet to wield the big stick. Doesn’t it prick his conscience, for instance, to chair a Cabinet composed of individuals Kenyans are demanding must step aside because of improprieties in their docket?
It is not true that the President is oblivious of events in ministries. If he chooses to, he will be informed of what goes on in any village or household. He is the most informed person courtesy of daily intelligence briefs and other networks across the country. If he chooses to, he will be given a genuine list of all individuals who irregularly secured maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board and those plotting other scandals.
If the President has bad conductors in his bus, it is his fault. Unlike the conventional driver who does not choose his conductor, he in consultation with Prime Minister Raila Odinga chose Cabinet members he felt are the right people to steer the proverbial working nation ahead. The appointment is not cast in stone. The President and the Prime Minister can send packing any individual whose conduct is against national interests. Unfortunately, political expediency and personal relationships often override national interests. That is why Mr William Ruto and Mr Kiraitu Murungi sit pretty in Cabinet despite scandals in their ministries. Again, that is why Mr Amos Kimunya is back in the Cabinet despite Cockar Commission’s damming report over his role in the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel.
Despite the myth of equal partnership in the running of Grand Coalition Government leadership, Kibaki is fully in charge. He is firmly in the driving seat and Raila can only offer petty navigation services while Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka relaxes in the backseat, praying for a miracle that would place him in the driver’s seat.
The writer (email@example.com) is The Standard’s Senior Editor, Production and Quality
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