Monday, 31 October 2011

Kenyan Leaders’ Deadly Obsession with Power

It’s ironic. Col. Muammar Gaddafi called those protesting against him ‘rats’ but when he met his brutal death, he was hiding in a culvert like a rat. The heartbreaking irony in the life of the late Professor Wangari Maathai was that her greatness of was a function of President Moi’s excesses and when she died, an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt prevented the former president from joining the rest of humanity in celebrating her illustrious life and it could not even permit him to join fellow dignitaries at her State Funeral. Such is the regret and humiliation the

otherwise elderly statesman has to endure for the rest of his earthly life because of abusing his office and powers of the presidency.

Lucky for Moi, he saw the writing on the wall and peacefully gave up power and has his life has been spared unlike his comrades; Muammar Gaddafi of Libya who has paid for it with his life, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is facing the death penalty for premeditated murder of peaceful protestors during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and Zine el Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and his family are now living in exile in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the same city where former President Idi Amin of Uganda -another notorious dictator- lived in exile until his death on 2003 after being removed from power on 1979 at end of the Ugandan-Tanzanian War. These events and the most recent death of Muammar Gaddafi in particular have put other African despots including President Yoweri Museveni and Robert Mugabe on notice.

The obsession with power among Kenyan politicians is phenomenal and despite its deadly corrupting influence, acquisition of power remains the leading preoccupation of leading politicians. When it comes to greed for power, Martha Karua is arguably the greediest of all Kenyan politicians. Her unrivalled greed for power saw her give up serving Kenyans long before she quit her cabinet post to pursue power resolutely. Since her resignation, she has been treading the length and breadth of this country galvanizing people to support for her presidential bid in 2012. She closely followed by a very mixed bag of power hungry politicians in the G7 Alliance led by Kalonzo Musyoka –the Opportunist-in-Chief, William Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta and the opportunistic non-starter by the name of Eugene Wamalwa who are united, not to serve Kenyans but rather, by their hypocritical selfish ambition of ascending to power at the expense of Raila Odinga who held the dubious title of being the power hungriest politician for the longest time.

The wanton greed for power among the political class continues to polarize this country ever so dangerously. Unfortunately, the effects of that greed for power in Kenya, manifests itself in deadly tribal hostility something which is a serious threat to democratic processes and our nationhood as was demonstrated in 2007 General Elections. The one thing about this greed for power that Kenyans must realize is that the greater the degree of obsession with power, the lesser the motivation to serve the people. Power is not an end in of itself, it is a means to an end and that end is service to people.

Politicians need to realize that the highest of distinctions is in the service of others. The death of Professor Wangare Maathai confirms that what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. Conversely, what we have done for ourselves alone dies with us something which is confirmed by the regret and humiliation of Moi and the death of Muammar Gaddafi, Idi Amin, and their ilk.

Sir John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton rightly observed that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Greed for power is corrupting and absolute greed for power corrupts absolutely. One kind of corruption which is a result of greed for power is political expediency. Political expediency is an epidemic in our country.

Martha Karua will argue that she is not greedy for power which is why she resigned instead of clinging on to the immense power that is attendant to the cabinet position she held. But be that as it may, her successor’s track record and reputation for dedication to service confirms otherwise. She may not have been corrupt in the sense of using her powers to do dishonest or illegal things in return for money or to get undue advantage, but her greed for power saw her gallantly defend the indefensible and that fact will haunt her for the rest of her life no matter how much she or anyone denies it.

Political expediency is so endemic in our country that Raila Odinga the reformist-in-chief has gone to bed with Moi much to the chagrin of his die-in-the-wool supporters. Raila can learn from Martha Karua who by appearing principled and standing up to what is right, is redeeming herself.

The G7 is a political marriage of convenience but someone might contend that the defunct Rainbow Coalition which dislodged KANU from power was also a political marriage of convenience. Well, that is not accurate. Hitherto the formation of the Rainbow Coalition, the opposition in Kenya had been united in ideals and purpose but fragmented in its organization. The G7 on the other hand is a ragtag band of ODM rebels, PNU orphans and ICC suspects indicted for butchering each other’s political bases (tribes). Only the misery of being ICC suspects and the common hatred for Raila on account of his popularity unites the G7 Alliance of very strange bedfellows.

It’s common knowledge that the government has been in bed with the Al-Shabaab all along as the assistant minister for foreign affairs, Richard Onyonka confirmed publicly much to the chagrin and embarrassment of the government. He apparently never received the memo directing all government officials to deny it and now Kenya is at war with Al-Shabaab because it was expedient to cooperate with terrorists. You honestly can’t blame the police for turning Eastleigh into an ATM machine for the police; the political leadership is to blame.

1 comment:

  1. right on!though blunt on comments