I was a Parliamentary Reporter for the best part of 1970s when our Members of Parliament were Servant Leaders guided by Patriotism for their Motherland and fellow citizens. The Kibakis, Ogingas,, JM Kariuki’s, Seroneys, Nyamweyas, Ngeis, Shikukus, Grace Onyangos the list is long of men and women who served as politicians of dignity and with decorum.
I admired the sobriety, maturity and devotion to their duty earning less money than many managing directors in private sector. Ministers, assistant ministers and MPs always put their country before their stomachs. They were men and women who fought to make Kenya a better place than they found it and they did. Politics was a calling to serve not to loot.
Today Members of Parliament live in opulence only comparable to that of sons and daughters of western entrepreneurs sitting on a chain of family business inheritance over many years.
Politics and entry to Parliament is the most lucrative investment in Kenya today. So is the insatiable greed for public money by people who are insensitive of human suffering by fellow citizens – millions of them a ticking bomb in jobless youths.
Your Excellency Daniel,
I have fond memories of our encounters and interactions when I was managing editor at Kenya Times – especially one Thursday when you launched Kenya Times and requested that we also start a Sunday edition.
I promised you there would be Sunday Times the following Sunday and indeed, some 10 copies were delivered to State House by 6 am as I had promised two days earlier.
I will never forget the breakfast we had at State House Nakuru during which you asked me to run a story to the effect that Uganda was planning to attach Kenya and I told you we could not publish such a story without tangible evidence showing Ugandan Tanks or troops massing on the Kenyan border.
I pointed out we would endanger the lives of the both Kenyans and Ugandans in and along the common border and create unnecessary panic.
You acted not the intolerant dictator many associated with but calmly took your fimbo yaNyayoto join the Luo delegation that had paid homage to you.
As Foreign Editor at the Standard, I covered you on foreign trips including one of your visits to India, during which you strolled down the aisle and had a long chat on your trip. Your head of the then Presidential Press Unit Wamatu Njoroge kept mum most of the time as a formal respect to his boss.
It is real pity that in your final years a cabal of civil servants and politicians hatched the notorious Goldenberg International into which you were super-imposed to facilitate massive looting of Public Coffers. It would be difficult to exonerate you and your cronies from the plunder but its execution included your head of intelligence James Kanyotu who ought to have been your gate keeper against graft.
Your Excellency, Kibaki,
I started Kenya Confidential as a Blue A4 Newsletter to publicize your presidential bid in 1997 and give the opposition in general a voice that mainstream media would not give you for fear of losing government favour and advertisers. Kenya Confidential rapidly gained popularity and no doubt marketed you as the leader who should have taken over the helms of a dying dictatorship.
A divided opposition and electoral corruption denied you that opportunity until 2003 when you romped home to salvage our Motherland. You devoted valuable time to fight Corruption but it had sank roots so deep you appeared to be scratching shallow stretches.
Your efforts to fight Corruption like your predecessor His Excellency Moi were frustrated by a Civil Service that was allowed to do private business in 1971 and decided they would invest in Abuse of Office and take advantage of their offices in liaison with tenderpreneurs – some on them relatives and family members.
You had the misfortune of inheriting Anglo Leasing at its infancy from the Moi regime that was facilitated by top civil servants in cahoots with your personal assistant. Your nephew the late Alex Muriithi (RIP) was deeply concerned and when he requested me to investigate the Anglo Leasing scam for you, I prepared a comprehensive 10-page dossier detailing the men and women who were colluding with Deepak Kamani.
As happens with many Presidents, you were let down by the people you trusted most. They are part of what former South African President Nelson Mandela described as “Third Force”. Diluted parts of the report were read to Parliament later.
As is so common in Kenya the investigations and prosecution of those involved was selective, shoddy and intended to yield zero jail terms. There were sacred cows that no one dared touch and politicians who manipulated corrupt investigators, prosecutors and judges to escape and they did.
By the time you left you had rebuilt a healthy economy despite the demonic disturbance of 2007-2008 genocide because you never lost your focus in resuscitating a motherland you love with all your heart.
I believe both of you as former presidents are watching with dismay as today’s Parliament stumbles from one scandal to the other with a know-it-all attitude, self-consuming importance and free flowing greed. It is with that in mind that I am publicly appeal to you to reject to be part of the hemorrhaging of Public Coffers by a greedy and corrupt parliament that remains insensitive to national economic hardships, and refuse the so-called handshake.
You are living a comfortable life, your do not need the money, you do not wish to squander what your grandchildren and those of millions of fellow Kenyans can benefit from now and in future.
May the Almighty God Bless Your Excellencies as you enjoy the blessings of Life.
God Bless our Motherland Kenya.