Enough is enough: Dear Mr President, what are you doing as Kenya burns?

What you need to know:

  • I have defended elsewhere President Kenyatta’s selfies, his wading into crowds, his love for bear hugs, fist-bumps, and hi-fives, and his fun-loving, easy-going persona.
  • We direct our questions to the appointing authorities, who insist on keeping in place hapless marionettes who so clearly have failed.
  • People are hurting. People are wounded. People are angry, scarred, and scared, and tired of living in a state of terror.

#Tumechoka! Yes, we are tired. This morning those who are tired, and fed-up, have every right to #OccupyHarambeeAvenue.

The Mandera bus massacre is the last straw. After every terrorist and bandit atrocity, we hear the same defiant words copied and pasted from one speech to the next. They are beginning to sound like a stuck record.

Now as Kenyans, we must stand up as one and say a resounding No!

Now we must go beyond calling for the heads of Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo, and all the other clueless men and women supposed to be in charge of security.

We direct our questions to the appointing authorities, who insist on keeping in place hapless marionettes who so clearly have failed.

The Buck Stops Here: It was Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States between 1945 and 1953, who popularised that phrase with a sign placed on his desk in the Oval Office. It simply meant that the president took ultimate responsibility for everything that happened under his watch.

It is time President Uhuru Kenyatta called President Barack Obama and asked to borrow that Truman plaque from the White House.

It must be made abundantly clear that the buck stops with the president and, therefore, it is he who must take decisive action to restore peace, security, and safety for all in Kenya.

He will not make any start on that unless he first removes from office those who have failed the Kenyan people, who suffer at the hand of terrorists, bandits, cattle rustlers, ethnic militias, and criminal gangs who have been given free passage to roam the land.

People are hurting. People are wounded. People are angry, scarred, and scared, and tired of living in a state of terror.

If President Kenyatta read a bit of history while growing up, he might have come across a familiar phrase if he took his mind back to the year 64 AD: “Nero fiddled while Rome burnt”.

Legend has it that Emperor Nero amused himself playing the fiddle, a form of violin, while the great city of Rome was razed to the ground in an inferno.

The phrase refers to a leader who occupies himself with unimportant matters and neglects the greatest priorities during times of crisis.

If the tweeting president has been keeping up with social media chatter since Saturday, he would be shocked at the amount of venom directed at a president who preoccupies himself taking selfies while his country burns.

DEFENDED THE PRESIDENT

I have defended elsewhere President Kenyatta’s selfies, his wading into crowds, his love for bear hugs, fist bumps, and hi-fives, and his fun-loving, easy-going persona.

He has completely changed the face of the presidency from the stern and imperial Jomo Kenyatta, the populist dictator, Daniel arap Moi, and the stiff, aloof, and remote Mwai Kibaki.

That aspect of the generational change welcomes even as detractors dismissed it all as useless PR.

However, I also cautioned that PR and the feel-good gestures cannot be used to hide glaring deficiencies in any leadership.

For the Jubilee regime personified by President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, the test of leadership will be in assuring and guaranteeing security for all of us who live in Kenya.

Right now everything else is secondary, for if the country falls to terrorists and joins the ignoble ranks of failed states, no amount of railways, roads, airports, oilfields, and technocities will be of any use.

*****

“Let’s face it. [the late] Sen Kajwang was not a paragon of virtue. Like many of us, he was deeply flawed and his career littered with ethical lapses.” You should have seen the vitriol when I posted this on Facebook. I was called a tribalist, a Jubilee supporter, a traitor to African respect for the dead, and so on.

I restate, I have never been one for whitewashing the dead. One day I will lie in a coffin and people may gather to send me off.

If anyone tells lies about what a great and good and religious person I was, I will personally jump out of the casket and land a resounding slap on their face. Just tell the truth, warts and all.

[email protected] @MachariaGaitho on Twitter

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