There are three types of common lies. White lies; these are lies meant to avoid hurting people e.g. if a friend invites you to his/ her cat’s wedding and you don’t want to attend, you can say you will be hosting your dog’s birthday party on the same day. Then there is bold-faced lies, these are damned and obvious lies e.g. a child can deny dipping his hand in the sugar jar while his lips are glittering with grains of sugar. But the most extreme type of lies are political speeches e.g. presidential speeches. Not a word of a political speech is true. For a start, the dude reading the speech did not even write it and whoever wrote it does not believe in what he wrote. That is why we cannot judge a leader by the speeches he so eloquently reads. After all, if a monkey l
ike Moses Kuria is trained very well, it can appear as suave, intelligent and wisdomy while reading a speech. So let’s forget all those articulate speeches made by Uhuru Kenyatta written by a faceless bureaucrat in statehouse. If we peel off the façade of well-rehearsed speeches and presidential panoply, we are left with a guy struggling to find the right words just like everyone else. For instance:
5. Kibaki is Hand’s Off, Eyes Off, Everything Off
Once upon a time, the toads wanted a king. After listening to the pleas of the toads for a long time, god sent the toads a piece of log to be their king. After venerating the new king for a few days, the toads realized the king mostly just minded his business. They soon started insulting him, spitting on him, and the more mischievous ones were pissing on him. That is exactly what was happening to Kenya’s toad king in 2004. Kibaki was a handoff ruler who let ministers and officials run the show. Coming from Daniel Moi’s authoritarianism, the new air of freedom seemed too much for then official opposition leader, Uhuru Kenyattta. Politicians and even ordinary Joes were publicly calling Kibaki a fool every weekend and newspapers were replete with biting criticism. To make matters worse, his lieutenants were thieving in broad day light. Through it all, not a word was heard from the old dude at state house, which so baffled Uhuru Kenyatta that he opined “The president is hands off, eyes off, ears off, legs off, everything off manager”. That is a harsh thing to say of a man who later becomes a key ally. After a time, the toads asked God to give them another king. As usual, god obliged and sent them a fierce hands-on king. I wonder why things are no better. Do we need to ask for another king?
4. Typing Error Inflates Budget by Ksh. 9 Billion
In 2009, Uhuru Kenyatta was the minister in charge of finance. That is the guy who is in charge of government money. One of the main duties of the finance minister is to prepare budgets. You know that situation where you make a monthly budget but blow it by 20th and you have to survive the remaining 10 days with Ksh. 500 and the grace of god? Well, the government has a similar problem. Towards the end of a financial year, the minister prepares a mini budget called supplementary budget because the government just like everyone underestimates the cash it is going to use. The supplementary budget prepared by Kenyatta in 2009 was totaling Ksh. 26 billion but Ksh. 9 billion was basic addition errors!! If you ever feel bad because your child cannot add 18+3, don’t worry. There is a guy that made such basic addition errors and he still made it to the presidency. When the errors were first discovered, of course Kenyatta denied vehemently that there was any error. Later, he ate humble pie and conceded, “”Yes, there may be a typing error. I am completely confident and sure that there was no intention on the part of treasury to defraud any Kenyan.” Some of the top treasury honchos at the time included Henry Rotich (now a colorless minister of finance), the PS of finance was Joseph Kinyua (now the third most powerful man as Kenyatta’s chief of staff) and the powerful minister for devolution, Ann Waiguru. The ‘typing error gang’ has really stuck together. 6 years after her boss had a 9 billion computer error, Ann Waiguru lost the country some Ksh. 0.9 billion in another computer related mishap, involving passwords this time. The most worrying thing at the time of Kenyatta’s typing error was that parliament very nearly passed the budget had it not been for a zealous civil society organization that blew the whistle. The question that really perturbs me is, what if the error had not been discovered?