Nairobi, Kenya. Sunday 6:15 PM
Meet President Uhuru Kenyatta, a man who speaks a lot but does little. He will promise to take you to heaven then fail to do it. To compensate for his failure, he will make an even bigger promise. As a Kenyan who sincerely believed that Uhuru Kenyatta will be the progressive leader Kenya needs, I cannot overstate how much my naivety has been exposed. It’s akin to loving a lady with all your heart only for you to catch her cheating on you with her ex after the honeymoon. President Kenyatta has delivered a series of low blow after low blow, but congratulating Yoweri Museveni could be the lowest blow that Kenyatta has delivered to Kenyans since 2013. What does this tell us about the man who is Kenya’s leader?
#5. Family Business Comes Before National Interests
The Kenyatta clan is wealthy if not the wealthiest family in Kenya. Which could be why they so badly wanted to take charge of the country (to protect their vast interests) even when it was clear that Uhuru was not really interested in being president. From the very beginning of his presidency, it became clear that family business would stand on the way of decision making. For instance, the government has always huffed and puffed about the high interest rates that banks charge, accusing commercial banks of forming cartels. But guess what, the Commercial Bank of Africa, which is owned by the Kenyatta’s was this February listed as one of the more expensive lenders by CBK.
Land reforms has been another pressing problem that Kenyans want resolved. But what moral authority does the President has while his family owns land in hundreds of thousands of acreage, which they cannot explain how they acquired? It’s no wonder that every few days, you will hear of a land grab. Back to the issue of Museveni, how does family business come in? One word; milk, which to the Kenyattas is white gold. Since 2008, Brookside which is wholly owned by the Kenyatta clan has been trying to access the Ugandan market which is milk starved. In 2008 when Kenyatta was the minister for Trade, President Museveni visited the brookside plant and invited the Kenyatta’s to open a plant in Uganda. This reveals a worrying aspect of our foreign policy. At the highest level, it could be driven by personal interests of the first family. Since becoming President in 2013, three other visiting heads of state have toured the brookside facility in Ruiru, including Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria who visited in January. Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwetwe and Ethiopia’s PM Hailemariam Desalegn. Meanwhile, public owned Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) continues to languish as Brookside expands its monopoly and market reach. Due Kenyatta Family business interests So it was incumbent upon President Kenyatta to seek favor with Uganda’s dictator not to rock the business side of things.
#4. Kenyatta Hates Progressives
Get this right; it took 5 hours after Uganda’s electoral body announced the results for President Kenyatta to send a public congratulatory message to Museveni. But it took seven days for Kenyatta to congratulate Tanzania’s President John Magufuli who won an election observers considered to be clean. And even then, it was because the President was shamed into doing so after Kenyans noticed his silence on the matter. Now if you live in East Africa, you know Magufuli is one of the most progressive leader this region has had in a long while.
Why does Kenyatta hate progressives? Because he is a system man. He as a person and as a leader a product of the system. Anything that threatens the status quo is an enemy of Kenyatta. Remember, Kenya’s political giraffe, Daniel Moi, preferred this man to any other person in 2002. Because Moi was 100% sure that Kenyatta would do nothing to threaten status quo. In this case, Moi was sure that the only person who would protect the him and his ill gotten wealth and that of his surrogates was Uhuru Kenyatta. How would Moi be so sure? Because the Kenyatta clan has plenty of skeletons too. A Kenyatta aint gonna rock the boat. In the cases of Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, Kenyatta has chosen the least progressive side. Perhaps he is afraid of having so many progressive in the region because he will be exposed and a non-progressive leader.