I welcome different opinions. Gideon Kubai expresses his sentiment on Jubilee Supporters and their attachment to President Uhuru Kenyatta in his piece - Why Jubilee Supporters should leave the president alone.
Why Jubilee Supporters should leave the president Alone - By Gideon Kubai
As hard as it seems nowadays to reason with the millions of jubilee supporters across the country and in the diaspora I think this is an opportune time to direct a few truths; cold hard facts to the jubilee army online and on the ground.
It must be done now before it’s too late; too late to salvage the president and the country. The message must be sent short and clear: Leave the president alone. Stop impeding on his work to run the country. And I decree you put a space between yourselves and the president.
President’s personal battle
First, we acknowledge that you did a splendid job of carrying Jubilee and its flag bearer to power. Against seemingly insurmountable odds you made him president! That was a feat capable only in Kenya. But that dear Jubilee supporter was during campaign period and so many things have changed since. The president has acquired new important responsibilities that do not include appealing to your narrow ethnic interests. He now presides over Kenya and its important you adjust to these new realities. But sadly you have abrogated to yourselves the role of the presidents’ defenders and you insist to fighting his personal battles.
If the president is a soldier you have stubbornly insisted on being his body armor albeit a very cumbersome one that is impeding on his movement. The president assumed leadership in full cognizance that he carried on his person some liabilities; some weaknesses that will occasionally if not always impinge on execution of his state duties. And the president on national and international television has consistently acknowledged those personal liabilities.But Jubilee supporters in an uncontrolled frenzy of arrogance and ignorance are pressing the president to dump his personal liabilities on the shoulders of Kenyans who are already sagging with heavy burdens. Again you insist on fighting the president’s personal battles and by god you have done a splendid job both online and on the ground.
Your zeal online is unrivaled and your dedication on the ground is unmatched. You have literally taken over Kenyan social media; facebook, twitter and blogs are buzzing with your handiwork. You have dedicated acres and acres of online space to singing the presidents’ praises and defending his name against the agents of devil and imperialists western powers. Alas you have even taken it a step further and roped in his family – which by the way your knowledge of it is very scant- in your adoration. I am sure many jubilee supporters can’t tell Jaba from Jomo yet you have created and run their fan pages which status updates read like a hagiography of Wango’mbe Waihura - the legendary Kikuyu warrior. But that is not to say that the president’s boys aren’t two fine young men because to do so would be unfair and malicious. Yet am sure they must also be secretly wondering who these very dedicated jubilee supporters are talking about; just what is going!
The ground troops have not been left behind either. The Jubilee army in parliament led by the very able captain Aden Duale has been in full battle mode. But did they have to create such a fuss about withdrawing from the Rome Statute / ICC? Just to please and ingratiate themselves to the president? Though the jubilee supporters and legislators might deny it I am sure the president has heard of the English saying ‘close the stable door when the horse has bolted’. If it was not so the president wouldn’t be so keen on proving his innocence at a full trial in ICC. Unlike the jubilee legislators spurred by sycophancy, boot licking and self-preservation the president fully understand the pullout from the ICC has zero advantage to his quest to prove his innocence and might likely be detrimental to that very quest. But what do you expect from a bunch of parliamentarians majority of whom owe their presence in the august house not from the people’s mandate but the presidents’ campaign posters: all they did in campaign period was print over sized posters with their portraits next to the presidents face and the magical white dove. The rest as they say is history.A foreigner would be forgiven for thinking the president was running in a hundred plus constituencies!
Secondly, I have noticed you have lately been lecturing the country on the subject of sovereignty, imperialism and neo-colonialism. From the illiterate peasant to the brilliant lawyer in your ranks every one of you seems to have an expert opinion about sovereignty. It’s amazing how peasants and the elite can easily find common ground! Your understanding of sovereignty is summed up by the declaration that American and Britain should mind their business because Kenya is a mighty and sovereign state! May I remind you that contrary to your flawed notion and declaration Kenya is not a mighty nation and our sovereignty has never been in doubt from any quarters that we have to shout ourselves hoarse across the seas and oceans.
The United Nations recognizes us as such so you are not telling the world anything new! And that unwarranted braggadocio that leads you to proclaim our mightiness from roof tops will be our downfall. We don’t have the biggest military in the world, we don’t have the biggest economy in the world and our people are still dying of hunger and preventable diseases in 21st century among many other niggling problems. Or how can we be a mighty nation when the president has just returned from an overseas borrowing and begging spree? Where is the logic here dear jubilee supporters? Mightiness must be quantified with an advanced sense of self-reliance.
And please also spare us the national embarrassment with this liberation and neocolonialism rhetoric. Who walks in a crisp western style suit in a parliament that receives millions of shillings in American grants, stands on the floor of the house bound by standing orders that are more British than Kenyan and in a labored Queen’s English lectures the country on liberation and neocolonialism? What happened to the national dress to at least cloth the hypocrisy!Or on what grounds other than ignorance can a young man weaned on Shakespeare, and a self-proclaimed fan of English football to the blood preach to anybody about liberation in an exuberant tweet or post? How can somebody still in mental chains lecture anybody on neocolonialism? How can a whole generation of young people whose pastime has become English premier league manage to hate all things west at the same time? Don’t you think it is high time Britain exercised its sovereignty and told all these ‘liberated’ jubilee supporters to mind their own business!And just to remind you the president has a degree from Amherst College in Massachusetts; the state famously touted as the spirit of America. Have you heard the president denounce his American education?
Suffice it to say that we are just another family in the family of nations. A family struggling to feed its people and improve their quality of lives and towards this endeavor we need all the support we can get from our neighbors both across the borders and oceans. The old adage still ring true: no man is an island. China - the god father you have suddenly grown fond of – with its mighty army and booming economy still maintain diplomatic relations with America. In fact you might say China is taking over America going by the number of china towns inside of America. And mind you Hu Jintao still pays courtesy calls on Obama at the white house.
The concept of sovereignty has many elements to it and while the jubilee army obsesses on internal sovereignty there is another element to it called popular sovereignty. The one practiced in representative democracies like Kenya. It is not without a reason it is enshrined in our constitution. And for your information we can choose to exercise it directly or through elected representatives like we have done. But once in a while will be called upon to exercise it through referendum. So we can have a referendum debate in the country without appearing to support your arch enemies CORD because Kenya is not just about you versus them.
As you can see jubilee supporters popular sovereignty places an important responsibility on the people of Kenya to oversight their government. To make sure the sovereign authority is exercised in accordance with the people’s aspirations. And seeing the president has severally acknowledged this oversight on national television you do him and the country a great injustice to demonize every criticism directed to the government. And what is very annoying about your defense is the fact that it is peppered with fallacies, propaganda, illogicality and insults rather than reason. You call people traitors and betrayers and remind critics that elections are over when they point out the governments’ short comings. Please note not all government critics are CORD affiliates or sympathizers or want jubilee to fail in delivering its manifesto. It’s simply about holding the president to the promises carried in that jubilee manifesto which many of jubilee supporters did not read. It was not important for you to read it because you dislike deep understanding but like sound bites! So I want the president to succeed because he is also my president and if he succeeds in delivering all the goodies promised in the jubilee year I will share in the merriment regardless of my political leanings, creed, tribe or even religion. And to that end I will be more useful criticizing the president than praising him.
Lastly, jubilee supporters you have made known your abhorrence of civil society or anything that look like one. You have been unforgiving in condemnation of what you variously call the agents of devil and imperialist forces of the west. You have branded personalities in the civil society movement traitors, sell outs and betrayers. In your eyes everyone in the civil society has fallen short of the glory; you read a devilish scheme to sacrifice the president at the ICC. I must say you operate from a very short and poor memory. If you rewind back to 2008 / 2009 period when the contents of now infamous envelope were not in the public domain the ICC at The Hague was the court of choice for a majority of Kenyans to deal with post-election violence suspects. No less than the president’s deputy shared and openly supported this choice. But you don’t like opinions polls because you think it’s a con game orchestrated by civil society and the west to fix your man. Well, I have little trust for these polls and although I don’t embrace them whole-hearted like the gospel some of their findings are often accurate. It’s true that presently the support for ICC among Kenyans is at an all-time low.
Because you forget fast and are impervious to reason you have conveniently erased from your collective memory the fact that it is indeed the PNU now TNA cum Jubilee legislators in the tenth parliament who put the president in the ICC mess in a baffling feat of myopia. They rejected a local tribunal! Let me remind you of a simple truth. To imagine Kenya can thrive without a vibrant civil society is to take naivety to the extreme. It’s to lose all sense of our country’s history. The freedoms you enjoy today came courtesy of brave men in civil society who stood up against Moi’s dictatorship. And during this period the imperialist western powers you detest very much were on hand to lend their support to the movement. I am reminded of one American Ambassador Smith Hempstone who many Kenyans had nothing but admiration for. So you see civil society is not necessary evil but rather a bulwark to safe guard against government excesses and abuses. If our democracy has to grow we must support a vibrant civil society and more so because Kenyans starting with you are very timid people when it comes to defending the country against internal imperialists sitting in parliament and other executive offices.
Finally, not all in the civil society want to fix the president. I have personally worked in the civil society. The youth movement I work for has received money from American government to implement peace and civic education programs in Naivasha. I can confirm to you that in approving a grant for a proposed project the key considerations are viability, objectivity and political neutrality. In addition, the Americans have sponsored me for training in their country. At no time in our association have I been asked to participate in a scheme to overthrow my government or fix anybody in the political circles as some in the tenth parliament made you believe.
So dear jubilee supporters my undertaking of my civic duty as a Kenyan will not always make you happy but the loss here is yours not mine. You all will do well to appreciate that Kenya is much more than you and CORD. There are other voices struggling to be heard above the maddening cacophony you have generated in defense of the president. If you will be civil enough to crank it down a decibel or two the nation will begin to engage in a civil dialogue that will be meaningful to all of us.
The writer is the Founder and Program coordinator for Vijana na Mageuzi Initiative and grandson of the Late freedom fighter Fred Kubai.