Sunday March 17 2013

Letter From Kireka: Kenyatta, here is how to do business


By Don Wanyama

I know it has been a long journey Ndugu Kenyatta. From the 1997 days when you lost a parliamentary seat to the 2002 drubbing in the presidential election, it has been one long struggle. The Africans say when you look at a king’s mouth, it is difficult to imagine that he once suckled at his mother’s breast. Ndugu Uhuru, now you are king. And after such a long journey, it is only fair that you settle down and enjoy matunda ya Uhuru. That is why I thought a note on how to go about business would not hurt.

To begin with, it is common knowledge that the election has set you back by a couple of million dollars. If Forbes conducted their survey now, it is possible that you could have dropped off the rich man’s list in Africa.

You therefore need to address this matter quickly. You must look at the current holder of the central bank governor slot. Is he someone who will understand when you send a memo asking for some million shillings to wire to your private account somewhere in Europe? If not, then begin to look among your economist friends, a vacancy is up for them. And by the way, seeing this Hague business and how the chaps in Europe have received your victory coldly, you might want to move the accounts East, say China. After nearly a year of grueling campaigns, it is just fair that you take a deserved rest.

Now, rest is not going to some place in Gatundu and eating kidheri or drinking thengeta. No. As you will soon discover, heads of state “chill” in real cool places. Looking at First Lady-elect (is that the title?) Margaret, she seems to be a modest person. A couple of weeks in the Bahamas or Barbados would do her great relief. She must have missed you lots while you spent time on the campaign trail.

Again, worry not about the bills, I guess Kenyan taxpayers will be more than happy to facilitate this. Remember, you are sacrificing for them; you could have opted to do other things other than run for presidency. By now, I guess, you have rubbed shoulders with a gentleman called John Githongo. A great autobiography about him is titled It’s Our Turn to Eat.

That is exactly how you should look at life in these coming five years. And not just eating, it’s stuffing. Of course once in a while, in the name of sharing national cake, you will be expected to let crumbs fall elsewhere—but those have to be just that—crumbs. The real beef is yours.

I looked at you during the presidential debate, when everyone was accusing you of grabbing land, and wondered if your accusers knew what was going on in your mind.

I could picture you thinking: “They thought Mzee spent the nine years in Kapenguria Prison for nothing. Poor lads.” And I guess you realize the burden on your shoulders. No Kenyatta, four or five generations from today, should look back and say, “If only Mjomba Uhuru had used the time in State House well!”

Already I have heard the likes of Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka are looking for your latest mobile phone number to do business. It is a good thing for a leader to be seen to make up with his rivals. I therefore advise that you offer them some Cabinet posts. Of course the trick is to give them offices which don’t mean a lot. You could make Mudavadi a deputy Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Vice President while Musyoka can be given the Minister without Portfolio job. And if you want your Cabinet meetings to be lively, please give Abduba Dida a job. You can appoint him Minister for Comic Affairs.

I can assure you, everyone will be looking forward to the next Cabinet meeting. Finally, a quick word. You have read about Brutus and Julius Caesar. I would advise that you keep a keen eye on your Number Two. There is something mysterious about him. Enjoy your matunda ya Uhuru!