Letter to President Kibaki

Dear Sir,

I hope this letter finds you well.

Mr. President, your ten year term is coming to a close and there are those who think that you have been a good president. They see the economy has grown from less than 1% to 7%. They say you have built roads, that in your administration dependency on donor funding has reduced that we now finance 60% of the budget. This is all good I suppose but I have a problem and please hear me out.

When we voted for you in 2002, you made a promise that corruption will be a thing of the past. You promised to unite us, you promised to defend the constitution, you promised to reward merit. How did you perform? I want to tell you your performance has been worse than poor. When your Secretary for Ethics, John Githongo, resigned from his job citing lack of support I knew then you only hoodwinked us to believe you really want to deal with corruption. I realize when you took the reigns of power, your predecessor had plundered everything and given out large tracts of land[ The Ndungu report alleges there were pieces of land given on his authority] so your cronies had to find new ways to steal. And here they learnt very first. In a short time, we had ghost projects and ghost suppliers and contracts running to billions of shillings, education funds disappearing, maize funds disappearing, kazi kwa vijana funds disappearing, what did you do? You paid lip service, in fact you hardly ever uttered a word and when you did you reinstated the very people suspected of abuse of office to their plum jobs so they could continue with bleeding us dry.

On the rule of law, after we voted overwhelmingly for the new constitution, your first act was to act against it by making appointments contrary to the document you swore to defend. The only thing that stopped you in your tracks was public outcry and the courts or else you would have your way. To this extent you have failed sir. In your cabinet there are people who have been accused of crimes against humanity, you allow them to traverse the country stirring hate and you sit comfortably on your pedestal calling us mavi ya kuku and tumbafu-we your employers- where is the law on integrity and ethics? Please tell me that you didn’t know there are such clauses then I may excuse you, but until then sir, I consider you a failure.

Sir, we elected you to lead and in so doing you should have gone above what we expected of you. In this respect had you reduced the size of your government after the enactment of the new law, I would have said you are successful president, but you sir have failed -failed terribly-

It is during your presidency sir that we have had the worst election violence in our recorded history. You seem not to notice there are good citizens, men, women and children- whose only fault was speaking the wrong language- that are still called IDPs. This is one thing that to me appears not to have even crossed your mind while you sleep in State House paid for by our taxes.

Those who sing your praises say you have done infrastructure, that they can see roads and Kisumu Airport. Well I see these things too but I don’t think you had a choice on this matter and besides what did you want to do? The reason we provide you with free housing and security is so that you find time to ensure that we have roads. Now let us look at these roads critically. The main road that has been done is Thika Road, in your estimation is this the best you could have done? If I was in your shoes and wanted to claim infrastructure as a success, I would have opened up North Eastern Province, that is where to build a road. Again I submit you have failed as a president.

On legislative duties, being the person who signs bills into law, how have you performed. I will tell you sir, you have failed. You have signed into law bills that are against the spirit of the constitution. You in cohorts with the MPs have made a joke of the constitution. You sign laws that allow them to jump ship anytime they want whereas the constitution attempted to bring party discipline – I know am being ambitious expecting any better- you have never shown any interest in developing parties. Mr. President, you have failed. You have an opportunity to redeem yourself. Parliament has been dissolved and the MPs can’t run riot anymore, decline to assent to the bill awarding you and the MPigs[allow me to call them that] obscene amounts of money while many of us have no food to eat and sleep in the cold we no longer can tell a warm and cold night from each other!

Mr. President, you receive security briefings every single day. What are these gentlemen doing if whole villages can be torched in broad daylight. We pay tax so the police, army and intelligence officers can be paid and so you can sleep in peace. We can’t have people being killed in hundreds and not a word from the Commander in Chief. You declare a day of mourning when your buddy dies, everything stops, you run to church to ask god to keep them safe and when your employers are killed senselessly, you say nothing! Please why did we employ you? To insult us, or to have control among other things on the instruments of violence to ensure the security of us all.

I know you are busy planning for a golf session so I will end my letter here and ask you to please do just one thing to redeem your image. Your presidency is a failed presidency! You have performed less than we expected, you haven’t inspired me any bit in any way unless you mean by insults.

Thank you and be well.

Onyango M.

Your employer

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

6 thoughts on “Letter to President Kibaki

  1. john zande says:

    What more can be said? Politics is rotten pretty much everywhere. Strangely enough parliament works in Australia and New Zealand (Even Canada), but i think its going to come down to either Australia, NZ or some other politically stable, relatively wealthy country to experiment with something new… some new system of governance. Such a needed experiment/change won’t happen where corruption is the rule, not the exception.


  2. Daniela says:

    Very well written, with courage and integrity … hope it reaches intended audience, but above all that you stay safe and well -:)!


  3. Anne says:

    Reading this I remembered some points made by Claude Ake who was a political scientist from Nigeria. It is on the political legacy of colonialism.

    The colonial state was what we call statist- everything was controlled by the state with the objective of meeting the economic objectives of colonization. It was all powerful, it had to be in the face of resentment and hostility of the colonized (hostility that occasionally broke out into rebellions such as the Mau Mau insurrection for example). Power was not only absolute but also arbitrary. Examples include: the Coffee Plantation Registration Ordinance of 1918 forbidding the growing of coffee, the countryโ€™s most profitable commodity, by Africans (mainly to keep them from becoming independent producers), the reservation of the White Highlands in Kenya for European farmers and the Marketing of Native produce ordinance of 1935 which restricted wholesale marketing to Europeans and barred Africans. It was this absolute and arbitrary power that framed colonial politics. Since the colonial state was for its subjects an arbitrary power it could not engender any legitimacy even though it made rules and laws. Accordingly, in struggling to advance their interests the colonial subjects did not worry about conformity to legality or legitimacy norms. Colonial politics was thus reduced to the crude mechanics of opposing forces driven by the calculus of power. The idea of lawful political competition became impossible. The state did not change much at independence.The normative institutional and ideological mechanisms that would have made the power (now in the hands of African successors) subject to constitutional constraints and accountability did not yet exist. Those who were out of power constantly worried about their exposure to every kind of assault by a state that was hardly subject to any constitutional or institutional restraints. In a highly statist postcolonial polity the option of channeling ambitions into economic success was non existent because the economy was a matter of state patronage. Political power was not only the access of wealth but also the means to security and the only guarantor of general well being. For anyone outside the hegemonic faction of the political elite it was futile to harbor illusions of becoming wealthy by entrepreneurial activity or even take personal safety for granted. For anyone who was part of the ruling faction, entrepreneurial activity was unnecessary for one could appropriate surplus with less risk and less trouble by means of state power. The struggle for power became so immense that everything else was marginalised including DEVELOPMENT.

    I know that this might be a bit simplistic but nonetheless interesting points worth considering for the issues raised.


    • makagutu says:

      On the contrary it ain’t simplistic but captures albeit in brief the state of government both during and post colonialism. In most places those who were in the forefront in the struggle for independence had noble goals but once they come to power they backtracked on most of their promises. I think we only managed to replace the person at the top but didn’t change the policies. There are many examples in Kenya to show this, if you look at the planning of Nairobi City it has not changed much from the way it was planned as a colonial city with different zones for different races. The regions the colonial government didn’t pay attention, 50 years later, are still underdeveloped if there is any development to speak of.
      In other countries like Zimbabwe, those who struggled for independence became tyrants. Lip service was given to meritocracy and eventually all state run organisations went under and coupled with World Bank and IMF conditions from the late seventies especially SAPs, many of these young democracies, with poor leadership didn’t stand a chance. The desire to control the masses or to put is succinctly, to have legitimate power for power’s sake means that those elected to high office are not concerned with the electorate but rather to satisfy their narrow interests and unless there is a change in attitude in how to employ power, Africa at large and Kenya specifically will get worse until we have a situation like France in the 1700 during the Revolution.
      The other bigger problem is that the populace has been so disenfranchised and in a place where the 99% of the solution believe in some deity, any one in authority is seen to be holding brief for the said god and are treated as such that no one questions how these people run the offices they are entrusted with and there are no proper mechanisms to check their power.


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