President Uhuru Kenyatta is what we here in Kenya call “kichwa ngumu”. For more than a year, hundreds of Kenyans have lost their lives in terrorist related attacks. Many Kenyans have for long held the opinion that the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku and the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo were in over their heads in their jobs. The President thought otherwise.
It was pretty obvious to everyone that inevitably, we would get to the point where these two gentlemen would have to leave. I am surprised that it took so long. President Kenyatta knew that a decision on the two would have to be made, but he chose to delay the inevitable for reasons that are not immediately clear to me. It was probably because everyone seemed to be telling him what to do, and Uhuru doesn’t take instructions very well. Kichwa ngumu.
However, the President has done the right thing in forcing the resignation of the Inspector General. Yeah, that story about Kimaiyo “retiring for personal reasons” is a joke and it just makes him look pathetic. Uhuru has also done the right thing by easing out Ole Lenku from his position in Cabinet. His nomination of Joseph Nkaissery as Interior Cabinet Secretary is a smart move.
First, Nkaissery, being a retired soldier, is more acceptable to the Kenyan populace that has for months been highly skeptical of Ole Lenku’s suitability for that position. He brings with him a wealth of experience in security matters, and subject to his confirmation by Parliament, he should inject a much needed professional and experienced perspective to that ministry. Second, he is a member of the opposition, having being sponsored to parliament by ODM. That should shut up the busybodies on that side for a while. And if the security situation does not improve under Nkaissery, well, things are going to get very interesting in CORD. Third, just like Ole Lenku, he is Maasai, so there will be no backlash from that region.
I kind of feel sorry for Ole Lenku for the situation he finds himself in. There he was, enjoying his nice, cushy job at the Utalii Hotel, when the call of national duty came knocking and he found himself at the centre of one of the most stressful jobs in the country. When the President announced that appointment, many Kenyans were taken aback, seeing as the only experience Ole Lenku had with matters security was being searched by guards at the entrance to malls and other buildings. The rationale for giving him that job was not entirely understood by many people, but we let it slide and hoped for the best. As it turned out, that didn’t work out too well.
|Um... okay, Kenyans are just mean, c'mon!|
It has been said before that the problem with the Police Service is the command structures, and not the person heading the organization. I beg to differ. However much there may be a problem with the way the police conduct their business, it also requires a charismatic leader, one that inspires confidence, someone who actually looks like he knows what’s up.
David Kimaiyo - God bless his heart because I believe he is a good man and he wanted to do right by his country -, I am sorry to say, struck me as a man who was overwhelmed by the demands of his office. Whenever he appeared on TV to make a statement, he looked as clueless as the rest of us. It is little wonder then, that he became fodder for jokes and parodies because no one took him seriously.
With the exit of both Ole Lenku and Kimaiyo, the President may have scored political points by agreeing with Kenyans that fresh eyes are needed in the management of security in this country. That is what people wanted him to do. He was fast losing a lot of the political goodwill that he has managed to garner for himself in the last few months by being hardheaded about it and making the right statements at the wrong time, such as telling Kenyans that everyone should take responsibility for their own security and not quite acknowledging his own government’s failure in fulfilling its constitutional mandate of PROVIDING and ENSURING security for all citizens. That statement at a time when we had just lost 28 Kenyans in Mandera and we were looking up to him to give guidance and direction was not a smart thing to do.
The next focus should be on fixing whatever the problem is that makes it difficult for the coordination of operations between the various arms of the Police Service and the National Intelligence Service (NIS). This story of the NIS gathering intelligence and passing it on to the cops only for it to be sat on is not cool. That needs to be dealt with. It doesn’t sound like it’s a hard thing to do. It just requires goodwill on both sides and a firm talking to by the President. Preferably when he’s in a foul mood and he’s banging tables and glaring at everyone with bloodshot eyes. That should get the job done.
Insecurity is a problem for everyone in this country, whether brought about by terrorists or by small boys hijacking public service vehicles and spoiling everyone’s day. I agree with Uhuru that we should all take personal responsibility for security instead of simply being passive victims and hoping for the best.
I know President Kenyatta means well for this country and he wants to be a successful President. He has done well so far, but if this crisis continues, it might undo all the good he has done.
I wish him well.
Those making all manner of noise about Uhuru Kenyatta’s PR machine nini nini should take a chill pill. They should understand that the President is a politician and he understands his brand very well. He has managed to package himself as a Man of The People. He enjoys mingling with ordinary citizens, shaking hands, taking selfies, laughing heartily at everyone’s jokes, etc.
People respond to that and they love him as a person. If he gets a grip on this insecurity story, doesn’t trip up on other things and generally doesn’t give roots to the opposition’s agenda (getting rid of him), 2017 will be a walk in the park for Brand Uhuru.
Let’s give him his due. He’s probably the smartest politician of his generation.