Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Why Uhuru Kenyatta May Yet Be Kenya’s Most Badass President

President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.

Man, this one, isn’t he just the nicest you guys?

He does well with crowds, wants to shake everyone’s hand, laughs loud and hard when William (you know, the other half of the “dynamic duo”) cracks jokes about his (Uhuru’s) one pack, has a warm relationship in public with his wife Margaret (he calls her Marge) ala Obama and Michelle, he pleads with MPs, senators, teachers and other people who want to derail his agenda to pretty please not do it please and he-

"Ati now that I'm the president's wife, si I can be called Mrs President? Ama?"

Oh, wait.

Do you remember back in 2011 when Raila Odinga threw a bitch fit about something President Kibaki had done without sending him a text about it, and MPs allied to Kibaki called a press conference to say some not very nice things about him?

Uhuru was so incensed that he was almost foaming at the mouth, and he was banging on the table and saying things like who the hell does Raila think he is and can’t anything ever get done in this country without his (Raila’s) say so.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you President Uhuru Kenyatta.

If you thought Kenyatta I in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Moi in the ‘80s and ‘90s and later Kibaki in the first decade of this millennium were cunning little devils, you ain’t seen nothing yet with Kenyatta II!

I have a feeling that this president has yet to come out in his true colours. You know, what with him waking up in the morning and finding out that after putting out yesterday’s fires, today has more birthday gifts just for his attention! This guy just can’t catch a break.

But I’m beginning to see little signs of how his presidency might shape out. A few weeks ago when everyone was shitting their pants over whether this administration is committed to devolution, and senators, including those allied to the Jubilee Coalition were baying for the president’s blood, Uhuru invited all 47 governors to State House.

He then proceeded to grant them some of their little vain wishes like having vanity plates on their cars, diplomatic passports, more executive authority and other things I can’t even remember.

Wow, talk about divide and conquer! With that smart move, he had effectively crushed any hope by the senate that they would gang up with governors against the president and force his hand on the division of revenue bill (yeah, look it up elsewhere and find out what I’m referring to).

A day before teachers went on strike, the president asked them to sit down with his government and arrive at an amicable understanding. You know, when Uhuru asks you to do something in that Mr Nice Guy style of his, you kinda wanna do it because you think you’re doing him a favour.

Well, obviously the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) was not buying that shit and they went ahead with the strike. A week later, the Industrial Court has declared that strike illegal. Want to bet what’s going to happen next?

The government will order all public teachers back to work and anyone who doesn’t fall in line will get their ass promptly fired! Of course the president had nothing to do with the court’s ruling, but go figure. End of negotiations. That whole teachers’ thing is now dead in the water until they agree to sit down with Uhuru’s government and work out a new deal. Just like he wanted in the first place.

It would appear that President Kenyatta has figured out that for him to get anything done, if being nice doesn’t deliver results, a little bit of subterfuge might come in handy. And who can blame him? Being president can be kind of… sucky, to put it mildly.

Everyone wants something from you; they feel entitled and no one wants to give you anything back. So the president must sometimes do what the president must do. And if that means that sometimes you make decisions that may not necessarily be popular, that’s what you do.

Both Presidents Kenyatta I and Moi were tough men. They used intimidation and other crude means to get things done. That was badass. President Kibaki, ever the gentleman, would never soil his hands doing the dirty work. No, he had the likes of Francis Muthaura and later Francis Kimemia to do that for him, and then he would act like he didn’t know what was going on. That way, you couldn’t really blame him because you didn’t really hear him say anything, now did you? BAM! Pretty badass right there!

"Hapaaana! Mimi hiyo sijui!!!"

Oh, and what’s with people named Francis? Is it possible that just by being a Francis it’s likely that you’re, I don’t know, not a very nice guy? Just thinking out loud. Anyway…

Uhuru is a pleasant enough fellow. He laughs, cracks jokes and gets all in your personal space if you let him (yeah, he’s a hugger), wants to show people that he’s a regular Joe, appears modest in public…

But therein lies the badassery.

Because you think Uhuru has your best interests at heart (he probably does), it gets very easy for him to have his way with you. And if you’re a woman, I don’t mean it like that GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GUTTER RIGHT THIS INSTANCE!

What I mean is that on account of his personality, many people might find it easier to work with him. He’s not as difficult as Moi was. Apparently, any meeting with that retired president was a test in not shitting your pants because you never knew what mood you were going to find him in. This was a guy who could literally make you disappear!

With Kibaki, well, I guess he didn’t really say much, so you’d not know how your meeting went until later when you discovered you got screwed over. Silently.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that any meaningful engagement with Uhuru would presumably be held in the presence of beer, cigarettes (if you’re a smoker) and nyama choma or tumbukiza and he’s going to make you feel that all is right with the world and you’re definitely getting everything you’re asking for-

Oh, wait.

No you're not.

Because while he was busy caressing you with one hand, you liked it so much that you didn’t pay attention to the other hand until you got punched right in the face you idiot!

"Lol! Bet you didn't see that coming, did you?"

I guess it’s still early days yet to put a label on Uhuru Kenyatta the president, but one thing I’m absolutely sure about is that before the year is over, we will be looking at him and tut-tuting while presumably shaking our heads in unison and wondering out loud how much bigger balls can possibly get.

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