Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Conundrum: Will Kikwete stomach this?

Will Kikwete dissolve his cabinet?

The knuckle hop torturing many analysts even myth busters is to rightly predict if and when President Jakaya Kikwete will dissolve/reshuffle/re-cycle his carbuncular cabinet.

Many would like to see all sanctimonious hoopoes have their wings broken or in other words, all allegedly implicated top dogs- in dirty acts- be left in the lurch and hit the road either to the court or oblivion altogether.

Many have strongly urged Kikwete to do the right thing by defrocking all ministers implicated in Dr. Willibroad Slaa’s "list of shame" which sparked huge ambers the country over and beyond.

Methinks, naturally, Kikwete has all reasons to do away from political outlandish hobnob and put forth national interests. Some doubt though. They argue. If he does, where will he be, if at all he is on top of this list of shame? Is this the fact that gives him cold feet? Please tell me not to exonerate him because he is president. Don’t even jog my mind through rigorous provisions of the constitution under which former president; Benjamin Mkapa is wrongly and undeservedly seeking refuge. But if we rightly and legally interpret the provisions of the constitution, there is no shelter whatsoever for individual misdeeds but ones for presidency.

This is my conservatively solid and stolid take. How can Kikwete be exonerated of the alleged crimes committed before ascending to power? We’re told: the mother of all scandals, IPTL, was conceived and signed when he was minister responsible for energy. Likewise bogus hiked radar, presidential jet, and even the demise of the late National Bank of Commerce have Kikwete’s hand as a member of inner sanctum of Mkapa. He then was the one responsible for running errand on behalf of the then government. So up to this juncture, Kikwete as minister not president- mind you- has no way to escape the throe of these "children" the Mkapa government he served sired.

For those kinder enough to spare the man should help and tell us the law they are employing if any. To make their job easier- let them be warned- politics should never been brought in at all.

After all, Kikwete can also be implicated under the doctrine of collective responsibility in that he was Mkapa’s minister. So he is liable to all "sins" resulting from all blunders the regime made. Hither is where constitutional escape can be embarked on if necessary to enable him deal with his people.

Venturing into his role as president, there is blip of doubts to aver that his government -just like that of his predecessor- has already sent mixing signals. It has already ushered in another bogus company to deal with the same business as IPTL. This is Richmond-Dowan deal. Had Kikwete handed this seriously and diligently, he’d be considered for exoneration.

Another fact that shows Kikwete has the muscle (but not the will),-after being exonerated- to fire his lieutenants, apart from being implicated, some disciples are so powerful that it becomes difficult to know who is who in the goings-on in this show.

Take a person like Edward Lowassa, Kikwete’s altar ego-cum premier,-about whom much bugaboo and hullabaloo have been aired- commands immense power and influence that, of necessity, he can use to survive all dangers he faces. Nobody should belittle him or ignore the role friendship (though perilous), can vitally play. There is precedent of the whole fast tracking of the murder-turned-manslaughter case of Ditopile Mzuzuri, the best friend of president and then RC for Tabora.

Despite all hardship and complexity, Kikwete still have some alternatives. He can take a leaf from neighboring countries of Kenya and Uganda.

When Mwai Kibaki’s government found itself in the same situation as Kikwete’s, he closed his eyes and fired his right-hand-man-cum relative; the then powerful and influential minister of National Security, Dr. Chris Murungaru. In this purge Kibaki also fired his classmate-cum-longtime friend, David Mwiraria, the then minister for finance. Also Kiraitu Murungi the then also powerful minister for constitutional affairs was flashed out till the duo of the trio namely Mwiraria and Murungi were cleared of their allegations. Unfortunately though, Murungaru has never returned due to the magnitude of his accusations.

This year we witnessed the strong man in Uganda, Yoweri Museveni crucifying his three ministers all of health after it came to light that they stole public money. Maj. Gen Jim Muhwezi a tribesman of Museveni and comrade in arm had to hit the road and face the music. He is lucky. He fled the country. His two deputies Mike Mukula and Alex Kamugisha are still in hot soup. Museveni does not appear to pull any string in the whole process.

Kibaki and Museveni are not hobbledehoys in politics. When their governments were embattled, they resorted into noble deeds in order to save themselves. They know what public angers mean. They sacrificed their closest allies and friends to suite the demand of wananchi (their employers). Will Kikwete take a leaf from his neighbors? The choice is his.

There is another kettle of fish for Kikwete to apply for his peril though. This is to do things the way Daniel arap Moi, former president of Kenya did. But this is costly and dangerous. It should never be entertained even employed.

When Moi’s best friend and tribesman Nicholas Kipyator Biwott- the most hated- was implicated in sabotage, murder and what not, Moi did not let him go! He loved and used him in doing almost all of his dirty laundry. In a nutshell, they politically died together as they saw the then powerful Kanu crumbling to the oblivion. They realized late as the morsel had already slipped out of their mouths!

In the first two years of their demise, they did not even visit each other as it was before. After their past evils resurfaced under Kibaki’s regime, they inevitably salvaged their ties and came together to serve the man who in return seems to ignore their sins.

This also has its price. If there will be fair play in the coming presidential elections in Kenya, chances are the thud can be heard the world over when a huge tree once again is brought down.

Going back to our bone, Kikwete can fire his ministers and safely survive. First of all, this will defuse the angers of the general public. Secondly his allegations can be reduced given that he did so under somebody’s watch.

Thirdly, by diffusing the anger of the people it can be easier for them to even forgive and spare him from Armageddon.

But if he employs mea culpa as he stays put to save his friends, things may get out of control and cascade into chaos and vindication in the near future. The easy way out of this drama whereby the man has his back on the wall, is to let the guys go in order to save his presidency. He needs to remember his oath of office. "I shall diligently and "justiciuosly" serve my country and her people. Help me God", not I shall protect and save my friends against the people.

Though human beings dishonor their vows and oaths just because the God they invoked is unseen, the experience of those who fell from grace shows that God does punish the oath violators. Who wants his president to face the wrath of God and wananchi? Will Kikwete keep on crossing swords with wananchi who in a way have some blemishes for not being cautious when they were voting?

Now that the used to be weak and inert opposition is healing its wounds, things can fall apart. The results of smear campaigns used in 2005 can add up and turn the tables.
Well, will Kikwete let go his full of maculae friends in order to salvage his already tarnished and standoffish presidency or risk it? Will he save the best for last? Who knows in such willy-nilly hocus pocus? May be he’ll see the light. What do I know? Adios amigos.

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