Time for Central leaders to wake up

July 9, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya – Two curious things happened recently; first it was Prime Minister Raila Odinga who went on to some market place in central province and gave a moving speech about how the urban Kikuyu now fear to go home to their respective villages because of a deep seated fear of the Mungiki.

Next was the verbal gladiator, William Ruto who also used a platform in some trading centre deep in the heart of Kikuyuland to warn all those from amongst the stable of Kikuyu leadership who wanted to hear that the Mungiki menace was not their usual crime wave but a threat to the very fabric that holds Central Province together.

Two is never a chorus but has anyone noticed that the Kikuyu leadership is usually rather quick-footed in their non-hesitated vitriolic reactions to what the two ODM giants say? How is it then that Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto can enjoy the luxury of casting doubt on the collective abilities of the entire width and breath of Central province leadership yet they don’t get the usual verbal hiding so typical of the Kiunjuris, the Mbuguas and the Thuos? My thesis is that this stone silence is as pregnant as a cumulonimbus cloud!

Fellow Kenyans, something is simply not right in Central Province and it is threatening to spread to the whole country! One of the known excuses the Luo always use for not visiting their rural homes is the real nightmare of distance from Nairobi and the imagined nightmare of witchcraft. On the converse, it has always been so easy for the Kikuyu to do regular village sojourns. Well, not anymore and the question is: what is the leadership doing about it?

It was the great Winston Churchill who once quipped that “the true measure of leadership is not to be found in the readiness with solutions but rather in the calming proclamations alluding to an impending resolution of the discomfort”.

So what do we make of it when our leaders suddenly yet so systematically zip their mouths in the face of a crisis as unsettling as the Mungiki menace is? Such suspect complacence can only lead us to the unfortunate conclusion that the Kikuyu leadership is either clueless about techniques of resolving the Mungiki menace or that the leadership has been sucked by history and present circumstance into the shadowy annals of the Mungiki world.

The hard, cold fact is that the Mungiki represents the coarse and hoarse voice of the youth in Central Province screaming palpable obscenities at their leaders about their apparent inability to break through from the mound of hopelessness.
Here is an age group that is ruthlessly ambitious and recklessly non-conformist but only because all the conventional and normative routes into prosperity have been systematically blocked.

All said and done, the most devastating verdict one can pass on the Central Province leadership is that it goes on napping when their subjects are being terrorised almost as if in a stateless, Somali-like situation! Something has to give and soon. Else the Central Province citizenry will be left seeking leadership beyond the boundaries of their blood-oozed province.

(Ken Ouko is a sociology lecturer at the University of Nairobi)


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