, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 22 – His Principal Secretary, Ali Noor Ismail, had asked him to “make the people laugh,” but he was in no laughing mood. He had weightier things he needed to get off his chest; matters to do with respect.
And so when Ismail passed him the microphone, he went off script, leaving his speech on the payment of cash transfers to the elderly to lie untouched on the guest of honour’s table at the Mathare Chief’s Camp.
“Did you or did you not vote for President Uhuru Kenyatta?” he instead posed to the group of elderly men and women gathered to receive their cash transfers.
“And are you happy when he and his Deputy William Ruto are insulted?” he continued to pose on receiving a chorus of, “we did,” to his initial question.
“Neither are we as Cabinet Secretaries and we will not stand by and allow it,” he said threatening unspecified action.
The Labour, Social Security and Services Cabinet Secretary and former Kaloleni Member of Parliament was reacting to disparaging remarks made against President Kenyatta last week by fellow Coast leaders Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa Governor) and Senator Hassan Omar.
The two had disparaged President Kenyatta as being ill-equipped to deal with the runaway insecurity at the Coast.
“I will not intimidated by small people like Marwa (Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa). Marwa is a very small man. Even the person who appointed him is small,” Joho said at Iftar celebrations he hosted in honour of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“We will not wait to hear who has been shot every morning. We will protect you because he (President Kenyatta) is not up to the task. The days of following the President calling him your Excellency are over,”
Omar went on to demand that county governments be empowered to deal with matters insecurity as the electorate was up to looking to them.
“When there are potholes on the road who is asked? It is not Marwa (Nelson). It is us,” he said in an attempt to illustrate his point.
But Kambi held that President Kenyatta and his government are well able to address the security situation at the Coast and accused Joho and Omar of being counter-productive in their pronouncement.
“In two, three months you will not even hear of an ant bothering anybody. So those calling yourselves terrorists, your branding iron is on the fire. We will follow you even into the toilet and apprehend you,” he said.
Kenyans, he said, regardless of what their roots are, are free to settle where they please. “Even if you’re from Kisumu, this is home. If you’re from Ukambani this is home, if you’re from Garissa this is home, this country belongs to us all,” was his response to the ethnic intolerance that has been blamed for the killings at the Coast.
Time, he said, was all President Kenyatta’s government needed to fulfil its promises, “as evidenced here with the payment of Sh10,000 in cash transfers to 333 elderly members of the Mathare community each, for the last five months,” he said, finally getting back to his prepared script.