The big story over the weekend so far is Ruto and his allies on a wailing spree in Nakuru demanding Dr. Matiang’i’s head in a silver plate. They want it right now.
They had a rally of rage which is becoming their common theme now. They seem to be as tired of the bottoms-up economic model like the rest of Kenyans are from the daily repetition of their slogan which they actually think is a plan.
So what next to do. Find someone to rage about. For a long time Ruto and his mob held rallies to insult President Uhuru and Raila Odinga. Uhuru was being accused at every rally for his handshake with Raila and the Ruto disciples had a job to vent their anger at both Uhuru and Raila.
Here is the king with his adoring disciples. It is frightening to think of what kind of government this kind of people would establish. That is the issue Kenyans have to deal with now and they are going to solve it.
Uhuru was frequently asked by Ruto himself to apologize to Kenyans and to Ruto for destroying the so-called Big 4 Agenda and kicking Raila out. Raila of course is often accused by Ruto and his day dreamers for everything including when their car can’t start. Nobody really cares about that including Raila himself.
Ruto has realized that attacking Uhuru now could be a calamity for his political hopes. So if they can’t attack Uhuru why not smother themselves with a war on Uhuru’s appointees like Dr. Matiang’i.
Never mind that in December 2017 and January 2018 when our country was in total crisis and Dr. Matiang’i as the Interior Secretary and cabinet national security chief, DP William Ruto was pouring praise over him as the best person for the job.
I was in my country then for the vote and looking for the way forward.
Me, my son, my human rights friends with whom I was staying were horrified with random killing of protestors everywhere including killing children in their own homes after the December 2017 General Elections.
For me, it was like get the hell out of here.
That is not an option for 45 million Kenyans.
So what are our options?
In fact, what are our rights as citizens of Kenya?
That is what the August 9, 2022 elections are going to be about.
Kenyans will deliver.
Of that, we know.
That is what we have to tell the politicians.
In this case, in the Nakuru rally, the Ruto disciples were totally confused and were contradicting each other without shame and probably without knowing what they were doing or talking about.
Kimani Ichungwa, a key Ruto mouthpiece and ally demanded that Matiang’i not be involved in politics because he is a civil servant using police and chiefs to campaign for ODM.
I haven’t seen any of that but we are dealing very delusional crowd so maybe they see things that most of us don’t see.
On the other hand Aden Duale a key Ruto kingpin also in the same rally said something almost bewildering.
Duale demanded that Matiang’i should not deny civil servants their constitutional rights of association and allow them to support a candidate of their choice.
“All citizens including those working in government have a right to choose who they want devoid of threats and intimidations,” Duale said at the rally.
So which is which for Ruto and his disciples. According to them Matiang’i supporting Raila and ODM is illegal because he is a civil servant.
Then on the other hand they accuse Matiang’i of violating the rights of other civil servants who want to work with Ruto and they demand those civil servants who want to support Ruto should be allowed to do so because it is their right.
So here again we have the legendary hyena nightmare of having to go two opposite directions at the same time. It hurt that hyena. We know that but maybe we are dealing with a new breed of hyenas altogether and they can walk all directions at the same time. We will soon find out.
The other big issue here is that UDA or UTA (United Thieves Alliance) actually has to present a platform for development in Kenya. Slogans can work for a short period of time but they don’t hold for long because people just get tired of those things.
This new angry UTA using their rallies to attack people rather than articulate comprehensible policies to advance the interests and prosperity for Kenyans just can’t work. You can’t can’t champion this kind of charade for another eight months. Nobody is going to even try listening to it. Slogans don’t last that much as philosophies. Real philosophies and decent ideas last for centuries. That is human history.
If Ruto cannot translate his bottom business into real workable plans he is going to need more attack and whining rallies for the next eight months. That is a very hard thing to do.
Luckily for Ruto, it all depends on what the other side does. If they are as fake and as uselessly aggressive as Ruto then Ruto has a chance.
Let me give just one simple example to address the bottom up model versus the bottomless pit when it comes to how we use public money to promote development in Kenya.
Aden Duale promised at the angry Nakuru Rally that he will move a motion in parliament to increase budgetary allocation of money to the counties from the present 17% of the budget to 35% of the budget as was proposed by the now-stalled BBI constitutional change initiative.
That is wonderful, isn’t it?
But here is the real issue for Kenyans. It is not how much money you allocate to the counties. What Kenyans want and must know is what has the counties done with the 17% of the national and how much of that has benefitted Kenyans.
If the county leaders and appointees have been stealing and grabbing that money for themselves and providing no concrete developments to their constituents, you can give them 100% of the budget and their bottoms will be blown with money with zero benefits to Kenyans who pay that money.
Is that really what Kenyans want? Absolutely not.
The first job of the next government about devolved funding is first to account for what has been provided to the counties in the last ten years. What has than money been used for and how has it benefited Kenyans.
So here Kenyans are going to listen to what Ruto and his crew will do to end corruption and theft of devolved money before they can just dish more.
Kenyans will also listen to Raila and his Azimio team are ready to dismantle corruption and theft of public funds at the counties before Kenyans give them more money.
If Ruto says at it seems that corruption is not a problem for him and he just wants to give more money to the thieves to load up their bottoms to move it up he is dead in the water.
We are waiting for Raila to present his platform.
We will judge it when we see it but anybody telling Kenyans they just want to throw money around without accounting for what has already been thrown around for the last 10-20 years is going nowhere.
Kenyans are not stupid. Everybody knows that.
On that bottoms-up thing that Ruto really can’t formulate in practical terms, I found this out.
Kenya already has about four would-be real bottoms up initiatives on top of the historic CDF and devolution to the county government system.
Kenya set up the Affirmative Action Fund in 2014 to help marginalized groups of Kenyans get funding to set up businesses and prosper. The Affirmative Action Fund was specifically intended to help small-scale women doing grassroots business (Mama Mbogas) to get into business getting a Kshs 300,000 interest-free loan.
Eight years after that program was established the Jubilee government Kenyans have absolutely no information as to what that bottoms up funding has achieved.
All we have are ceremonies of government officials handing over money. How much money they have handed out we don’t know. What they have achieved, we don’t know. It is this is free taxpayer money.
Then we have the Uwezo Fund, the Youth Fund, and the Person’s With Disabilities Fund (PWD).
Can Kenyans at least get a full account of how much money has been channeled to these very good ideas funding which actually should be a bedrock of bottoms up and what we have achieved with them?
No, we can’t and we won’t get any reports on what those monies they send to these programs have achieved for the nation.
The politicians want the money and when Kenyans demand accountability they cry about political prosecution.
Kenyan politicians today think stealing taxpayer money is their right and their primary job.
That is the problem our country has to solve in August 2022 and it is a non-partisan issue.
It is a life and death issue for our country.
We are going to address and solve it. No question about that.
The politicians know it and that is why they are in a panic mode so early.
That panic is going to get worse.
That is a promise from Kenyans, not a threat. Live with it.
Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada