Guest blogger Koigi Wa Wamwere (Former MP)
When leaders hoist themselves to the highest perch of power – the Presidency – they expose themselves to public scrutiny and judgement. When Kenyans fail to acknowledge their leaders’ failures, they do so at their own peril and pay dearly for the services those leaders fail to deliver.
What then will history say about President Kibaki? It will not say he was a great leader. It will say he had five cardinal failures.Kibaki’s supporters have always denied his cardinal sin of cowardice but posterity will judge him most harshly for his recent criminal failure to protect thousands of Kenyans who were killed and displaced in the worst ethnic fighting in our history.Kibaki is guilty because Government intelligence services informed him of who was planning war, where and against who but did nothing to protect innocent Kenyans who ended up dead or displaced. For his omission, he is as guilty of war as its perpetrators.
Kibaki’s second cardinal sin is that throughout his life, he has never fought for the freedom he has never hesitated to enjoy. Indeed, posterity will remember him most for equating fighting dictatorship with the madness of felling a fig tree with a razor blade.But fighting for freedom means sacrificing and Kibaki has never sacrificed for any cause, person or even self. Despite his lack of gratitude, others have always sacrificed for him.Kibaki’s third cardinal sin is his failure to acknowledge, thank and compensate freedom fighters or even those who have fought and sacrificed for him. Like one who has never heard that when a cow suffers injury in the pastures, it drags itself home for assistance, when freedom fighters and their families turn to him for acknowledgement and support, he looks the other way.
Without being taken to court, Kibaki’s government has refused to acknowledge, thank, compensate and apologise to freedom fighters for all the pain and ruin they suffered with their families. By failing to compensate freedom fighters, Kibaki’s fourth cardinal sin has been perpetuation of past injustices like corruption and ruin of freedom fighters. Mau Mau freedom fighters who lost land remain landless.Fighters for second liberation who lost their jobs and incomes remain destitute, hungry and sick. The State will pay them neither compensation nor pensions. Even their children lack employment because their parents could not educate them from graves or prisons.
The fifth cardinal sin of Kibaki comes to mind when you read about Italy’s recent paying Libya $5 billion for colonialism or Germany’s earlier compensation to Jews for holocaust.Unlike Gaddafi, Kibaki has failed to stand up to Britain for Kenya and demand both apology and compensation for colonialism, Mau Mau brutalities and wars of colonial conquest. Instead, like Kenyatta and Moi before him, Kibaki bows to Britain as if by colonising and robbing us, she did us a favour.But many Kenyans share Kibaki’s guilt. We supported and voted for his presidency, despite our clear knowledge of his weaknesses. Kenya must never fail with another leader the way it failed with Kibaki and Moi.