The Star (Nairobi)

26 November 2012

Kenya: Mutoko's Column Full of Vitriol Against Uhuru, Ruto

opinion

On 19th November 2012, Caroline Mutoko used her weekly column in the Star Newspaper to launch an astonishing tirade (Kenya: Uhuru, Ruto Nani Kama Nyinyi?) against Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. Couched under the guise of a humourous open letter to the two gentlemen was an article that brimmed with untruths, mischaracterisations and outright disinformation.

Miss Mutuko used numbered statements to put across her vitriol and so I have taken the liberty of addressing each one in turn.

1. "Your sense of entitlement knows no bounds. Not only do you believe you ought to be sitting in the big house, you don't believe anyone else has the capacity or even brains to do so."

Miss Mutuko is being mischievous here. At no time has either gentlemen expressed any such position. Additionally, they do not privately or otherwise hold such a patronizing position. It is instructive that Miss Mutuko makes this sweeping statement without any sort of reference or evidence.

Any Politician worth his salt must believe that he or she is the best candidate for the particular office they are running for. If they thought otherwise then surely they would have to back whomever they knew is better than them.

Does Barack Obama think he is the best person to run the United States right now? Of course he does. Would Miss Mutoko write a poisonous article vilifying President Obama on this? NO. A leader who is afraid to lead does not deserve the mantle of leadership. Simple!

2. "The fact that you have already decided the election and in fact I do recall you have even decided how many seats you want and should get. It's another award winning reason to cheer you on - and loudly"

Presumably Miss Mutuko is referring to the discussions held between TNA and URP on allocation of cabinet portfolios between the two parties should they form a coalition government. Not only is this sensible and standard international practice .... IT IS ALSO THE LAW!

The Third Schedule to the Political Parties Act 2011 specifies the basic requirements for a valid coalition agreement. At Paragraph 3(e) one of these compulsory requirements is that the agreement specifies

(e) the criteria or formula for sharing of positions in the coalition structure, roles and responsibilities within the coalition;

The saddest thing about Miss Mutoko's statement is not that she was entirely oblivious to this legal requirement. The saddest part of her statement is that the Media was full of discussions about the legal provision and how the negotiations between TNA and URP were in fulfillment of the Political Parties Act 2011 and also international practice. Does Miss Mutuko not read newspapers? Does she not watch news on Television?

3. "Have you noticed how every lame politician who's clearly aware that their chances of ever being re-elected even on a village school board is running around yelling TNA?"

It must really pain Miss Mutoko and her ilk that TNA has emerged as the Party of choice in Kenya. The incumbent parties, the parties of the old order and the status quo are quacking in their boots as this fresh new Party sweeps onto the scene, drawing mammoth crowds and eliciting widespread support.

TNA is the clear front runner in the upcoming election. It has the grassroots support, the policies, the professionalism and the vision that the Nation needs in her governing Party.

Many politicians, disenchanted with the briefcase nature of other parties, the dictatorship and lack of substance; are leaving those sinking ships and flocking to TNA.

4. "You have to tell me the secret of how you have managed to hoodwink the traditional and social media into becoming your campaign tool - and positively so."

Glad you asked. The secret is, and please lets keep this just between us, not to attempt to hoodwink Kenyans! If a political party engages Kenyans and listens to their concerns; involves them in decision making and policy formulation, goes to the grassroots and builds a party from there and not from Lavington, Nairobi ... the people respond. They dedicate their time and effort, their Twitter and Facebook accounts to spreading the Party's vision and policies.

TNA has captured the imagination, confidence and aspirations of Kenyans in a manner reminiscent of the NARC circa 2002, or KANU circa 1963.

No other Party has ever been able to so quickly resonate with Kenyans. At the heart of this success is the fact that TNA is the party of the people with a youthful leadership that reflects the face of Kenya.

5. " Lastly, I must say that the sheer prowess and stealth with which you have managed to silence industry captains and every Kenyan who works for a living - people who have massive investments on the line and even the young men or women who just started their own businesses, or jobs."

The National Alliance enjoys a broad supporter base. Captains of Industry and the employed are lining up behind the TNA banner in their millions because they feel that the policies that the Party has articulated offer them the best opportunity at realizing their full potential.

Witty proverbs casually flung around by the road side may very well leave a crowd in stitches of laughter but when they go home the very real concerns of trying to make a living force them to make rational and objective choices.

Kenyans from all walks of life are choosing Uhuru Kenyatta as their candidate for CEO-Kenya because they remember the sensible austerity measures he introduced in his first budget.

They remember that even before the new Constitution introduced devolution, the then Finance Minister had decentralized significant parts of financial management from Nairobi to the local levels.

Simply put Miss Mutoko, from mega rich industrialists to the simple Mama Mboga, Kenyans know that Uhuru Kenyatta has a proven track record of managing the economy prudently and with integrity

In conclusion, Miss Mutuko's piece wasn't witty sarcasm; it was blatant vitriol. A charade of journalism, it was a contemptuous article dripping with disdain for two gentlemen who have devoted the majority of their adult lives to public service.

No one expects her to like Uhuru Kenyatta or wax lyrical about William Ruto. However it is not too much to ask that even as she exercises her right to criticize them, she should do so in a dignified manner befitting her place in Society.

Miss Mutoko talks a lot about changing Kenya but I can't for the life of me see what she has actually done. Criticizing and complaining about the ills of Kenya from the comfort of her sofa in Nairobi's up market suburbia will not change Kenya for the better.

Rather than mocking others and making snide comments laced with untruths, she should offer the Country a plan or at the very least a set of goals.

Jasper Mbiuki, is the TNA Secretary for Legal Affairs

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