From the dawn of African independence, many countries found themselves at the mercy of one man who mercilessly ruled them and did whatever he wished at will and with impunity.
The country he ruled and all its resources became indistinguishable from the man’s personal property and that of his henchmen.
This was no different in Kenya where we had not one but two such men in the body of our first and second presidents, respectfully.
In 2002, Kenyans said enough of the Big Man mentality by defeating the Uhuru Project, which was supposed to continue the Moi regime and essentially given us our own version of Baby Doc of the Haitian fame wh even though doubtful he would have become the Big Man we had so become accustomed to but finally rejected.
With the euphoria surrounding the election and swearing in of Mwai Kibaki in his first term, a jubilant Kenya was optimistic that the era of the Big Man was over and that we finally had a popularly elected a president who would be responsive to the people’s needs and finally lead us to prosperity.
The euphoria was short-lived much the same way the expectations were crushed as Kibaki quickly settled into becoming perhaps the worst of the presidents we have had.
To be sure, Kibaki has revived in stealth the Big Man mentality despite his working with Prime Minister Raila Odinga to pass and have our new constitution promulgated that clipped the president’s powers significantly by also strengthening our other institutions that have been at the mercy of the Big Men before him.
President Kibaki’s sudden reversal of course and refusing to assent to the County Government Bill raising specific objections he has already assented to in another law is but an effort to further retrench the Big Man mentality.
An interesting question arises as to why the president would want to do this knowing fully well he is on the way out?
Is the president concerned about shaping the executive for long after he is gone or for short-term gain in terms of having the powers that can be used in his succession?
The cynic in all of us would say it’s more the latter than the former.
This thinking holds that the president will kill two birds with one stone under this theory.
Specifically, with reshaping of the provincial administration underway under section 17 of the Sixth Schedule, Kibaki must be of the view doing so in a manner that keeps this old creature of political whipping machinery in place is crucial in placing his successor of choice in office and to the extent that man has the machinery to further perpetuate his own power, so much the better for whatever other interests and ideas he may have in mind.
In other words, all that is happening in the implementation process shall have little to do with the country and almost everything to do with the succession politics and ensuring certain interests are taken care of to the far future.
This leaves Raila in a very interesting position.
Does he oppose Kibaki’s move to still maintain a powerful national government even under devolution, knowing he is likely the beneficiary if Kenyans give him the nod, or does he not for the same reasons?
That should be the least of his concerns, however.
What should worry Raila more and anyone who cares about Kenya are the tell tales indicating there is a move for our next president to be someone who the powers that be have predestined to be regardless of what the people’s wish may be.
The arrogance with which Uhuru and Ruto go about doing what they are doing is more reason for Raila and all Kenyans who care about our country should be concerned because they are certainly acting as though they know something everyone else doesn’t know.
Otherwise, why would two men act as though they are invincible?
Why would these two men act as if they are more important and in control of their fate than any other mortal person in their shoe would otherwise be?
Why would these two men act as if they are the embodiment of the Big Man mentality everyone must behold and even mightier than all the 3 Big Men we have actually had combined?
What would give them that sense of confidence they are projecting that the ICC process is nothing for them to worry about?
The answers can only point to troubling times ahead unless Kenyans wake up and remain vigilant and that is, these two must know or believe the fix is in.
The bigger question is; will Kenyans and the world let them?