Barrack Muluka: The sin of political deceit must be called by its name

Societies that cannot stare the truth in the eye and call it by its correct name will perish. They will pack up under the burden of dishonesty, hypocrisy and multiple standards. For one hears, today, a cacophony of insincere passionate pleas from just about everybody to President Kibaki and to ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga.

The entire world is asking them to "sit down and agree on the formation of a Cabinet". The truth of the matter is that all these pleas are founded on anything but sincerity. Why, I must remind you again of the great poem by E G White, on the greatest want of the world. For E G White wrote:

The greatest want of the world

Is the want of men

Men who cannot be bought or sold

Men whose hearts are true and honest

Men who call sin by its name

Men whose conscience is true to duty

As the need is to the pole

Men who stand for the truth

Though the heavens fall.

Then I have to remind you of the novelist Ahmadou Kourouma of Ivory Coast, where he has written about the naked truth. He says in the novel Waiting for the Beasts to Vote that nakedness and the truth are two things society cannot squarely face up to. We know you when you are naked. Away from the trappings of fine linen and stuff, we see you as whom you truly are; the naked you. The world is most uncomfortable with this. "The world is for clothed peoples. We cannot enter this world unless we clothe ourselves, unless we abandon our nakedness," he says. And so we dress up the truth in lies.

We fear the truth in the same degree that nakedness embarrasses us. The only time we accommodate either, is in private whispers. No wonder someone coined the expression "the naked truth". Those who do not hide either become the mad men and women. Society simply has no place for them. That is why we must go on listening to tired songs about Raila and Kibaki needing to "sit down and give Kenyans a Cabinet." The naked truth is that President Kibaki is the problem. He is increasingly coming across as a deficient leader. Worse still, you don’t know whether to trust him.

Someday, in Emanyulia village, a man was crying that another one had stolen his chicken. "Why fight over a chicken?" the elders asked the two men. "Kill it and share the pieces equally. Eat it together," they advised.

They both agreed. The one who was alleged to have stolen the bird plucked off the feathers, pulled off the beak, removed the crop and the entrails and laid them side by side with the rest of the pieces. He counted and saw that they were all 40 pieces, including the feathers (which were counted as one piece). He now divided the pieces into two sets. He offered his friend the set with the beak, the feathers, the intestines, the crop, the diaphragm, the gall, the gullet, the spleen and stuff.

Need for bloated a cabinet

"So that is why you wanted us to have 40 pieces and not 26?" asked the other. "You just wanted them to be many so you could take the real chicken and give me nothing!"

Whatever Raila’s other sins may be, the naked truth is that President Kibaki is not being fair or trustworthy. He wants a bloated Cabinet so that he can keep the real ‘thing’ and give Raila and ODM nothing. Men and women of conscience must call this naked truth by its name. They must call the sin of political deceit by its name. Our dishonest churchmen are, as usual, pretending about this. Instead of asking Raila and Kibaki to "sit together and give Kenyans a Cabinet" they should be asking President Kibaki to be an honest and honourable statesman. They should ask the President to draw up two lists of Cabinet portfolio which, in his perception, are equal. They should be so equal that he would willingly close his eyes and pick up either and be completely happy with it.

When he has prepared his two lists, he should invite Raila to wherever and say to him, "My brother, here are two Cabinet portfolio lists. Pick one and I will take the other. It does not matter which you take."

That will be a stately, dignified and responsible president. For now, President Kibaki can only increasingly take on the aura of a supercilious old man with regal and monarchical inclinations. He would care least that there are those who actually believe that he stole the election, regardless of the facts. Worse still, there is the perception that the national throne has been sprinkled with the blood of over 1,000 Kenyans.

But beyond this, Kenya needs men and women who can neither be bought nor sold, people whose hearts are true and honest, people who call sin by its name, people whose conscience is true to duty, as the needle is to the pole, people who stand for the truth, though the heavens fall.

The country should distance itself from untrustworthy leaders, such as the ODM-Kenya brigade in PNU. They are beginning to sound like the sycophants they used to be, under the oppressive Kanu regime. Such men belong to the law courts, where they embrace not the naked truth, but the robbed up and veiled truth that is the hallmark of most lawyers and all liars.

-The writer ( is a publishing editor and media consultant with Mvule Africa Publishers.

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2 Responses to Barrack Muluka: The sin of political deceit must be called by its name

Ndech's said...

Like you've said, truth is loathed by so many in this world. Though I might not agree with you that Kibaki "stole" the election, I think we need to know what really transpired between the morning of December 27th and the evening of December 30th 2007. A lot has been said with so loud a noise about how tallying was wrong at the KICC but no such loudness and noise about the rigging in ODM strongholds especially in Nyanza. My take, let's not fear the truth so much. We need to know who between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga won the polls. Let Justice Kreigler be forced to include this is his terms of reference! Then perhaps Barrack Muluka's assertion that Kibaki stole his way back to Statehouse will become credible. Or we might find out that Raila actually lost the election and was only smarting at the prospect of 5 more years without power! I say, let's get the truth and be termed mad men, if that is what we risk being!

Edwin Kiama said...

I wish Barrack Muluka could publish a follow-up article on this in retrospect or hindsight :-) I ask, did Kibaki deliberately give Raila and his party the plum ministries for example; Lands, Local Government, Agriculture, Water, Medical Services, Cooperative Dev., Immigration, Tourism, Industrialization, Roads etc, knowing that they were the most corrupt(or perceived by Kenyans to be) and would be the most problematic to straighten out and that the mettle of the Ministers in charge would really be tested by the prevalent corruption networks? Look at what is happening today! Needless to say, when this thought crossed my mind in 2008 and I called it a trap for ODM, a number of my friends called me a bigot. I feel vindicated but I cannot celebrate being proven right at the expense of the rot in our society! Who will be Kenya's Saviour?