Rome was not built in a day and neither by consensus. The date was 21 April 753 BC when twins Romulus and Remus had an argument over who had the most ambitious plan of what would be Italy’s capital. The debate descended into acrimony over who’s plan was the best and ended with Romulus killing Remus. Remus’ death, according to legend, was the first foundation stone to the modern city of Rome. Governor Alfred Mutua wants to build the City of Machakos in a day, and he wants all of us to clap for him or keep quiet. And this is where he will fall.
I was privileged to be in Machakos during the campaign period and I must confess Alfred Mutua ran a dignified race. He is not the savage type who’ll return what’s thrown at him however dirty or concocted. He is not the propaganda type either, he likes his politics clean and issue-based. This was difficult for his main challenger Mutua Katuku to swallow. Once he won the Wiper card, he had his foot on the pedal and the general elections was only to provide a stamp of approval.
But the calm and composed Mutua metamorphosed into a kid in a candy shop once he took oath of office. He reminds me of Matteus Gudu, the Ethiopian prisoner in Ian Gordon’s story ‘The Case of the Prison Monger’ in the short Anthology ‘Looking for A Rain God and Other Short Stories’. Gudu, not your typical prisoner who’d plead his innocence and ask for leniency, embarked on a court room lecturing mission driving sense into the judge, showing him the other side of life those living in glass walls and eating from silver spoons wouldn’t know. He wanted to stay in prison for the rest of his life, and when the judge asked him whether he had any ambition in life, he replied in a jesty “too much ambition breaks a man, too little leads him nowhere.” I cant recall how the story ended, but I can recall the judge giving Gudu a forlorn look and taking time to issue his judgement. That is what Governor Alfred Mutua should precisely do, because his “you are either with us or against us” point of departure will not help his just cause. He is being overambitious on three fronts.
One. I have said elsewhere that Dr. Mutua will be a victim of his own success. You see, the drafters of the (new) constitution made a blunder in subjecting Governors to the ballot. It is my humble submission that County Governors, being managers of public funds, should have undergone a thorough vetting process befitting of Chief Executive Officers of blue chip companies, not subject them to grassroots mobilization reserved for MPigs (pun intended). This political requirement has forced Mutua to start engaging his Senator Johnstone Muthama who is opposed to his urgency of delivering Machakos to the promised land. When you engage Muthama in a political fight, one of you will come out bloodied in the nose, and it wont be the straight-shooting, no-holds-barred pretender to the Wiper throne. Not engaging Muthama is also disastrous, as this will be taken to mean admission of guilt for the charges read out against you. Damned if Mutua answered Muthama, damned if he dint.
Two. It is not true that Machakos can be the next Dubai. Building a city from scratch is not as easy as Dr. Mutua would want us to imagine. What he doesnt tell you is that Dubai was a desert until they discovered oil which the Emirs used to construct those skyscrapers. And I have read stories from across the blogs that Dubai was actually built by slaves, and not the Emirs, as they would want you to believe. Our friends from Tullow are yet to strike oil in Machakos, and even of they did, I am not sure the people of Machakos would slave their conscience for the benefit of their ambitious son eying the 2017 presidency, unless Machakos turns into a monarchy and the word of the King is law, as it is in the UAE.
Three. Land is an emotional topic in this country. Madam Charity Ngilu is currently battling to stay in Cabinet because of abuse of office as Minister for Lands and other things. For Dr. Mutua to dish out Machakos Land to potential investors for free as if it was a cursed soil is culturally unacceptable, economically dangerous, and politically suicidal. As I write this, Machakos and Makueni are still locked in a border tussle on where exactly does the white elephant city of Konza fall. These are the realities Senator Muthama is opening Dr. Mutua’s eyes to see and which the rookie is brutally fighting to be blind to.
Kenyans will cheer you on when you are on the right track. And quickly desert when you derail. Choose your friends wisely, Dr. Mutua, because your vision for Machakos will not go unchallenged. It will not be easy as you want it to be. I wish you well.