Monday, December 13, 2010

The lessons of Wikileaks

Julian Assange and his Wikileaks have ruined Hilary Clinton's and Barack Obama's end-of-year party. By accepting over 250,000 diplomatic cables from a disgruntled soldier and posting them online, they have exposed US diplomacy for what it is - a continuation of war by other means. President Kibaki, Prime Minister Odinga and Vice-President Musyoka were today unanimous in their condemnation of US diplomacy, and they reserved special, if allusive, attention for the cables that Ambassador Michael Ranneberger sent back to the State Department regarding various issues they would rather have remained un-mentioned. Prime Minister Odinga set the tone last week when he dismissed the leaks as gossip between the Ambassador and his master back home. Like the President, he chose to gloss over the fact that the Ambassador hit the nail on head when he described the Grand Coalition government as one of the most corrupt in the world, if not the most corrupt in Africa.

It has always been an open secret that the Grand Coalition was founded on a false premise and sustained on principles that the people of Kenya would find unpalatable. If you recall, when they were 'negotiating' the settlement, they started quibbling over Cabinet, Civil Service and parastatal appointments with an eye to shoring up their bases. ODM was holding out for a 'fair' distribution of Cabinet portfolios while PNU wanted to retain the most lucrative and powerful. The appointments made by Amos Kimunya and Henry Kosgey demonstrated like nothing else will the corrupt foundations of the Grand Coalition Government. The Anglo-Leasing scandal is yet to be satisfactorily put to bed. So, the Principals have no basis for alleging that the Ranneberger Cables are anything but the Gospel Truth.

The attacks visited upon the US diplomatic corps for their un-diplomatic Diplomatic Cables are hot air. The fact is, it is the responsibility of diplomats to advise their governments on the true state of affairs of the countries where they serve for them to make the best decision possible regarding their international engagements. Ambassador Ranneberger does not owe fealty to President Kibaki or Prime Minister Odinga, but to Barack Obama and the US of A. The US government cannot expect anything less from the diplomats serving in Washington DC or New York. It is the nature of the game. This is a game for adults not for children in need of adult supervision and if the Principals cannot grasp this simple fact, it is time we arranged their early exit from the seats of power.

Kenyans are tired of being lied to by their Government. We know that many Cabinet Ministers and civil servants are corrupt, we just don't know who. PLO Lumumba will do his thing, but if he does not hand down indictments against the masterminds behind Anglo-Leasing, Goldenberg, the Maize Scam, the Free Primary Education Scam, the Triton Scam or any of the major corruption-related deals in government, then he too needs to go. Who really believes that Matthew Iteere, Kinuthia Mbugua and Michael Gichangi will chase down the purveyors of illicit drugs and bring them to book? If you do, then I have a bridge I am willing to sell at a fair price!

The Wikileaks revelations have shown that behind the facade of bonhomie cultivated by Kenya's diplomatic corps lies the true nature of their government and how it is seen by foreign leaders. Despite the vitriol directed at America's diplomats, the Kibaki government has retreated to a familiar theme: sloganeering and vague statements with no substance or purpose. I think what the American ambassador said about our President and the Prime Minister is unconscionable, but he does not work for me. The President and PM do. It is time we held their feet to the fire and demanded actual accountability. From the President on down. No one should be above the law, but these people behave as if Kenyan citizens are an irritant to be scratched and ignored. We must remind them that their sins of omission and commission did not go unnoticed and that the day of reckoning is nigh. We have weighed them and found them wanting and it is time for them to shape up or ship out. The Second Republic will not relive the mistakes of the Moi or Kenyatta Regimes. If we are to make mistakes, let us make new ones.

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