Friday, February 24, 2017

Can money and power buy good health or resurrections?

Nderitu Gachagua has died. He was undergoing specialised treatment in the United Kingdom. He had, in 2016, spent months undergoing specilised care in India, another Kenyan doing so in India because of the state of healthcare in Kenya. He had undergone specialised treatment in the UK earlier in 2015 too when he spent two months in hospital. Mr Gachagua should have resigned. There is simply no way he could have successfully led his county government from hospital beds all over the world.

It is for this reason that the National Super Alliance should rethink its lineup. So long as it has Mr Odinga in the top tier, NASA is as wedded to the idea of One True Leader as Nyeri's politicians were in their loyalty to a man whose pancreatic cancer eventually killed. In the late Mr Gachagua's case, the office of governor was literally a matter of life or death.

Michael Kijana Wamalwa died in office as Vice-President. He would not or could not step down even when it became clear that he would not be walking away from his London hospital bed. Mwai Kibaki refused to step down even when it was clear that the lucid-minded former Makerere University lecturer, former London School o Economics-trained economist, former leader of the official opposition, former finance minister and former vice-president was not the same man who was, as rumour had, sustained by the incredible medical alchemy of doctors and pharmacists. His fateful decision not to step down contributed to the bloodshed of 2007/2008.

In Kenya, public officers, whether elected or appointed, never step down, especially if they are serving at the highest levels of the government. No matter what the reason, be it ill-health, accusations of corruption, incompetence or the mistakes of their underlings, they never step down. They would rather be carried out of office, feet first. Sometimes, as in the case of Mr Wamalwa and Mr Gachagua, the feet-first route is the only one left and it begs the question, do they really believe that money and power can buy good health or secure resurrections?

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