Donald J. Trump, the forty-fifth president of the United States of America, is a showman of incomparable repute. He has undone two hundred and fifty years of received wisdom regarding the most powerful office in the world. In a span of a year and a half, he has demonstrated that the Shiny City on the Hill, in Caliph Ronald Reagan's immortal words, is no different from Kinshasa, Harare, Lagos, Kampala or Nairobi. The United States Capitol, and the White House down the street, have bared their faces, revealing graft and nepotism on a scale previously unknown. And with its unmasking, the USA is leading the rest of the western democracies to unmask themselves to reveal their base and corrupted systems.
However, despite the revelation that Western Democracy is but a euphemism for camouflage, more and more African men and women wish to emigrate to the West, because, even if they are hated and persecuted because of the colours of their skins, their chances of living decently appear greater over there than over here. It is why, on balance, if Uhuru Kenyatta and his African Union peers fail to improve the lives of their peoples, the rickety boats killing Africans in droves in the Mediterranean will keep on sailing.
Uhuru Kenyatta has decided to be the public face of the latest battle in the War on Corruption, an endeavour that has seen an ex-police sharpshooter (known as "Boss"), an ex-judge (brilliant jurist; terrible at everything else), an ex-law lecturer (a pompous windbag whose tenure was mercifully short), an ex-accountant (who tried to pretend that he did not understand what "conflict of interest" means and was shoved aside for his trouble) and now, an ex-church leader (a doddery old man with the naivete of a teenager), lead the combined armies of anti-corruption soldiers to humiliating defeats. In this war, battles have been fought and lost on numerous battlefields whose names have sounded the death knell of trust in the integrity of the State itself: Goldenberg, Triton, Kazi kwa Vijana, Anglo-Leasing, NYS...the list is long and its devastation almost total. Uhuru Kenyatta is waging the war with florid rhetoric and performative anger. But he appears not to have a war-fighting strategy. If this is true, all it will take is for one humiliating battle defeat for him to withdraw from the field and pursue less legacy-building disasters.
We have long known, even without the benefit of Donald Trump's revealing behaviour, that graft can only be fought on multiple fronts. The law is not the only weapon in the arsenal. Yet we have done precious little to bring the other weapons to bear. As a result, those weapons have been co-opted by the forces of corruption, wearing down their utility in this war, and eroding the public trust in political, cultural, academic, social and economic institutions. If the fiasco that is Bad Sugar is anything to go by, the heart of the State, the Cabinet, can't be trusted to shoot straight in this war, and this undermines almost completely the president's stated ambitions.
The president is waging a losing war if he cannot even acknowledge that his Cabinet can't be trusted, his police chiefs can't be trusted, his army commanders can't be trusted, and the public prosecutor and judges have axes to grind that have nothing to do with his war. All it will take for his rhetoric to be ineffective is another multibillion shilling NYS heist, not counting all the other multibillion shilling heists that have already taken place on his watch. Perhaps, he lost the war long ago. Only that he doesn't realise it.