When US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of an Iranian military general in what many believe was a reckless act to distract impeachment hearings, the question was not whether the general was evil, he was.
The question is also not whether killing the general was justified, it was. Rather, the question is whether killing the general was wise, or makes the US safer. Most people believe the opposite is true and worse.
The lesson here is even where there is a legal basis or justifiable basis to do something, one needs not to do it if doing so is unwise or prone to backfire.
In Kenyan politics, it has now become fashionable for politicians aligned to Deputy President William Ruto to openly and publicly embarrass or disrespect President Uhuru Kenyatta without fear of any repercussions.
This is an undesirable, if not dangerous trend that must be nixed.
More than five hundred years ago, the famed native of Florence, Italy, and philosopher Nicollo Machiavelli advised that it was better to be feared than loved if you can’t have both. However, shrewd leaders aspire to be loved and feared, with the even more shrewd, and crude preferring to be feared.
This is because it is widely believed — and it is often the case — a leader can only be loved by the citizenry or his or her subjects so long as it is beneficial to them. If the leader’s power weakens, the love dissipates and soon disappears.
On the other hand, if a leader is feared, that fear will act as a stronger guarantee of support for the leader. n other words, the leader who is feared will be supported out of fear of what the lack of support will result. This is the “jaribu na utaona cha mtema kuni” (try and you’ll see fire”) modi operandi Kenyans came to be accustomed to after independence and many paid the ultimate price for daring.
Others suffered the same fate even without trying because it was enough that they were perceived to be a threat.
We are long past those days, but the pendulum cannot swing to the other end of the extreme where politicians openly and publicly disrespect the President without any fear of any repercussion.
Deputy President William Ruto allies continue to publicly disrespect President Uhuru Kenyatta without fear of any repercussions.
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi recently referred to Uhuru’s mother in the most vulgar manner to make a non-point he could have made a thousand different ways without dragging mothers and breasts to his tirade.
Before that, it was Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno who spoke about Uhuru in a very disrespectful manner, and possibly in violation of anti-incitement laws.
Earlier in the year, Kandara MP Alice Wahome, the biggest Ruto sympathizer in Mt Kenya region accused Uhuru of being the “biggest existential threat to Kenya’s misfortunes, declining economy, freedom of expression and democracy, political affiliation and growth” because the President is “on the driver’s seat.”
The conduct by these men and others is totally unacceptable and a dangerous trend that must be nixed.
Ngeno dared to have Uhuru have him shot and Sudi echoed the same sentiments.
This is foolish besides being over the top in recklessness.
Uhuru need not have anyone shot but history is replete with examples where people have drawn their last breaths because one responsible has done so as a favor, not because they have been asked to do so.
There is no one who is indispensable in Kenya and wiser counsel for Ruto and his men is to accept the reality they find themselves and live to fight another day.