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HUNTER & GATHERER

EXTRACT:

An hour later, the Minister for Internal Security and the Special Advisor imposed strongly on the President that he must address the nation. The Army Commander was with them. Unable to help it, the President winced and got on his feet. The Army Commander snapped off a salute and the President returned it without much energy. He was taken to room 5 of the presidential boardrooms to address the Cabinet. He looked around the room and noticed that all of the ministers looked uneasy. Each of them sat stiff with rigid expressions on their faces. The past two days had not been easy for the upper ranks of the government. More than a quarter of the flag level officers had been summoned. It appeared that the President blamed them for the failure to win referendum.

After the National anthem had been played, the President began.

“I’m the one who will get his arse whacked silly by the Americans for using millions of their dollars in civic education and ballot papers and logistics and the Europeans for using millions of their euros for security and publicity and lining the pockets of my greedy windbags and delivering nothing. Back to square one.”

The grim faced men and women seated around the conference table tensed. The President continued. “I am taking steps to assure that you don’t fail me. I am replacing the current Director of the NSIS with someone whose judgment I can trust. I will be announcing his replacement on television tonight. Her first job will be to review the current procedures that you follow in arriving at an assessment and to redefine those procedures so that you won’t make the same mistakes as in the past. Let me tell you one thing; you people have not been held responsible for your mistakes. That’s going to change. You will be responsible for the quality of your assessments. If you aren’t a hundred percent correct, you will be fired.”

The Internal Security minister crossed his arms and thought, “I won’t be submitting any work anytime soon. There’s no way I can guarantee one hundred percent correctness of my assessments.”

The President continued. “This referendum defeat has been a disgrace to this country ever since it was founded. Throughout my career as a politician every scandal has been blamed on the failure of government to put structures in place. That ends today. I will act now. You will see. Wajinga nyinyi.”

“What do we do now, your Excellency,” said the Attorney General.

The President glared at him. “Is that a question? We go back to the most hated document in the Republic of Kenya. The Lancaster Constitution. But you know what? I’m not mourning that much, it gives me power. Power to put nyenjes and kihiis like Dr. Tang’uru Yamoloko in Kamiti. What does that names mean? Any Luo, here who can explain.”

There was a stunned silence around the table. The Minister of Defence raised his hand. “It means watch out, the wind has changed its course.”

“Well, course of the wind has changed for him. I still have the absolute power that I can revoke. Detention. Pale pale Kamiti.”

Everyone around the table nodded their heads in agreement. The Internal Security Minister asked, “We won’t make the atmosphere more volatile? Let’s bring a charge like abuse of office and incitement against him. Nine Kenyans died. Detention, no.”

The Attorney General said, “Court processes drag. We can’t rely on the High Court to prosecute abuses of office in a timely manner. By the time things make their way through the judicial system, we could be having the next General Election. We can’t rely upon parliament because they’ll play political games, given that the Opposition now has an upper hand with a tyranny of numbers.”

The Minister of Internal Security spoke again. “There’s only one thing we can do. We have to implement a mechanism limiting the ability of the Opposition to trample on the rights of Kenyans. Already they are transforming the “No” support into a massive political movement. As much as I hate to suggest it, we’ll have to ask the President to put into place an oversight committee on the intelligence and law enforcement agencies through an executive order before the movement takes root and bar all political rallies. Ban the movement.”

The President snorted in disgust and said, “What you’re saying is hogwash. You know it cannot happen in this Kenya now. Who are you to say such misleading things to me?”

“I’m the elected member of parliament for Kitikata and the Minister for Internal Security.”

“You’re fired.”

The minister was shocked. “Sir, I’m your friend. Remember the nights we spent at Kamiti? I am the one holding the country together. Remember the money I...”

“You’re still fired.”

The Head of Civil Service Prof. Hamed Muhammad was up in arms. “Boss, you can’t just fire him. His is the Minister of Internal Security. Things are very hot right now and...”

“Who are you?” the President demanded.

“The  Head of Civil Service, Office of the President, Permanent Secretary.”

“You’re also fired. In fact you’re all fired.”

Nobody believed him. Nobody moved. Murmurs arose.

The AG stood up. “Your Excellency, dissolving the entire cabinet is illegal and unconstitutional. It’s against the law.”

“Which law? Is there any law better than my word now?” Pointing at his portrait on the wall, the President added, “Do you see that picture up there?”

“Yes, sir,” the AG said.

“What does it say?”

“You’re the President, sir.”

“I am His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, the Commander In-Chief of the Armed Forces. My word is the law. MY WORD IS LAW! I AM THE LAW! You’re a bunch of wakora and incompetent idiots who can’t even deliver a small thing like a constitution that protects us. Now, I am going to say this again very slowly, very calmly.” And he bellowed thunderously. “TOKENI HAPA, TUMBAFU! GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE, FOOLS!

All the minsters got up in confusion and ran out of the room. The President sat fuming. The AG approached cautiously. “According to the current constitution, you have no powers to fire me.”

“You’re very lucky,” the President said calmly. “Your position is constitutionally protected against my presidential powers. Kuma ya mama yako, hata wewe bure sana.”

The AG hesitated, the leaned close. He said, “What do we do to KEC Chairman, he duped us.”

“Wachana na yeye. Leave him alone.”

The next evening, the President moved quickly to reassert his political authority. He called a national press conference and explained  his decision. “Following the results of the Referendum, it has become necessary for me, as the President of the Republic, to re-organise my Government to make it more cohesive and better able to serve the people of Kenya. The Cabinet is dissolved for the time being. I will run the country myself.”

He repeated his short speech in Kiswahili.

He pledged to appoint a new cabinet within a month. In the meantime he would be running the country single-handedly. The Vice-President, though retained, did not survive the axe either. His  position as Minister of Home Affairs was taken away.


Novel, 564 pages

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