Uhuru Kenyatta, you put on a class show; now get rid of the rotten apples

By: GITAU WARIGI

Much as there are those who imagine a good word for Uhuru Kenyatta makes you a jackboot (whatever that means), the fact of the matter is that the President put up a very polished performance as host to Barack Obama.

Eloquent, supremely poised, sophisticated, often witty – Uhuru did not disappoint.

And the visitor responded in kind. There was evident chemistry in between. The body language said it all.

Photos and television footage showed two very sharp politicians who communicated easily and were comfortable with each other.

The official White House album of the tour which was posted online opens with a photo of the two leaders dancing together to Sauti Sol’s music during the State House banquet last weekend.

Uhuru has personally avoided going onto the rooftops to gloat about the offhand treatment his principal opponents got from the visiting dignitary.

That is what is called class. It is, to put it straight, a matter of pedigree.

There is a larger point to all this. A feisty radio personality had put her take on it on YouTube recently.

This very refined Uhuru persona the world saw for three days should become the standard definition of what our President is from now onwards.

That is the persona which will frighten away the assorted black sheep orbiting around him and who mess up his image.

I am talking of the godfathers of corruption who are in his government purely to loot. These ones he must sideline.

Since this is proving difficult to do through institutional means like the trouble-ridden EACC, Uhuru must find other ways to get rid of them.

He must also keep off well-known ethnic rabble-rousers who profess to be close to him but in reality have nothing in common with his breeding.

So he must distance himself from certain elected bling-bling clowns who only end up making him look unserious.

Make no pretence: The opposition itself has many more of these riff-raff in its ranks. It’s only that they are not in power.

Thus the damage they can do is limited.

By no means is anybody suggesting that Uhuru does away with his down-to-earth character which has been his biggest selling point as a person and a leader.

And certainly nobody would want to choose for him the company to keep.

What citizens have the right to expect is that their elected commander-in-chief upholds the dignity of the country at all times.

I am realistic enough to appreciate that getting rid of this undesirable baggage will not be easy ahead of 2017 – for political reasons.

But if and when Uhuru secures that crucial re-election, he should have no reason not to kick the whole lot out of his life.

He must not lose that opportunity to thoroughly clean house and leave a lasting legacy.

The radio lady even half-jokingly suggested that she would be ready to work for the President at that time.

There are plenty of clean, efficient, forward-looking, visionary individuals he can work with to make this country a better place.

They are not confined to Jubilee.

***

The Kenyan media have been confidently writing about Obama’s dad, Barack Obama Snr, as having been a beneficiary of the famous Tom Mboya student “airlifts” to the US.

He was not.

Obama himself falsely claimed he was when campaigning for the presidency in 2007.

Truth is, Senior was turned down when he sought the much-coveted opportunity.

He was spurned by a man called Robert F. Stephens who was the cultural affairs officer at the US Information Service (USIS) in Nairobi between 1957 and 1959.

Obama Senior only found his way to the US through the determined help of a Texan friend called Elizabeth Mooney who was in Kenya working on literacy programmes.

The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father explodes many myths surrounding the man.

The book was written by Sally Jacobs, an enterprising journalist with the Boston Globe newspaper.

She made several trips to Kenya, including to Kogelo, and interviewed just about everybody, mighty and low, who knew Obama Senior.