Opinion

Of Uhuru and Okonkwo's gun that never shot

Of Uhuru and Okonkwo's gun that never shot
  • Ordinarily, presidential directives of the kind Mr Kenyatta issued in Narok should have brought instant hope among the small business people that their suffering was about to be alleviated.

  • But a lot of them will probably remember some similar pronouncements made recently and say, "wait a minute, we’ve heard that before."

  • Sometime back, the President directed a lifestyle audit at the Kenya Revenue Authority as part of efforts to rid the agency of corruption and plug revenue leakages.

Okonkwo, the famous character in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, is not as good with his gun out hunting as he is with his well-built body on the wrestling fields of his Umofia village.

But you dare say that within Okonkwo’s earshot at your own peril, as his second wife Ekwefi discovers.

DELAYED PAYMENTS

When, during preparations for a pre-harvest party the domestic tyrant, reputed for ruling his household with a heavy fist, sends for his rusty gun to go hunting and the missus mumbles something about ‘guns that never shot’, all hell breaks loose.

He grabs his gun, aims at the wife and pulls the trigger, but he predictably misses.

Okonkwo and his ‘guns that never shot’ came to my mind while watching President Uhuru Kenyatta issuing his latest directives on this and that in his Madaraka Day speech in Narok.

In what he termed policy pronouncements, the President ordered the national government accounting officers to release payments that do not have audit queries to suppliers by June 30.

Another presidential directive required a stop to the double inspection of imported goods at the port of Mombasa except for cases where there is suspicion of non-conformity with standards.

Of course, the directives were long overdue considering the damage delayed payments for government supplies and imported goods being detained at the port for months has caused small businesses.

There have been reports of businesses and livelihoods destroyed and even suicides, with the constant threat of the auctioneer’s hammer hanging over their heads.

REVENUE LEAKAGES

Ordinarily, presidential directives of the kind Mr Kenyatta issued in Narok should have brought instant hope among the small business people that their suffering was about to be alleviated.

But a lot of them will probably remember some similar pronouncements made recently and say, "wait a minute, we’ve heard that before."

On the very Madaraka Day Mr Kenyatta was making the promises, Kenyan households continued to struggle with the rising cost of maize flour despite the government having ordered the release of more than one million bags of subsidised maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board stores a week or so before.

Sometime back, the President directed a lifestyle audit at the Kenya Revenue Authority as part of efforts to rid the agency of corruption and plug revenue leakages.

If the lifestyle audit was ever conducted, the fishing net was obviously so weak that it could only capture the hooded ‘omena’ we saw in court the other day.

One can go on and on about the many directives the President has issued in the past six years that were never implemented.

Either Mr Kenyatta comes out to issue his directives and then goes back to sleep or there are just too many people in his government who believe he holds the Okonkwo-type ‘guns that never shot’.