Among all characteristics we value a friend or partner, loyalty is often comes first. Most things can be forgiven if they were driven by loyalty, while there are few insults worse than to be accused of disloyalty.
This can be traced back to the teachings in the bible, and in particular, the interaction between Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth. Following the death of two of her sons, Naomi instructed their widows to return to their families and remarry. While one agreed, Ruth refused, saying: “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn from following you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”
However, while loyalty may be a supreme value, we often face the challenge of split loyalties. Whereas one can be devoted to his family, his friends, his country, his job and to God, we are often put in situations where these loyalties collide. While we do not intend to be disloyal, circumstances force us to make a decision between two things that we care deeply about.
That is exactly the predicament President Uhuru Kenyatta has found himself in over the past few months as he has gone about clamping down on corruption. One of the main reasons why leaders avoid major anti-corruption drives is that they know that inevitably, they will lead to clashes with those close to them, who have taken advantage of their proximity to power. It is much easier, they reason, simply to turn a blind eye.
While some have accused Uhuru of doing just that in his first term, since re-election he has been confronting corruption head on. Having united Kenya’s disparate political factions with one handshake, he has begun a full frontal assault on graft, the likes of which Kenya has never seen before.
In what has quickly become a personal crusade, we have seen an unprecedented wave of arrests of big names, including former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Busia County Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, former Kenya Power CEO Ben Chumo, NYS Director General Richard Ndubai and National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri.
These arrests were masterminded by the new uncompromising DPP Noordin Haji, whose no-nonsense approach has won plaudits at home and abroad. Analysts have also pointed to Haji’s positive working relationship with DCI Chief George Kinoti as a major asset, especially when one considers the poisonous relationship between their predecessors that was blamed for the for the slow pace of dealing with high-profile previous cases.
More arrests are expected imminently, and the political arena is buzzing with speculation about who is next. One newspaper article was entitled, “MPs should be very afraid”, while another posed the question, “Who is next on DPP list”.
Over the past week, this explosion of action has expanded to cover illegally built structures, with the South End Mall in Westlands, built illegally on riparian land, the first to be demolished. Up to 4,000 further properties have been marked for demolition in an effort to save the Nairobi River, and President Uhuru has stated that theofficers who approved their construction will be arrested and charged.
Inevitably, this has put President Uhuru in conflict with some of his friends and colleagues. Reflecting on this issue at a church service in Nairobi on Sunday, he revealed that, “I have lost close friends over the war on corruption. Many have called me to ask: ‘How could you be watching when all the destruction is going on?’ But I have sat back and said: You know what, I am not able to stop it, because a time has come that we must fight impunity. Let us lose our friends and do what is right in the eyes of God… No matter how powerful you think you are, no matter how much money you have, it will not save you now.”
With this statement, President Uhuru has told us where his loyalties lie. No matter who you are or how close you are to him, the era of impunity is over. The corrupt will be punished.
President Uhuru has made it very clear that though like all of us he has multiple loyalties, his duty to God and to his country supersedes all others.
He is putting Kenya first, and so should we!
The views expressed in this article don’t represent KBC’s opinion