a human right activist recently decided to give president Uhuru Kenyatta a piece of his mind and here is what he said via his facebook page:
A Sobering Truth; Mr President
Storytelling and the use of parables is a common form of communicating truths and life’s lessons for the African. Perhaps it’s got to do with a traditionally non-literal culture but most probably it is simply because more often than not, the African would rather beat about the bushes than confront an issue directly. Well, being the African I am, I will first use a parable. And not being one to skirt around issues, will go ahead and confront a real issue that needs addressing.
There once lived a powerful King, ruler of a vast West African Kingdom. This king was known to appoint a commoner as his ‘truth teller’. This truth teller lived among the king’s subjects and would periodically be summoned by the King to tell him what the people were saying about the king and his rule. If the commoner lied, the king would put him to death. It was in his life’s interest that the commoner told the king the truth.
The king in my story is our President, Uhuru Kenyatta. Unfortunately, the president lacks a ‘truth teller’, a commoner in his presidency to tell him the truth. l would like, as a commoner, to tell the truth to the King, and to tell him what is being said in his subjects’ chambers.
The people are saying that the president was a reluctant candidate who only ran for office to avoid the ICC. They’re saying that he loves his drink more than anything else.
We, Kenyans, substitute the word alcoholism with “loves to drink”. Stories abound about our president’s drinking escapades; how official guests at State House are kept waiting as his handlers try to sober him up. Of the president showing up late at state functions reeking of alcohol. There are many more but l would rather not tell them all.
The people who pushed Uhuru Kenyatta to vie for the top seat did not have Kenya’s best interests at heart. But since he is already there at the King’s seat, we must wish him well because if he fails, our country fails too.
Our president is a man like all of us and he needs to admit he has a sickness. Alcoholism is a sickness that can be treated. But the treatment does not work unless the patient is willing to face it. The people around the president will cover up his sickness but one day it might cost this country greatly. His sickness is already affecting our economy, what with the president out of the country half the time or on a drip as they try to sober him up. The men around the president have made bad decisions because he was blacked out and a quick decision had to be made.
His lack of decisive leadership is being felt. His public erratic behavior and look might point to a lack of a work ethic, a common trait with alcoholics. He does not have to resign or tell the country he is suffering from alcoholism but he needs help. It might be implausible for the president to check into a rehab but the rehab can be taken to State House. A president who admits he is mortal and is struggling with alcoholism would be the poster boy for all of us living in shame because of our hidden sicknesses.
It is a big shame that we lost a Vice President to HIV-AIDS but even more unfortunate was that as a nation we did not use that opportunity educate the people about the virus and help minimise the stigma associated with it.
When Makgatho Mandela died, his father Nelson Mandela revealed that his eldest son had died of Aids. “Let us give publicity to HIV/Aids and not hide it, because [that is] the only way to make it appear like a normal illness.”He used his son’s death to help the country deal with the stigma of having relatives, friends with HIV-Aids.
A few months ago, Fidel died of a drug overdose but the country would not be told this because our politicians and their families want us to believe they are perfect. They are not infallible. They are just like us and if they used their personal experiences to help other people, we would be collectively better off. People who are suffering from a problem should not be stigmatized or taught to brush off the seriousness of their problems.
President Barack Obama has had a 30- year struggle with smoking. He began smoking during his college days and he has tried to kick the habit. “I would say that I am 95 percent cured,” Obama
said, “But there are times where I mess up.” “Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No,” Obama said at the news conference.
Herein lies the problem; Kenya is going through a leadership crisis because we are a hypocritical nation. We assign blame all over but never address the real matter. If the president were to die
because of a treatable disease like alcoholism, it would be a waste of life and l hope that this article will not be treated as propaganda but as a reality we need to face.
I empathise with the president and I hope that he will seek help for his own good and for the benefit of our great nation. We need a president who is fit to serve the nation. He should address his personal problems so that the progress of the country moves at a steady pace; so that we stop staggering and the cabinet can stop issuing those hangover directives.
Do you have a friend, colleague, or family member suffering from substance addiction? Share their story in the comments.