The Burning Land by Peter E. Njoroge

pg 10, 11 n 12

Back in the capital, the president sits in his office at State house. He is tired of it all, and wishes that he’d followed his better judgment and stepped down after his first term. His limbs feels so tired and the task of lifting his pen to sign the new bill felt like a herculean task to the tired politician. he was tired of the way politics seemed to be dominating every aspect of his beloved nation, detesting the powerlessness he felt in his failure to stop or influence the situation. Sometimes like today, he smiles at the fallacy attached to the power of his office. Many in the country laments at the imperior superiority of the presidency, but the incumbent knows better. For such monumental powers can only be used only in taking up a dictatorial stance, a feat that is unlikely in his democratic style of leadership.

The president decides that the bill can wait since there is still too much controversy on this particular piece of legislation. He is astonished that parliament can pass a bill seeking to reintroduce price controls, a move he feels might erode the gains he has worked so hard to achieve. As an economist his view on the issue is contrary to those of the lawmakers, and pressure has been mounting from the business community to veto the bill. He singles out a call received the previous day from his long time friend urging him to discard that legislation and term it undemocratic and retrogressive. He knows that that particular call originated not from the will of his close confidant, but from powerful figures in the corporate sector, local and foreign.

His excellency Duncan Njenga felt that the responsibilities vested upon him would be better wielded by a younger and dynamic man. But he laments that this choice was not his to make and hence his present position as the most powerful Kenyan. he remembers fondly the elation he felt before the 2007 election as he prepared to vacate this high office and settle for a more relaxed life, playing golf and touring the world. But the powers that be had willed that such an action might cause a real threat to their interests and had willed that the president must seek another term. This despite an earlier memorandum to hand over the reigns of power after serving one term. He had hated that feeling of helplessness, an instinctive desire to fight against such blatant manipulation. But these were his friends, hypocritical or not, and loosing them meant loosing all that he held dear. So the president finds solace in the proverb “A guest is a river” and knows that the time for freedom is near.

He wonders about the anxiety being experienced in his circles, people worried about what the uncertain future holds for them. he has been a good politician and business man, avoiding dubious dealings and he knows his future is secure. Other times he allows his mind to contemplate the issue of his succession, evaluating who is best suited to continue with his policies. But most importantly, he recognizes the need for unity and is strategising on how his succession can inspire unity in a divided nation.

He switches the TV on to watch the news driven by curiosity to get some more news on one of the politician who have decided to go to the Hague on his own accord. The news anchor is speculating on the outcome of that visit with some political analyst speculating that the politician wants to cut a deal with the ICC prosecutor. he is not stupid and knows that the prosecutor would not mind giving the politician an immunity deal in exchange for evidence implicating bigger politicians. He smiles as he reflects on the term given to such politicians “bigger fish”, referring to himself and his counterpart the prime minister. But he is not worried, he had no direct role on the sad affairs following the disputed election results.

He would have preferred a local mechanism to deal with this sordid affair, but the legislator had thwarted all his efforts to establish a local tribunal. He lamented the fact that the learned lawmakers had decided to make Kenya an international media circus by choosing a legal process that is likely to drag on for many years. But it was no longer his call, and all he was now was  a spectator like the rest of the country. He was looking forward for a round of golf tomorrow with his friends and he couldn’t wait for the night to pass quickly. His doctor was complaining that he needed to increase his exercises and to humor him, he had decided to increase the frequency in playing golf. he figured that this was enough exercise and should wad off the possibilities of a heart attack, at least temporarily. For now, he heads to bed and hopes that all will turn out well for him and his allies.


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