The case of Prof Olive Mugenda’s retirement “gifts” is a clear demonstration of how corruption and bad governance start and grows.

Apparently of their own volition, the Council of Kenyatta University from where Prof. Mugenda retired as a Vice Chancellor after 10 years of exemplary work, decided to give her strangle and costly farewell gifts – using public funds!.

The gifts included a 10-day holiday for two in a country of her choice, a personal car and a retirement home. Apparently not anxious to soil her name Prof. Mugenda refused to accept the “gifts”. Had she accepted them, the Council would hardly have been noticed. It would be the professor herself, who would bear the burden of being branded corrupt. It is in fact people, such as those in council of Kenyatta University who have encourage misuse of power and public funds.

First President Jomo Kenyatta, it is said, did not start a dictatorial system in Kenya. It was the the people – sycophants or flatters would be better words – that surrounded him that drove him into it.. In a BBC broadcast, a British journalist told of how such sycophants told Mzee Kenyatta that no one else in Kenya should be referred to as “Mzee because that was his official title. Mzee Kenyatta went ahead to issue a decree to prohibit the use of the title – a natural title for anyone who reaches a certain age!

Sycophants and Gorokos of Mt. Kenya

The same sycophants were behind the changing of the constitution to have a one party state. They were behind detention without trial laws (who is that who can oppose Your Excellence? mentality).

Mzee Kenyatta – I use the title her to distinguish him from his son, President Uhuru Kenyatta – didn’t want all news bulletins in the Government-owned Voice of Kenya (now Kenya Broadcasting Corporation) to lead with his news, however trivial the event reported. It was the same sycophants who pressured him to (How can your name be mentioned after that of a nobody!).

Audience Surveys

Neither did he want a special TV programme devoted to him. It was again, the same psychopaths that pressured him. And when audience surveys showed it was the least watched programme, the same sycophants pressured him to jail journalists announcing the results of the survey “because such journalists were traitors who wanted his government to collapse”.

At the time he died, Mzee Kenyatta had been remodeled from a hero to a perfect dictator. And that was all thanks to the sycophants and “gorokos” – now referred to as Mt. Kenya Mafia – that he had surrounded himself with.

Moi’s Turn

The same thing happened to retired President Daniel arap Moi when he took over. Within a short time the sycophants had destroyed Kicomi – a fabric manufacturing company in Kisumu after pressuring Moi to print miles and miles of cloth with his slogans. Moi became number one in every. He was farmer Number 1, worker Number 1 and so on depending on whatever thing the sycophants invented. By the time he left, Moi was much less than the self-assured man that took office; ready to breathe fresh air of freedom to every Kenyan.

That is why it is encouraging to see the professor refuse to soil her name. To build a name takes a long time; to destroy it can take a foolish gift, if accepted. Bravo, Professor, Mugenda! The appreciation of Kenyans is – as you rightly said – more than such gift.