John Michuki was a tough man on a power trip who had no qualms ordering a heavy clampdown of the Mungiki. This was just a carry-on of his unfinished business with Mau Mau fighters.
If he was a strong, admirable and honourable man, he should have championed reforms in the police force. But he was too weak and old, and reforms take time, debating, thinking and change. So he chose a short cut. Violence is always quick and short. You just strike out at the offending entity. No need to think or consider.
Thinking and listening is too hard. Note that little infant who has been given long nails can scratch too. That does not make the baby powerful even if he scratches the nose of a tiger. Do not confuse the tool with the wielder. A fool with a tool is still a fool.
His tenor, even when imposing the Michuki-rules, was characterised by authoritarian tendencies that brooked no dialogue. No discussions. Apparently, all reason would surrender to the passion of the chosen course of action. But he was not always surrendering his reasons to his passions.
Upon close inspection, we see many of those close to him benefiting inordinately from that same course of action that was supposed to benefit Kenyans.
When one is willing to burn a carpet to kill a flea as we saw in the raid on the Standard Group, that is a lunatic, not a leader. What the government did was not proportionate to the alleged threat and was an assault on media freedom, proprietary rights and a violation of Kenyan sovereignty.
Road carnage remains a national problem. He focused on seat-belts and speed governors and pursued them with gusto. A holistic solution was required. But he was tired to contemplate such complex things like comprehensive reforms. He believed things are more important than people or ideas. So he settled on two things: seat-belts and speed-governors.
This is someone who, as a collaborator, succeeded in a system that conspired to keep people (Mau Mau fighters) out. As such, it fostered upon him an insulated, exclusionary mindset that was justified by the huge wealth he accumulated and the categorical teat of power that he suckled in the rarefied sty of power that he snuggled in in successive governments.
That is why he could not stand the thought of a Raila Odinga presidency because he saw it as a threat to the Kikuyu oligarchy - the only community he knew and embraced. He saw the hungry, dispossessed, uprooted, tobacco-sniffing, barefooted, wild-eyed, uneducated offspring of the Mau Mau (Mungiki kids) as more flies to be swatted. So he ordered for police squads to be formed to do the swatting.
Eliminating these lost kids was easier than reforming the police force or gathering evidence and making cases that could withstand trial. That is what reformists and law-abiding people do. He chose the wrong path.
During his watch many Mungiki were wiped out. Systematically, their sad, bleary-eyed, delusional lives ended by bullets. Some of these misguided kids could have become inventors and leaders. Some of them were forced to join Mungiki after they were confronted with headless torsos of people they knew.
Some did not even know they were Mungiki; they were just told to come to Nairobi because jobs were waiting. Michuki did not care. As far as he was concerned, the dyke cracked on these kids ages ago when their forefathers chose to walk into the forest to wage a war against the white man.
When we look back at Michukis formative years, we find several gaps. We find that he dropped out of school at a time when white men were rewarding Africans with food and sweets to go to school. We find that he did not join the resistance against the invading white man but instead chose to sell principle for comfort and became a collaborator. He came to own huge tracts of land as his tribesmen were rendered homeless.
When you look behind a successful man, you find years of sacrifice, struggle and hard work. You do not find comfort, shortcuts and paved paths as we find in the case of Michuki. Ultimately, he was a product of his time.
He emerged from the cave of a colonial system bedecked with rewards from the colonial master and was unable to shake off the mindset that got him swaddled in the comforts of power so early in his life.