We recently argued that symbols do, indeed, matter. Is it possible that someone in the administration of Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki read our screed? Because the Nairobi regime has suddenly decided to make a rather brilliant token gesture, obviously designed to indicate a willingness to tackle government excess: it’s forcing officials to give up their precious limos:
Ministers and Permanent Secretaries are set to surrender vehicles with over 1800cc on Wednesday as they receive new ones with lower engine capacities.
The Ministry of Finance on Tuesday announced that 129 new vehicles are with the dealers and ministers, their assistants and PSs will get them while they give back the fuel guzzling limousines.
This was obviously a calculated move, as the Kibaki government has taken significant flack for its taste in Mercedes Benz sedans. And the president and prime minister will still get to travel in stretch-limo style. But we have to admit, there’s something appealing about the idea of haughty minor ministers being forced to travel by Passat—though we’re sure that Kenya’s corruption-weary populace would love to see those vehicles reduced to ’75 Trabants, merely for humiliation’s sake.