Leta Siasa

Saturday, September 24, 2005



There are a few statements that have been attributed to both Kibaki and his ever decreasing number of core sycophants that can only be seen as either a sign of political desperation or some ingenious political calculation aimed at propelling the Orange campaign to the referendum victory.

Personally, I do not mind seeing the Orange team victorious on November 21st – I am actually spending my own hard earned money and time to see it succeed. However, I would have preferred if that victory was accompanied by the enactment of the Bomas draft as Kenya’s new constitution. We now know that this will not happen, at least as far as this Kibaki government is concerned.

We also do not know when or if the Bomas draft will ever be our supreme law; it is too early to judge what might happen after November 21st. And it is almost impossible to tell what 2007 will bring. An Orange success without a concomitant new constitutional and political dispensation would, in my view, be another unfortunate disappointment to the Kenyan people.

When (as it is now almost certain) the Orange team wins, Kibaki will remain president, not unless the Orange campaign gains a momentum hitherto unknown in our country and sweeps all that is under it, or Kibaki resigns or calls an election following his loss.

I doubt that Kibaki will dare call an election when he loses. Yet a banana win, of course, will be both a constitutional and political disaster for Kenya. If the Banana Republicans win, which is very unlikely, Kenya will remain in or revert to the era of the Big Man authoritarian rule [no matter which way we look at it]. Those in doubt should actually do what President Kibaki has asked Kenyans to do – read what is now popularly known as the Wako Draft. It is available from all the Kenyan Dailies’ websites.

But I am a bit ahead of myself here. I will take each issue in turn.

Brilliant geniuses win first

As it was said by an ancient Chinese philosopher, “[S]eeing what others do not see is called brilliance, knowing what others do not know is called genius. Brilliant geniuses win first, meaning that they defend in such a way as to be unassailable and attack in such a way as to be irresistible.”

Whereas I do not consider Kibaki and his supporters brilliant geniuses, a closer examination of their statements would reveal that the apparent misstatements are well calculated political utterances whose intention is to prepare the way for subsequent mischief. And because reasonable Kenyans have tended to portray these statements as misguided, stupid or careless, we have not been able to clearly discern their full import.

Immediately following NARC’s electoral victory against KANU in 2002, Michuki, who had quickly emerged as one of the central figures in the Kibaki kitchen cabinet, faced the media and LDP onslaught on the abrogation of the MOU and declared the often repeated refrain: “When we [read: DP and the Mount Kenya Mafia] were in the opposition and said that we wanted a new constitution with the powers of the president significantly reduced and a separate centre of power around an Executive Prime Minister, we did so as a strategy to get one of our own [read: Kibaki] into power. However, now that we have managed to get that power, there is no need for the dispersal of the majestic and imperial presidential powers; no need for two centres of power; and since Kibaki is not a dictator, no need for a new constitution.”

That is what this Kibaki government said and it is what they stand for now. Any other explanation, justification or excuse proffered by this government must be seen in exactly the same light as the Michuki statement. If this Kibaki government leaves a legacy of profligate lies, rampant corruption and tribalism, it will also leave this Michuki statement as a clear testament of what it stood for. This will not and cannot change. It is the only time this government came clean with Kenyans on important matters of state.

Michuki made the foregoing statement in the face of LDP’s persistent demands for the ratification of the MOU that it signed with NAK. It was also supposed to provide an explanation for the government’s refusal to embrace the popular clamour for a new people driven constitution that Moi and KANU had undermined for years. It was intended to indicate why the Kibaki government was opposed to having a new people-driven constitution introduced within one hundred days after NARC took power.

When the Bomas constitutional process finally managed to reach a stage where it was obvious that a new constitutional dispensation for Kenyans was within reach, the Kibaki government made a dramatic walk-out and abandoned the process. This action was not taken because of the reported division, laziness, ignorance or corruption of most Bomas delegates. The walkout was intended to undermine the process and render it useless so that Kenyans would not have a new constitution within 100 days of NARC taking power. Unfortunately for this administration, Prof. Ghai and his team plowed along and managed to produce a draft that closely resembled what Kenyans have been demanding all along. Once this occurred, the Kibaki government had to design new strategies of sabotage, and they found easy and compliant students in the name of Timothy Njoya and Ringera, who dutifully compromised the enactment of the Bomas Draft through judicial mischief.

But with the embarrassing revelation of grand corruption within government and the ever flickering popular demands by Kenyans for a new people-driven constitution, the Kibaki team, like impatient but incompetent army generals, had to devise new methods of appeasing the people. They wanted to project a false image that they were for a new constitution; that they were only opposed to the Bomas Draft. So, they went to Naivasha, then Parliament and Kilifi, sprinkled a few shillings here and there, and came back with some crude cocktail, which they now offered as the people-driven constitution. The idea here is to now transform the whole exercise into a government project and be the driving force behind it. If we say no, then the government can turn around and say that it is us, Kenyans, who do not want a new constitution. And if we say yes, then we can never again complain about the Big Man syndrome. The die, as they say, had been cast. We have reached a point of no return. As Raila recently said, the plane has taken off and there is no way of engaging a reverse gear without a crash. So, we have to hold our breaths and tolerate the ride, no matter where it is taking us.

Who then are the brilliant geniuses who have won the referendum? And how did they win before November 21st?

The superior militarist foils enemies’ plots

Standing recently on several podiums in both Central and Eastern Provinces, Ministers Kiraitu Murungi, Martha Karua, Murungaru, Mirugi Kariuki and Kivutha Kibwana announced to the whole world that the “government” (read: Kibaki sycophants) are using, and will continue using, state resources to ensure that the Banana Republicans emerge winners on 21 November 2005. According to Kiraitu, the referendum is a government project just like the construction of roads.

Shoulder to shoulder with Kiraitu on this platform were Karua, Michuki and Murungaru. These three political amateurs went further and warned those who do not like the use of state resources to advance the banana campaign to “go to hell.” Projecting his usual mischievous smile, Kiraitu sweetened the whole thing up by asserting that MPs supporting the Banana campaign will receive 500,000 Kenya Shillings each for incidental expenses. Assuming that the MPs who are aligned to the banana campaign are about one hundred, this would bring the money [mark you, not the entire banana campaign budget] drawn directly from our taxes and given as pocket money to government friendly MPs, at 50 million Kenya Shillings. Should we then be wondering why Karua, Michuki and company so enraged the public that they were literally chased away from Garissa and booed in Mukuruweni?

When Kibaki took one of his now familiar foreign trips to New York, two interesting things happened. The first one was his reported entourage of 94 advisors, friends and family members. According to newspaper reports, Kibaki’s entourage was the largest among all the United Nations’ member states, including even the G8 countries. Not only was the delegation too large and unwieldy, the only criteria of its selection was personal relationships and closeness to the centre of power. Even more outrageous was the fact that the delegation stayed at one of the most expensive hotels in the entire world. For this delegation’s air fares, accommodation, food and “pocket money”, Kenyans were thus fleeced of more than $987,000 (US), which would be more than 75 million Kenya Shillings for a two week trip of a section of Kibaki’s inner circle. We are only here talking of the most conservative estimates based on known newspaper reports that have not been credibly challenged by any government functionary. And we have not yet even examined how many briefcases were stuffed with cash, gifts and other ornaments to or from abroad by this group – thanks to the Kenyan tax payers. If Kenyans do not consider this a case of magnificent theft, and determine to vote in large numbers against the Wako Draft, then I honestly do not know what it is.

However, the mere fact that the Kibaki administration would not even bother to present a coherent and persuasive case for this obvious misuse of public funds indicate that, firstly, the government does not care about what we think about what it is doing, secondly that it no longer cares whether the people will use this as the reason for voting against the Wako draft, and that it actually wants the people to vote against the Wako draft so that Kibaki can continue ruling using the current constitution. Whichever way we look at it, Kibaki comes up on top. Just like he did in December 2002. And as Michuki added recently, “our people should sleep soundly because we are protecting the Kibaki government, which in turn shall protect the Kikuyu and their property.” So, you can see what this is all about when everything is boiled to the bottom of the pot. What remains is nothing but that old tribal sentiment. No wonder they recently formed GEMA and branded it MEGA, which is really GEMA reversed.

Several weeks before making the announcements in Mukuruweni, Kiraitu, in his usual eloquent lisp of wisdom proclaimed how the Banana Republicans will shake all corners of Kenya with a dizzying array of state resources that had never been seen before. Mirugi and Murungaru had then threatened Kalonzo Musyoka with severe penal consequences for an apparent “criminal” indiscretion some sixteen years before. Kalonzo’s indiscretion was later revealed to have been his alleged failure to comply with a dead judge’s civil court order; an order that had apparently been successfully appealed. To cap it off, Kiraitu declared that on Tuesday, September 20th, 2005, Kenyans would see Cabinet Ministers, MPs and several leaders being arraigned in court for their failure to file their wealth declarations as required by law.

Shortly thereafter, Kiraitu, Michuki and company directed all civil servants to campaign for this new government project. The police were also seen shipping people armed with crude objects and deadly weapons to Orange rallies and unleashing them on peaceful civilians. In the ensuing confrontations in Garissa and Thika, the attackers are protected and escorted by the police to safety as their Orange counterparts are arraigned in court with tramped up charges. Consequently, the Orange team is gaining momentum while the Banana team is increasingly becoming loathed, hated and despised, as their leaders designed.

However, as with his other announcements on the Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing and other Kenyan scandals, Kiaritu’s latest threat has turned out to be just another flute being played to the gallery. Maybe Kiraitu thought that he was simply foiling his enemies’ plots, trying to ruin their alliances before actually attacking them in Thika, then Garissa. Kiraitu, as you can see, has been reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War upside down.

A general that is not popular is not a help to the nation

On arrival from his most recent overseas trips, President Kibaki declared that the referendum on the Wako draft will proceed as planned. In his new assumed dismissive trait, he stated that those opposed to the Wako draft are losers; that they lost at Bomas and Parliament, and that they will lose again on November 21st. He also announced that Kenyans abroad support the Wako draft because it provides for dual citizenship. Maybe the president knows something that we do not (yet) know. However, from all reliable sources, it is Kibaki and his team that lost at Bomas and will likely lose on November 21st; not unless these loses were actually designed to be so by State House, which is what I suspect, hence his bold proclamations.

An ancient Chinese philosopher called Zhuge once stated that “a general that is not popular is not a help to the nation, not a leader of the army.” Kenyans will no doubt decide what kind of a general Kibaki has been.

As for the Kibaki Banana Republicans, their statement appear geared as a campaign for the rejection of the Wako draft. The more statements they make about how they will misuse state resources to campaign for the Wako draft, that the draft reduces presidential powers, that civil servants must campaign and vote for the Wako draft and their direction to the police to intimidate and harass Orange supporters, are all designed to make the Banana team thoroughly unpopular and despised. Whether this is a brilliant strategy like what they did in 2002 is for time to tell. But I suspect that it is. The general is leading an onslaught on his own people.


*The writer is a Kenyan practicing law in Toronto, Canada