Wednesday, May 21, 2008




By Jerry Okungu
Minister Kiraitu Murungi thinks it is viable. A number of Mt. Kenya politicians who belong to Kiraitu’s camp think the Vice President is their best bet in five years time. They are banking on at least five tribes out of forty-two ethnic groupings to propel Kalonzo Musyoka to the House on the Hill. They think Kambas, Kisiis, Kikuyus, Embus and Merus are enough to elect a Kenyan president. They think two and a half provinces are enough to elect a president in a country of eight provinces.

This arithmetic may very well be true however; there are a few hurdles Minister Kiraitu Murungi may need to consider. One such hurdle is that not all Kikuyus, Merus, Embus, Kambas and Kisiis may not be of the same opinion. In Ukambani, there are Charity Ngilu and John Haroun Mwau to worry about. In Kikuyu land, there are George Saitoti and Martha Karua to be careful about. In Kisii, the likes of Chris Obure and Omigo Magara may want to be consulted. These are some of the hurdles a Kalonzo presidency may have to deal with very early in its early stages.

The other day when there was a search for the deputy prime minister from PNU, Kiraitu Murungi initially offered his candidacy as a possible nominee. He confessed that despite his stormy past relationships with Raila Odinga, especially when Murungi was in charge of Justice Ministry, he could still work very well with the Prime Minister since they had worked closely together in their Ford Kenya days adding that he was at one time Raila Odinga’s lawyer during those heady days of multiparty activism.

Shift of loyalty in Kenyan politics is not something new. Politicians do it all the time. Mwai Kibaki was once loyal to Moi. Raila Odinga once served in the Moi regime. Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta were once Moi loyalists. So, there is nothing wrong with Kiraitu finding a new boss. After all a Kalonzo presidency might just land Murungi a premiership or vice presidency if everything goes well.

The danger with letting the cat out of the bag too early lies in the problem with cat hunters. This Murungi utterance has jeopardized the plans of Kalonzo strategists. Now they have made the son of Muingi a marked man for no reason at all. He didn’t have to say it at the time he did. It is the folly of inviting loud mouths to your party and before you know it, they have ruined your ceremony!

On the other hand; what about if this Murungi talk was the work of other outside forces opposed to the Kalonzo candidacy in 2012? Suppose Murungi was in fact not representing the interests of Kalonzo but rather Martha Karua or George Saitoti? Suppose this salvo was to test the waters, build up resentment against Kalonzo then turn around and tell him that he was unelectable?

Minister Murungi is a seasoned politician. He has been in Parliament since 1992. He has been a cabinet minister since 2003 with a short stint in 2006 when he was removed from the cabinet over the Anglo Leasing scandal.

Minister Murungi mourned with us during the January- February Kenyan election crisis. As we speak now, Minister Murungi is aware that close to 300,000 IDPs are in camps all over Kenya. He knows that the wounds following the election violence have yet to heal.

He is well aware that thousands of Kenyans are still in asylums in Uganda not to mention more thousands that lost their lives and property!
At a time when we are raising funds, begging the international community and battling with the Saboat Land Defense Forces over land issues, is it the best time to start campaigning for the 2012 elections?

The coalition accord between PNU and ODM has some priorities to deal with. One of them is to deal with past injustices as part of national healing. The other is to give Kenyans a new constitution in a year’s time from the date of its signing. With these pressing issues on our plate, is this the time to launch the 2012 presidential campaigns?

If I were Kiraitu Murungi, I would ask for forgiveness from all Kenyans of good will, Kenyans who currently are tired of campaign politics but more so; ask for forgiveness from poor Kenyans still languishing in IDP camps and police cells following the 2007 election violence. If I were Kiraitu Murungi, I would direct my energies in to providing electricity for all by the year 2012 then present Kalonzo thereafter as my candidate of choice for president come election time.