Friday, July 18, 2008



July 18,2008
Kipkoech Tanui
The Standard

I did not unleash arrows or cast stones during post-election violence. For even if I had, the targets would have been mere pawns, not the hidden architect of the forces goading us to the precipice.

Not that I believe President Kibaki won, let alone fairly. He already had the Electoral Commission wrapped around his finger. He also had freebies such as districts, salary awards, and water and electricity projects, among other fruits of abused incumbency, to dish out.

It matters not if past election results were ‘cooked’: I never believed Kibaki would also ‘cook’. My expectation of him was higher than that on the quislings before him. I am yet to come across research findings proving he won fairly, even ECK chairman Mr Samuel Kivuitu said as much.

My belief springs, not from my ethnic roots, which unfortunately are the prism we use today to decide what is right and wrong with our nation and our leaders. They stem from my experiences in that ominous season.

This should interest Justices Philip Waki and Johann Kriegler, for it is unlikely the security chiefs who were chest-thumping about how their gun-power and display of might won back Kenya, would tell them.

Besides, listening to Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and Chief of General Staff Gen Jeremiah Kianga, I get the feeling they were just following orders. And, as uniformed men say: "Amri ni kubwa kuliko mwenye anaitoa (An order is greater than the issuer)" and "Amri ni kama mawe, haibadiliki jana, leo na milele (An order is permanent).


Let us back-pedal to December 30 last year, a day the Economist says marked "a civil coup". Amidst the shouting match at KICC and as television stations focussed on Kivuitu, who said he had lost control but was neither a woman nor a coward, a secret meeting kicked off at Harambee House. In the office of Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura around 11am were Kenya’s top media executives, ‘invited’ by Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua. The message was clear: The President was going to ‘win’, the media must be ‘patriotic’ and ‘hold the nation together’.

In the room were top security chiefs, including Kianga, Ali and Mr Stanley Murage — Kibaki’s former Mr Fix-It. That was over seven hours before Kibaki’s hurried ‘oath of office’ witnessed by a cabal of friends at State House.It would shock the nation to learn which minister dashed Kivuitu, under heavy guard, to Kibaki’s constitutionally incestuous ‘coronation’. The minister was among those who had been in and out of KICC demanding that Kivuitu declare Kibaki winner and they would handle the ‘rest’. Then bullets began flowering by order of the same security chiefs and protesting youths began to die.

It is obvious whom Ali, Kianga, Mutua and Muthaura were serving — certainly not Kenya. Why did they have to whip the media to the ‘official’ fold?

I abhor violence and would, even before the hangman, condemn the vicious wave of ethnic attacks. But I’d be a fool if, like the Administration Police Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua, I allowed myself to be used, then blame the chaos on "ethnicised politics" as if Kenyans just discovered their tribes.

I doubt we are interested in truth. That is why the Waki and Kriegler commissions are talking in the futuristic sense, of how to avoid similar catastrophes.

It seems fashionable to look at what happened (on PowerPoint and video displays for ‘learned’ friends) without caring why, in the first place, Kenyans went after each other. We have our heads in the sand, but 2012 may wake us up from our stupor.

Some food for thought: Winners, goaded by confidence and absoluteness of victory do not name half-Cabinets or invite to the hunters’ party trailblazers like Mr Kalonzo Musyoka. They do not seal off Uhuru Park as if truth, which like the sun and moon cannot be hidden, is buried there. Why the oathing by a weak-kneed ‘friendly’ judicial official, in presence of a smiling machine for an AG, at dusk as if tomorrow would never come?

Leaders don’t derive legitimacy from the mere fact — amplified by subordinates like Justice Minister Martha Karua, who wants to rule us after Kibaki — they have been declared winner by Kivuitu or any ‘mad man’ on whom the Constitution vests the power. The licence to govern goes beyond the tablet of law. Society must first submit itself. This is only possible when their ‘victory’ is believable.

Finally, the anomalies on tallying forms remind us of the man who waited for maize to be harvested, then stole the counted and ‘tallied’ sacks in the granary. It would have been easier to conceal ‘theft’ in the field, while the maize cobs were still on dry stalks.