Wednesday, August 6, 2008



August 6, 2008
By Barrack Muluka
The Standard

Martha Karua is struggling hard not to be swallowed up by the House of Pharaoh. For nearly two decades she has sat at Pharaoh’s feet as a political neophyte.

Sometimes, she has been her master’s voice, saying for him the wrong things he could not say. For this, she has wined and dined at his table. But Karua has also been learning. She has learnt about the Pharaoh and his ways.

She has since gone into rebellion mode. She will not dissolve her political party to join the Pharaoh’s, nor will she blindly follow any more.

Karua’s on-going rebellion against President Kibaki and his PNU reminds you of the story of Moses as told in the biblical book of Exodus.

Before he could lead the children of Israel from captivity, Moses lived like a prince in Pharaoh’s royal palace. Alongside other royal notables, he was in the habit of chanting: "We will enter the Pharaoh’s gates with thanksgiving in our hearts; we will enter his courts with praise. We will say this is the day that the Pharaoh has made. We will rejoice for he has made us glad."

Narc-Kenya members in a past function. PHOTO: File

But Holy Moses never forgot who he was: he was always an ordinary earthling. He was like Mugo wa Kabiru of ancient Gikuyu times. Mugo was a great seer, who preached the prophecy of liberation. He traversed the ancient Gikuyu landscape, talking of a dominant people who would lord it over everyone else for a long time.

It has been suggested these dominant people would be White. They would wear clothes that looked like butterflies. On account of this, it has been assumed they would invariably be Europeans.

Mugo told his people that to defeat the dominant ones it was necessary to stay near them, learn their ways and afterwards use them to fight them. He cautioned them: "Do not become like these. Learn their ways, yes. But do not follow those ways."

He said the dominant ones were like butterflies. "Now you cannot fight butterflies with swords and pangas. The only way to fight them is to know their ways and to pretend to behave like them. Then, at the appropriate time, you can use the same methods to defeat them," he would say.

But, true to human nature, the people rejected Mugo and his prophecy.

Moses of the Bible had to know the Pharaoh’s ways before he could defeat him.

Joseph, the dreamer of dreams, had to live in Pottiphar’s house and Daniel had to live in the house of Nebuchadnezzar.

Now, Karua has lived in Mwai Kibaki’s dynastic house. Kalonzo Musyoka has lived in both Daniel arap Moi and Kibaki’s houses.

Karua, Kalonzo and William Ruto are ordinary Kenyans from nondescript family backgrounds. They have defied the odds to place themselves in the public eye as part of Kenya’s political crËme de la crËme.

Here, they may have climbed on some giant shoulders to see farther and be seen.

The fact that they could get onto those shoulders is in itself a great feat. Question is, will they be swallowed by the owners of the giant shoulders? Will they retain their identity?

Kalonzo was the first rebel when he defied retired President Moi’s ‘Project Uhuru’ in 2002. Ruto followed suit shortly after Moi retired, charting his own path. Now Karua has joined the club. Where Raila Odinga has sometimes been a rebellious insider — a prodigal child of sorts — Karua, Ruto and Kalonzo are upstarts who have upset the apple pie for the dynastic children of privilege.

In contradistinction with the Karua-Ruto-Kalonzo matrix is the Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila, Joe Nyagah and Musalia Mudavadi quartet. Throw in Gideon Moi and you have the true dynastic Pentagon. The one team represents emergent self-made national leadership from ordinary families. The other one is the pentagon of continuity of dynastic families.

The one team tells you, like Barack Obama, "Yes, we can". The other one tells you, "No, you can’t, unless you are of royal lineage. Your role is solely to support us."

When Moses told the Pharaoh he was a prophet sent to set God’s people free, Pharaoh retorted: "You may be a prophet all right. But I am God." And the pharaoh fought hard to show he was some kind of god.

It takes a great deal of political courage to try to break from the tribal pharaohs who lord it over Kenyan tribes. It is sacrilege to stand up to Kenya’s tribal dynasties.

James Orengo and Anyang’ Nyong’o found out this in Luo Nyanza. They are now good boys. Luhya political pretenders who cannot worship at the gods of shrine of Mululu must wallow in the political cold.

The rest of Kenya is expected to flow into these ethnic streams, depending on expediency.

Ruto, Kalonzo and now Karua have said "No". The year 2012 is set to be the moment of truth. Election promises will be between dynastic families on the one hand and Kenyans on the other.

Evidently, you have yet to see the best of Martha Karua.