Wednesday, June 17, 2009



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
June 16, 2009

A verse in the book of Proverbs says that “When the righteous are in authority, people rejoice. However, when the wicked are on the throne, people mourn.”

This verse came to my mind when I watched President Jacob Zuma on television show the other day. The dancing South African president was as impressive as he could be. His happy-go-gigging public perception was in the back banners. He was talking tough to the continent about the ills that have consumed our region for decades.

In his speech, Zuma had zeroed in on African leaders who he accused of using too much diplomacy to sustain the continent’s dictators in power. Had it not been for this excessive diplomacy, rogue leaders would have been condemned a long time ago and ostracized from the continent’s fora.

He urged African leaders to deal with vexing issues directly rather than treating dictators, democracy thieves and murderers with kids’ gloves. Only in this way our wayward leaders would learn to respect the will of their people. Without accountability, African leaders will forever trample on their people in the knowledge that they would get support from their next door neighbors at the next AU meeting in Addis Ababa or Comesa forum in Bulawayo.

Based on this premise, I have been watching the behavior of Kenya’s latest Minister for Justice, Mutula Kilonzo with a lot of concern. I am concerned because the man appears to have a running mouth. He seems to have imported is day-dreaming sessions he used to have at the Ministry of Metropolitan Affairs.

Since his elevation to the important ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, hardly a week passes without the man from Mbooni making outrageous statements about almost everything under the sun. He seems determined to replace Alfred Mutua as the Government Spokesman.

The other day he even purported to make the Kenya Law Review Commission autonomous in their operations, never mind that the law establishing the Commission is very clear on who they report to. In his carelessness he seemed to disregard the fact that he was stepping on the tows of one Amos Wako, a sly Attorney General known for not saying much in public but adept at keeping his turf!

Mutula Kilonzo should remember a few facts about the present coalition arrangement. One such fact is that every policy of the government has to be a negotiated affair and a consensus reached. The coalition government has no room for lone rangers and know- it-all ministers.

It therefore calls for restraint in the way each minister deals with sensitive issues affecting the operations of the government. A minister with common sense would learn a lot from President Mwai Kibaki who talks less yet impacts immensely on the lives of Kenyans- whether negatively or positively.

I will be specific here. Mutula Kilonzo is an ODMK Member of Parliament by default. He came to parliament for the first time simply because one generous Uhuru Kenyatta gave him one slot among nominated KANU members in the 9th Parliament. When all is said and done; his nomination, like all parliamentary nominations was not based on merit.

For Kilonzo, it was based on service rendered to Uhuru’s political father, Daniel arap Moi over the years when Moi ran rough shod over progressive forces in Kenya. In other words, Mutula Kilonzo is the least qualified individual to even attempt to bring about reforms into the country because he understands the benefits of a status quo especially if that status quo is thieving, exploitative and repressive.

Having been elected a Member of Parliament for Mbooni in the last bungled d elections, he is rumored to be one of the people that pressurized the then ECK Chairman to release the results of the flawed presidential elections in favor of Mwai Kibaki after the ODM K top brass had conspired to join PNU’s minority to boost its numbers in return for the cabinet posts, one of which is now held by Mutula Kilonzo.

Whether Mwai Kibaki or Raila Odinga lost or won the elections is neither here nor there. The Kriegler report has since vindicated Kenyans who disputed the results. His verdict was, “ Kenyans will never know who really won the presidential elections”.

It is therefore most baffling to see Mutula Kilonzo masquerading as a Kenyan patriot with credentials to push the reform agenda to the extent that he can now disparage at the slightest opportunity the one respected international citizen, Kofi Annan from time ton time.

Mutula must stop using his mouth and instead employ his brain to digest matters of national and international implications before rushing to the press every other day with his utterances. He must also remember that whether by default or not, he was part of the PNU team at the Serena talks that gave birth to the coalition. And for what it is worth, had Annan not mediated the peace talks, Mutula, along with other conspirators that tried to steal the 2007 Kenyan elections would be in exile in European capitals or in neighboring countries because Kenya was disintegrating pretty fast.

Having been a member of the Annan team, common decency demands that Mutula subscribes to the details of the Annan accord including different roadmaps set to achieving the desired reforms. One such roadmap was specific in dealing with impunity that had become part of our political culture.

Because people die senseless deaths every election season, the Serena Group sought to punish perpetrators of political violence within a specific time frame when memories of potential witnesses were still very fresh. It is therefore foolish if not misguided for the new minister for Justice to assert that Kenya will establish a Tribunal to try suspects of such crimes at its own time!

True, Mutula Kilonzo is an experienced lawyer, even a Senior Counsel at that.

However, there is no way Mutula Kilonzo can be better, brighter and smarter than Justice Waki, Kriegler and all his learned colleagues that sat at those two Commissions to determine that Kenya’s impunity must be dealt with swift and fast to arrest the lawlessness that was consuming our country.

For Kenya’s fight against impunity, decisions taken by outsiders like Kofi Annan, Graca Machel, Benjamin Mkapa, Justice Kriegler and Philip Alston must be seen in the context that they are meant to make Kenya a better state. Kenya cannot afford latter day heroes who presided over social decay the other day but have emerged donning new robes claiming to be our saviors and national sovereignty champions. These are the leaders that are bent on taking us to the dark ages that Jacob Zuma and others are planning to name and shame

For this matter, the Annan envelop is not a mere envelop. It is a Kenyan envelop crafted by a respected Kenyan Court of Appeal Judge and contains the mourning voices of the voiceless Kenyans murdered in cold blood due to the actions of those who conspired and stole our elections. That envelop is what Annan must hand over to Prosecutor Ocarpo in The Hague so that we can conclude this dark chapter in our lives that Mutula Kilonzo does not care about.