Tuesday, December 21, 2010



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

December 21, 2010

My heart goes out to Mama Elizabeth Kosgey, Henry Kosgey’s step-mother. The same goes to Mama Sarah Cheruiyot, William Ruto’s mother. These are the only mothers of the Ocampo Six that have expressed their anguish in public. Reading their story in the local press late last week, I felt their pain, genuine pain of mothers traumatized by the events that have affected their children.

I’m feeling this pain with them because until just four years ago, I had a mother who would have done the same to me in similar circumstances. Yes, a mother’s tears are never polluted with political undertones. What you see is what you see.

The reason why these two old ladies are suffering is because as public figures, we lead double lives. We show our mothers the best side of us as we keep our darkest secrets from them. It is only when the bubble bursts do they begin to have a glimpse of our other side. Under the circumstances, they are torn between believing the stark reality of the moment and the picture of the “child” they brought up to be a good Christian and God fearing. When faced with this dilemma, their reaction is pure and simple: my son could never have done this. My child is innocent. God will prove that he is innocent.

Reading their story closely; one could see that they were not pointing fingers at the political enemies of their sons. May be they never knew them in the first place. Often as politicians, we don’t have much time for our mothers, wives and children. We are always on the move. When we stop to say hello, we are ready to part with a few shillings for their upkeep and hit the road in a hurry. More often than not, we have an impatient chopper pilot waiting to ferry us to the next destination. Yes, we never have time to discuss our political lives with the people closest to us. However when the bubble finally bursts, they are the most exposed to suffer the most.

Forget about the crocodile tears that politicians are generously shedding publicly for the Ocampo Six. They are not worth the piece of paper they are printed on. They are all for self preservation. If you want to test their genuineness, ask any of those loud megaphones to switch places with Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Hussein Ali, Henry Kosgey, Joshua arap Sang or Francis Muthaura today. You will see how many people will deny them three times before the cock crows. It is all showmanship to ensure continued political relevance in the coming years.

For all the faults and alleged crimes; I have a lot of respect for Uhuru Kenyatta, Henry Kosgey, Hussein Ali and Joshua Sang. Since being named in the Ocampo list, they have continued to display maturity and well guarded restraint from making unpalatable remarks. They have not accused anybody of masterminding their being on the list on the grounds of 2012 elections. They have remained focused on the impending hearings. More interestingly, they have not asked anybody to raise funds for them because they know pretty well that it may either be too premature or unnecessary to raise funds even before the summons are issued. What we hear are noises from their perceived supporters; the so called outsiders that have chosen to cry louder than the bereaved.

At this point in time, what the Ocampo Six badly need is the peace of mind to be left alone to reflect and prepare mentally for the trials to come. Outsiders must give them enough time and space to be with their families and attorneys without the uncalled for distractions. These people that are busy shedding crocodile tears are not doing it for free. They expect cash and political rewards because they know some of these people have deep pockets. Some of them even know that left on their own, their political careers are finished.

On the issue of cash for the Ocampo Six, I would have understood if Kenyans raised funds for Joshua arap Sang. Obviously a vernacular radio presenter cannot have the where-with-alls to match the deep pockets of some of our politicians. The man will definitely need cash if he will opt for personal attorneys other than those that the ICC will offer. However, if you look at William Ruto, his arrogance has only been matched by his show of financial muscle when he chose to visit The Hague with a battery of lawyers and hangers-on even before he was named by Ocampo. And as I wrote this article, another team of lawyers had gone to The Hague to block Ocampo from proceeding with the case. Is this the kind of man that needs government cash or poor Kenyans to organize a fundraiser for him? I don’t think so.

As we brood over Kiraitu Murungi’s one billion shilling fundraiser for some on the Ocampo list; as we contemplate Wycliffe Oparanya’s proposal to spend tax payer’s cash on the Ocampo Six, let us remember that our taxes that were released to resettle the IDPs were swallowed by politicians and public servants that were in charge. They are still walking free on our streets. IDPs are still in their camps. Or is this an excuse to raise funds for 2012 elections?