Wednesday, February 16, 2011



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

February 11, 2011

If Ambassador Muthaura were an Ibo from Nigeria’s Delta region, I would have said that his personal god had deserted him a long time ago; hence his many tribulations from time to time! For how else could anyone explain the many land mines he keeps stepping on from time to time?

However, having said that, there are two contrasting personalities of Ambassador Francis Muthaura that have and will continue to baffle me. His appearance and the way he carries himself in public are such that he cannot hurt a fly. He gives the impression that he is a victim of his circumstances. In fact if one were to tell me that truants surrounding the President could be the ones causing trouble then blame it on him, I would easily agree. How would such a harmless looking man be such a schemer in almost every mega problem emanating from the office of the head of state?

How could this posh diplomat be engaged in the slaughter of innocent Kenyans, try to derail the implementation of the new constitution and now dish out lots of cash from his office to strangers he was meeting the first time? Even more baffling, how can strangers posing as Meru Student leaders lead him to spill the beans on his role in the 2008 massacres in Naivasha knowing so well he may have a case to answer on the same? How?

Most of these things are not adding up. There must be a better explanation than political brinkmanship that we keep receiving from contestants from time to time.

Let us be sober here. Here is a man holding the public office on the land while at the same time facing one of the worst criminal charges internationally- crimes against humanity! Is this the kind of man who could have held court with strangers, spilled the beans about the 2007/8 chaos then parted with lots of money “for lunch” to the same strangers?

I am not interested in belabouring the theory that Ambassador Muthaura was set up by some ODM operatives. Other experts have theorized enough in that area. What I am keen to know is how these strangers got to Muthaura’s barricaded office on the second floor of Harambee House. There must be a close confidante of Muthaura who booked an appointment for these Meru student leaders and escorted them there. Who is this influential man or woman who made this strange encounter possible?

Now that PNU operatives are advancing the theory that this was an ODM scheme to hound the head of the civil service out of the office, it would be prudent to pinpoint individual ODM leaders that are close enough to Ambassador Muthaura to facilitate such a meeting. Are there some ODM operatives that Ambassador Muthaura trusts that much?

Perhaps if Ambassador Muthaura had not called a press conference to own up that indeed he met some strangers whom he gave some cash after the fact, I would have bought that theory that this was an ODM conspiracy. Perhaps had Muthaura not publicly confessed that indeed some of the words on the tape were actually his but were doctored from the original tape, I would have given him the benefit of the doubt. However, it would be nice if PNU or Muthaura himself produced the original tape so that Kenyans can compare and decide who is telling the truth.

Since the Muthaura scandal was brought into the open, both the PNU and ODM supporters have had their say. However, we must remember that when you give strangers a rare audience and a lot of money for whatever reason, chances are you can never control the direction of their action or even how to use the cash you have given them. That is why when Kenyans saw T- shirts printed with the picture of Muthaura being depicted as a role model of the Ameru university students; I was never shocked or surprised. Ours is a society that worships materialism. We tend to revere those that give us handouts. It was the same reason residents of Makadara constituency flocked Kibera courts demanding to be given their thief when their MP was charged with all manner of crimes.

These Muthaura T-shirts were not in themselves incriminating until some clever Kenyan linked them to Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s visit to Meru that weekend. Somebody had decided that some youth should wear these shirts at Raila’s meetings to send a message to Raila. Yet when six Meru MPs including some senior cabinet ministers called a press conference to defend Muthaura, Kiraitu Murungu had this idea that the reason the ODM targeted Muthaura was because “if you want to kill a snake, you must hit it on the head!” The question then arises; who is the snake here? Is it the Kibaki government that Kiraitu compared to a snake of which Muthaura is the head? Was it fair for Kiraitu Murungi to compare the government he serves to a snake?

Talking of snakes; five years ago when Artur brothers led a raid on the Standard Group, a cabinet minister remarked that “if you rattle a snake, expect to be bitten”. Why is the snake analogy so persistent in the Kibaki regime? Are cabinet ministers from the President’s own region fair to continue referring to his regime as a snake?