Saturday, July 13, 2013



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
July 10, 2013

The story of Anne Kethi Kilonzo, the one young lady who dared to replace his dead father in the Senate is a sad one; sad because having been duly nominated she ended up losing that nomination following an acrimonious petition at the IEBC.

I watched the saga being broadcast live on local TV. I was amazed at the obvious lapses that occurred during Kethi’s purported registration as a voter and later during the nomination.

What hit me earlier in the hearing was the fact that Kethi being a renowned lawyer and daughter of a flamboyant lawyer and politician never registered as a voter in Makuweni where her father was contesting the senate seat. Now if Kethi, the favorite daughter of his late father did not bother to vote for Mutula, who among the Mutula immediate family bothered to support  the Senator at the polls?

When Kethi chose to register as a voter, whether it was in 2013 or 2011, it was not to be in Makuweni. She chose Langata, very far away from his father’s constituency. Why did she do this? Is there something that we Kenyans do not know about this great family?

When Kethi chose to register as a voter, she chose to present her passport that expired in 2001 together with her copy of the national ID card. This is intriguing considering that Kethi Kilonzo is not some illiterate village girl who doesn’t know the difference between a valid document and an invalid one.

As we watched this drama in my house, a friend made a valid remark that having held an expired passport for 12 years; does it mean that this great lawyer has never travelled outside our borders even to attend a professional conference?

Discrepancies in Kethi’s story aside, the case also exposed serious weaknesses in the IEBC fraternity. The same IEBC that was disputing the validity of her registration as a voter is the same body that “fraudulently” registered her using an expired passport and a photo copy of her ID card.

Furthermore, the same IEBC officials are the same people who cleared her when she presented herself at Makuweni and gave her the nomination certificate to contest the Makuweni senate seat.

With these glaring blunders on the part of the IEBC, this electoral body cannot run away from its internal problems; problems that have come up again and again since the Supreme Court case of Uhuru Kenyatta Vs Raila Odinga earlier in the year. IEBC lapses must be dealt with now to avoid catastrophic consequences in the future.

What baffled many Kenyans was the fact that even though the IEBC was equally on trial for handling the “fraudulent” documents, it indeed sat on judgment and decided the fate of Kethi when in fact all the documents that were presented by Kethi were produced by IEBC. Is it possible that in future, when IEBC is implicated in a case such as this one, an independent tribunal be set up by the Supreme Court?

For Kethi Kalonzo, I think the ancestors of Makuweni were not happy. It was too early to replace her father before even the grave had settled. There were so many unfinished businesses with Mutula’s death. The post mortem results are still stuck in London and the country was still waiting for the results.

When someone like Mutula dies, there are so many things that the family must do to ensure that the family is back on track. Rushing to replace him should not be a priority. More importantly, the family must sit down together and soberly choose who if any to replace their father. This replacement should have waited until 2017 when either Mutula Jr. or Kethi would be ready and organized enough to contest the seat.

Now the rush to replace Mutula by Kethi has caused Kethi very dearly and most likely will hurt the family for many years to come.
With the IEBC verdict, some malicious individual may go to court to investigate Kethi and prefer criminal charges against her. If the courts uphold that indeed she breached the law during the nomination, she may face punitive measures from the Law Society of Kenya and possibly prosecution from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Kethi Kilonzo case reminds me of a saying in my village that if you find a fox chasing a hen in the thicket, the first thing to do is to first chase the fox away. However, on arriving home, you must put the hen down and rebuke it that carelessly wondering in the bush will one day cost it its life.

I know Kethi’s lawyers have vowed to appeal the verdict in the High Court. However, I can almost predict that the courts will uphold the IEBC verdicts if recent past judgments are anything to go by. Let us only hope that the whole saga will end here so that Kethi can be allowed to go on with her life.