THE BEST OF MUTAHI NGUNYI PART SIX: Can Karua lead a generational change?

By Mutahi Ngunyi

29th June, 2008

Ms Martha Karua needs to take a week off and sit at the feet of Mr William Ruto to imbibe some thoughts. And, while at it, she would do well to shut up, not sneer, and take notes. The lesson from Mr Ruto would be on the “virtues of being bad” and, more specifically, how to make a rebellion! This thought must repel Ms Karua, but consider my reasons.

For starters, she has what it takes to lead the Gema community. Those dismissing her because she is a woman are deluded. She is like Wangu wa Makeri, the legendary Kikuyu woman leader: unapologetic, clear-thinking, and driven. Besides, she is the only ‘‘man’’ in PNU, the rest are paper-tiger politicians.

A flip-side

But there is a flip-side to Ms Karua. Compared to her competition in Gema, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, the girl is a political nun. Mr Kenyatta thrives on the ‘‘mob factor’’ while she has built her politics around the ‘‘nun factor.’’ To her, the law is religion and is to be worshipped.

In fact, if you removed the lawyer from Martha Karua, there would be no Martha Karua. And this pre-occupation with the law is what makes her a nun: naively decent and straight. Yet, as the Indians tell us “… in the forest, all the straight trees are cut down. Only the crooked ones remain standing.”

In other words, to be straight in politics is to be naive. For her to lead the generational succession in Gema, therefore, she will need the ‘‘combat factor’’ and, like all change-makers, she has to begin by breaking the law. And this is why we need to send her to Mr Ruto for some ‘‘combat’’ techniques.

On his part, Mr Ruto is not a desirable man in the Mt Kenya region. In fact, if a young boy in the region wanted to be like Mr Ruto when he grows up, he is likely to be beaten up! But I am not inviting Ms Karua to like Ruto the person; I want her to ‘‘like’’ his ways. And my reason is inspired by a man we once knew: one Daniel arap Moi. Those who remember him will recall how powerful he was.

Well, his political career was ended by this Ruto man. The youthful guy had two ways of grabbing the tribe from him. One, to slaughter a goat for the old man and convince him to hand over the tribe to him. Or two, to take it by force.

The ‘‘goat route’’ was guaranteed to fail, and this is why Mr Ruto chose to aggress on Mzee Moi. It paid big-time. Now the Kalenjin nation has a youthful leadership and Mr Moi has been sent to Kabartonjo for real retirement.

Stage a rebellion

And so, what will Ms Karua learn from Mr Ruto anyway? If she wants Gema leadership, she has the option of slaughtering a ‘‘goat’’ or staging a rebellion against the wazees. If she decides to slaughter a ‘‘goat,’’ the odds will be against her.

The gesture will be sneered at because she is not ‘‘pedigree’’ enough for the posh Gema wazees. She is from a peasant background and, apart from her ministry job (which they gave her), she is worth nothing.

And this was precisely the Ruto experience. To Mzee Moi, Mr Ruto was just a ‘‘chicken seller’’ who aspired to be a prince. It was never going to happen with his blessings. And that is why Mr Ruto decided to aggress on the old man. But the story is different for the son of Jomo, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mzee Moi adores him and, as for the Gema wazees, they will hand over the tribe to him in one afternoon if he slaughtered the ‘‘goat.’’ Why? The guy is pedigree! He is fully loaded: money, history, finesse, charisma and more money!

In sum, and like Mr Ruto, Ms Karua will not get the Gema leadership through the ‘‘goat route.’’ That one is reserved for Mr Kenyatta. If she is serious about it, she has to stage a rebellion against the wazees. But can she? Honestly, I do not know! However, I know two things.

One, if she does not lead the rebellion, someone else, maybe Maina Njenga of the Mungiki cultists, will. Two, if the revolt is not engineered internally, it will come from an external stimulus. PM Raila Odinga inspired Mr Ruto’s rebellion in the Kalenjin nation; he can do the same in Mt Kenya.

And this is the opportunity Ms Karua needs to launch her fight for Gema leadership. She does not need to do the rebellion alone. She can enlist the ‘‘mercenary’’ help of Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto. But is she big enough to do so? Can she eat humble pie and seek help from the two? Your guess is as good as mine!

And now a correction I received from Mr Salim Lone of the PM’s office last Sunday.  He noted that the Kriegler Commission does not have the mandate to indicate who won in the presidential race last year. I disagree. In fact, I want to accuse Mr Lone and the ODM brigade of intellectual laziness.

Fine print of Accord

They never read the fine print of the Peace Accord, for instance, and that is why they were conned big-time. I will demonstrate this another day. But for now, I want to refer Mr Lone to page 1 of the Kriegler Terms of Reference (ToR) and specifically ToR(e). It states that the commission is meant to: “…(investigate)…the vote counting and tallying…with special attention to the presidential election.”

And the intention of this is: “… to assess the integrity of the results.” This means that the commission must enter verdict on whether the presidential results had integrity or not.

If the results had no integrity, we must conclude that President Kibaki lost. If, on the other hand, they are said to have integrity, then Mr Odinga lost and he has no business sharing power with President Kibaki.

Or what do you think Mr Lone?

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