Archive for April 2007

2012 Kenya Dream-Team

Some people might think that 2012 is quite far but as the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day so I’m proposing a forum where we could start a “Kenya Dream-Team” campaign by first nominating 10 relatively reputable Kenyans and then we could slowly market the team in the next 5 years and hopeful when 2012 arrives, we would have a strong team that would change the way politics is currently run by the privileged few.

I know this sounds like a far-fetched idea and quite frankly it is, but as the Chinese proverb goes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step so I do strongly believe that is truly feasible and we could make turn this far-fetched dream into reality!

Once we locked-in on the Dream-Team, we could start working out the logistics of raising campaign funds. This could be a simple campaign like soliciting Ksh.100 donations from 5 million Kenyans (5,000,000 * 100 = Ksh. 500,000,000 (half a billion Kenya shillings)) since it is an open secret that money does play a huge role in any political battle.

Here are my first 3 nominees:
1. Mutavi Musyimi
2. Raphael Tuju
3. PLO Lumumba

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James Mwangi (Equity);
5. Titus Naikuni (KQ);
6. Martin Odour-Otieno (KCB);
7. Wangari Maathai (2004 Nobel Peace Price Winner, Founder Green Belt Movement, MP for Tetu Constituency);
8. Bitange Ndemo (PS Ministry of Information & Communication);
9. Peter Kenneth (Asst. Minister-Finance, MP for Gatanga Constituency).

Kenya needs technocrats who can deliver.


Kibaki’s re-election resources

President Mwai Kibaki is a discreet businessman who, though fabulously wealthy, shuns owner-manager kind of business operations where the owner’s hand becomes obvious and visible, much like his predecessor Daniel arap Moi.

He is unlike Raila Odinga, his main challenger for the presidency in the forthcoming elections. With Raila, his or the Odinga wealth is easily identifiable thanks to the more flamboyant and outgoing nature of the Odingas.

The Odinga family, for instance, has the highly visible flagship investments such as the Kisumu Molasses Plant and the gas cylinder manufacturing firm, the East Africa Spectre.

In sharp contrast, everything is very low key with Kibaki. The only fairly known Kibaki family company is perhaps Lucia & Company Ltd which used to operate from Finance House where Kibaki had a private office before he became president.

Lucia & Company has since moved its office to the more prestigious Bishop’s Gardens building in the Kilimani suburbs. This is where members of Kibaki’s immediate family, daughter Judy Kibaki, sons Jimmy, Tony, David and Kagai regularly operate from either manning some family concerns or minding their own private interests.

The Kibaki family is also said to have a direct substantial interest in the prestigious and successful cloth store Deacons. Among other investments where Kibaki is said to have interests include Silver Springs Hotel in the outskirts of Nairobi and Green Hills Hotel in Nyeri.

In earlier years Kibaki was in partnership with Njenga Karume in tourism business via the now collapsed United Touring Company (UTC) which in the 80s was one of the largest and most successful tour operators in the country. Through UTC the two had an interest in Nyali Beach Hotel in Mombasa but it is not clear what became of these interests following the collapse of UTC and subsequent legal battles between Karume and buccaneer businessman Ketan Somaia.

Financial analyst concede that it is hard to estimate Presdient Kibaki’s actual net worth “because the man operates through a series of investment companies and other special purpose investment vehicles”, as one seasoned stock broker told The Leader in an interview last week. The broker had previously handled some accounts associated with investment companies Kibaki had an interest in.

Besides operating under the cover of investing companies, Kibaki also prefers having his investments held in trust through holding companies, which again throw a smokescreen for anyone trying to pry on what he owns and where it is situated.

Perhaps it is because of his professional orientations as an economist where he learnt the art of discretion in matters of money. The shroud of secrecy could also be possibly be attributed to his nature as a man who keeps his private life as confidential as possible.

Whichever the case, president Kibaki is an immensely wealthy man with substantial investments in some of the most profitable companies in the country today.

Financial analysts estimate that the Kibaki family through shares held via investment and holding companies which in turn own shares in blue chip companies at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) could be controlling an investment empire worth s much as Shs 2 billion.

Besides investing at the NSE, the Kibakis are also big in farming, owning huge farms in several parts of the country.

Among the farms that Kibaki owns include one in Nakuru, a ranch in Naro Moru area near Nanyuki, farming interests via a holding company in Mweiga where businessman Naushad Merali too has an interest, besides property in his rural home in Othaya.

Kibaki is also the best exemplification of the adage “business knows no political enemies” for he is in business with some personalities who are clearly his sworn political enemies.

Of business and strange bedfellows

Official records show that Kibaki, for the first time, teamed up with the likes of former President Daniel arap Moi, former powerful Attorney General Charles Njonjo and motley of other big players of the 70s and 80s towards the end of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s regime.

Teaming up in what was like a roll call of who-was-who at the time, Kibaki and co,. formed an investment company which they named Heri Limited and went on a business shopping spree.

First stop was at DT Dobie Limited, the franchise holder of the prestigious Mercedes Benz cars. Here Heri Limited acquired a 40 per cent shareholding. Years later, Heri ltd was to sell its shareholding to Mrs D T Dobie, the wife of the creator of the company at hundreds of millions. In 2000, after holding onto the shares she had acquired from Heri Ltd for about a year, Mrs Dobie sold her majority shareholding to the French firm CFAO making a clean Shs 587 million in the deal.

Heri Ltd also invested heavily in property with its flagship properties being such prestigious Nairobi landmarks as Norfolk Towers, College House and Kolobot Gardens. The company also invested heavily in quoted securities at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) and was for many years among the top 20 shareholders of ICDC Investments, nation Media Group, Jacaranda Hotel, Standard Chartered Bank, Lonrho Motors East Africa, Housing Finance Company and the Barclays Bank.

Heri also invested in lesser known companies such as Clarkson & Soutehrn Ltd, Taisho Monarch Insurance Company.

In commercial and real estate sector, the company owned substantial shares in Housing Finance Company (324,250 shares), Barclays Bank (352,764 shares), ICDC Investments (158,490 shares) and Standard Chartered Bank (697,837 shares).

Besides having shares in Heri Ltd – which essentially gives him a substantial take in all companies that Heri had invested in – president Mwai Kibaki also has an interest in International House Limited, the company associated with businessman Chris Kirubi and the one that owns the prestigious International House.

In addition to Kibaki, other listed shareholders or directors of International House limited in the company’s annual returns for 2003 were Kiruma iNternational (a company in which Kirunbi has substantial interests), Barclay Trust Kenya, Roirie Ltd and Mr Chris Kirubi.

Even when Kibaki fell out with Moi, Njonjo, Kenneth Matiba or even Njenga Karume, their business links remained intact perhaps sustained by the fact that they operated mainly through investment companies. This arrangement meant that they did not have to meet in order to transact business since the firms were run by hired professionals and all that the shareholders did was to wait for their dividend cheque every quarter or so.

Other discreet operators in Kibaki league

Apparently in the days Kibaki made his money, the operative word in business circles was discreet. At about the same time the man who would be president made his bundle, his contemporaries too, made a good account of themselves. Their vehicle was an outfit by the name African Liaison & Consultants Services Limited (ALCS).

Although the two companies – Heri Ltd (Kibaki outfit) and African Liaison & Consultants Ltd – had some common directors and shareholders cut throat competition existed between the two with each trying to outdo each other when it came to clinching lucrative investment deals. Whereas in the case of Heri Ltd the company’s creators came to the fore immediately on its formation, this was not the case with African Liaison where the shareholders initially stayed behind the mask of a legal firm.

In the initial documents, African Liaison shareholders were lawyers Francis Addley and Amos Wako, both then working with Kaplan & Stratton Advocates. The company’s secretary was listed as Linda I. Lee. Somewhere along the early days of African Liaison Company, Wako ceased being a director and his place was taken by a colleague at Kaplan & Stratton, Leslie Keith Savage.

The two Kaplan & Stratton lawyers continued as directors of the company until Novemebr 1977 when they both resigned and the real owners of the company came to the fore.

Dropping the mask

As 1977 came to a close, the forces behing African Liaison Ltd decided to drop their masks. Thus Julius Gecau, then managing director of the Kenya Power & Lighting Company, Ben Gethi, then commissioner of police, James Kanyotu, then director of Special Branch and the late Bruce McKenzie, then minister for Agriculture were officially listed as directors of African Liaison & Consultants Services Ltd.

However, before the company could really take off, Bruce McKenzie, one of the primne movers in African Liaison, died on May 24, 1978 in an aircraft accident en route from Uganda. Like other mysterious deaths of many politicians, the circumstances surrounding McKenzie death has never been fully explained.

His place in the board of African Liaison was taken in January of the following year by a new player Prahland Kalyanji Jani (who was better known as PK Jani in corporate circles)/ he has since died. After Jani, came in Jeremiah Kiereini as a director.

By 1980, the company was doing very well and was quietly investing in key companies in the economy. Subsequently, an annual general meeting held decided to increase the company’s share capital from one million shillings to Kshs 2.25 million. With the introduction of new shares came in more shareholders and directors.

Trogon Ltd, Coopers & Lybrand Trust Corporation, Feneast Nominees, Thuthuma, Nebanga and Kawakanja ltd took 12,500 each while Tarakuet Ltd had 7,500 shares. Behind the corporate mask at Coopers & Lybrands was Addley, Feneast Nominees (Charles Njonjo), Kawakanja (Kanyotu), Kingsway nominees (Jeremiah Kiereini), Nebanga Company (Ben Gethi), Thuthuma holdings (Gecau) and in Trogon was PK Jani.

Today African Liaison is among the major shareholders in such public quoted companies as CFC Bank, Barclays Bank of Kenya, CMC Holdings as well as Heritage Insurance Company.

Heri Ltd and African Liaison Ltd are not only among the oldest investment holding companies but also two of the firms with most highly connected shareholders. The few millions originators of the two firms invested some 30 or so years ago have multiplied in geometric proportions putting shareholders of the two firms in the billionaires club. Sources well versed in investment matters say that none of the companies was started with more than Kshs 5 million seed money.

Key shareholders of Heri Ltd at its inception


Number of shares held

Kingsway Nominees


Julius Gecau (former CEO of KPLC)


Charles Njonjo (Former AG)


Philip Ndegwa (the late former CBK Governor)


GK Kariithi (former Head of Public Service)


DR Njoroge Mungai (former powerful cabinet minister)


Heny Kinyua (former MD of KPCU)


Jeremiah Nyaga (former cabinet minister)


Duncan Ndegwa (former CBK governor)


Richard Kemoli (business executive with close links with former President Moi)


Dr Gikonyo Kiano (late former cabinet minister)


Njenga Karume (Kibaki’s defence minister)


Hohn Kotut Koitie (prominent business man)


John Michuki (Internal security minister)


Coopers & Lybrand (audit firm possibly acting as nominees)


Kyale Mwendwa (former cabinet minister)


Mwai Kibaki


Nick Mugwandia Muriuki (business executive)


Githui Kariithi Ihiga (former commissioner of income tax)


Kenneth Matiba (former cabinet minister)


Sam Waruhiu (lawyer and business man)


GG Kariuki (former powerful minister now an MP)


Matu Wamae (former MP)


David Kamau (prominent businessman)


James Mugo (former envoy and husband to MP Beth Mugo)


Source: The Leader Newspaper (Mwenda Njoka)


Mystery of Ruto’s wealth : How Ruto joined the millionaire’s club

He was a struggling 30 year old. Then somebody took him to State House one afternoon in 1997. When he went home in the evening, he had eight prime plots worth over Shs 50 million. He has never looked back and is today worth hundreds of millions.

For presidential candidate William Samoei Ruto, the big break in the world of big money and mega deals must have come on Wednesday, December 3, 1997.

This particular Wednesday must hold special significance to Ruto for it is the day he accomplished the hitherto impossible feat of getting himself allocated close to a dozen prime plots in Nairobi; all part of a single day’s work.

These plots were to become the financial launching pad for the ambitious but humbly-bred young man from Eldoret. Today, Ruto’s is a classic story of rags to riches. He may not be wealthy in the leagues of competitors such as Raila Odinga, Mwai Kibaki or Musalia Mudavadi but he is certainly not a poor man even when compared with the other lot of presidential candidates such as Kalonzo Musyoka, Najib Balala and Dr. Julia Ojiambo.

Ruto is a man whose wealth could be in the region of a hundred million plus, quite a Herculean feat for someone who started life with nothing but a burning ambition to succeed ‘no matter what at whatever the cost’.

There are two particular people who played the crucial determining role in showing the then inexperienced Ruto which side was up and which was down in the world of mega-deals – former President Daniel arap Moi and former cabinet minister Cyrus Jirongo. He has never looked back.

Jirongo’s role in the education of Ruto started when the two teamed up in 1992 to create the infamous Kanu youth lobby group YK ’92. Jirongo, as chairman of the then high-powered and on one of the few outfits that were willing to publicly stick their necks out for Moi’s re-election, had unlimited access to President Moi and enjoyed a place of honour at the high table.

Ruto, on the other hand, was a junior official in the outfit with little money and no high-level contacts of the kind Jirongo could marshal with a few phone calls.

But Ruto had something that Jirongo did not have. He had the patience, stealth, surreptitiousness and tenacity of a stalking leopard. Using Jirongo’s good rapport with President Moi, Ruto was bale to use the lobby group’s meetings with the president to worm his way to the head of state and to key state house operatives of the time, such as former presidential aide Joshua Kulei.

While Jirongo was fast, abrasive, impatient and raring to go, behind Ruto’s deceptively innocent looking exterior was a sly and shrewd operator whose calculating ways expressed itself in his curious, one could even say devious, sense of humour.

Ruto, for instance, chose rather interesting names for the companies he used to facilitate various land deals. Ruto’s main vehicle for land deals was Oseng Properties Limited. The name Oseng or osengeng is the Kalenjin for ‘these fools’. He had another firm that went by the name Orterter Enterprises Limited. Translated, orterter means ‘we must win’. Another of his operational firms went by the name Matiny Limited. In Kalenjin Matiny stands for ‘whatever the cost’.

These were some of the more creatively named companies that Ruto used to effectively climb the financial ladder.

Soon after the 1992 general elections, the fast paced Jirongo had, who like the fabled Daedalus and Icarus of Greek mythology had flown too close to the sun, had his wings melting. Ruto, together with a few other more calculating members of YK ’92, quickly distanced themselves from the falling Jirongo and besides helping twist the political knife stuck in Jirongo’s backside; Ruto and co. swiftly used the Jirongo crisis in Kanu to get even closer to the powers that be. By so doing they inched as near to the ultimate dispenser of public goodies – President Moi – as they could.

Significantly, today, Ruto hardly sees eye to eye with either of his mentors, Moi and Jirongo. In his determination to achieve an individual political identity and autonomy he has slowly sought new friends and considers politicians like the ODM supreme Raila Odinga, as more important to his political evolution.

Record plot allocations

It all started with the formation of a company that went by the name Oseng properties Limited early in 1997 where Ruto was listed as director and chairman of the company, with his business right hand man Paul K Chirchir acting as the company secretary.

Hardly had the registrar’s ink died on the company’s registration certificate than Oseng Properties Limited was in real business. The most active day for Oseng Properties was December 3rd 1997.

The day started with an application to president Moi by Oseng Properties fro allocation of a dozen or so prime commercial properties in the city’s plush suburbs and Ruto’s company’s given registration documents bearing the legend:

Know all men by these presents that in consideration of the sum of shillings (relevant amount indicate) by way of stamp premium paid on or before the execution thereof, The president of the Republic of Kenya hereby grants unto Oseng Properties Limited all that piece of land situate in the City of Nairobi…..

On that December day, Oseng Properties Limited and Orterter Enterprises were allocated at least eight plots whose total value was estimated to be in excess of Shs 50 million. Early the year that followed the companies were back in business. Two more plots were allocated on February 16 and another on two days later. On average Ruto’s companies paid the government between Shs 50,000 and Sh 280,000 for the plots as statutory dues.

The cash cow

It was these plots that he used a few days later to get millions of shillings from City Finance Bank Company and Ajay Shah’s collapsed trust Bank. Using some of these plots a s collateral, Ruto got some Kshs 50 million from City Finance bank on July 2nd 1998.

Then on November 24th 1998, he had another plot charged to the same fiannce company for Shs 7.5 million. The same property was later discharged and subsequently charged to Kenya Commercial bank for a loan of Shs 9.75 million.

It is certainly with the monies he got from these land dealings that Ruto was able to set himself in the world of business, and hence the world of the privileged.

Among his first business project was in the real estate initially with his erstwhile friend Cyrus Jirongo. Together they constructed a block of apartments in Ngong area sometimes in 1993 although Jirongo was the main financier for the project.

The value of the apartments, estimated to be worth at least Shs 50 million at the time, should have appreciated substantially by now and must be worth hundreds of millions. However, these apartments were later to lead to a bitter row between Ruto and Jirongo. It is not clear how the matter was ultimately settled but each party had accused the other of behaving dishonestly in the deal.

Years later Ruto would construct his own block of rental apartments along Jogoo road. The Jogoo Road apartments were estimated to be worth around Shs 50 million.

He was to diversify his line of business later and teaming up with some friends to set up an insurance company –AMACO- which did lucrative business during the last days of the Moi government. At the time Ruto had joined Moi’s inner core and had been elevated to a cabinet minister as he assisted Moi to promote project Uhuru where the former unsuccessfully tried t have Uhuru Kenyatta succeed him.

Not many others of Ruto’s businesses are in the public domain, but the aspiring ODM presidential candidate has obviously den well for himself. He has moved from a relatively poor man ten years ago to the multi-millionaire he is today with a palatial home in Karen, another equally opulent home in his rural Eldoret suburbs plus rent apartments, farms and other asserts.

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The big walkout: Uhuru and Kanu begin packing

Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is the man to watch, for the next twist in the never ending Orange Democratic Party Kenya (ODM-K) power struggles continue.

Our sources say that Kanu is considering pulling out of ODM-K to enter into negotiations with a breakaway group from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in what may emerge as another third force.

It was however not clear if politicians allied to Kanu Secretary General William Ruto will come along in the new move.

In the formative days of ODM-K coalition a sharp split was about to take place in Kanu when Ruto and Uhuru differed over membership of ODM-K. Their arguments spilled over to the National Executive Committee-the chief decision making organ of the party, from where Uhuru agreed to join the coalition thus keeping their faction of the party intact.

However, Uhuru has not played a key role as a presidential aspirant in ODM-K. He has remained in the background, may be hoping that the delegate system favours him or just having exhausted all chances of having a leading role in ODM-K.

A closer look at his activities shows that he has not been criss-crossing the country campaigning, neither is he running an election oriented secretariat like his peers in ODM-K.

Strategists in his 2002 secretariat, say that he has yet to give a go ahead for the launch of his vision, a style being used by all other interested candidates for announcing the bid for the ODM-K nomination for president.

So disinterested is Uhuru according to one of his key officials at the secretariat, “that he has not even been talking about his position in ODM-K. Only last week we were preparing how to meet Kanu leaders in Magarini in preparation for the by-election.”

The Magarini by-election in Coast province next month, we established, could be the first mark of the split as Kanu insists that it would field its own candidate in the area, “since ODM-K was yet to solve the issue of the symbol,” the official said.

Already politicians allied to the Gatundu South legislators have hinted that they are getting uncomfortable and they are ready to reduce ODM-K house into a Liberal Democratic Party affair, should their sentiments not be heard.

Siakago MP, Justin Muturi, considered a key ally of Uhuru, has been hinting that the party was not willing to be part “of a cheerleading team to watch as a section of leaders ascend to power without proper processes being followed.”

Muturi’s sentiments might have been fueled by the high profile given to his perennial political enemy Joseph Nyaga, who is also the Gachoka MP. He is one of those who are seeking the ODM-K’s nomination as a presidential candidate.

“The party should start by reducing the number of presidential candidates, some of them are not credible, they are just seeking higher positions so as to keep their constituency offices,” Muturi was quoted saying.

However, Nyaga’s relations with Langata MP Raila Odinga, the de facto leader of ODM-K, and his support for the aborted London ‘bonding’ trip earned him crucial backing, with Raila hitting back, ‘we will surely reduce the presidential candidates, but not through meetings but by votes.”

Uhuru has not helped calm matters either, he is categorical that wider consultations must be held before deciding on the presidential candidate. In fact during the recent law Society of Kenya (LSK) luncheon, Uhuru was emphatic that ‘some politicians will walk away if the party flag-bearer was mot elected’.

However, reached for comment after the event, Uhuru said that ODM-K would survive the political tide and that despite the expected backlash from his home constituency he would stick to his political strategy, “since time has come to rise above partisan politics that preach ethnicity and hatred.”

“Issue based politics and not our dialects is what will make this country catch up with industrialized nations and galvanise our resources. I want to be counted as a leader who believed in a cause and not one who died fighting for his tribesmen to be in power for the sake of being in power,” Uhuru said.

“No one can deny that the survival of ODM-K is going to be based on how democratic we choose our flag bearer, but Kenyans can be sure we will do our best to keep the promise of great leadership and the promise of a free society as we deliver our flag bearer. The task is on my colleagues and I and we shall rise to the occasion,” Uhuru said.

Pressed to say what would happen if a section of leaders did not keep the promise he was evasive, “lets cross the bridges when we get there, but I can tell you no-one is ready to stay where democracy is preached but not practiced, we have a reputation to safeguard.”

Uhuru Kenyatta’s candidature in ODM-K has not been certain. One time Uhuru appears fully committed to the ODM cause, the next time, he goes quiet and missing from the scene only to reemerge again to declare his commitment to the party.

Having been sidelined in ODM-K he has several options, one of which is to strengthen Kanu and go it alone as the party’s presidential candidate or seek a coalition with other parties that will support his presidential bid or at least give him a clear role in the coalition.

Uhuru garnered 1.8 million votes in the last election and though he was far behind President Kibaki in the race, he was seen to be getting more popular towards the end of the campaigns especially to young voters. Those close to him say that it is just a matter of time for him to realign his team.

And once Kanu is out of ODM-K, the party (ODM-K) will be felt mainly as an LDP affair.

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The scramble for Kamukunji

Honourable Norman Nyagah must have now realized just how precariously his position in Kamukunji is. The government’s chief whip must have also learned that tough talking does attract and not repel opponents.

He stirred the hornet’s nest when he annoyed his constituents not only because he allowed the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) kitty to accumulate ‘for purposes of doing bigger things’, but by chest thumping that no man can ‘bwogo’ him.

His statements are like those Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile says would make one lose two thousand votes at a time. By the number of times he spoke he could have lost many votes.

Smart and opportunistic politicians watched the unfolding drama on the sidelines. They knew when to strike. First it was SDP-turned-KANU-turned-LDP man Tony Gachoka who made the first plunge to the political ring of Kamukunji. The fellow who lost bitterly to the tycoon of Juja William Kabogo in the last election might not pose a big threat to the incumbent.

Then came the man of miracles Pius Muiru had a revelation Well, his bid suffered an instant blow when the party on whose ticket he wanted to run disowned him. Somehow he managed to re-invent himself and got a straw to lean on in form of a party called Kenya Peoples Party (KPP). Still it is a tall order for the man of maximum miracles to dethrone the son of former King of Embu politics, Jeremiah Nyaga.

The league expanded by the day and started to attract big timers and now there is eminent danger in Nyagah’s political aisle. Prominent and wordy lawyer PLO Lumumba has rolled his sleeves in readiness for battle. Last week he paid a visit to the constituency and mingled with the locals. He announced that the time to red card non-performing leaders has come. So far no one knows what he has achieved especially after being the Secretary of the Constitution Reform Commission and without a constitution to show after several years.

He however was undeterred. He went into a demonstration mode to show what good leaders are supposed to do. With a slather he invaded a nearby bush of grass and with power and enthusiasm of one who really needs to be elected cleared the bush. Perhaps a symbol that when elected Kamukunji will be that clean. And if the kind of vigour and passion he demonstrated in cutting grass is the same way he will handle Kamukunji issues, he may have what it takes. Coupled with his tiring eloquence this is a man who just might cause some ripples in the territory of the younger of the two Nyagah sons in politics.

Finally, comes Jimnah Mbaru, the former Nairobi Stock Exchange Chairman.. With resources and popularity to match, Mbaru might be the man to give Nyagah hot pursuit. In 2002 he lost to Maina Kamanda in the Narc nominations. And guess what, he is not attempting to unseat Maina again. Mbaru must have seen the opportunity come up in Kamukunji as Nyaga made a mess of things.

With miracles, gift of garb and smart money people after his job, Nyaga has reason to have sleepless nights.

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Mungiki: Sh40 billion budget

In a new development, the outlawed Mungiki sect has now unveiled what it calls its budget for the year 2007 – 2008 which shows it intends to spend Sh40 billion as well as sponsor at least 40 MPs to parliament.

In an exclusive interview, a senior official of the seven member Mungiki team of officials, confirmed that its senior most unit referred to as ‘Commando Unit’ had met in their second largest base in Thogoto last week and agreed on the budget.

“That is partly why there was the Matatu chaos in Kiambu and Thika recently. This was to disorganize the police and security agencies to concentrate on the sideshow as we met in Thogoto,” a source explained.

In the budget, that adds up to 40 billion, the sect says that it will allocate Shs 20m to 40 aspiring candidates in various constituencies so to protect their various interests.

Among the constituencies targeted, they say are Nyandarua, Maragua, Gatundu South, Molo, Nakuru town and Manyatta in Embu.

Recruitment and training of new members to the sect is going to cost a whooping Shs 500 million, a cost that also takes into account refresher courses for existing membership the source said.

“Maintaining our members is crucial to our existence as a mass movement and we have to change strategy which includes building houses and starting small scale businesses fro our members, a process that has already began and we are going to ensure each of our members have a decent lifestyle in the next few months,” the confidential dossier leaked to us says.

The building of medium cost houses for the over 50,000 strong membership countrywide is estimated to cost another Shs500 million. Business loans and emergency interventions will consume Sh 1 billion.

“We however encourage our members to seek the services of the headquarters in Laikipia to write proposals so as to benefit from both the Youth Enterprise fund and the new Women’s fund,” says the proposal.

Modern highrise buildings are also being proposed in the plan that seeks to set up three modern headquarter buildings at Laikipia, Njiru and Thogoto.

The Laikipia building “will be our main operations base and will be up by mid-next year” our sources revealed.

Asked how they would survive the government scrutiny on the matter, our source was emphatic, “we will simply disguise the building, I cannot tell you how, but you should know some of the church buildings you see around everywhere in this country belong to us.”

The headquarters have been allocated Sh2 billion complete with furnishings and related expenditure.

Asked to confirm who will be handed the tenders to put up the buildings, the source was evasive, “we have engineers and labour is not an issue,” he said.

Other projects allocated monies include salaries for secretariat staff, formation of three political parties, election activities and coordinators of collection points, buying of electricity cables, press coordination and payment of fines in courts.

Budget details show that secretariat staff in Mungiki headquarters draws fat paychecks, with some of them earning well over Shs. 700,000 before allowances.

One of the key sources that the sect claims it will be relying on is contributions by sitting MP’s, which they say, “has been consistent and can be relied upon.”

All the unnamed 38 legislators, whom our source alleges include a number of cabinet ministers, contribute Shs. 15,000 monthly to the Mungiki kitty.

Ordinary members on their part contribute Sh.200 to the party activities, while mid-level members who form the majority offer Shs 5,000, those in special category contribute Sh 10,000 monthly.

Prestige members contribute a further Sh 100,000 per year, above the monthly contributions. The number of prestige members is 8,500.

Other sources of money include matatu routes, rent fees and land leasing, electricity and water diversions, security provisions and special contracts-described as hiring activities.

Buruburu OCPD, Joseph Migwi says the illegal Mungiki sect collects over Sh 3 million per day from Matatu’s in Nairobi, landlords and tapping of electricity and its distribution to unsuspecting customers.

However, the sect’s budget puts the figure of collections at only Sh 70 million per month, which translates to Sh 2 million a day.

The budget of the sect now awaits approval by its prestige members who will meet on an unspecified date, before setting the budget into motion.


Drama as snakes rattle Michuki in Naivasha

There was drama last week when the Minister for Internal Security John Michuki of the ‘rattle-a-snake’ fame found himself for once staring grimly at live reptiles he has been associated with since the raid of a media house last year.

Michuki had arrived in the old town of Naivasha to unveil the newly-created Naivasha district only to leave badly shaken and rattled by the reptiles.

The launch was held at Milimani Primary school within Naivasha constituency which is represented in parliament by Assistant Minister Jayne Kihara. The ceremony which was well attended by eager wananchi, however ended prematurely when three snakes landed on the main dais as Michuki was speaking.

The residents are now blaming a mysterious cult that assembles at Le Belle Inns for the unusual drama. The story goes that a man from Giriama at the Kenyan coast is the leader of the cult.

People are asking themselves how three snakes found their way to the main dais where guests were seated. The cult story has become the talk in Naivasha town as residents try to come to terms with frequent road accidents on the main road linking Nakuru from Nairobi. The cult is being blamed for the death of the former mayor of Naivasha Mr Amisi through a grisly road smash-up.

The young Maasai men who were in attendance managed to kill two reptiles but the third one which appeared to have been the mother of the young ones disappeared just as mysteriously as it had appeared.

The newly-launched district unveiling ceremony was also attended by the Rift Valley PC and Kihara who is now passing the buck by blaming ODM-K for hiring people who brought the serpents to the meeting to embarrass her. Also in attendance were assistant minister Kalembe Ndile and the Gilgil intelligence officer who was nearest to Jayne Kihara when the drama unfolded.

A clearly rattled Michuki was reported to have refused to put on his favourite hat and umbrella for fear that the reptiles could be inside. Even the sight of the two dead reptiles could not convince the usually tough-talking minister to put on his hat as if recalling his own threat to a media house that “if you rattle a snake you must expect to be bitten by it!

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MEGA Bank: The GEMA’s haven to a Non-Mt.Kenya Presidency

Q&A with Mr. Peter Kuguru, the Chairman of the MEGA Initiative Welfare Society and Managing Director of Softa Bottling Company Limited on the challenges that continue to delay the establishment of MEGA bank which was initially planned to begin operations in August last year

Q: What is MEGA Initiative Welfare Society and what are its objectives?

A: The initiative was started in 2004 to revive the MEGA communities’ culture. The communities include the Meru, Kikuyu, Mbeere, Kirinyaga and Embu who share a common cultural heritage. Such cultural revival is essential to the communities since their cultures were adversely eroded by the colonial administration.

MEGA initiative will also help the communities to establish social activities and empower communities economically. MEGA help the communities to interact with other communities. We have formed an intercommunity council of elders which has started reaching out to other council of elders’ such as the Luo, Kamba, Mijikenda and Kisii council of elders. It is our strong contention that this will increase harmony between communities and thus provide a good intervention to eradicate tribal clashes and address political disharmony.

Relationships between the council of elders are expected to enhance transfer of information between communities and the sharing of national resources for tourism purposes. It’s going to be a boost to domestic tourism. We want MEGA members to visit western and see bull fighting and the communities can also come enjoy the magnificence of the Mt. Kenya.

Q: In which areas does the initiative intend to share knowledge and experiences with other communities?

A:We want to start economic projects such as the MEGA bank. We want to build the bank to a level where we can trade with other communities. Although, we are trying a number of community banking models, one thing is for sure, the bank will avail its services to those in the villages.

We hope to provide our clients with better terms and good interest rates. We have just learnt that the new Islamic Bank will not charge its customers interest on loans, we are looking at their model also to see how we can do it.

We believe that community banking has great potential such as the case with Barclays Bank in Europe which charges only six per cent interest on loans. Currently commercial banks in Kenya levy interest at between 14 and 15 per cent.

Q: What progress has the initiative made towards constituting the six functional committees and how are they fairing on?

A: The committees are already in place. The intercommunity relations committee already conducted about four seminars, Lat year, it met the Luhya council of elders’ among others. Another seminar is being organized by the committee at Gretsa University in Thika under the theme “Know yourself to be able to reach out to others.”

Q: What are the priority investment opportunities?

A: Other than the MEGA Bank, we are also considering the fibre-optic cable system and the construction of a museum around the Mt Kenya region to act as a reference point to the regions cultural tourism. We are also considering entering into garbage management in certain towns as well as investing in schools and communications. We also welcome other ideas from our members.

Q: Now that your initiatives has a bigger focus in rural areas, what are the alternative investment options that you intend to provide to this group of people to improve their livelihoods?

A: We will put up MEGA markets. We are intending to buy property within towns and build a market but charge a small operation fee. This is particularly in anticipation that the council markets will be eventually privatized and we would want to cash in on this opportunity. We will not compete with local business but will seek to build others.

Q: What is the contribution of Kenyans in Diaspora to the MEGA initiative?

A: We have people from London who have shown a great interest in this initiative. Already, there are eight branches in the UK participating in MEGA projects and we anticipate that more people in the Diaspora will enlist as members.

Q: What is the progress towards the establishment of the MEGA bank and which parts of the country do you anticipate will be first covered?

a: We have raised Shs 40 million. We still need to reach the Shs 250 million which is a legal requirement for investors in the banking sector. We missed the August deadline last year, but we hope to be up and running this year. We also intend to raise about Shs 1 billion. The headquarters will be here in Nairobi and we target is to open at least four branches every year, based on feasibility results. Our vision is to cover the cluster of people deemed unbankable.

Q: There is stiff competition in the banking sector currently. What strategy will MEGA bank use to attract a significant share in the market?

A: Our concept will be friendly to structural adjustments. We intend to penetrate through savings and cooperative societies and also help to develop such structures. We will formulate ideal banking products for ‘mama mboga’, ‘mkokoteni’ operators and many others in the low end bracket that has been deemed unbankable in the past. We are not looking up to big profits in a short while and will not hire expatriates.

Q: What are the requirements for one to be a MEGA member and what are the benefits?

A: Life membership is Shs.10,000 while annual membership is Shs200. Members will buy shares in the companies such as MEGA Bank.

siRKen Note:

Word is rife that the real reason behind MEGA initiative is political empowerment through control of the economy. Wealthy Mt. Kenya businessmen and professionals have teamed up in MEGA and are sending out feelers to wealthy individuals in other communities. The real intention is to control the presidency with the assumption that in the event of an unstable presidency and political environment the rich investors loose out the most. Why not pool resources and endeavour to determine who gets the presidency? Back a person who will protect their interests; capitalist nature of the business and investor community.

With the Mt. Kenya bashing that has dominated political discussions and propaganda for the last two years, the Mt. Kenya elite (esp. Kikuyu) feel threatened with an ODM (read Raila) presidency. Raila’s perceived anti-capitalism stand, anti-kikuyu political domination and remarks on the NSE (e.g. reversing IPOs) has made the Central Kenya business community paranoid. NSE Chairman, Jimnah Mbaru (a key player in the MEGA initiative) recent remarks about expected market volatility in the case of an ODM presidency is a case in point.

Word out is that the MEGA initiative (and the larger Kenya business community) feel safe with a Kibaki second term and is rumoured to have set aside billions of shillings for his campaign. The initiative is currently shopping for an alternative candidate in case Kibaki re-election bid becomes untenable. In the alternative shopping list includes Kalonzo, Uhuru and Mutava; who are also considered 2012 tentative heirs to the throne.

The MEGA initiative will also protect the Mt.Kenya communities in case ODM wins the presidency and goes ahead to implement its majimbo (federal system of government) policy.

On the ground, MEGA is facing a credibility crisis and is viewed with a lot of suspicion. Most of the leaders are self-installed a reason why there is a push to have elections in the course of the year.

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Kisio Munyao: The tragedy of a social hero

Like many before him, Kisoi Munyao, Kenya’s real symbolic face of independence passed on a poor semi-depressed man, laden with the burden of debt and most probably, carrying with him emotions of resentment and umbrage at the government of the republic whose highest mountain he scaled on the eve of independence.

It is unfortunate that the man who planted the country’s flag atop the country’s highest mountain, symbolizing the country’s triumph over the colonialists in the struggle for independence, and whose arrival over a quarter million people eagerly awaited for the first independence day celebrations to commence, has left behind a legacy of despair and strife. But is the unfortunate turn of events, to an extent the making of the independence hero?

On the eve of independence, nobody at the Uhuru Gardens celebration cared what Munyao’s contribution to the struggle for independence was; what was important was that he had successfully scaled the highest peak and firmly planted Kenya’s flag at the crest of the mountain.

After the celebrations, Munyao was dropped off at his residence at Nairobi’s Jericho estate; he had served his country and had forgotten his five minutes of fame; quite literally.

But just like nobody cared what Munyao’s contribution to the end of the tyrannical reign of the colonial period was on that night of celebrations, so do few care what legacy Munyao has left behind especially the government. Quite unlike the high pitched condemnations from a section of Kenya’s political class and reputable NGOs that followed Bildad Kaggia’s and other freedom fighters passing, few had little to say after learning of Munyao’s death.

Such is the fate of many social heroes, who in a blink of an eye, move from being the point of adoration of many, to the memory that many would rather remain just that; a memory.

Social heroes in today’s dynamic world have unfortunately been transformed into cheap public relation gimmicks devoid of life whose existence merely serves to form fodder for the political class and other interested parties. But Munyao’s is a unique case where hopefully the government wishes to gain political mileage. Few people in Kenya would be willing to offset Munyao’s close to half a million bill in the name of patriotism. Alfred Mutua’s Najivunia kuwa Mkenya campaign is evidence enough of that. Moreover, aside from scaling Africa’s second highest mountain, Munyao held little political clout so politicians who might have adequate resources to offset the bill lack a reason to do so.

The needle sways and hopefully it will fall on the government to prove itself as being an adequate protector of its heroes whether political or social. The bronze statue along Kimathi Street might be sitting pretty, but now the real test is at hand; is the government able to take care of those who were ready to sacrifice themselves for their country, or are our social heroes, the true patriots of Kenya condemned to die miserably dejected men and women. The government has on several occasions found it hard to justify what heroic acts precede one’s appointment to the cabinet, whenever it faces criticism for giving hefty payments to widows of some ministers and not others.

There is need for the appointment of a committee that will propose laws and criterion for identifying genuine national heroes. In other countries such as Namibia, how, why, and who qualifies to the roll of honour, and the awards and rewards due to them are clearly stipulated. Kenyans would appreciate if similar benchmarks were to be established.

NOTE: Government’s response to this editorial on The Leader can be found on


Rev. Mutava Musyimi: Is he eyeing State House?

When Rev. Mutava Musyimi announced his sudden resignation as the secretary general of the influential National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), many were quick to ask: What is he up to? Analysts were quick to speculate that the churchman was headed for a political career and that he would be vying for the Gachoka parliamentary seat in Mbeere district currently held by ODM-K’s presidential aspirant Joseph Nyagah.

Yet to many others a mere parliamentary seat would not be enough attraction to make one want to leave the more significant and much respected perch of NCCK top executive and hence the proximate guess: Is this man of the cloth eyeing State House?

The speculative guess is not without basis. In the last election and just before the Kibaki Tosha declaration, Musyimi’s name was variously floated as a possible compromise candidate of the joint opposition then coalescing under the umbrella of the National Alliance party of Kenya (NAK).

The equation only changed when Raila Odinga led a rebellion in Kanu and walked away with a splinter called the Rainbow Alliance which teamed with NAK to form the NARC coalition.

In an interview at the time, Musyimi admitted nursing presidential ambitions but said the “opportune time has never beckoned.” However, he admitted that had the opposition approached him at the time, he would have given the offer a “very serious consideration.”

If that be the case, the former NCCK boss who is a staunch supporter of President Kibaki, is training his ambition on 2012 when the incumbent retires, supposing that he is re-elected for a second term this year, or beyond. However, a stab at a parliamentary seat in 2007 election would give the man of the collar the much needed exposure in electoral politics.

But in an interview last month, Musyimi could not confirm or deny he was plunging into politics, less so admit he was eyeing the presidency.

Insisting that he had several options to toe with, Musyimi said he either could go back to mainstream church work or venture into business, among a couple of other options.

A source close to him however confided that Musyimi was definitely decided on joining politics.

“I guess he does not want to declare yet because technically he is still the NCCK secretary general until September but he is definitely headed for politics.”

The source told us that Musyimi had personally told him of his future plans way back in July last year. “He has his eyes on Gachoka but just as a stepping stone for bigger things”, said the source.

Musyimi whose term was to expire in December next year has been chief executive of the giant church body since 1993, when he took over from Samuel Kobia.

If he decides to join politics, Musyimi would certainly make use of many useful contacts made in his long tenure as NCCK secretary general and as senior Anglican clergy. For many years he was the priest in charge of the Nairobi Baptist Church on the secondment from the influential Anglican Church.

The senior position in the church network most likely has also earned Musyimi useful contacts abroad. This may come in handy should he embark on fund-raising to enhance his political adventures. He would also use the countrywide church network to woo voters.

Musyimi leaves NCCK on the positive side of the ledger having helped the council invest a total of Kshs 700 million in various commercial projects countrywide. They include the construction of a state-of-the-art headquarters for the church body, the Jumuiya place, along the city’s Lenana Road.

Away from NCCK, Musyimi is also chair of the National Anti-Corruption Steering Committee. He is also the chairman of a media outfit, the Distance broadcasting Limited, which runs a vernacular radio station, Mwaitu.

Sources say the clergyman would not immediately announce his intention to vie for the Gachoka seat as this could impact negatively on the process of recruiting his successor.

It could also antagonize some members of the council who would wish to have nothing to do with “partisan politics,” say sources.

Musyimi’s confidants say he would be joining politics on any party associated with his friend, president Kibaki.

He was appointed NCCK chief executive at the beginning of the crucial 1990s decade when the church and other religious groups played decisive roles in moments of crisis. They included agitation for the restoration of multi party democracy which invited ruthless clampdown from the then authoritarian Kanu government.

As the secretary general of NCCK and later chairman of the Ufungamano Review Initiative, the pries became and important player on the politics of change.

For long he was a leading player in the constitution making process. He was the chair pf the Ufungamano Constitution Review Initiative which merged with the Parliamentary Review Commission in late 2000 to avert a possible constitutional crisis.

Later he became a delegate at the Bomas Constitutional Conference but withdrew after three months reasoning that the parley had generated into an acrimonious House of Babel.

Of late he has been quoted as opposing the minimum reforms fronted by ODM-K and a section of the civil society. “There is nothing minimum about them. What is minimum to you maybe maximum to me,” he has been quoted sating.

Rev. Musyimi retires as the boss of NCCK at the age of 55. He has two grown children. His first daughter Mweni Nyokabi is a law graduate of University of Cardiff currently pursuing a masters degree at the Trinity Divinity School in Chicago while his younger son, Syano Musyimi, is completing his first year at the University of Southampton. His wife Nyambura is the principal partner at the law form Musyimi and Company Advocates.

When he openly plunges into Gachoka parliamentary politics, Musyimi will have to contend with clan politics but for a man of his sophistication he will most likely ignore this, market an alternative leadership, campaign on the platform of issues and let the electorate decide.

Like in 2002 when he maintained studious silence in the face of speculation that he had presidential ambitions he has again been evasive but his intentions fro Gachoka have been an open secret for months.

In 2002 he may not have been ready but Nyagah, the incumbent may have planted the seeds of his own political destruction by going against local convention wisdom. Silence or no silence, the man of the cloth appears set for the August house.

Musyimi has been involved in matters of public interest for most of the time he has served as the NCCK secretary general but it is his role in the constitutional review process that made his profile much higher than that of many ordinary clergymen.

His deft maneuvering in the process cast him as level headed, principled and unblemished middle-of-the roader who could be trusted across the ethnic divide. It is this profile that marked him as a possible compromise presidential candidate in 2002, and could again make it easier for him to remove the son of his father’s lifelong friend, Jeremiah Nyagah.

In a 2002 interview Musyimi hinted that he would probably have considered the idea of becoming a compromise opposition presidential candidate but insisted it was up to the then opposition parties to make that decision.

“I like the opportunity I have to be a secretary general of NCCK. It is a very privileged position and it would take a lot more fro me to resign from the job. I would have to be convinced that what I am going into has added value and that there are things I could do through that position that I cannot do here”, he said noncommittally.

He added rather tellingly that his wife and he had been praying about the idea of becoming the country’s president for five years following multiple requests to vie for the post from people from all walks of life, “but I do not think I have harboured presidential ambitions”.

That may now have changed
Rev Musyimi, is an ethnic Mkamba by birth, but he grew up in Mwea after his grandparents moved from Machakos to the then lower parts of Nyeri district (now Kirinyaga) in 1928 when his father was a small boy.

It was on the rice growing fields of Mwea at Riakanau that Musyimi’s grandparents became first generation Christians in the area in 1946 and renewed their marriage vows in church.

His parents also joined the church with his father becoming a lay leader of the Anglican Church. He later ventured in to politics becoming a councilor in the 1950s, a position he held for 25 years. The older man who was murdered in 1977, was a close friend of former minister and father of two sitting MPs, Jeremiah Nyagah.

Because of his father’s privileged position, the Musyimi family of eight children would annually attend what was then the Royal Show in Nairobi and one of the things that fascinated the young man were the military bands “because of the sense of order and majesty.” Possibly the priest will one day inspect a military guard of honour.

The language of instruction during the priest’s early learning was Kikuyu and his native Kikamba was not allowed which made Musyimi the fluent Kikuyu speaker he is today.

Musyimi sat his ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels at Kangaru School in Embu and did a Bachelor of Education degree course at the Kenyatta University.

“It was at Kenyatta in 1973 that I felt the call to the Christian ministry and after college I did quite a bit of volunteer work with the Baptist Church despite the fact that my background was Anglican,” the priest said in an interview five years ago.

He was later to serve the Nairobi Baptist Church for 14 years before joining the NCCK. Through the Baptist Church he did a Bachelor of Divinity course in London and later a master of Theology at the Trinity Divinity School, in Illinois, USA.

In the earlier interview, Musyimi was quoted as saying that he stopped being a ‘simple preacher’ and started tackling ‘social issues’ on coming back to Nairobi after the masters course and the controversial streak in him emerged in 1988, when he was one of those who vehemently opposed the government of former President Moi when it sought to remove the security of tenure of judges and the attorney general.


The evolution of Mutava Musyimi

Before 1990, Mutava Musyimi was just another obscure preacher of a little known church, as the Daily Nation once categorized him. He always preached hard hitting prophetic sermons in the same breath as Presbyterian’s Rev. Dr. Timothy Njoya or Anglican Church’s Bishop David Gitari, boldly tackling the most sensitive social and political issues of the day.

But his homilies were never heard outside the walls of the Nairobi Baptist Church on Ngong Road. The media was yet to discover the intrepid young preacher. One day all that changed. The Kanu government had increasingly become draconian since 1982 when it made Kenya a de jure one party state and ruthlessly clamped down on dissent. Towards the end of the 1980s brutalized Kenyans became increasingly restive.

Open dissent at home and growing isolation by the international community made President Moi more sensitive and dangerous. Even within the institutional church which had increasingly assumed the role of the silenced opposition, individual clergymen, excepting the likes of iconoclastic Njoya, went silent. Only the very brave and reckless, so to speak, could openly criticize the excesses of the administration.

It was within the context of this oppressive atmosphere that this writer sat at the Baptist Church listening to Mutava tear at the excess of the Moi government. The congregation sat squirming in the pews, stunned by the audacity of their pastor, some possibly wishing they were not there to listen to what in officialdom would certainly be concluded as high treason.

I took notes and then after the sermon I approached the preacher to enquire whether he would find it objectionable if the contents of his sermon were published. He had no objection. When I filed the story the news editor would not publish it until he had contacted Mutava himself to ascertain that what was reported is what he said. It was headline news the next day and for a week Mutava went into hiding as the secret police looked for him everywhere. When he finally emerged Mutava had been transformed from an obscure preacher into an important newsmaker with every media house dispatching a reporter to the Ngong Road sanctuary every Sunday to look for important perspectives as the country went into political ferment in earnest.

Mutava Musyimi’s profile has been on the up and up since then. When he later succeeded the unassuming Rev. Samuel Kobia as the NCCK secretary general, Mutava became a truly important national player as he transformed the church lobby in to one of the prime movers of political change, especially in constitutional reform. At one point he was the chairman of the Ufungamano Initiative, the body formed by religious groups to spearhead constitutional review. It is when he was steering Ufungamano that his name was floated as a possible opposition compromise candidate when it appeared like politicians might not agree.

Mutava Musyimi is deceptively soft spoken. He has a facility with words and packages what he wants to say unambiguously when he wants to but can also be notoriously vague. He is also calculating, ambitious man, but this, too, is not something he flaunts. Unlike other people of his ambitions he has never overtly cultivated media attention.

The same streak appears to characterize everything he has done in life and people often misread his intentions again and again. When his spiritual mentor Bishop David Gitari became the head of the Anglican church, conventional wisdom seemed to point out to Mutava succeeding him as the bishop of the then Mt. Kenya East. Although Mutava had been a pastor in the Baptist Church, he had not renounced his Anglican roots. For a long time he pastured without being ordained and it was when Gitari was shifting base to Nairobi that an elaborate ordination ceremony, was done at Embu. Gitari presided over the event. Mutava however did not eek office of the bishop and continued in his job as secretary general of the NCCK.

His resignation from NCCK in an election year is very telling. Speculation has been rife for months that he would be going for the Gachoka parliamentary seat but, true to character, he has been circumspect when asked about it. If he joins parliamentary politics, it is unlikely that his intention is to return to the obscurity of the pre-1990 days. His sights must be trained very, very high and he has the calculating patience to wait to get there.


Quick reads with Kiruri Kamau

Why Mtukufu abandoned the “Project”

Jaramogi, Agwambo’s dear departed dad, wrote a bad tempered book called Not Yet Uhuru immediately after independence. In the book the then vice president said many things which made Project’s dad Jomo, who was then president, very angry.

In his sore displeasure Jomo cashiered Jaramogi and vowed he would make sure that he would never occupy the Big House on the Hill after he is gone to be with his ancestors.

In the book Jaramogi also said that Daniel arap Moi was like a giraffe which could see very far because the Good Lord gave it a long neck. That must be true because Daniel, against the tide of a spirited campaign to derail him, ended up at the big House and (mis)ruled us for 24 long years

His sight must have started failing because when he wanted to retire to Sacho to look after his goats he decided to pass fimbo ya nyayo to Uhuru. Kenyans could see what he couldn’t see and would not let him and that is how Emilio ended at the Hill.

Even then Uhuru continued with the delusion that he was still Mtukufu’s project but the old man has of course moved on and has now adopted Emilio as his Project. “Now, why would he want to do that” a distraught Uhuru was heard lamenting recently when he learnt that he had been dumped for a septuagenarian. Methinks the son of Jomo was dumped because Mutkufu considers he has been keeping wrong company lately and Mtukufu doesn’t like people who keep bad company.

Alternatively, Mtukufu dumped Uhuru for Emilio because he needed an old man with whom he could talk old men’s things with. But I am persuaded that he was dumped for the simple reason that he was no longer a viable investment. People usually trash projects when they fail.

Steadman mirror, who is the fairest of them all?
Mr. Steadman had organized a beauty contest which was a dress rehearsal for the big one slated for December. There was Ms. Emiliano a veteran of the catwalk who also happens to be the reigning queen.

There was also Sis.Stepanie about whom it has been whispered that she has real pedigree and could easily turn tables on Emiliano and win the real thing at the end of the year. In past dress rehearsals she has stunned the judges with her striking figure and the way she grooms her hair, sometimes being voted the fairest of them. Mostly, though, she comes a close runner up to Emiliano. Her showing at the catwalk is perhaps one of thereason she has been walking with a spring in her stride.

Then there is Miss Tractor. She is a perennial contestant but doesn’t like the catwalk for some reason. Some say she is averse to strutting her stuff on the catwalk because she knows she could never possibly hope to match Emiliano or Sis. Stepanie’s looks. She is however on record as saying that it is not the catwalk she doesn’t like; it is Sis Stepanie because of the way she walks as if she thinks she is the only stunner.

There were others also but they were eliminated during the preliminaries. Miss Freedom was eliminated because she kept insisting that she had to have one Daniel Mtukufu to chaperon her onto the catwalk but that would have gone against the rules of the pageant.

Miss Rutan and another Miss Substonia were also there but not much can be said about them for now. And do you know what the verdict of the mirror was? That Emiliano, as expected, is still the fairest of them all but that Miss Tractor was now fairer than Sis Stepanie.

That doesn’t sound right but then beauty is in the eyes of…the mirror.

saistosaurus messes Emilio’s nice flower garden
Emilio’s nice flower garden is withering but then somebody’s orange orchard is wilting too. Emilio’s flower garden was doing very well before dinosaurs came crawling from the past. A species called saitosaurus which used to be rampant in the notorious Nyayo era was thought to be extinct.

After the end of the great golden harvest of the 90s, it persisted for a while but after the war of the fruits it was thought to have disappeared for ever never to be heard again. Then just when Emilio’s flower garden appeared to be thriving so well, out crawled the saitosaurus from the woodwork. The dinosaur said it had planted the seeds that brought forth the flowers before it ducked under when enemies of progress started a malicious rumour that the dinosaur was a gold digger which went around carrying the precious stones in golden bags (which were provided by one Bro. Paul Kamlesh).

saitosaurus said it wanted its flower garden back which by then was being taken care by a medicine man called Kituyi. A karumesaurus, a stubborn dinosaur which refused to die out like the others, agreed. It had planted the seeds of the flower garden when it appeared like the rainbow dream they had all shared was about to be killed by a woman called Mama Rainbow, a collector of trophies.

You would think that Maina Kamanda would be sympathetic to dinosaurs which are trying to make a comeback but that is not the case. He announced last week that he will no longer contribute to the upkeep of the flower garden. Can’t blame him. Emilio’s nice flower garden seems to have turned into Jurassic Park.

It’s a hammer, I mean, hummer
Last week there was a talk of Agwambo’s hammer everywhere. Hammer? Yes, hammer, the wags confirmed to the curious. Tinga had imported a hammer from US of A (because the handles of those we import from China keep breaking) with which to pummel his fellow ODM pretenders to the Big House.

After decimating them (especially Bro. Steve kalonzo whom he would make sure would never enter another presidential beauty pageant), he will eventually use the mallet to chase Emilio out of the Big House.

Actually it is a Hummer, a car, not a mallet. Agwambo had gone to America recently to visit senator Barrack Obama, our very own son who has become a ‘celeb’ in Hollywood because he is ever so tall and handsome. Celebs in Hollywood ride around in Hummers and Cardillacs not in matatus and so Barrack must have been riding in one.

Barrack, like Agwambo, wants to be president (to succeed Dubya not Emilio) so if he was riding a Hummer he must have looked quite presidential in it because Agwambo asked how he could get one for himself to use as Railamobile when he kicks Emilio form the Hill. Somebody promptly gave him an old one that was clogging his garage.

Now, Kalembe Ndile, green with envy, says that Agwambo should hand the Hummer to the Speaker of the National Assembly because they recently passed a law which says only Francis Ole Kaparo is allowed to drive a Hummer. Well, that can’t be true because I hear Dennis Oliech has one and so does William Kabogo of Juja.

But if Kaparo wants it, it is stuck somewhere in the mud in the hills of Marakwet. He had taken it for a test ride before he attempts the Hill but did I hear somebody say one should not look a gift horse in the mouth? Well, it is a Hummer, not a horse.

Would they pay Aaron millions just to catch fish?
The other day I saw Justice Aaron Ringera on television jogging on the dance floor. Everybody else around him was dancing which can only mean either of two things.

Possibility number one: Aaron had strayed into the dance floor on his way to an aerobics class but I doubt that was the care because he was wearing a really nice suit and it was not a jogging suit.

Possibility number two is more plausible. Aaron has never been to a dance floor before and was confused about what he was supposed to do but then he seems to be confused about other things too. For example he sounded muddled about his job description as the director of KACC.

When he was done with jogging, Aaron sat down for a glass of something before getting up to address those who had been dancing. “Soon the Ndirector will m’be catching Mbig fish, small fish, fat fish and thin fish”, he announced to a confused audience before he strode back to the dance floor to continue with his jogging.

Many people do fishing. Some do it for sport, others do it as a hobby, those at the lakeside do it because Ugali needs mbuta to go down but Aaron was employed as a ghost buster (to chase and catch those Anglo Leasing spooks who spirited money from the treasury, naughty things).

Granted I have never seen his letter of appointment and job description but I doubt it says:

Job title: Ndirector of fishing.

Job description: To catch big fish, small fish, fat fish and thin fish.

They wouldn’t give him two and a half million shilling just to catch fish of whatever description, or would they?

Why deny a sleeping dog sleep?
Do you ever wonder what Kiraitu Murungi does with all the energy he used to expend hollering at real or imagined enemies before he had that ignominious fall from grace?

You might never know it for his silence, but he runs the ministry of Energy. He did not utter a word when the Kenya Power and Lighting company employees threw juvenile tantrums recently but that is what he does since Emilio picked him and dusted him from the dustbin he had thrown him.

He had been cashiered because he had allowed power to go to his head and had problems controlling what issued from his mouth but these days he is the very essence of humility, the epitome of reason in a profession with no rhyme nor reason (I mean politics not law although the difference is the same). Which only goes to prove that salvation is always nigh for the penitent.

Emilio is not yet convinced Chris Murungaru has reformed enough not to backslide into hubris but Chris, too, has become a voice of reason, no sweat.

House (of Babel) Speaker Francis Ole Kaparo seems to be hopelessly headed in the opposite direction though. One time it was thought he had found the truth. He woke up one day and announced to the whole world that he had a revelation that Members of Parliament were an irredeemable, slothful and avaricious lot, but already knew that. Now he has rediscovered that MPs might slothfully sleep in the house once in a while but that is because there is nothing else to do when sleep overwhelms them, and everybody should know that. In fact, adds Mheshimiwa Maoka Maore of Ntonyiri, it would be unethical not to sleep when one’s eyes droop. Well, let the sleeping dogs lie.

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