The Battle for Kibaki's Wealth and Othaya Parliamentary Seat

" The President might not take him to court, me and my family will take him to court"

Mwai Kibaki gave a rare press conference to remind Kenyans that he has "only one dear wife". He denied that he had a second wife, what Kenyans interpreted as a denying Mary Wambui, a renowned Othaya politician who is also referred as "Wambui wa Kanu", "The Narch Activist" and "Wambui wa Mwai".

It is not hard to decipher Wambui's role in the Kibaki administration and the president's life. It is not a secret that Mary Wambui is no ordinary woman or politician. She enjoys state security at her homes in Nairobi and Nyeri and represents Kibaki in Othaya functions. A few links will do.
The genesis of the latest first family soap opera is former Kabete MP Paul Muite's reference to Kibaki's "two wives" during the commemoration of the raid on Standard and KTN.

While Kenyans should give Kibaki the right to decide who he is married to, they cannot wait to for the time the first family takes Muite to court; if only for comical relief. Muite has since reiterated that he stands by his comments on Kibaki's two wives.

So why the fury and wrath? The most common explanation is that the president does not want to be accused of bigamy, having had a church wedding with Lucy. Another is the protective natural instinct of a wife and mother out to protect the sanctity of her marriage and her children's inheritance from the other woman and gold diggers. Yet another is the weight of the impact of the soon-to-come debate in parliament of the dam ning report on the Armenian brothers who were allegedly linked to Mary Wambui and her daughter Winnie Wangui who even had a relationship with one of the brothers.

One interesting angle to the story is that the fight for Kibaki's wealth is on. Wealth and inheritance are grave issues and for a wealthy aged man like Kibaki, interested parties try to position themselves early enough. A public declaration of who the probable heirs will be goes along way in securing rights to inheritance from would-be gold diggers. It is not clear to the general public what the Lucy family of four does for a living other than relying on daddy's wealth and running opaque family businesses.

Another angle to the story is the battle royale expected in 2012 at the Othaya parliamentary seat where Kibaki has been an MP since 1974. A whole generation of leaders have been put on hold as Kibaki idolised Othaya politics. For once Othaya constituents will have a chance to test-drive new leadership material. Othaya constituency will definitely be a hotspot in 2012.

The Kibaki family will not want to fade into oblivion come 2012 and are strategising on how to keep the Kibaki political reigning. The eldest son, Jimmy Kibaki is being fronted as a heir to the parliamentary seat. There are however doubts that he will make it and a work around is being sought. Jimmy has already started being a guest of honour in many a fund-raising in the area, an area he is not well-known to visit but has to do so for political expediency. On a recent fundraiser he was quoted as saying: "Allow me to speak in English as I neither know Kikuyu or Kiswahili" which left many wondering how he will campaign come 2012. He went ahead to give a donation of Kshs 400,000 from his father and Kshs 60,000 from himself.

Another work-around for the Kibaki family has seen Othaya and the larger Nyeri area being subdividived into many administrative units to the extent that many older location units are now divisional administrative units. This is in preparation for the review of constituency boundaries, reforms that are expected to happen before 2012.

One possible electoral boundaries reform proposition is to make every divisional unit a constituency. The many subdivisons will leave Jimmy spoilt for choice as well as accomodate other older political aspirants (the likes of Peter Kanyago, Mary Wambui, Benjamin Kahihia) who have been put on hold following 38 years of Kibaki's parliamentary stint while catering for the young political offshoots who are likely to carry the day in Othaya come 2012.

Another hurdle for Jimmy Kibaki and the Lucy first family has been the popularity of Mary Wambui as a possible political heir to the Kibaki political seat. During the constitutional debate of 2004-05, it was proposed that the president will not be an MP in the new constitutional dispensation. Othaya constituents toyed with the possibility of having a new MP if the proposal was adopted. Back then, the consensus was that Mary Wambui, was the rightful replacement then. This allegedly sparked a controversy within the first family to the extent that it was alleged Lucy offered to battle it out with Mary for the seat in such an eventuality. It is also alleged that this could have happened if Mary Wambui had gone for the Nyeri Town seat in 2007, the reason she allegedly was made to delay her political ambitions.

Talking to the Othaya constituents, the political tide for Othaya has since turned against the first family and any alleged relations to an extent that none of the first family members and supposed Kitchen cabinet operatives is expected to win a civic seat in the next election. The constituents are unhappy with the way their MP has handled their issues and talked down on them since he became president.

In order to contain the ambitious Narc Activist (now PNU Activist), another proposition will see Othaya split into three with the town area reserved for Jimmy Kibaki, the northern part set for Mary Wambui, who comes from the area, while the southern part set aside for the KTDA Nyeri region chairman and former Medical Supplies chairman Peter Kanyago. The tricky bit is the impact of a Mary Wambui parliamentary career that has potential to cause more embarassment to the first family. What better ways to forestall such a possibility than to insist on who the members of the first family are.

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