Sunday, January 20, 2008

power vs influence (a look back at the politics of 1996) reflections of 2008

Power Vs Influence.

:What Is Happening to Our Beautiful Country?

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice”.
James 3:16. (New International Version)

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Kenya is apparently 75% Christian, yet in a 1996 report released by Transparency International, a Berlin-based lobby group, it is ranked as the third most corrupt nation on the face of the planet. Ironic isn’t it? Actually, it is the most corrupt ‘Christian’ nation on earth! In both Nigeria and Pakistan who are ranked first and second respectively, Christians are a minority.

How is it then that our green and pleasant land, has earned itself such infamy?

The credit (if I may call it that) must go to the 74-year-old Mr Daniel arap Moi under whose helmsmanship corruption has become the fastest-growing cottage industry around.

A recent cover story in Time Magazine ran thus: “Strange things have been happening to Kenya’s President Daniel Arap Moi on the way to the piggy bank. In a country famous for it’s game parks and safaris he has found himself in the sights of an elephant gun levelled by international donors who have declared open season on corruption. The conflict centres on $ 400 million in illegal export-incentive payments that Moi’s Government made to a local jewellery maker Goldenberg, supposedly to reimburse taxes paid on imported raw materials. However no taxes had been paid and no hard currency was brought into the country. So the IMF demanded an accounting of the missing money, the equivalent of 6% of Kenya’s annual output. When the Government closed down a private prosecution of the Goldenberg team, the IMF cut off $ 169 million in credit”[1]. A candid, if somewhat less than flattering assessment of how the outside world views us.

It has grown increasingly difficult to discuss corruption with us Kenyans for a variety of reasons. Either we cannot see it touches our lives or we have become so completely bogged down in it as to feign indifference whenever it is mentioned. The truth is, it has affected our lives and well being most profoundly in the last 20 years and will continue to do so unless we change course.

Since the dawn of time, and it is recorded in the earliest annals, the insidious stain of corruption has ravaged mankind. There is evidence in the bible to suggest that the prophet Moses grappled with this vice 4,000 years ago. One famous book that tackles the subject is by Nikolai Gogol (1809-52). In 1836, this one-time Saint Petersburg government clerk published The Government Inspector a satire on the dishonesty of small town officials in Imperial Russia.

The Oxford English Dictionary describes corruption as “perversion or destruction of integrity in the discharge of public duties by bribery or favour”. Transparency International[2] have called it “the use of public power for private profit”. Greed, arrogance, malice, deceit and vengefulness are all it’s hallmarks. To look into corruption is to unveil the darkest secrets and the basest forces of the human soul: It’s real perpetrator is human nature itself.

Rome, the greatest empire the world has known was riddled with it. In A.D. 369, an anonymous writer sent a document to the Emperor Valens. An extract from this treatise read “public grants have made the rich even more extravagant, while the poor are driven by their problems into crime”[3]. The ordinary Roman was by then paying up to one third of his income in taxes and another third in rent. Sound familiar ?4 The Roman Empire’s biggest enemy was itself: The same corruption that fuelled it’s growth being responsible for it’s collapse. In today’s world, various laws and constitutions designed to keep this night of the soul in check have been enacted with varying degrees of success.

There is a pattern in the affairs of nations, a rule of thumb if you will, that always applies:
Wherever you find the rot of corruption has set in, you will invariably find leaders that are not subject to the same accountability as the populace. “When extraordinary powers are vested in any one individual in a government” wrote American revolutionary Thomas Paine in 1792, “rest assured that it will lead to the misappropriation of public funds. This individual becomes the centre round which every kind of corruption generates and forms. Give to any man a million a year and thereto the power of creating and disposing of places, at the expense of a country, and the liberties of that country are no longer secure”.5

The giant sucking sound coming from Africa nowadays is that of money leaving. A recent report allegedly emanating from a Swiss banking source, has estimated the amount held in Swiss banks on behalf of African leaders alone as being in excess of 20 billion U.S. dollars.6 In his 32 years of misrule, the late Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko is estimated to have made away with $ 1 billion. He is a prime example of the so-called Bwana Mkubwa (Big Man) who could not (constitutionally) or would not (by any other means) be held accountable.

Though some of Mobutu’s wealth was amassed as a result of ‘gifts’ he received from western nations in return for keeping communism at bay during the cold war, a large part of it came from foreign aid advanced to his impoverished countrymen. Sese Seko was notoriously unable to distinguish between his country’s coffers and his own pocket. In any case, retired General Olegusun Obasanjo, himself a former Nigerian ruler and who until recently was in detention along with the late Moshood Abiola, has said that: “in the African concept of appreciation and hospitality , a gift is a token ; it is not demanded; the value is in the spirit of the giving, not the material worth. Where a gift is excessive it becomes an embarrassment and is returned”.7

Mobutu’s despotic regime was what may be termed an ‘imperial presidency’(one that is above the law). In this feudal scheme of things, the natural progression is for those close to ‘the throne’, be they business associates, political allies and friends, etc to develop a limited immunity to prosecution. It is human nature that the lawless will go where there is no law (or where they can get above it) and they will make the rule of the strongest reign8 something akin to the Al Capone era in 1920’s Chicago.

Once there is an obeisance to this ‘law of the jungle’ scenario, overnight you will get billionaires and multimillionaires, born of extensive and underhand dealings, springing up all over the place. What you will also find is bands of parasites living in luxurious indolence out of public taxes. This ruling clique, may claim to hold each other accountable but in reality they manipulate a country to their own ends- their sole aim is to hitch their personal wagons to the state’s gravy train.

A news agency despatch in early April ran: “Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace is set to make 19 million Zimbabwe dollars (U.S 1.18 million dollars) profit from a mansion built with government money, the Financial Gazette said today. The house dubbed “Gracelands” by it’s critics was built in the upmarket Harare suburb of Borrowdale on four hectares overlooking a golf course designed by champion international golfer Nick Price”.9 After 18 years in power, it would seem that Robert Gabriel Mugabe is another good example of an African leader who has outstayed his welcome
The source of corruption then is always the same: a leader or group of them that can no longer be held accountable. And while it may be true that most countries out of necessity have a ruling group; one that has what former US President George Bush termed “the vision thing” (enterprise and ideas for progress); it must have the fear of being overthrown or outvoted, if it is to look beyond it’s own interests.
Lord Acton’s aphorism, “Power corrupts and absolute (read unaccountable) power corrupts absolutely” may be all too familiar with many today. Sadly though, it still holds true. One need only to be honest with themselves, painfully so, to see this adage at play in present-day Kenya.

Kenyans have grown accustomed to the sight of new trunk roads that break up almost before they are completed - the end product of shoddy workmanship and unbridled greed. Roads that are built by contractors; whether local or international; on the precondition that they will give the government officials who have awarded them the tenders a percentage in kickbacks.

Gavin Bennet, a motoring correspondent, put it succinctly: “our cars are on death row the moment they are driven from the showroom”. Driving on our roads he says is like “a daily demolition derby”. If Martians existed they might easily mistake our pothole-strewn motorways for the craters on their own planet.

Indeed, the sorry state of our roads would be laughable if only one didn’t come away with a sinking feeling that they serve as a metaphor for what is happening to the rest our country.

“The name of the game is corruption and the fact is that nobody has had the will to take on the hydra-headed monster previously until now. It is becoming virtually impossible for ordinary Kenyans, for example to get any services or licences from government offices without paying what is normally known as kitu kidogo”.10 This is because as someone pointed out the other day: “the war (on corruption) has been declared for the umpteenth time but not a single battle has been fought”.

Maurice Wangutusi of the accounting firm Coopers and Lybrand made this disquieting observation :“one is tempted to ask where the revenue collected by government goes. It is patently clear that not all of the revenues collected are used to finance the intended projects. Reports issued by the Controller and Auditor-General record this fact. Indeed, Government has itself admitted that the rate of corruption in this country is very high. Most people believe and opine that a substantial part of the ‘tax’ they pay goes to finance corruption and inefficiency”.

He continues; “Corruption feeds on itself, creating a widening spiral of illegal payoffs until ultimately development is undermined and years of progress are reversed. And the very growth that permitted corruption in the past can produce a shift from productive activities to an unproductive struggle for the spoils. Over time corruption becomes entrenched, so that when Governments finally do move to contain it they meet with powerful resistance”.11

Is that not what is going on today in Kenya? Where does this leave us then? We know that the real problem is corruption and that investigating clerks in Nyayo house can only be an idea mooted by the ‘sacred cows’ that benefit from it the most. It’s foolhardy at best. In 1984 by George Orwell, ‘doublethink’ is defined as the ability to hold two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accept both of them.

The Kenya government seems to indulge in it’s own version of ‘doublethink’ by believing it can tackle corruption without starting at the top. Until that is addressed , fighting graft will remain a fleeting illusion- to be pursued but never attained. So how do we set about solving this problem?

The presidency, there and there alone can one begin to tackle this terrible scourge. Simply put, as long as the head of state in any country, whether elected or not, is above the law and by extension above investigation, corruption will always have a palatial home. He is the one who sets the standards for the rest of the nation. Just as a school rarely rises above it’s headmaster (bad administration), neither can a nation rise above an inept President.

As the president or leader of a country one has a great deal of responsibility. Credit for success and criticism for failure. The two go hand in hand. Pity the leader who wants the credit without the criticism. Pity him because he will breed his own enemies.12 To the man in the street what goes on at State House has always been a complete mystery. This has served to build a mystique or an aura of untouchability around the presidency.

If you were the president of a corrupt nation, could you possibly blame corruption on all manner of things apart from yourself? Who would take you seriously? What is the point of occupying the highest office in the land and watching the mushroom cloud of corruption grow without doing anything to stop it? Unless of course one was unaware of what was going on, which would point to an incredibly uninformed leader. One perhaps, who should not be in that stately position. What can be made of leaders who admit to corruption in their governments yet respond with half-baked attempts at exposure?

“Such an individual is the last person to promote a spirit of reform, lest in the event it should reach to himself. It is always in his interest to defend inferior abuses. So that the parts of the system he has set up will have such a common dependence that it is never expected they will attack each other”.13

When a leader is aware of the fall-out that graft has visited upon his country and does nothing about it, does not his indifference implicate him in the same? What for example can be read into the following statement?: “ The Mosop MP John Sambu (Kanu) told parliament in April that close confidantes of the President were responsible for the economic mess facing the country. He said the leaders were working behind the Head of State’s back to ensure the economy collapsed so that the ills would be blamed on the Head of State. They surround the President and cheer and praise him but the moment he leaves, they draw their knives and start eating the economy”.14

What I can read into it is this: a man is known by the company he organises (keeps). “A crucial ability for the chief executive is perceptiveness. This will bear heavily on the quality of the Presidential appointments and his ability to mould his people into an effective administration. It is not enough to say a President “can hire managers”, as he delegates he must know how to keep track of the delegated work; he must understand what his managers are managing”.15

Even if as the Mosop MP said, the President’s men are responsible, the buck ultimately stops with him for appointing them in the first place. He doesn’t have the luxury of just sitting back and saying this is wrong, that is wrong ...and I can’t do anything about it. He has to act.

“Leadership can be summed up in two words, intelligence and integrity or to use two synonyms competence and character. Integrity denotes an honourable private life. We don’t see those characteristics in government today”.16 One of the reasons the presidency is imbued with it’s powers is to be in a position to nip graft and any other malaise in the bud. If a leader misuses these powers, then of what use is his leadership? A British politician once posed four questions to ask a supposedly powerful leader. “How powerful are you? Who gave you those powers? Who are you accountable to? And finally, how can we get rid of you?” Nobody is indispensable.

Corrupt leaders wield power not influence, never influence, unfortunately most of them can’t tell the difference. The dictionary definition doesn’t help much either since the terms power and influence are often used interchangeably. It would be easier to make a distinction by examining how the two work.

Power invariably works through fear and brute force; coercion, manipulation and intimidation are it’s touchstones. It is fuelled by hush-money, payoffs and bribery. In this hunter-gatherer brand of politics, violence is commonplace, the ‘powerful’ man’s only solution when the rest fail, murder is the culmination. They acquire an appetite for destruction and a taste for blood. Yet power ultimately fails to achieve, in most cases it only destroys the lives of those who wield it, as narrow minded as they are. The same dark fate that overtook Liberia’s Samuel Doe may await all those who persist on this path.

Is power then influence given that in the end others bend to your will? No, but if that were the only yardstick for gauging influence then it would be. Power however, works against the will of the individual, influence does not; power is selfish, influence is not; power seeks glory, influence builds harmony; power divides a country, influence builds it up.

Underneath the facade we have built of peace, love and unity lies a deeply divided country. Nairobi is a place where people dressed like royalty brush shoulders with abandoned street children. Where abject squalor lives side by side with well-manicured lawns and sprawling mansions. One West African novelist could well have been describing Kenya when she wrote “Powerless is also characteristic of the poor, and poverty is personified by the mentally disturbed people who roam the streets, infested with lice, stinking so badly that their stench infests the whole city”.

“The all-pervading stench shows what happens to the ‘wretched of the earth’ affects everybody, of those who exploit the people with detached indifference, violence will force them into such recognition. There will come a time when it will no longer be possible for them to count on their ‘lucky star’. Their fat bank accounts and endless privileges they enjoy will collapse with the rebellion of the downtrodden”.17

I am not one of those advocating the violent redistribution of wealth because I believe that commerce and honest gain is the true means of enriching a country. But what we see in society today is one plunderer succeeding another and that is why we have a small upper class comprising of the superrich; a rapidly diminishing middle class, and an enormous underclass living below the poverty line.

Let’s face it, we’ve leaders with power, not influence. Power that elevates them above contradiction and is leading us down a road marked with exploitation and control. We must not make excuses for them while they continue to go against our understanding of what is right if we are to survive.

Influential leaders are a rare breed on our political landscape today. Influence works through reasoning, consensus, policy, practicality and mutual respect. Influential leaders are those who can sway the masses through sound reasoning, through example. Their integrity precedes them. They will not need to bribe the electorate, or bully the unyielding because their confidence does not come from an ability to rig or buy their way out of difficulty but from their commitment to what is right for the majority. The influential leader will receive a willing response, the powerful leader will have to buy his.

Influence may convert a friend, but power coerces friend and foe alike. Plato, Aristotle, St Thomas, Shakespeare, Galileo, Newton and Kant were men of influence but none of them exercised any noticeable power. Let’s look at some other examples, Mahatma Gandhi, was he powerful or influential?

The man, Jesus of Nazareth, Lord to all who believe, had at his disposal all the powers in the universe, yet how did he choose to work. By brute force or winning people to his ways? What of Martin Luther King Jr, or South Africa’s Bantu Steven Biko and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. What about Uganda’s Archbishop Janani Luwum and Kenya’s very own, Thomas Joseph Mboya, Ronald Ngala, Josiah Mwangi (J.M.) Kariuki, Pio Gama Pinto, or Robert John Ouko. Did you see power in them or influence?

Out of the ten leaders I’ve mentioned nine were slain, why? Because their murderers being merely powerful lived in constant fear of their integrity. For anyone who may think that power is strength and integrity weakness, allow me to re-calibrate your line of thinking.

Take two men who have the chance to make hefty profits in a business contract. In order to do this though, they have to get round a corrupt government official who irregularly wants a substantial payoff before awarding the deal. One man desists because he refuses to compromise his integrity. The deal is awarded to the one who parts with a little chai.18 Which of the two men’s actions required greater strength? I say the former. He knew that he stood to lose, but still held to his principles.

Powerful leaders cannot do that, self gets in the way. Influential ones can, they look to the interests of others. Abraham Lincoln, himself a victim of an assassins bullet believed that when a people have suffered under a tyrant for a long time, and all legal and peaceful means to oust him have been exhausted, and prospects for his early departure are grim, then people have a right to remove him by drastic means.19

The late President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines was besieged at the Malcanang Palace by a Catholic-led ‘people power’ revolt that his armed forces refused to crush. More recently we witnessed Indonesia’s Suharto felled by widespread discontent. Could we be headed in the same direction? The writing’s on the wall.

We all know that there are leaders in this country today who rely on money and their ability to use it to corrupt the judgement of others, to make headway. That is the essence of a corrupt nation. A nation whose leaders have looted and plundered the electorate, leaving them in abject poverty. How else does one explain close to 50% of Kenyans living below the poverty level?

Part of our problem stems from a partial rather than full adoption of democracy. We must remember that democracy and capitalism are not traditional African concepts. Democracies are supposed to have elected leaders who are subject to the same laws as are the electorate. They can be prosecuted as can be any other citizen who falls foul of the law. In traditional African society the chief was the highest authority, he could not be outdone, his word was final. Normally this would not lead to trouble, the chief had little to gain by perverting justice.

Yet when you mix the traditional African chief model of leadership with democracy and throw the tremendous amounts of wealth that capitalism generates into the brew, then the urge to pervert justice is much higher. In real democracy the final word must always be by consensus (parliament) not the executive. Thus usurping the role of the parliament is a most heinous crime.

This is unfortunately what has happened in numerous African states including our own. A generation of leaders still exist who seem incompatible with democracy and all that goes with it though they cling tenaciously to power thinking themselves influential. Some, having lost their perspective confuse propaganda and name calling with policy.

The same leaders won’t stop to appreciate that maybe 60-80% of their respective country’s population are below 35 years of age and to a greater extent ignore the comical antics of their so-called leaders. Sadly it is this younger generation and their children that will pay the price for the destruction of their inheritance by leaders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In view of this Kenyans need to be bold enough to tell it as it is. To put aside the tribalism that their leaders parlay, a conflict that is outdated and pointless. Tribalism can only thrive amidst corruption. The two fuel each other. Get rid of corruption and Tribalism can be conquered. But only then and not before .

Currently, politicians are Kenya’s only leadership class. There is a strident anti- intellectualism in government that not only discourages but also prevents original thinking. Consequently, businessmen, financiers, academe, and the news media have been forced into the back seat. We all need to believe in each other if we are to build a country where politics play second fiddle. After all being a politician does not necessarily make one a leader. Leaders lead, politicians talk. Nothing comes from talking but talk, nothing comes from dreaming but dreams, action is necessary.

I’ve often wondered who the leaders of countries like Switzerland or Sweden are? You don’t hear much about them on the world news. Yet these countries have some of the highest standards of living in the world and are among the least corrupt. I’m convinced that in such countries, businessmen feature just as prominently, if not more so than the politicians. In corrupt countries politics is the fastest way to get rich. In Switzerland you’ll get no such chance.

Does that sound unpatriotic. I hope not, its actually because I’m extremely patriotic that I feel compelled to speak as candidly as I am. If Kenyans are unable to express their views on our present predicament then our road to recovery is already handicapped. Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of international trade at Harvard University has written that good government means relative safety from corruption, from breach of contract, from property expropriation, and from bureaucratic inefficiency. On most of these counts our government has failed.

There is corruption even in the so-called model democracies in the West, but three factors
bail them out. Firstly they have working legislation that inhibits theft of public funds. Secondly those who steal from public coffers tend to keep the proceeds in the country preventing the capital-flight that we are gripped by today. Thirdly, their judiciaries have the will, competence and independence to prosecute all offenders.

The reason we find ourselves in dire straits now is because of capital flight over the last score years. Money that should have been banked in Kenya is shoring up economies elsewhere. According to the Minister of Finance, “the government is broke”. Given the lack of transparency in the past it is impossible to tell whether our government is unable to govern because it has no money, or whether it is using the fact that it has no money as an excuse not to govern.

Assuming they are broke, this not only presents a serious economic problem, but a security risk too. Kenyan taxpayers have all the while assumed that their Armed Forces are on a high state of alert and well-prepared for any eventuality. Yet how can this be if the Government has no money. The first risk that arises should the Armed Forces fail for any reason to receive their dues is of a mutiny. God forbid, but they would be hard pressed not to take matters into their own hands as we recently saw in Zaire under the late Mobutu Sese Seko.

The second risk we run is even more sinister. Should Kenya come under attack from a private army or some mercenaries for whatever reasons, would the Armed Forces be able to defend the country? How would they be financed throughout such a crucial event?

Finally, because the press serve as society’s watchdog, they have a duty to investigate the thoughts and feelings of the nation without being overcautious or vague. Pick up a newspaper nowadays and you invariably find editorial writers, columnists, businessmen and even (funnily enough) politicians crying out in a chorus of ‘Leadership! Leadership!’ It is almost as if the ship of state like some doomed ocean liner is about to self-destruct on the icebergs of complacency with the captain nowhere in sight.

When the Kenya Wildlife Service director Dr David Western was recently sacked (only to be reinstated because of pressure from donors) an editorial stated: “Sacking executive after executive not only makes a mockery of job security and professionalism, it speaks of something very fundamentally wrong somewhere very high up”. But it stopped short of saying how high up ‘very high up’ is.20

It would be a welcome thing to see less media coverage of politicians and a greater focus on the opinions of the common man in both urban and rural areas. Let us remember that this country belongs to Kenyans, not the Kenyan government or parliament for that matter. Those are institutions devoted to the governing of the country. It’s ownership rests with it’s citizens and they alone.

The press usually shapes the focus of a nation. If they cast the limelight mainly on politicians and politics then so will the nation, yet we see little progress on that front. If they portray those who may be corrupt in glowing terms then the general public over a period of time may come to see corruption as a positive thing. Using the term ‘the powerful’ to refer to leaders may be a true depiction, but how does Joe Public understand that you were not trying to glamorise him (the leader)?

The press must never tire of fighting for a moral society while maintaining truth and ethics in their reports. If they allow themselves to be impressed by the wealth of corrupt individuals, then society as a whole is bound to lose.

While I have decried the rampant corruption within government, all generalisations are false. There exist, I believe, those who are committed to wiping graft out from within. I do not pretend to be a politician or leader of any kind. There are also those to whom the things I have discussed are bread and butter but what I can say is that now more than ever is the time for courage. Courage that may look misplaced in the face of voices which warn of terror and retribution if we speak up. Courage, for it is the only way forward because to remain silent is to invite more abuse.

“Future generations will ask ‘what did you do to change this?’ The actions we take right now will crystallise. We do not know if this is for better or worse. But one thing is certain. Nothing would be more damaging than to crystallise the current status quo for younger generations”.21

Kenyans have lost faith in talk of freedom and change as words used often but emptied of their meaning; vows made in the storm but forgotten in the calm. I don’t think we have any option other than to face our own demons.

Like the patriarch Jacob (which in Hebrew means ‘the deceiver’) we can no longer escape our past. But if we struggle as he did until daybreak we have the bright hope of creating a new name for ourselves as a land of morally upright people. A country which with the passage of time has the potential to become one of the great nation-states of the earth. A “safari nation” at peace with itself and the world.


Since the General election of December 1997, Kenya has had the misfortune of not having a Vice President with speculation flying fast and furious as to what agenda the President is pursuing in not naming one.

Leadership abhors a vacuum. Without a Vice President, should the President become incapacitated we would be faced with a successional dilemma at best. At worst an ensuing power struggle could lead to either anarchy or out and out tyranny. It is an appointment only he can make and must not delay any further.

Besides the inherent dangers posed by having no successor to the President there has been debate as to whether the government in it’s current form is then legally constituted. Legislator James Orengo has on more than one occasion argued that the constitutional requirement for a valid government is the President, Vice President and cabinet. Without an occupied Vice President’s seat, he says the government cannot be legally constituted. Hence the President would be breaking the law by failing to make this appointment.

And on this I will let Thomas Paine have the final word: “All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Government is not a trade which any man or body of men, has a right to set up and exercise for his own emolument, but it is altogether a trust, in right of those by whom that trust is delegated, and by whom it is always resumable”.22

The President (in any nation) is not greater than the nation itself. Neither are his personal interests above the well-being of the country as a whole. I am sure many Kenyans are incensed by this total disregard to their concerns; it is tantamount to playing Russian roulette with their destiny. The President must convince Kenyans that not having a Vice-President is somehow in their best interests.

As matters now stand, he is in breach of the trust placed in him by wananchi, he has failed to uphold his presidential oath, and owes the country both an explanation and an apology. He is in office by our mandate alone. Could it be he feels threatened by his own understudies? Whatever the case, any problems that may arise from this lack of prudence, he must be held directly responsible for.

1. “A World War On Bribery” by James Walsh, Time Magazine June 22,1998.
2. Transparency International is a non-profit making, non-governmental organisation, working to counter corruption both in international business transactions and through their national chapters, at national levels. It’s world corruption ratings are arrived at from a survey of business people, risk analysts and the general public.

Their address is:
Transparency International (T I)
Heylstrasse 33, D-10825 Berlin, Germany
Tel: (49) 30-787 59 08 Fax: (49) 30-787 57 07
E- mail: ti @
Internet: http: //

Chairman: Peter Eigen (Germany)
Managing Director: Jeremy Pope (New Zealand)
Bank Account No. 09 332 145 00
Dresdner Bank Berlin (Bank code 100 800 00)

3. “Contrasts and Connections” Schools History Project Discovering the Past Y7
Colin Shephard, Mike Forbishley, Alan Large, Richard Tames, 1991.
Problems in the Empire p.58,9.

4. Incidentally, our level of taxation stands at higher than that of 32 countries in Africa south of the Sahara. it is also higher than in many countries in the west where a kind of welfare state exists. We also have exceedingly high tax evasion rates. The annual income per Kenyan has fallen from $ 420 in [4][5]1980 to $260 today. The estimated number of Kenyans living below the poverty line has risen from 44% in 1989 to 50% today.

5. Thomas Paine “The Rights of Man”,1792.
6. Wall Street Journal, 27th May,1986 and Financial Times, 23rd February,1987.
7. Financial Times, London 14th October,1994.
8. Western traveller,1847.
9. The Daily Nation , Friday April 3,1998.
10. The Daily Nation editorial of Wednesday, May 20,1998.
11. The Daily Nation, Tuesday May 26,1998.
12. “There is no end to what a man can do as long as he doesn’t mind who will get the credit”- Ronald Reagan.
13. Thomas Paine “The Rights of Man”,1792.
14. The Daily Nation Thursday April 16, 1998
15. Paraphrased from “Jobs Specs for the Oval Office” By Hedley Donovan Time December 13,1992.

16. Lance Morrow, Time Magazine November 9,1987 “Who’s In Charge?”
17. Veronique Tadjo,
18. Literally ‘tea’ in Swahili but is used euphemistically to mean a bribe.
19. Ernest .W. Lefever, Senior fellow at The Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington as quoted by Time Magazine December 22, 1997.
20. The Daily Nation editorial Sunday May 24, 1998.
21. paraphrased from Val d’Oiseau, Veronique Tadjo.
22. Thomas Paine “The Rights of Man”,1792.

making of a nation

NEWS EXTRA Coalitions have always been part of Kenya's politics Story by HILARY NG’WENO Publication Date: 11/19/2007.

Kenya goes to the elections on December 27.

The Making of a Nation series, written by veteran journalist and publisher HILARY NG’WENO, and co-produced with Nation Media Group, which will air on NTV and run in Daily Nation, is a year-long project examining the tensions and forces that make Kenya what it is. Coming as they do in the midst of a hotly contested election, they provide a rare opportunity to plot the political evolution of Kenya.

Over the past decade or so Kenya’s politics has been dominated by coalitions, the most recent being the Party for National Unity on whose ticket President Mwai Kibaki is seeking re-election. But from the very beginning, there have always been political coalitions of one form or another.
When in 1957 African members of the Legislative Council set up the Elected African Members Organisation (EAMO) they were essentially entering into a coalition that would make it easier for them to achieve their common objective – bringing an end to British colonial rule and thereby establishing a free and independent nation ruled by the African majority. Among the EAMO leaders were Tom Mboya, Ronald Ngala, Oginga Odinga, Daniel arap Moi, Masinde Muliro, Julius Kiano, Taita Toweett, Justus ole Tipis and Jeremiah Nyagah.

These men represented a nationalist cause, but they also represented the interests of the different regions of the country that had elected them to the Legco, interests they were willing to merge into a greater common good.

Often forgotten.

What is often forgotten is that they each had their own individuals ambitions, and being politicians the most important of those ambitions was the exercise of power or at the very least a share in the that exercise.

Under a unified EAMO, African Legco leaders engaged the British government in a series of constitutional conferences at Lancaster House, London, which charted out a path to Kenya’s Independence. The January 1960 conference held under the chairmanship of then British Colonial Secretary Ian McLeod increased the number of Africans in the Legco from 14 to 33, out of a total of 65 members. It gave Africans four seats in what would initially be a caretaker government, as opposed to three for Europeans. And it provided for a common electoral roll, doing away with the limited electoral franchise system that had hitherto brought Africans into the Legco. Independence was now a matter of when and how, rather than if As is often the case with coalitions, fissures within the EAMO began to emerge as the common objective of Independence drew near. The new divisions among African leaders have often been blamed on the machinations of white settlers still anxious to hang on to power in Kenya, but that is at best simplistic. At worst, it is an affront to the intelligence and moral integrity of the African leaders of the time.

Barely four months after coming back from Lancaster with the McLeod constitution, African leaders were busy doing what any right-minded politician would do, positioning themselves for a place in the country’s future power structure. They had all agreed that at the head of that structure would be Jomo Kenyatta then still being held in detention by the colonial government for his part in the Mau Mau freedom struggle. Where everyone else would fit in the new dispensation was now a matter of primary concern to the individual leaders.

On May 14, 1960 African leaders meeting at Kiambu formed the Kenya African National Union (Kanu). To head the new party as a stand-in for the still to be freed Kenyatta was Mr James Gichuru, Mr Odinga, Mboya (secretary general), Mr Ngala (treasurer) and Mr Moi (vice treasurer). Mr Moi and Mr Ngala were out of the country at the time. On returning home, they declined to take up their posts and instead, at a meeting in Ngong on May 25, set up a rival party – the Kenya African Democratic Party (Kadu) under Mr Ngala’s leadership.

The reason Kadu leaders gave for setting up a rival party was that Kanu was dominated by the big tribes – the Kikuyu and the Luo. In Kadu, they would take care of the interests of the smaller tribes, the Kalenjin and Maasai of the Rift Valley, the Luhya of Western Province, the Mijikenda at the Coast. They probably were sincere in invoking ethnic interests as the main reason for setting up Kadu. But in addition to the ethnic interests, there were simple but pragmatic personal political considerations at play.

As Kenya moved towards independence, the field was getting crowded at the top political ladder. Originally, with Kikuyu leaders banned from taking part in politics, national politics had been a preserve of non-Kikuyus such as Mr Mboya, Mr Odinga, Mr Ngala, Mr Moi and Mr Muliro. Then with the end of the state of emergency in 1956 the ban had been lifted. Dr Kiano had joined the EAMO. By the time Kanu was formed, there were many other Kikuyu heavyweights in politics, men such as Dr Njoroge Mungai, who had just returned form Stanford University with a degree in medicine. Soon Kenyatta would be free, and with him would come others with strong claims to the high places in the new political patheon – among them the men tried with Kenyatta at Kapenguria at the start of the Emergency in 1952 – Mr Bildad Kaggia, Mr Achieng Oneko, Mr Kungu Karumba, Mr Fred Kubai and Mr Paul Ngei.

Mr Ngala, Mr Muliro, Mr Moi, Mr Tipis, Dr Towett and their colleagues went off on their own not because they were manipulated by white settlers, or even because, they were trying to do what they claimed they were trying to do – take of the interests of their ethnic constituencies. Like their counterparts in Kanu, they were men of ambition who wanted to exercise power and they saw in Kadu a reliable vehicle to the exercise of political power.

Gamble did not pay off.

In the end, their gamble did not pay off. In the post-McLeod general election of February 1961 called to prepare Kenya for self-government, Kanu won 19 and Kadu 11 of the seats earmarked for Africans in the new constitution.

Mzee Kenyatta was released on August 14 that year and for a while tried to reconcile the two parties. But when he failed, he accepted the presidency of Kanu from which Mr Gichuru now stepped down. Kenyatta was a nationalist, but he was a consummate politician as well. For him, the choice between Kanu and Kadu was clear. The latter simply did not have the kind of majority support Kanu enjoyed. To choose Kadu would have been the height of political folly.

Kadu leaders did come up with an answer to the challenge they now faced from Kanu under Mzee Kenyatta’s leadership. With the support of the new British Colonial Secretary Reginald Maudling and white settlers they pushed for a federal political system of government for independent Kenya. A compromise “majimbo” system was eventually adopted at the February 1962 Lancaster constitutional conference, setting up a bicameral legislature and six regional assemblies with entrenched rights but no financial powers. It was not an arrangement that Kanu was particularly happy about, but as Odinga said afterwards: “We might be been forced to accept a constitution we did not want, but once we had the government, we could change the constitution.”

On the face of it Majimbo was about protecting the interests of smaller tribes against the bigger communities, but for Kadu leaders it was also a way of ensuring that they too exercised political power in the regions since the country’s population distribution appeared to condemn them to perpetual seats in the opposition.

They were not alone in seeking space within a coalition arrangement for their personal ambitions to flourish. Mr Ngei had joined Kanu on being released from detention. Like Kadu leaders, he too was an ambitious politician. He too sought a prominent place for himself within the country’s new political edifice. He could find none. So he went off on his own, forming in November 1962 a new party – the African Peoples Party - which he thought would propel him to some form of power he did not then think he could exercise if he remained under the same roof as Mzee Kenyatta, Mr Mboya, Mr Odinga and Mr Gichuru.

In the May 1963 General Election that led to independence, Kanu won 83 out of 124 seats, signalling an end to the original coalition of interests for which the EAMO leaders had stood. Later, new coalitions would come and go, but the interests of ambitious political leaders would remain, and through the interplay of those interests the history of independent Kenya would be shaped.

Mboya up against Kenyatta’s tough inner circle Story by HILARY NG’WENO Publication Date: 12/3/2007.

There had always been the question of What next after Kenyatta? Or rather, Who after Kenyatta? writes HILARY NG’WENO in today’s instalment of ‘The Making of a Nation’.

President Jomo Kenyatta’s closest ministers, the inner circle made up of Koinange, Njonjo and Mungai, and sometimes James Gichuru and Julius Kiano, had been concerned at first about Oginga Odinga, the country’s first Vice President. Odinga had charisma, nearly as much as Kenyatta; he was a man of the people, and he was a fighter, like Kenyatta.

The inner circle, or the Gatundu Group, as they were sometimes referred to, worried about Odinga taking over from Kenyatta, should the old man die or become incapacitated.
With Odinga safely out of the way after he had been forced out of the ruling party, the Kenya African National Union (Kanu) and into the opposition Kenya Peoples Union in 1966, Kenyatta’s inner group now worried about Tom Mboya, the Minister for Economic Planning and Kanu’s powerful secretary general. The prospects of Mboya stepping into Kenyatta’s shoes became an obsession for them. Part of their concern had to do with ethnic considerations.

They were determined to ensure that the presidency, and its now enormous powers, did not slip from the grasp of the Kikuyu, and most certainly not into Mboya’s hands.

They feared Mboya because of his frightful intelligence and his organisational skills. But there was more than fear involved. There was resentment. However intelligent, however astute a politician, academically Mboya was simply not the equal of any of the three top men in Kenyatta’s inner circle.

Social credentials.

Koinange, senior most of the circle, was a person with outstanding academic and social credentials. Born in 1907 to Senior Chief Koinange wa Mbiyu, Koinange was sent to the US for education when he was barely 20, becoming the first Kenyan African to be educated in the US.
He first attended Hampton College in West Virginia, then the University of Columbia where he received a BA degree. He proceeded to the University of London and got a diploma from the university’s Institute of Education before moving on to the London School of Economics from which he obtained a Masters degree in 1948-the first Kenyan to get an MA.

On coming back home the following year he set up the Kenya Teachers College at Githunguri and managed it until 1946 when he turned it over to Kenyatta who had just come back after nearly 15 years in England and Europe. The two men had known each other in England and had kept in touch while they were separated.

Now a strong bond developed between them, becoming even stronger when Kenyatta took for his second wife, Grace Mitundu, Koinange’s younger sister. In 1947 Koinange would return to England for further studies but was prevented from returning to Kenya by the outbreak of the Mau Mau rebellion and the declaration of a state of emergency in 1952.

In exile, Koinange expanded his political activities to embrace Pan African gatherings and demonstrations in England. He made contact with Kwame Nkrumah who after Ghana’s independence invited him to work at the newly set up Bureau of African Affairs in Accra.
It was from Accra that Koinange was invited by KANU and KADU leaders meeting in London at the first Lancaster House constitutional conference.

The invitation was the idea of Odinga who was trying to pressurize the British government to release Kenyatta. Odinga figured that Koinange’s presence would put added pressure on the British, and it would embarrass Mboya who was then not yet as forthright about Kenyatta’s release. Koinange would come back home soon after that meeting, run for parliament and be elected as MP for Kiambaa in 1963, when Kenyatta appointed him to the Cabinet.

The second most powerful man in the triumvirate was Charles Njonjo, the Attorney General. Like Koinange, Njonjo was the son of a senior chief in the colonial government. His father Josiah Njonjo was able to send him to the best schools of the time. Alliance High School, King’s College Budo in Uganda, Fort Hare University in Cape Town and Exeter University in England where he did post graduate studies in public administration finishing in 1947.

From 1947 to 1950 he attended the London School of Economics and then studied law for four years before being admitted to the bar at Gray’s Inn, one of England’s most prestigious inns of law. His long stay in England had a tremendous influence on him; he absorbed British culture and British mannerisms, down to the wearing of striped suits and bowler hats. In later years these British mannerisms would earn him the nickname of Sir Charles.

On returning to Kenya in 1954 Njonjo joined the colonial attorney general’s office and rose quickly from being a registrar to registrar-general. In 1961 he was a senior state counsel, and one whole year before Independence he had been promoted to the powerful job of deputy public prosecutor. At Independence he was named attorney general. The following year, with Kenya’s change to Republican status, the attorney general became an ex-officio Member of Parliament as well as the cabinet.

Six years younger than Njonjo, Mungai did not have a chief or senior chief for a father, but what he lacked in genes he more than made up for in upbringing. He too went to Alliance High School, leaving in 1945. Like Njonjo he attended Fort Hare University from 1948 to 1950.
In South Africa, Mungai had his first taste of apartheid. That experience was to shape his future political views and general mistrust of white people. From South Africa Mungai proceeded to Stanford University, then, as today, one of the top universities in the world, where he obtained a BA degree in 1952 before going to Stanford Medical School, and later to further medical studies at Columbia University.

With his string of qualifications, Mungai came back to Kenya in 1959 and set up the Chania chain of clinics around the Dagoretti area of Nairobi from which he dispensed affordable medical treatment. When Kenyatta was released from detention in 1961, Mungai became his physician. But even before that, Mungai was already immersed in politics, serving as the secretary to the preparatory committee that gave birth to KANU in May 1960. It was on that committee that Mungai first worked closely with Mboya.

Kenyatta’s inner circle was therefore made up of highly educated and sophisticated men, who by dint of their birth, education and training considered themselves to be natural leaders. On that account alone, and not even on ethnic grounds, Koinange, Njonjo and Mungai for different reasons, must have found Mboya difficult to take.

Mboya was born in 1930, and was therefore four years younger than Mungai, ten years younger than Njonjo and a whole 23 years younger than Koinange.

But by the time they started interacting with him, the older men must have been awed by his enormous organisational skills, sharp intellect, and sheer determination. The awe must have given rise to a sense of resentment when in the three or four years leading to Independence, Mboya made himself almost indispensable in the general nationalist struggle.
He was by far the most articulate leader in the country. He hogged the press, both local and international, and was on the cover of TIME magazine before Independence. Then as now, making the cover of TIME was something even Americans envied.

Mboya’s energy, charisma, his organisational and tactical skills made him indispensable in the bruising battle against Odinga and the radicals within Kanu.

The man to watch.

And for some time at least Njonjo built up a close friendship with Mboya during their joint effort, at Kenyatta’s behest, to shove Odinga out of the ruling party. But Kenyatta and his top lieutenants had Odinga more or less under control. The man to watch now was Mboya.
Barely a year after forcing Odinga out of Kanu they would set about trying to do to Mboya what they had done to Odinga so successfully, except that they would now have to do their battles without or against Mboya’s enormous organisational skills, financial resources and a reputation for political fighting.

Until then Mboya had never lost any major political battle; but then, neither had Kenyatta and the men who made up his inner circle.

THE MAKING OF A NATION: Mboya's murder and the return of one-party State Story by HILLARY NG'WENO Publication Date: 12/4/2007.

HILLARY NG'WENO recounts the murder of Cabinet ministers Tom Mboya and its aftermath.

On the morning of July 5th, 1969 Tom Mboya, President Jomo Kenyatta’s Minister for Economic Planning and Kanu’s secretary general, arrived at Nairobi’s Embakasi Airport from Addis Ababa where he had been attending a meeting of the Economic Commission for Africa.
He was accompanied by his permanent secretary, Philip Ndegwa, and his brother, Alphonse Okuku Ndiege. He had dropped them off at his office, and then before 1pm went to Channi’s Pharmacy on Government, today Moi Avenue, to buy some lotion for dry skin. After chatting with Mrs Mohini Sehmi Channi for a while, Mboya stepped out of the shop.

Outside, only two or so metres from the door, was a young man in a dark suite, holding a briefcase in his left hand. His right hand was in his pocket. In a few seconds two shots rang out. Mboya slumped over. Despite efforts at mouth-to-mouth resuscitation Mboya was dead on arrival at Nairobi Hospital.

Political leadership.

Within hours, there were riots and demonstrations in Nairobi and in towns and villages in Luoland. The experience of the KPU had given most Luo the feeling that the Kikuyu were out to deny them any position of political leadership. They had pushed Oginga Odinga out of the ruling party Kanu. Now they had killed Mboya, and Luo suspicions appeared to be confirmed when on July 10th, five days after the murder, a young Kikuyu named Nahashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge was arrested and charged with the murder.

Njenga’s trial began with a preliminary hearing on August 11th. On September 10th he was found guilty and sentenced to death. His appeal against the verdict and sentence was rejected by the East African Court of Appeal, and on November 8th, it is reported, he was hanged in secret at Kamiti Maximum Prison. There have since been reports that Njenga was in fact never hanged, that he was spirited off secretly to Ethiopia, where he lived out the rest of his life under an assumed identity. What is not in doubt, however, is that during the preliminary hearing after his arrest, Njenga had asked a senior police superintendent who testified at the trial: “Why do you pick on me? Why not the big man?” When asked who the big man was, Njenga refused to say. Who was the big man, if ever there was a big man, would remain the subject of rumour and conjecture for years.

And for good reason; the trial never established a motive for Njenga killing Mboya. Someone must have had a motive. Who that someone was has remained a subject of conjecture ever since.

Mboya’s murder shook Kenya’s politics as nothing had ever done before since Independence. The entire Luo community now closed ranks around Odinga, taking on a markedly anti-Kikuyu stance in all their utterances.

Other Kenyans were taken aback too. Doubts about Kenyatta’s government began to emerge, especially in the Coast Province and to a lesser extent in Western Province, and doubts turned into worries when reports started circulating that the Kikuyu community had taken up widespread oathing primarily aimed at ensuring their unity in the face of growing opposition to Kenyatta’s rule, particularly from the Luo.

There was enormous pressure within the Kikuyu community to close ranks around Kenyatta, just like the Luo had done around Odinga. By August, the pressure was so great that Bildad Kaggia, vice president of the KPU, and almost the entire Central Province membership of the party, were forced to rejoin the ruling party Kanu. The split between the two former senior members in the Kanu tribal coalition – the Kikuyu and the Luo – was now as complete as it could possibly be.

The situation called for some action on the part of Kenyatta who had gone uncharacteristically silent since Mboya’s death. In September, he began to summon elders from various communities to discuss the situation with him at his home in Gatundu.

Little General Election.

The next General Election would be coming soon, and he was anxious that Kanu perform in Luoland better than it did during the Little General Election against Odinga’s Kenya Peoples Union (KPU). So, in October Kenyatta set off on an electoral tour of Rift Valley and Nyanza intending to demonstrate that he was back in control of things.

On October 25th he was in Kisumu to open the Russian built hospital, which was the only Soviet, project in Kenya. Luo crowds greeted him with jeers and shouted KPU slogans at him. There were placards in the crowd asking, “Where is Tom?” Kenyatta reacted with anger. In his speech, he attacked the KPU and threatened Odinga, who was with him on the platform, with detention, calling him a “noise maker who is good for nothing”. Oppositionists, he said, would be “crushed like locusts”.

It was the crowd’s turn to be enraged. As Kenyatta’s motorcade was leaving the hospital grounds, the crowd surged towards it menacingly. The police opened fire. Seven people were killed and scores injured as Kenyatta left Kisumu hurriedly.

Two days later, on October 27th, Odinga and all other KPU leaders and MPs were arrested in a pre-dawn swoop and put into detention. Among Odinga’s associates to be placed in detention was Achieng Oneko who had been jailed and detained with Kenyatta by the British for nine years before Independence. On October 30th, the KPU was banned. Once again, Kenya had become a de-facto one-party state.

The new one party state was different from the one that came into existence in December 1964 when the Kenya African Democratic Union (Kadu), dissolved itself and its members joined Kanu. Then there had been some effort at building national unity that if it did not quite negate ethnic boundaries at least operated on the basis of a coalition of all tribes.

Pretense of a coalition.

Now, there was one major community outside the one ruling party, and in that party, there was no pretense of a coalition any more. After his ugly experience in Kisumu, Kenyatta was in no mood for sharing any power; the inner circle around him encouraged him into believing that no coalitions of any kind were needed any more.

On the 6th December 1969, Kanu held its primary elections. In the absence of any other party, these primary elections amounted to the final general elections. The results surprised many. Even in a one party state, it seemed, those in control of Kanu were powerless against a public who had become disgruntled by the goings on of the previous two or three years. Seventy-seven sitting MPs out of a total of 158 – almost fully one half – lost to newcomers.

Serious implications.

Of interest and serious implications to Nyanza and Western Province, was the fact among them were four of the five defeated ministers, and nine of the fourteen defeated assistant ministers. Most of them were Mboya’s political allies: Odero-Jowi and Samuel Ayodo in Luoland; Lawrence Sagini in Kisii and Joseph Otiende in Western Province.

But among the losers too was Bildad Kaggia. Just as the voters in Luoland had not forgiven anyone who had sided with the Kikuyu’s, and Mboya’s allies in Luoland were so perceived, similarly kikuyu voters were in no mood for forgiveness towards anyone who had sided with forces they perceived to be under the control of the Luo. Kaggia, though he had recanted and rejoined Kanu, was not about to receive forgiveness from Murang’a voters. He was handsomely defeated by Thaddeus Mwaura who had defeated him at the Little General Election.
Kaggia would thereafter retire from politics to live a simple and frugal life, almost forgotten by generations of Kenyan leaders who were born long after Kaggia’s battles with the British and Kenyatta governments were over.

He died in 2006 and was buried in his beloved Murang’a where the government later built a mausoleum in his memory and that of hundreds and thousands of freedom fighters like him who had given their all in the cause of Kenya’s Independence.

39=truth (who killed mboya and why)

My name is Lucas Mboya. I am 39 years old. My father, the late, great, Thomas Joseph Mboya, died violently at 39 years old. My late brother Peter Mboya, died violently at the age of 39 years old. (10 months apart). If there is some jinx that prevents a Mboya man from passing 40 years old. Let me take this opportunity to get a load off my chest.

When my late father died I was I had been on God’s good earth for 21 months.

As I grew up I had to grope my way around trying to find out who my father was and why he had been killed. Answers I got ranged from ‘he was a criminal and CIA agent’, to ‘he was next in line for the Presidency’, which I do now believe was the case.

What I would like to do now is explore the real reason why Tom Mboya was killed and by whom. I will for legal reasons make many references to a book, ‘Tom Mboya, The Man Kenya Wanted to Forget”, David Goldsworthy.

My goal is to first get Kenyans to understand that I believe my fathers’ death was the point in Kenyas’ history that the two most influential tribes parted, both publicly and permanently and this acrimony has been the root cause of most of the political problems Kenya has had to date. Additionally, I do believe that without a genuine ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ in place Kenyans will never breach the tribalism gap that has been entrenched in our psyche.

Its’ no secret that Kenya politics is not about policies, but about tribes and communities. As a result rampant corruption abounds. It is simply not possible to deal with corruption without dealing first with tribalism. Tribalism feeds corruption.

Lets’ also understand that appreciation of ones tribe and customs is right and important. What is wrong is assuming that because ones tribe is different, that therefore ones tribe or community is better, or has rights that others should not enjoy. The saying from “animal farm’, ‘ all animals are equal but some are more equal than others’ comes to mind.

I also intend to make a formal request to the Kenya Government and the Chief Justice in particular to give me and make public the transcripts of the trial of one, Nahashon Njenga who was accused and sentenced to death for the murder of Tom Mboya. This I believe is my God given right. I am Mboya’s his son and I want to know what happened and if I feel justice was not done, then I have the right to pursue whatever justice I can get in any manner that I can get it under Kenyan and International Law.

Whoever killed Mboya made one mistake. They should have killed me too because If I can expose them I will, be they dead or alive. And I do believe that the real architect of Mboyas’ murder is alive and well. By the time you finish reading this piece I am sure that not only will you understand who I am talking about but you will be able to join the dots and see why I believe this man (and others) were responsible.

In Goldworthy’s book, his chapter on ‘The Politics of Survival’ He says:

‘At any rate, by late 1967 the new factional lines were clearly visible: so much so that talk of ‘Kanu’ A and ‘Kanu B’ was becoming quite common. On one side ‘Kanu A’ was the formidable coalition which we have referred to so far as the inner group, but which was variously know as the ‘Kikuyu group’, the ‘Gatundu group’, the ‘Court’: Mungai, Njonjo and Koinange, all very close to the President and with them Moi (vice president since early1967 in succession to Murumbi) and somewhat less powerful Kukuyu such as Gichuru, Kiano and Kibaki (though on issues of economic policy Kibaki and others usually stood with Mboya)…………………………….On the other side was Mboya. He too had his multi tribal supporting group which at ministerial level included Ngala (Giriama), Ayodo (Luo), Sagini (Kisii), Otiende (luyha), Nyagah (Embu) and Eliud Mwendwa (Kamba). In general he had the backing of the Kanu Luo, the anti-Ngei Kamba, the pro Ngala Coastals, and MP’s from the North East. All told there were perhaps 60 of the 158 Members. A third group, including at ministerial level Argwings Kodhek and Angaine was generally seen as neutral……….

“The Gatundu group’s jealousy and fear of Mboya emerged with extreme clarity at a private meeting of the full Kanu parliamentary group in March 1968, the first time the issue was directly joined in such a large gathering and in the presence of Kenyatta himself. Subsequent leaked accounts had it that it was the Attorney General who led the attack…….Njonjo delivered an address full of aspersions against Mboya’s ambitions and his American connections. Mboya argued back strongly. Then there was a crucial intervention on Mboya’s side by Bruce McKenzie – a man uniquely placed in more ways than one, not one of the Kikuyu group but certainly enjoying its confidence. He reminded Kenyatta of the story of the monarch ‘whose kingdom prospered while his able son did everything but which fell into disarray after the king disposed of him when jealous courtiers spread lies about him and his ambitions. In this case Mzee listened and the attack failed.’

It is clear from this incident that there was a cabal in Government that were determined to see Mboya out at any cost, led by Njonjo.

The Government at this stage (1967) set up a committee with Kenyatta’s approval to propose a succession formula to replace the existing one under which if the President died in office the Assembly would elect a successor for the balance of his term (this formula had ironically been drafted by Mboya and Njonjo in 1964).

According to Goldsworthy, the Gatundu group now feared that ‘if Mboya were given an opening under ….(these) arrangements he could mesmerize parliament and ensure his own election’.

He continues ‘Accordingly in March the Government introduced a constitutional amendment bill providing that if the President died, the vice President would automatically succeed him for the rest of his term.. Mboya’s position was saved, however by the genuine anger and resentment of almost all of the back-bench MP’s at this further erosion of parliamentary power. Confronted by their flat refusal to pass the bill, the government – meaning essentially the Gatundu group – presented in April a revised version under which the vice president would succeed for six months after which there would be a national election.

‘In May, while this was being debated Kenyatta suffered a mild stroke. Thereupon Njonjo and Moi, without consulting Cabinet hurriedly put up a third version whose effect was to retain the six-month interim president but to reduce his powers in certain areas. Obviously with this further watering-down they hoped for quick Parliamentary approval. Still concerned above all to block Mboya, they however added a completely new clause raising the minimum age of Presidential candidates from thirty five to forty (Mboya was thirty nine). And again here they miscalculated. Ministers and MP’s of almost all persuasions were angry at so blatant a manouevre; and the Assembly refused once again to be taken for granted. Moreover Kenyatta soon recovered, and was incensed to find his close lieutenants apparently assuming him as good as dead and busily ensuring their own security. He intervened personally to withdraw the bill and in a turbulent cabinet meeting – in which, it is said, ‘Kenyatta told off Moi and Njonjo is scorching terms’ a fourth and final version was worked out’.

From these accounts and from discussions with friends and relatives who were mature at the time I have concluded that clearly, Njonjo, Koinange and Mungai were determined to get my father out of the way of Presidential succession and were becoming more and more desperate by the day especially as Kenyatta’s health faltered. Moi as Vice President was the pawn they would use to thus consolidate themselves in case of Kenyatta’s demise.

My father I believe was interested in power. But not for the reasons the others wanted the same.

Goldworthy says ‘Mboya felt, then, growing dissatisfactions with the international development effort, and more especially with the economic behaviour of the Western powers. To this should probably be added a disenchantment with the attitudes and behaviour of African ruling groups themselves. Mboya certainly felt that policy – making and administrative elites should be properly paid for their leadership role; but massive and rapid capital accumulation through the opportunistic fusing of political, administrative, and business roles was a different matter. It must have appeared to him as a perversion of the whole developmental purpose, and as something of a betrayal of the ideas he had tried to work out for Kenya and Africa. As Gertzel puts it,

“Mboya stood essentially for a rational economic development as opposed to any short-term policies that might benefit one group at the future expense of the country as a whole. He argued explicitly for broad limits of planning within which the politics of influence must be contained…. It implied a challenge to any one group that wanted immediate benefits at the cost of future development, and was likely in particular to arouse opposition from a burgeoning economic class” .

And again ‘Of course he was ambitious to get and keep power; and it was surely true that Mboya, perhaps more than any other member of the Governing elite, sought to use power in the social interest’.

To me it is clear that a rift had emerged between Mboya and the Gatundu group led by Njonjo based on their fear and jealousy of him and the fact that they saw power as a means to rapid financial accumulation which was against Mboya’s ideals. Such a person would not do as a President in their eyes.

Goldworthy says the final straw was when it became clear to the Gatundu group that without Mboya (Odinga was already out) they would not be able to keep anything in Nyanza (this despite the fact that they had already attacked and decimated all of Mboya’s power bases).

They clearly thought that Mboya was a walkover and their demonstration of power would bring him in line. They were gravely mistaken. Mboya’s attitude was one of indifference when it came to issues of Kanu’s political prowess in Nyanza. As such;

‘In May 1969 a by election was held in Gem constituency to elect a successor to Argwings Kodhek who had been killed in a car accident. Gem had been that rarity, a Kanu held seat in Central Nyanza. Mboya both as party Secretary-General and as the sole remaining Luo minister at the highest level was naturally expected to spearhead the Governments campaign on behalf of it’s Luo candidate. But this time he stayed right out of it, and it fell upon Mungai to lead Kanu’s campaign. Mboya’s unspoken message seemed to be: let them see what they can do without me.

Kanu’s candidate was crushed. In the view of some, this incident was for the inner group the final straw: the factor which hardened them against Mboya once and for all’.

In the final anaylsis. Mboya was murdered and he had seen it coming. But he was not prepared to compromise on his ideals.

Who had the motive to murder him?
Who had the capacity to do it?
Who had the ability to cover it up?

In mboya’s trial, my understanding is that the prosecution failed to follow up on an allegation made by a senior Police officer to the effect that when they were interrogating Njenga he had said, ‘why ask me, why not ask the big man’? the prosecution failed to follow this in the trial. In addition I understand that the family lawyer, one Fritz De Souza was not allowed to cross examine the suspect? Why would this be so? Does it make sense? unless there was a deliberate attempt by the powers at the time to avoid that question.

Am I my brothers keeper? (why kenya is at crossroad)

A few days ago, I had a discussion with a friend who works for a well known media house. Since I would not whole heartedly agree with his view that the current situation pertaining in the country was attributable specifically to one side of the political divide, I was left in no doubt that I should be considered a traitor to my own. That’s ethnic, not, political persuasion.And that’s the rub. How do we even begin to bridge the ethnic divide, because it does exist, when to reach out to the other side may well lead to alienation from your own ethnic community?Is this situation unique to myself? I think not.Kenya is walking wounded. The 2007 general election has exposed the deep ethnic hatred that has simmered for many years in this country. Kenyans, in their own unique way, have perfected the art of doublespeak. That we are a united nation, and proud of our patriotism yet we remain deeply divided along ethnic lines as the outcome of this election has clearly shown.Isn’t it time that as Kenyans we come out once and for all and admit that all is not well in ‘our house’? What are we so afraid of, that we would rather find a quick solution to the current crisis and return to our ‘fake’ lives only to wait for the next implosion of ethnic killing.In todays nation, Gitau Warigi said, ‘Yet the mere resolution of the presidential election dispute is not going to erase the ugly ethnic hatred that has finally been exposed. Dialogue is the first step but, inevitably, some lasting constitutional or other pact must be worked out to ensure everybody will forever feel safe. And, ‘the facade of a peaceful Kenya has always been intended to obscure from view the deep fissures in the country’.It’s clear that many of us recognize the deception we are living. More so, another opinion article in the same paper today notes, ‘It gets even more tragic for Kenya that in this day and age, corruption and ethnic chauvinism remain the biggest challenges’.So its clear to all who want to see. Tribalism or ethnic chauvinism to a large extent is the driving force behind our politics and hence the flawed elections and its aftermath.It is clear to me that corruption and tribalism go hand in hand. There is a viscous circle containing in it, tribalism, corruption and politics. The three combining in various lethal doses to fuel the next.In my own sphere of influence I have often argued that the first in line in this sad mix is tribalism which then fuels political interests to convert Kenyans to support and vote one of their own ethnic community or a friendly ‘one’ to get as close to executive power as possible. Hence if ones ethnic group have a candidate for the presidency then the obligation is to support him or her regardless of their capacity, reputation, or leadership qualities. In addition, the community should then support as many next tier candidates as possible so as to attain the largest spread of ethnic command of Government.So the prize then is Government and the Executive power that goes with it.Why? This is where the corruption element rears its ugly head. So that the community may firstly protect itself (read those who have already been implicated in past corruption related offences) and then go on to acquire more wealth through manipulation of selected Government processes. Those not directly in the ethnic political elite then strive to acquire ‘Godfathers’ who will facilitate the same. The rationale being, ‘it’s our turn now’, and ‘if we don’t do it someone else will’.This unfortunately unravels back to the Kikuyu elite of the 1960’s when the first post independence government was formed. Kenyans have thus adopted the misguided notion that the best way to negate the corrupt gains made by this community is to get one of their own into power and reverse the trend to their own favour.Despite our claim to being a mostly Christian and for that matter Muslim nation, the concept of forgiveness is surprisingly absent.Yet as we become more sophisticated as a nation we must cloak our raw unbridled greed, tribalism, in ever more sophisticated camouflage. Hence, NARC and now ODM and PNU. At the heart of each you will find the same principle at work.Its either direct, as in, we need power to sort out our issues and redistribute income or the previous Government neglected (or threatened) us so we will join with another power seeking group to remedy the situation and punish them in the same vein. This would explain the coming together of Luo, Kalenjin and other tribal groups against the Kikuyu under the guise of democracy. The majority of Kikuyu for one do not believe this.Please do not (deliberately) or otherwise misinterpret this as an attempt to justify tribal/ethnic groupings or any one communities desire for political power including my own.I have always seen myself as a Kenyan first and a Luo second and in that sense I believe it is easier for me to temper my own tribal inclinations (which exist). Indeed I see that we have far more to gain by seeing ourselves as one, as Kenyans than letting our ethnic order get the better of us.Further, there is absolutely NO WAY that a division of Kenya along those lines into separate states will make life any better for even the most economically endowed ethnic group. So what’s the point of thinking in that way in the first place?Our strength as Kenya and our future is in us setting aside those tribal passions and working together to make Kenya what is should be. This will require forgiveness, understanding, compromise and humility. There is no other way and what we have witnessed in the last 10 days is not an option.A ‘Truth and Justice Commission’ is a priority. Those old wounds have not healed no matter how much we pretend they have. We have to deal with our past to ensure our future and the sooner the better. Otherwise Kenya will continue to exist as the dysfunctional house it is where, gains today can be reduced to nothing in hours, each time ethnicity takes centre stage.If combined with genuine patriotism, wealth and power will improve the lot of the common man as those who have attained them will understand that fate plays just as much a role in their lives as their own strivings.There is something that I have thought of often but have never been able to find the correct words to express. I found the words almost exactly as I had envisioned my thoughts in today’s nation editorial.‘Kenya practices a brutal, inhuman brand of capitalism which encourages fierce competition for survival, wealth and power. Those who can’t compete successfully are allowed to live like animals in slums. The country is choking with millions of young, able-bodied people who haven’t a hope of amounting to anything and who are susceptible to the seduction of false promises’.To this group the Political class plays master puppeteer with the consequences we have already seen.I put it to you that the solution to Kenya’s problems lie in a quiet and distinct revolution in the minds of the middle class who may not control the wealth but are most certainly the only real buffer this country has to true and bloody revolution.So where does this leave us?Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes. Yes I am. I must be.