By Dikembe Disembe
An interesting conversation between blogger Martin Tairo and former Kibaki hardliner Martha Karua ensued on twitter.
Blogger Tairo hoped to understand why Martha Karua vehemently supported Kibaki’s unilateral appointment of ECK commissioners which led to the electoral manipulation and resulted into the disputed elections and eventual violence in 2007.
Martha Karua, a staunch anti-Moi politician who once walked out of the former president in the 1990s would later embrace Kibaki’s rule and worked hard to ensure Kibaki was re-elected at all costs.
Even after elections and the violence, Karua was still a hardliner during the negotiations for the peace accord.
Joined with the late Hon Mutula Kilonzo, Prof Sam Ongeri, Moses Wetangula and others, Karua would ensure Kibaki and PNU had their way. The National Accord was so imbalanced that it took parliament and especially the then Speaker Kenneth Otiato Marende to issue a series of ‘Solomonic rulings’ to let some of its provisions work.
Tairo, apparently reminiscing Karua’s conversion from a democracy ‘iron lady’ to one of the fiercest defenders of Kibaki (read impunity), took her on.
She had declared her candidature and would be on the ballot come 2013, as a consequence of Mt. Kenya power dynamics which shifted to Uhuru, rather than her.
During the presidential debate, you would have realized that CORD candidate Raila Odinga specifically revisited the IPPG and how the opposition had negotiated an all inclusive electoral commission, not just those Moi wanted in the ECK.
Raila, like Tairo, too asked Karua about why she refused to engage the opposition (in whatever shade it was) in appointing commissioners for the 2007 elections.
Here is the conversation:
Justus Amito: With others, Martha Karua successfully agitated for the reintroduction of multi-party democracy in 1992. This was true, I however fast forwarded to 2007 and responded to Amito as below:
Me to Justus Amito while mentioning Martha Karua: Don’t forget Martha Karua supervised the flawed reconstitution of the defunct ECK which bungled the election leading to PEV.
Martha Karua toÂ me: Fact elections bungled at polling stations largely by supporters of Kibaki and Raila. Refer to Kriegler report.
Me to Martha Karua: But you had already ensured a Kibaki friendly ECK was in place to declare him winner. Why did you boot the 1997 IPPG?
Martha Karua to me: Necessary consultations done before appointments and we are all in parliament courtesy of the same commission (note that she has totally avoided the question of why she ignored the 1997 IPPG)
Me to Martha Karua: Yeah, I guess the same kind of consultations Kibaki had with you before he appointed new judges. Swords cut both ways.
Martha Karua to Me: I will answer genuine tweets not clever ones!
Me to Martha Karua : This was simply a concurrence with you that consultations always existed in Kibaki’s government. Needed no response
Martha Karua to Me: You appear to have been an insider
Me to Martha Karua: While we know this parliament is there courtesy of Kivuitu’s ECK, its the presidential election that was rigged
Martha Karua toÂ Me: Excuse me what of election petitions?
Me to Martha Karua: Khalwale, Wanjiru, Mwakwere won their seats back, if it means anything
Martha Karua to me again: We cannot chose when to believe Kivuitu and when to curse him,those who tampered on both sides to blame
Me to Martha Karua: I believe Kivuitu as he clearly said he doesn’t know who won the election. If Kibaki won, he would have said it.
Martha Karua toÂ Me: I believe Kriegler who after inquiry found both sides exaggerated votes
Me to Martha Karua: But i don’t get your point, do you mean since we accepted a bungled parliamentary election, we should swallow a presidential one too? Last time I checked, two wrongs didn’t make a right. Plus that’s a lame justification for blatant rigging of elections
Martha Karua to Me: I believe Kriegler who after inquiry found both sides exaggerated votes
Me to Martha Karua: Then in your opinion, the cleverer thug won?
Martha Karua to Me: Your interpretation not mine guys you seem to be running short of fresh allegations?
Me to Martha Karua: Its not just about finding fresh allegations. You seem too keen to bury the past but it will haunt you to the ballot! Its people like you who make Moi look like a saint. Despite the atrocities of his regime, he respected the IPPG. You didn’t.
Martha Karua to Me: Seek ye knowledge first IPPG was about parties after 2005 referendum parties became unrecognizable due to shift
Me to Martha Karua: But in the same spirit you didn’t think the opposition should have a say in ECK appointments, if only to give it credibility?
Martha Karua to Me: The opposition then was largely members of government party Narc and hence consultation with parliamentarians.
Me to Martha Karua: You misuse the term ‘consultation’. The major stakeholders were the presidential aspirants. Who were these parliamentarians?
Martha Karua to Me: The list of who was there then is in the archives of parliament…
Me to Martha Karua: The viability of your candidature is solely dependent on how you explain your role in the 2007 election.
Martha Karua to Me: To you?
Me to Martha Karua: I know you will dismiss me as a single vote. But then again, the questions will still linger.
Martha Karua to Me: Now that I remember you posed same questions to me on this very forum about a month ago your agenda?
Me to Martha Karua: No agenda. Just that it pains me to see you lose decades of credible and consistent leadership to one bungled election.
Martha Karua to Me: I believe so why do you resurface with same issue over and over and unsupported allegations?
Me to Martha Karua: While my hypothesis could be termed as allegations, the issues I have raised on ECK are facts. You would have been the obvious alternative leadership to this country had you made wiser decisions well in advance! The big question is whether you can be trusted. This question would not arise had you refused to be sucked by the powers that be.
Martha Karua to Me: An individual do not determine my credibility and not on a false premise Kenyans collectively will do fairly!
Before the debate heated up, some bloggers had already joined the conversations with tribal stereotyping and insults hurled at me. This spoiled my wonderful conversation with Karua but I thought I should mention who these other bloggers were:-
- @KentrepreneurÂ said, â€œOnly Luoâ€™s need explanation from Martha Karua about the 2007 elections.â€ When i noted that i am not Luo and rebuffed his tribal stereotyping, he responded, â€œIf heâ€™s still crying over Raila, I can place him into a few ethnic categories.â€ I decided to ignore him.
- Another blogger calledÂ Charles @WanjuraÂ did not mince his words, â€œshut the fuck up en grow up! You can as well run for the office! I didnâ€™t know you such an idiot!â€ Well, i didnâ€™t know where all that came from and i asked why the insults. He responded, â€œYou just need to do a lot of growing up, you donâ€™t have to disrespect people or fabricate allegations.â€ I checked his bio where he has described himself as a Martha Karua fanatic. I realized i could not have any meaningful and objective conversation with him. I ignored him too.
Martha lost with a landslide.
Recently, Ruto’s defence team mentioned her as one of those who coached witnesses to ‘fix’ the Deputy president, then ODM stalwart.