BY: Isaack Nyakundi
Douglas Adams, one of the renowned English writers, humorist and dramatist in one of his writings quippedâ€¦ â€œIf it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.â€ Though writing many years ago and miles away from Kenya, probably he had our politicians in mind.Â As the political season gathers momentum, one family seems to be bitten by the political bug not once but twice as the celebrated international human rights law expert Betty Kaari Murungi throws herself into the murky waters of Nairobi politics.
Coincidentally, Ms Murungiâ€™s , husband who is also the Minister for Lands Hon. James Orengo is embroiled in a political battle with Assistant Minister Oburu Odinga, elder brother to the Prime Minster, to represent Siaya County in the Senate come 2013.
News reaching Kenya Today indicate that Ms Murungi is to contest the Nairobi Senatorial seat on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket where she will battle it out for the Orange ticket with seasoned city politiciansÂ such as Westlandâ€™s MP and Regional Development Minister Fred Gumo and Kasarani legislator Elizabeth Ongoro. If she manages to secure the party nomination, she will have to square it out with either Makadara MP Hon. Mike â€œSonkoâ€ Mbuvi or Public Health Minister and Dagoretti MP Beth Mugo who are battling for The National Alliance (TNA) party ticket.
A scholar per excellence, Betty Murungi is a Board Member of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims- representing African States and Vice-Chair of the Kenya Human Rights Commission.Â Previously she served as the Vice-Chair of the wobbling Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) where she resigned at height of accusations levelled against the Commissions Chair Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat on his role in past atrocities such as the Wagalla Massacre and land grabbing issues that the commission was mandated to unravel and seek a closure.
Many had wished to see her apply for the vacant seat of the Deputy Chief Justice and Vice President of the Supreme Court position that was left vacant after the resignation of the disgraced women rights crusader Justice Nancy Baraza two weeks ago but will be disappointed as she seems to be interested more in city politics.
Ms Murungi joins a growing list of impressive civil society activists who have rolled up their sleeves to battle it out for the new seats created under the new constitution. Some of those who have declared their interest include the immediate former Executive Director of Kituo cha Sheria Priscilla Nyokabi who is eying the Nyeri County Women seat on a TNA party ticket, former Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Dr. James Nyoro who is vying for the Kiambu Governor seat on a TNA party ticket and former Vice-Chair Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) Hassan Omar Hassan who is seeking to represent Mombasa County in the Senate.
Whether she will replicate her illustrious career as an academician and human rights activist in politics will be known in a matter of time. From Kenya Today, we wish Betty Kaari Murungi well in her political endeavours and who knows, she might join her husband in the Senate come March 2013!