By Chris Maina
Deputy President William Ruto yesterday accused former president Mwai Kibaki of betrayal and sowing seeds of discord by allowing ethnicity and corruption to permeate his government, leading to a vote of resentment in 2007.
The NARC administration which toppled KANU in 2002 was formed after Raila Odinga and others campaigned relentlessly for Mwai Kibaki, with the pledge of honouring a pre-election MoU which Kibaki never honoured.
Granted, Ruto’s presentation at the Hague is true. The Kikuyunisation of the government that took over after KANU led to widespread purges which targeted specifically members of the Kalenjin community. That Kalenjins were disproportionately overrepresented in the Moi government which Ruto, until 2002, was serving as a cabinet minister, deeply infuriated most Kenyans. Again, that they felt bitter when Kibaki was recalibrating the civil service has always been ironical and, to say the least, outrageous!
Truth is, exclusion of other communities from the government did not start with Kibaki in post-2002. In fact, the grinding defeat of Moi’s heir apparent, Uhuru Kenyatta (current president) was essentially a protest vote due to this menace. How Kibaki forgot that, and perfected exclusion, continue to baffle everyone.
To his credit, Kibaki tackled Kalenjin ethnicity. He removed Kalenjins from strategic state institutions – from the civilian bureaucracy up to the military. One of the casualties was the last Moi CID Director, Francis Sang, who would later be replaced by a kikuyu, like many other positions.
The highest victim of these purges, former head of the civil service, Dr Sally Kosgei was humiliated much to the chagrin of even Raila Odinga, who urged that she be retained for continuity. Sally, like many other Rift Valley former state officials, would later be recycled from political oblivion by Raila.
Raila, as observed by Ruto, was to be a Prime Minister with executive powers. He would fall among the high casualties of Kibaki’s new GEMAnisation spree. The MoU was dishonoured. This story is known in Kenya. The resultant effect, to cut the story short, was the mayhem of 2007-08 violence.
While cross-examining witness 268, Ruto, through his lead defence counsel David Hooper, argued that Kibaki, in 2007, also interfered with the electoral process; he began this when he appointed individuals who could help him retain power to the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).
â€œIn terms of constitutional reforms, the essential idea was that the constitution would be amended to reduce power of the president,â€ said Mr Hooper, adding that the victory Narc secured in 2002 was based on these promises of a better future.
â€œWhat happened subsequently was reneging on the promises he had made. Is that right?â€ he asked the witness, who responded in the affirmative.
Mr Hooper gave the background to the formation of the Orange Movement against the 2005 draft constitution. Even in the 2005 referendum, the people who voted for the draft constitution, which was defeated, were mainly from Mr Kibakiâ€™s Central Province backyard, Hooper said, adding that after the referendum, Kibaki remained remained mainly with officials from his Kikuyu community, who surrounded him.
What is interesting with Hooper’s analysis of Kibaki’s stranglehold of the Kenyan nation-state is that his client, William Ruto, is currently a senior member of a government worse off than Kibaki’s. 2013 is like 2003, only that today, the purge is not on the Kalenjins, but Luos and Luhyas and Kambas. Today, at least the Kalenjins are ‘safer’.
Ruto mourns Kibaki’s ethnic tendencies yet he served under Moi in a government that was essentially a Kip-this and a Chep-that until it was felled down by a powerful concoction of the Rainbow. What then can we say Hon Ruto learnt?
And electoral manipulation? Ruto blames Kibaki too! How funny? One only hopes he is NOT aware there are IEBC officials already charged in court.
Let me join Martha Karua in reminding you, sir, that “even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six”. And that was Leo Tolstoy’s six cent.