By Onyinkwa Onyakundi
So, there are guys who are toying with the idea of impeaching Interior CS Dr. Fred Matiangi, and i have been reminded that my silence as the debate rages on, and Dr. Matiangi remains under siege is an impeachable offence that could see me lose my role and place as the Voice of the Abagusii people. In view of the need to ‘Chunga Unga’, and justify the title of ‘Spokesman of the Abagusii’, i am compelled to state as follows.
However, first, a little context is key, for the statement to make sense. First, after CJ David Maraga retired, the most senior public Officer from our Community became, and remains CS Fred Matiangi. Secondly, Dr. Fred Matiangi is thus far, the first and only member of our Community who has not only indicated his intention to contest for the Presidency of Kenya in next year’s general elections, but has begun making moves geared towards propelling him towards the achievement of that goal.
The last time any Kisii held a position as powerful as that currently held by CS Matiangi, was when the late Simeon Nyachae held the position of ‘Chief Secretary’, which was a Prime Ministerial position in all but name, and guess who became former CS Nyachae’s Personal Assistant soon thereafter, upon joining politics ~ one Fred Matiangi. That is to say that he has had an intimate, first hand, hands on and close up interaction with the only guy to have ever held the kind of position that he currently holds, and had he been the kind of guy that learned from his mentor’s mistakes, and was smart enough to use his experience and adapt it to the current circumstances, he wouldn’t be committing the string of costly blunders that he has been racking up ever since he was eased into the perch he currently sits on.
It is precisely the fact that he is still stuck in the 80s Kenya under Mzee Nyachae, that his conduct and Modus Operandi ever since he became CS has been a replica of Nyachae’s. Like Nyachae before him, none of the lofty positions he has occupied has ever been of any direct benefit to Gusii and the Abagusii. That is why the slogan ‘Ntori kori kerogo’ (we don’t eat a position) has become a standard retort every time the name Matiangi is mentioned. There are lots of other reasons why the idea of a Matiangi Presidency only exists in the Media, and in the minds of non Kisiis who have little to no understanding of the political animal called ‘a Kisii’, but i can help walk y’all down the political events in Gusii in just the last couple of weeks to let you understand why if you imagine that we would protest any attempt to impeach Dr. Fred Matiangi, then you don’t know nothing about Kisiis.
On the campaign trail in Bonchari, Fred Matiangi sent Cops to chase the ODM team around like stray dogs known to be rabid, and a danger to the public. He didn’t want the ODM candidate to speak to the people at all. He assigned four Police Land Cruisers and tens of mean Cops to keep chasing and teargassing the ODM team throughout the campaign. Those who understand the Abagusii, and the Omogusii psyche would tell you that this, on its own earned the ODM a huge chunk of the ‘undecided’ vote, as well as the ‘lukewarm’ Jubilee vote.
However, what really, and totally tilted the outcome of the election in favour of the ODM was the incident in which he sent Cops to storm the Governor’s residence where they found the ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, Senator Sam Ongeri, Woman Rep Janet Ongera and the Migori Woman Rep having Tea. The Cops harassed and manhandled the group, before ordering them to leave the home ~ a private residence at that ~ way past the time set for the Curfew.
Now, again, anyone that understands ‘Omogusii’ the people, and ‘Ekegusii’ their Culture would tell you that simply by virtue of his age, there is treatment that you cannot subject Mzee Sam Ongeri, and get away with it. Kisiis have this thing for age, that i’ll try to illustrate. Back in the day we were young men visiting ‘Mitaa ya kati’ to imbibe liquids that the government frowned upon, whenever word reached us that that the Cops were headed our way, all of us would scatter at top speed, leaving those ‘old enough to be the Cops Gramps’ behind, to leave at their pace and pleasure. This was because there was an unwritten rule about arresting them old Geezers. The Cops acknowledged and respected the caveat that everyone else was fair game for arrest, but not the old men and women in the homestead. This they observed in order for them to arrest anyone else and leave the Village ‘without incidence’. Their boss, one Fred Matiangi appears to have missed the memo.
But even if he was too drunk with power and that nonsensical ‘Chocha title’ of ‘Super CS’ that his ‘Puppeteers’ have baptized him had got into his head too much to see clearly, any Kisii worth the title would know that sending Cops to rough up Professor Sam Ongeri was so wrong on so many levels that most folks simply couldn’t grasp how the heck it even crossed his mind. I’ll mention just three. For starters, in terms of age, Sam Ongeri is the eldest elected leader in Kenya. Secondly, he commands huge respect across all political shades, and ethnic Communities in Kenya. And finally, Prof. Ongeri played a huge role in the growth and ascendancy of Fred Matiangi in government, to the point of being CS Interior, with the power to send Cops to harass the hand that fed him. Clearly, the ‘Asante’ of a ‘Punda’ is ‘Mateke’!
Equally appalling, was the fact that together with the Men, were two Women who were sent out into the dark, cold, dangerous night. Again, anyone that knows the first thing about what Kisiis think about Women out in the dark night would tell you that Dr. Fred Matiangi may be a Kisii yes, but he certainly doesn’t understand us, or our beliefs. One day, we had a discussion here about how lucrative the business of selling Uji in Kisii Town at night is, with each of the Women taking home upwards of two thousand bob every night. However, the verdict was unanimous that the fact that there were practically no Kisii Women engaged in this business was down to the fact that Kisiis are not wired Culturally to have Women out in the night, however noble the reason may be. But here was a Kisii Man sending Women out into the dark night in the middle of the night!
In short, the fact that he used cops to attack what to him were political opponents, but to the Kisii public were representations of the Kisii family unit has cost him whatever little political capital he may have had among the Abagusii prior to his shocking conduct. And for the record, Hon. Janet Ongera’s nickname is ‘Ngina banto’ (Mother of the People) and so every little act of humiliation that Matiangi directed at her was interpreted as an attack on the entire Kisii Motherhood and Womanhood.
Equally, he certainly lost any respect he had in Kisii by his action of his disrespecting those two wazees ~ Ongwae and Ongeri ~ as well as laying siege at Ufanisi Resort in Kisii Town for days in a bid to harass and arrest Timothy Bosire, who as the National Treasurer of the ODM, is the most senior Party official of any political party in Kenya, from our Community.