By Joshua K. Njenga
MWANGI KIUNJURI: ST. MARY’S LADS VS PEASANT LADS/Hustlers
Mwangi Kiunjuri is a tough politician. I knew him personally many years before he ventured into politics; and when he finally did, he did not have the benefit of a big family name, rich friends, or a healthy bank account. Months before he was elected MP in 1997, he was a matatu tout in Nanyuki (although he had obtained a Bachelor of Education degree from Maseno University in 1994).
At the beginning of last year, many considered him the favorite to clinch the Laikipia gubernatorial seat in last August elections; but Uhuru Kenyatta prevailed upon him to shelve his ambitions. It was understood that if Uhuru was re-elected President, he would retain him in cabinet.
When, therefore, his name did not appear in the initial list of cabinet secretaries announced yesterday, many of his supporters felt betrayed. Many of them still hope that his name will still feature when the final list of Cabinet Secretaries is released.
But if it doesn’t, that’s politics. During the campaigns, Uhuru kept Kiunjuri close because he needed his vote-hunting skills; but now that elections are over, he doesn’t need him. This is probably the same reality that Deputy President William Ruto is having to deal with.
But what many don’t realize is that both DP Ruto and CS Kiunjuri might be victims of the resurgence of the powerful political families that controlled Kenya’s politics and economy in the 1960s and the 1970s; but this time represented by their children and grandchildren. In political grapevine, they are commonly referred to as St. Mary’s Lads. The term St. Mary’s refers the pedigree – it does not necessarily mean that the person went to St. Mary’s School.
This group is driven by nothing but commercial interests, and it will make sure it is well-represented in key organs of Government.
For example, while the people of Murang’a might believe that James Macharia was appointed to represent them in Government, he is actually there to take care of commercial interests of a prominent family that employed him before he joined Government.
In Nairobi County, the St. Mary’s Lads strategicaly positioned one of them as the Deputy Governor; and he is now the one calling the shots.
One of the interesting things about St. Mary’s Lads is that while they play a big role in fanning tribal hatred during election campaigns, they don’t really care about tribes; most of them can’t even speak their mother tongue. Their friendships, relationships, and associations are formed purely on the basis of commercial value.
Faced with choice between a St. Mary’s nominee and the son of a peasant – who cannot speak proper English, Uhuru’s choice was obvious. Kiunjuri doesn’t make the grade. Furthermore, the St. Mary’s group can only work with someone they can manipulate, but Kiunjuri is too independent.
But why did Uhuru ask Kiunjuri to give up on his gubernatorial ambitions if he knew he would not appoint him to cabinet? Simple. To create room for another St. Mary’s Lad. The current governor of Laikipia is a nephew of Former President Mwai Kibaki.
LESSON: If you are a peasant, your sacrifices, support and party affiliations are only required during the hunt. Vote and go back quietly to your farm and problems; the feast is strictly for St. Mary’s Lads.