“I will NOT resign!! Muta-do?”
It is rather fascinating that on the 39th anniversary (to the exact day) of the assassination of Tom Mboya, who was murdered just shy of his 39th birthday in a killing planned from State House Nairobi that from the same address should emerge such a putrid tribal odor at a time when ethnic tensions in the country are still so high.
Let’s trace it from our history first.
Mboya whom some are now comparing rather inappropriately to Prime Minister Raila Odinga, always got elected by mostly Kikuyu voters in the Nairobi constituencies that he represented throughout his life (no Luo voters were imported from anywhere) and amazingly even when he had Kikuyu opponents like Munyua Waiyaki. Yet the people who rioted for days after his death were NOT the same people who had so faithfully kept him in parliament since 1957. They were in fact the people who disliked him most mainly for his non-tribal stance… his own tribesmen. In fact the rioter’s anger was even released against some of Mboya’s own constituents in Nairobi.
David Goldsworthy in his epic work; Tom Mboya: The Man Kenya Wanted To Forget Puts it thus;
“It (Mboya’s funeral) was to be a tribal burial….
“It was bitterly ironic that these feelings should have been released by the death of Tom Mboya, the pre-eminent non-tribalist of Kenya politics; the man whom so many Luo had regarded as not a ‘good’ Luo, and, indeed, not even a ‘true’ Luo.”
The political events that followed that dark Saturday July 5th 1969 are well recorded and keep on repeating themselves like a broken record repeatedly playing at the very same place again and again.
The mantra is simple; when you have messed up, fall back on your tribe and tell them that they are being finished.
Go steal and then when they come after you, play the tribal card (although you never shared the loot with them). Fall back on your tribe and say that it is a plot to finish your entire tribe.
Mwai Kibaki lost an election in a Nairobi constituency in the general elections that followed Mboya’s killing, but rigged himself back to parliament in circumstances uncannily similar to the events that followed the disputed presidential general elections of last December (read the account here). Knowing that the voters were waiting for him in the next general elections, he quickly retreated to his tribal fold and has represented his tribal Othaya base ever since. It is instructive that under the same man’s watch as President, the nation has sunk into its’ lowest ebb of tribal hatred and bickering.
My appeal to you my dear readers is simple; you CANNOT intelligently comment, let alone understand Kenyan politics if you have no clue about our history and about the man right at the centre of our political history, Tom Mboya. I hope to see you all at my weekly entertaining summaries of the life of Tom Mboya. It’s FREE.
This photograph was taken on Saturday at Rusinga Island during the 39th anniversary celebrations to mark the dark day Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya was murdered. Some of his killers are still alive and well in Kenya.
Now embattled Finance Minister Amos Kimunya was at State House, Nairobi to see the President on Saturday, July 5th (President Kibaki is always holed up in State House Nairobi and is the first president in Kenyan history to live there). Those who do not understand what is really going on expected that Kimunya’s resignation would follow soon after. They were wrong. Amos Kimunya emerged smiling and looking very confident. In fact State house has very different concerns over the Grand Regency scandal which I discuss in detail in my latest raw notes.
It is instructive that it was from this State House meeting of Saturday that Kimunya launched his ongoing tribal campaign not to resign. And guess who was the only other cabinet minister at his side cheering him on during his I-will-not-resign rallies? None other than Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, the deputy Prime Minister. Now doesn’t that tell you something, incase you doubted what I am saying?
I have to finish off this post that is threatening to be too long, now, and I will finish with the question that is on many minds. Will Amos Kimunya’s strategy hatched in the precincts of State House, Nairobi work?
I don’t think so.
What amazes me so much these days is the tendency right across the political divide to fall back on ancient political tactics, and yet we are in a very different country. The tribal card may have worked devastatingly well for the foxes that we call our politicians, last January. However this time round it may not work as well. There are a number of factors that are against Kimunya’s survival.
For starters it is clear that the vitriol we saw in parliament during the historic censure debate last week was mostly personal. Amos is a very proud man and mainly for that reason many do not like him, and that is putting it mildly.
In fact I would dare to add that if Kibaki handlers are not careful; this bid to keep Kimunya in office may end up with the president begging parliament to have his job back. It should be clear to the president’s kitchen cabinet by now that the events of last week have set a dangerous precedent—dangerous to the presidency. And to make matters worse we have a somewhat weaker presidency with fewer options to exercise to get troops back into line. Interestingly many have clean forgotten this.
For instance the president can no longer fire cabinet ministers as he wishes. Legally he has to consult with the Prime Minister before he dares to touch an ODM cabinet member. And then political expediency says that firing a PNU minister is akin to political suicide bearing in mind the ODM/PNU undercurrents that have always been visible in this grand coalition government. This will make it a lot more difficult for PNU legislators to be threatened back into line.
What seems NOT to have sunk in yet for Kimunya is the realization that calls for his resignation are also coming from many prominent PNU legislators including a vast majority of his own cabinet colleagues. This is why the tribal card will just not wash this time round.
P.S. Amos Kimunya seems confident that the only support he requires to survive is that of the president. There is another factor that makes the member for Kipipiri so arrogantly confident. And that is the fact that somebody very close to the president is right at the center of the Grand Regency scam. To protect that person, the president has to protect Kimunya.