Former victim of Ali tells all
Dear Maj Gen Ali,
Sir, my name is Stephen Muiruri, a former Crime Editor at Nation Media Group, whose 11-year successful career as Kenya’s top crime and security journalist ended in disgrace on February 2, 2007, after I crossed your dangerous path. I should have known better not to play with a rattle snake. However, I have no regret for disobeying you or loosing my job. This gave me the opportunity to live with a clear conscience for the rest of my life and in the next world.
First, let me offer my sincere apology for addressing you in an open forum like this and disturbing your peace before you even recover from the shock from your recent misfortunes. I admit it is a sign of disrespect to an army general of your stature. I was close to you for two years and I know you detest your weakness being known, leave alone being exposed. You prefer people to sing your praises and worship you like God. I fully understand why you like it that way. The blood of a true solder and warrior flows in your veins. Water flows in our veins and that’s why you treat us with scorn and contempt.
A general of your calibre is powerful and is always right. You expect other human beings to accord you the holiness of God and never question any of your actions – either stupid or idiotic. Had you given your new post office box to the journalists you laboured so hard to convince for more than 45 minutes you were not sacked, when handing over to new police chief Mathew Iteere, I would have sent this letter directly to your new office of Post Master General. You have to bear with this form of delivery.
Secondly, let me express my sincere sympathy with the manner the master you served so faithfully unceremoniously showed you the door. I watched you on TV trying to laugh off journalists’ suggestions you had been sacked or removed. “It’s not a question of removal . . . removal presupposes you have been chucked out on the basis of incompetence. That’s not certainly the case with me or anywhere else I have served,” you declared. Yes, a general like you never fails!
Sir, I fully understand how you feel. A real soldier like you should not be depicted as weak or outsmarted by your opponent. A solder like you can never be sacked. That word simply does not exist in your vocabulary. I suffered an almost similar fate on February 2, 2007, because of you. Unlike you, I resigned when I could not allow my employer to tailor-make my stories – where police death squads directly answerable to you and murderous gangs had turned Kenya into a killing field and we were swimming in their blood - to suit the selfish journalism that brought a smile on your face.
It was your heart-felt desire that I pretend I was dumb and deaf as Kenyans swum in their own blood. And your bank account could continue swelling with a hefty salary and you continued enjoying the warmth of the powerful post of Kenya’s top cop. In doing so, I was to help you keep your job by creating an impression you were God-sent soldier who wiped any form of crime from the face of Kenya. On the other hand, my bank account would have continued to swell with a monthly salary of close to Sh200, 000 from the employer you expected me cheat on your behalf. You didn’t care I would have lived a haunted man for the rest of my life with bloody hands to cover your dirty tracks.
Sir, I share your feelings of loosing a plum job especially when you had served your employer so faithfully. I felt the same on February 2, 2007. Unlike you, I did not get a soft landing after I crossed your path. You were given a new job. I vanished into the wilderness to run my tour business. But unlike in your case, I was not sacked. I resigned in principle. When I studied English at Kenyatta University for four years, professors told me that when you are removed from the office you held, you are simply unwanted. So, in your case your boss did not want you and he sacked you. If you were not, you would still be holding onto that office today.
Sir, I watched you on September 4, when former CNN journalist, Jeff Koinange, hosted you on his lively Capital Talk show on K24 TV and you smiled when you declared: “I’m going nowhere. I’m here to stay.” Koinange was amused and teased you: “You even smile when saying that . . . you make me laugh. . . . people are not used to see you smile!”
Although you trained in military intelligence to read other people’s minds, you mistook Koinange’s warmth and laughter throughout the show as falling into your worship doctrine. Koinange has a sharp mind and that’s why he advanced his journalism career to levels majority of Kenyan journalists will only dream about. He asked you hard questions as he laughed to conceal what he was driving at, And you thought he was doing public relations for you! Finally, you uttered: “The police job is the most thankless job.” I burst out in laughter. So, finally it had dawned on you the commissioner’s job was not a pontiff’s job?
Sir, as you sat on the bench, where Koinange conducts his shows, extolling your achievements and bragging to your critics you were going nowhere, your military intelligence mind seemed to fail you. The writing had been on the wall for months and it was just a matter of when the axe would fall on your head. In your wild dreams, you thought you would stay on at Vigilance House until a time of your own choosing or when God dispatched you to the other world. Desperate to save their face and image, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga were working hard behind the scenes to drop the axe on your head. While we saw it coming, you were so drunk with power, pride and arrogance and your mind failed to give you the right signals. The axe fell four days after you bragged how you are God’s gift to Kenya.
Sir, just to refresh your memory I was the only crime journalist you warmed up to for almost two years after President Kibaki gave you the commish job. I held a powerful post of Crime Editor in the largest media house in East and Central Africa region. No other journalist in Kenya has ever held that post. The post was hurriedly scrapped by Linus Gitahi after I resigned. He could not risk having another man hold such a powerful post due to the obvious risk. What if the new holder followed in my footsteps and discharged his job independently by refusing to be manipulated to write stories giving a false impression the police were doing a good job to please a commish and political leadership allergic to criticism and the truth?
When you looked around the media industry, I was the most lethal. I posed the biggest risk to your police job. Other media houses had junior reporters and correspondents (casual journalists) handling the crime beat and you didn’t consider them harmful or dangerous. As an editor and an experienced journalist, I had Kiboro’s ear and he gave me a free hand to do my job.
For two years, you exclusively invited me to your office. I was the only journalist who had your cellphone number and other telephone numbers. When you frequently changed your cellphone number, you sent me the new number. We could exchange text messages and you invited me for cups of tea. I declined to take your tea or take a cent from you like what most journalists shamelessly do while pretending to hold a higher moral ground than the Kamlesh Pattni’s and public officers they tear into piece and bring down. For the 11 years I worked in NMG, I learnt how the media worked. Reporters and editors are quick to spot and expose the log in other people’s eyes while they had bigger logs in their own eyes. You were amazed why I often refused to take even a cup of tea from your thermos flask. That is the Stephen Muiruri you underrated.
As our friendship flourished, I realised you had other ideas. You wanted to use our friendship for your advantage. You called me to your office or on my cellphone to seduce me like a man in love to a girl couching me how to scale down major crimes like the attack on Ngugi wa Thiong’o. I politely told you I would never do anything unprofessional. You had your job. I had my job. You had your employer. I had my employer. We were serving different masters and had different interests.
You were the fifth police commissioner I worked with. I had created a warm friendship with your predecessors. The four CID chiefs whose tenure coincided with mine were my good buddies. I had direct access to their offices without any appointment. But we all respected each other’s territory. None of them asked me to do anything unprofessional. And they did not take offence with my reporting or when I exposed things they wanted put in a tight lid. In fact, they respected me for managing to dig up the filth they thought was well hidden. To date, we have remained great friends with all the other former police chiefs and CID chiefs.
Sir, you will recall we started taking different paths in 2005 when I refused to bend my professionalism to make you happy. The row climaxed in October 2005 when your own officers shot dead four people during protests in Kisumu over the referendum on the Wako draft Constitution.
If you recall, you called a press conference at police headquarters to counter calls for your sacking and offered your total support to the killer riot squad. With TV cameras rolling, you shameless claimed police opened fire when a mob attempted to raid Kondele police station in an attempt to steal arms. And you declared you had no apology to make to anyone over what happened. After the shootings, Odinga was furious and he demanded you return to the Army where he said “they were trained to kill people.”
Although you were my friend, I didn’t let the story die. I dig up. Daily Nation published my exclusive full page investigative article revealing that three of the victims of trigger-happy police were school children and they were caught up in the mayhem when schools were closed and bumped into police chasing demonstrators. They were killed in school uniform and their school bags were still on their back. The fourth victim was an innocent milk vendor. So, none of the four was taking part in the protests.
You were so furious with me over the story and you called me names and hang up my call. However, you changed your mind and apologised because you thought I would be more dangerous with my pen if you didn’t have me as a friend. Your case was complicated because you had tried to pollute Wilfred Kiboro, my CEO, I was bad man but he had often told you off since you had no facts to back your wild claims. Your only choice was to work with me.
The last time you called me to your office was on January 6, 2006. You were at the time roasting in boiling fat after the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr Justice Aaron Ringera, on December 15, 2005, released a damming statement revealing the countrywide police recruitment you had just presided was riddled with massive corruption.
You couched me how I should discredit the Ringera dossier. I told you I deal with facts and not mudslinging. You were furious a mere journalist could disobey your orders. You issued a threat to the effect that we would see who would loose his job first. You were right. I lost mine one year after your prophecy. I informed my bosses of all my encounters with you. I also carried a tape and secretly recorded all my discussions with you. Kiboro stood behind me.
Sir, you then fell out with Internal Security Minister John Michuki and CID chief Joseph Kamau. They did not trust you and used your own police to raid the Standard behind you back. I told the truth and saved you from public anger. Michuki and Kamau didn’t mind what I exposed about them. The two carry a heavy burden to date.
When I became untamable, you desperately sought refuge in other media houses. And they welcomed you. They reported only what was sweet music to your ears. I continued telling the stories as they were. I told stories of your boardroom rows with Kamau and Michuki and other Government officials. You clashed with anyone who held a different opinion from yours. During our happy days, you told me you only took orders from two men – the president (being the appointing authority and commander in chief of the armed forces) and the chief of general staff. The rest of us were civilians and you could not bow to us. We had to worship you.
While other media houses turned a blind eye to your rows and escalating wave of crime, I unleashed a series of stories and Daily Nation took pride with my stories. I even did a better job in the Standard raid than the bereaved. Kiboro was so proud of me.
When all attempts to convince Kiboro failed, you turned to Wangethi Mwangi, our Editorial Director, whom I had clashed with for killing my stories on the Anglo Leasing scandal to shield former Internal Security Permanent Secretary Dave Mwangi, who was among those being investigated by Ringera. I’m told Wangethi Mwangi and Dave Mwangi share the same blood. Although Wangethi gave you a shoulder to cry on, his hands were tied as he couldn’t overrule Kiboro.
Frustrated, you resorted to a smear campaign by writing secret letters to my bosses demanding my sacking every time I wrote a story. Although I was not supposed to know about the letters, my network spread far and wide and I got copies before they landed at Nation Centre. That failed. You wrote press statements and circulated in all media houses. Your letters and press statements did not address any of the issues my stories had raised. They were raw insults, the sort of thing you expect from a lover who has been ditched.
To cite one example, on October 22, 2006, the Sunday Nation published my exclusive story titled Career Policemen Top List of Candidates for CID Boss Job. The story gave names of three career policemen, including the then Coast provincial police chief, Gatiba Karanja, which had featured in a meeting you had chaired in his office earlier that week. The new CID chief was to replace Mr Joseph Kamau who was on suspension and was due for retirement on November 14, 2006. I confirmed the story with two senior police officers who had attended your meeting to discuss possible candidates to replace Kamau.
In a press statement sent to all media houses, NMG included, on October 22, you rubbished my entire story using unpalatable and abusive language. You dismissed the entire story as total lies and my own imagination.
“Rarely supporting his articles with facts and often quoting phantom police sources, Stephen Muiruri has waged what is clearly a personal vendetta on his own behalf or behalf of somebody else,” your statement said.
“It is our position that this malicious writing should stop. We are therefore asking the management of the Nation Media Group to take necessary steps to address our concerns over the biased and ill-intentioned writing by their chief crime writer, Stephen Muiruri.”
“Indeed, it is unethical and unprofessional for a journalist to push a private agenda through a reputable media group like the Nation Group,” you summed up your statement titled Protest on Sunday Nation Baseless and False Article.
Although press statements end up with the news editor, I don’t know how the document ended up on Wangethi Mwangi’s desk. His secretary delivered a copy of the statement, which Wangethi Mwangi had written some foul comments at the top of the paper suggesting I was manufacturing stories.
His comments read: “Muiruri. These complaints about the veracity/accuracy of your stories are beginning to alarm me. We can’t have a situation where you’re being accused of manufacturing copy. Who are your sources and how credible and dependable are they? I need to get to the bottom of this before our reputation is irreparably damaged.”
I wrote an eight-page report to Wangethi Mwangi on October 24, 2006, explaining the accuracy and objectivity of my stories. I also highlighted other instances you had called me to his office or telephoned me wanting me to scale down my reporting. Kiboro was still in charge and I told him about the new war.
“I’m tired of being accused of doing imaginary things,” I told Wangethi.
The story which you and Wangethi had discredited with insults was, however, vindicated two weeks later when the Head of Civil Service, Francis Muthaura, announced President Kibaki had appointed Gatiba as the new CID chief. Gatiba was among the three candidates my story said had been short-listed by you.
When Gatiba was named the new CID chief, Daily Nation boasted in the headline story how its sister publication, the Sunday Nation, exclusively broke the story. I was overjoyed you and Wangethi had been ashamed. Neither you nor Wangethi offered any apologies for your unprofessional actions and insults.
I sent an email to Wangethi on November 15, on the day Daily Nation was boasting, and I told him it was my prayer that no other NMG journalist would ever be accused by his seniors of manufacturing a story to please outsiders bent on manipulating the media. I received no response to my email.
When Kiboro retired, your buddy Rose Kimotho arranged for a lunch date with Linus Gitahi under the pretext the new NMG chief was to be introduced to you. But after your stomachs were full, you cleverly dropped my name and sought Gitahi’s help to tame me. I was ahead of you and Gitahi and my network of police contacts informed me about the lunch date.
On the day Gitahi reported in Nation, November 1, 2006, he called me and pretended he had read my stories before he took up his NMG assignment and he wanted to congratulate me for a job well done. He never told me you had met. But my contacts alerted me. Gitahi warmed up to me but at the back of my head I knew he could be holding a dangerous dagger.
My fall out with Gitahi came when Daily Nation published my story on January 22, 2007, titled Police Too Eager to Gun Down Suspects. The story told of how police had resorted to extra-judicial killings as a desperate measure to counter a wave of crime rocking Nairobi and its environs.
That was the last of my stories to be published by NMG. My subsequent stories were not touched and I lay idle in the newsroom for two weeks. This led me to inquire why my stories were no longer being published. Two of my bosses informed me Gitahi had complained about my story to one of the editorial chiefs.
Gitahi is not a trained journalist. I, therefore, walked to Gitahi’s office on the afternoon of February 1, 2007, to seek a clarification if he had issued any directive to Wangethi to ban my stories. That brave move cost me my job.
Instead of addressing my concerns, Gitahi called in six other top managers and editors to his office and he introduced two irrelevant issues: I was being accused to have bought a vehicle from a public action from the police and I was required to explain why I owned a tour company.
When I got wind Gitahi was secretly investigating me, I pulled the rag under his feet and made his work easy. I went to his office and presented the original documents showing who buyer of the vehicle was. My only crime was the buyer happened to be my relative. However, the vehicle was bought legally in an open and transparent public auction after all conditions were met. It was among hundreds of unclaimed vehicle disposed off by the police in a sale sanctioned by the High Court and yourself. I owned up I owned a tour company. But there was no crime doing so since there was no conflict of interest. I had invested my own sweat and created employment.
My police sources had informed that you alerted Gitahi on the two issues – the vehicle and the tour company – and these were the weapons he was to use to blackmail me to succumb to your whims. Kibaki was running for a second term in office and Gitahi, who hails from Nyeri, was an interested party and he regarded my journalism as giving ammunition to Kibaki’s opponents, especially Odinga. Gitahi, therefore, fell into your game plan.
At the stormy meeting, I told Gitahi I knew this vicious war against me had nothing to do with the tour company and the vehicle, as I had not broken any laws or company policies. It had nothing to do with my performance. I was as white as snow and my impressive record spoke for itself. I topped the list of performers in the ritual half-year audit. In my view, this scheme to frustrate and force me out was deliberate and well choreographed.
After the meeting, Gitahi tasked Wangethi to issue me with a memo titled Discipline asking me to explain the two issues again in writing. Due to the firmness and uncompromising professional way I ran my docket, Wangethi anticipated I would fight back. Instead, I pulled the rag under their feet and did the unexpected – I tendered a resignation letter the following day.
I resigned not because I was guilty of any of the charges. I resigned because my integrity had been unfairly and maliciously put into question and it was clearly evident to me the issues of vehicle and the tour company were deliberately being used to blackmail me to submit to your whims. There was no way I could continue working for an employer who betrayed his flock to please the enemies.
With my resignation, I sacrificed my huge salary – which a majority of Kenyans only dream about. I don’t worship money. I love my name and my integrity and I chose to put my life on the line to preserve my principles.
After I resigned from NMG, I reported to my company offices and directed all my energy trying to establish the foundations of tour business. I kept receiving information from my police contacts about a looming dangerous plot against me.
On March 14, 2007, I was in my office when NMG’s Security Manager, Mr Sam Koskei, led a squad of about 15 armed plainclothes officers into my office. Koskei, with Gitahi’s knowledge, brought the cops claiming I had played a role in authoring and disseminating damaging emails that had been doing round in the internet exposing alleged sex-for-hire-and-promotion scandals at NMG touching on the top leadership. That was wastage of manpower when Kenya’s were being brutalised by thugs without a single cop to respond to their SOS.
The squad, which had no search warrant and acted in the same manner as they did in the Standard, ransacked all the offices and cabinets, dismantled internet equipment and computers and ferried them to CID Headquarters. They also took away all my business licences. Even after they failed to find anything to link me to the alleged offences, the officers whisked me to CID Headquarters under the supervision of Mr Koskei. The illegal raid was meant to cripple my investment.
After being held for nine hours, the Attorney General Amos Wako ordered for my release after he was alerted by my lawyer Paul Muite. Wako could not find any evidence to link me to the crime and I have never been charged with any crime since then. My seized property still lies with Gatiba’s men. Your men were not lucky. They kept asking for all my tapes. I was wise enough. I have kept my secret tapes in safe custody and if I die unnaturally, the tapes will provide the vital information.
NMG chiefs were furious when they learnt orders for my release came when I was being asked to remove my shoes to enter the cell at Kileleshwa police station. That was God’s miracle. Capital FM, the People and Kenya Times reported my arrest. Daily Nation gave my story a blackout. In fact, I was told how NMG chief tried to prevail upon the other media houses to give the story a blackout. Isn’t it hypocritical a media house which vigorously condemned the Kibaki regime for raiding the Standard could shamelessly do the same to a former employee to settle personal scores?
When the plot to bring me down using your cops failed, my enemies started sending death threats. I reported the death threats to CID Headquarters and nobody showed any interest in the matter despite the email and phone evidence I produced. The assassins took freight when I was invited by the US ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, to his Muthaiga residence and he promised to take up the matter with the relevant authorities.
Sir, my departure from NMG was a big victory to you and criminals. With my departure, criminals and your police death squads went overdrive killing and committing crimes. There was no brave voice in the media to expose the evils and crimes. From July 2007, distraught relatives started going to the state-owned Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) telling harrowing tales how their loved ones mysteriously ended up in mortuaries or disappeared without trace shortly after they were arrested by the police. You dismissed the reports as fiction.
Your unholy relationship with the media was best told by slain policeman-turned-KNCHR whistle-blower, Constable Bernard Kiriinya. He was eliminated by your cops in October 2008 for betraying them and the media remained silent.
Surprisingly, the media found a voice in February 2009, five months after Constable Kiriinya was killed, and went into a frenzy telling Kenyans how he died. This coincided with the visit by UN Rapporteur on Extra-judicial Killings, Prof Philip Alston, who flew into Nairobi to investigate rising cases of killings by state agents. The media also found a voice on the harrowing tales they had ignored for months – agony of relatives who had lost their loved ones to the police death squads.
Although he paid a heavy price with his life for betraying his death squad unit and the police chiefs who have adopted extra-judicial killings as the official way to fight crime and outlawed groups, Constable Kiriinya told us stories journalists had deliberately failed to unearth and inform the public. Perhaps, those who wanted to kill me wanted my mouth shut for good like Kiriinya’s.
Prof Alston’s report exposed what has been going on since July 2007 with little, if any, coverage in the media. Prof Alston’s report was an indictment on the Kenya media which had gone to sleep with the police and abdicated its cardinal role of bringing out evils in our society to please only one man – you.
In February, there was a craze in the media with the outlets trying to outdo one another in reproducing Prof Alston's report - most likely because it came from a foreigner. The media had paid lip service to a similar report from KNCHR.
All the killings exposed by Prof Alston occurred unabated because you had a firm grip on all the newsrooms. Most journalists I have spoken to told me they fear doing what I was doing for the sake of their careers and safety. Some of the death squad officers are my friends and they told me how they were ordered to kill anyone they suspected belonged to Mungiki. They used all sorts of crude methods to extinguish lives from their victims. An estimated 5, 000 Kenyans lost their lives before Prof Alston blew the whistler louder. Your methods of fighting crime were not only primitive; they also showed how you had no respect for human life. If Kenya was still hanging condemned convicts, I would have written to President Kibaki to consider you for the job of a hangman. There is no other better choice for that job than you. The Post Master’s job is wasted talent.
You dismissed Prof Alston’s report with the same venom you dismissed my stories. The Kibaki regime backed you then. Local and international anger was mounting. But you were so drunk with power and your word and actions were law.
Under pressure, President Kibaki set up Judge Philip Ransley’s task force. You mistook this as another gimmick by the president to buy time. You feared no one, including the man who appointed you. Under your watch, the police leadership deliberately leaked unsigned documents to the media to assault a task force’s report before President Kibaki laid his hands on it seeking to influence the writing of the final report and seek public sympathy. This was an unorthodox mode of transacting official state business. Why not come out openly in a press conference and explain why any of you opposed the report? That is a sign of cowardice.
Sir, I would rather die penniless fighting for what I believe to be right than die under the bed whining and lose all the principles and values I hold dearly in my heart. I could not live with bloody and soiled hands, cleaning your mess. Sir, you are a general in the army. I’m a general with my pen and the truth is my shield. You’ll never shut my mouth. Only death will. I fear no man or death. Those who kill will also die one day. So, why should I fear death?
I wish to inform you that Gitahi realised his own mistakes and invited me for a breakfast meeting at Muthaiga on December 19, 2008, and we mend our differences, I solely blame you for breaking in the first place. Gitahi was man enough and he told me everything – how you wanted to use him to do your dirty job. I forgave Gitahi.
At the breakfast Muthaiga meeting, Gitahi still believed I had played a role in the dirty campaign, which in reality I didn’t. “You’ll know the truth one day. You eat and dine with the enemy who pretend to be so loyal to you,” I told him. “You are free to believe what you want but the truth will be out one day,” I added.
I have previously challenged any of the NMG editors and managers named in the sex scandals to use the vast resources at their disposal to hire the best lawyers to clear their names in court, if they believed I had a hand in the dossier. I am still waiting for a date with any of them in court.
Sir, if you want to know the hypocracy in the Kenyan media just look at what they have done to you after you were sacked. They sang your tune and you all along regarded them as your great friends after you got me out of your way. Did you ever think they would turn against you? The media, which had gone to sleep as your police death squads went overdrive in 2007 and 2008 before Prof Alston lifted the lid, found a voice after the axe fell on you. Daily Nation and the Standard on September 9 dedicated acres of space to publish stories and editorial taking a critical look at your tainted legacy. Both newspapers carried cartoons taunting you, the fallen general.
On September 10 Daily Nation carried a second editorial titled Tough Agenda for New Police Chief said: “Unfortunately for him, there will be no honeymoon. He must quickly sink his teeth into the job and deliver results. As an institution, the Force stands accused of extra-judicial killings, human rights abuses, brutality, corruption, and extortion.”
“Ordinary citizens talk of fearing to meet rogue police officers more than they fear common thugs. This is because the police can be vicious as they use their positions to intimidate, extort and kill,” the editorial read. But the question is; if editors at Daily Nation knew that all along, why wait till Maj Gen Ali was sent packing to tell us what was in public domain for months but which they sat on? Was the newspaper trying to save face? Didn’t I fall out with Gitahi for saying the same? What has changed now?
In my own view, the new faces in the Kenya Police leadership were chosen to suit personal and political interests of Kibaki and Raila and not driven by the desire for change or implementing reforms that will give birth to a professional police agency, which will make Kenya much safer for all of us.
What is the rationale and wisdom of having a police commissioner and a CID chief – who are the most crucial in the country’s security machinery - come from one of Kenya’s region while the force boosts of highly trained and dedicated officers from other regions?
The quest to fill the top vacancy at Vigilance House saw the main political players — ODM and PNU — take part in behind-the-scenes negotiations before the appointment was made. Each of the parties wanted their own man at the key post. Kibaki’s side carried the day and Odinga’s preferred choice, Francis Okonya, had to settle for the Number Two slot. Gatiba Karanja was retained as the CID chief.
My take is that Iteere and his team will miserably fail like you and all their predecessors if reforms in the security machinery are mere change of faces and not a stop to paying lip service to making bold and fearless changes that will uproot the rot and colonial structures that created the force. You told Kenyans and the media to judge you by your performance. If you strongly believed you were God’s gift to Kenya, why did Kenyans rejoice when you are sacked and a section of MPs questioned your new assignment? Did you leave a major mark? In my view, the only notable difference between your tenure and those of your predecessors is the number of Kenyans sent to their premature graves by police bullets.
Wise men told us too much pride and arrogance comes before a fall. And so, you rode high and anyone who crossed your path lived to tell harrowing tales. You had proved time and again that you were immune to being sacked. Arrogance and contempt for your critics was your trademark. On September 8, you bitterly learnt politicians are only useful to you when it suits them.
Former CID chief Kamau walked the same path when he listened to selfish politicians on the Standard raid. Kamau has been my great friend and he refused to listen when I warned him he would be used by politicians who would dump him when the heat was too much to bear. You thought Kamau was using me to hammer you. No. I was doing my job. And Kamau remains one of my best friends. I couldn’t allow you choose my friends and who I associated with.
Sir, I am sincerely sorry for boring with my long letter. There is so much I can write about you. I forgave you long time ago for what you did. Your sacking came at the right time when I was putting final touches on my book to be unveiled before the end of the year and it has enriched my content. My letter is just extracts from the book. You can stop its publication if you believe you have powers to do so. You had a firm grip on the Kenyan media. Do you have a firm grip on foreign publishers? John Githongo found a UK publisher to tell his story. No local publisher could take the risk.
You will appreciate I have throughout addressed you with the most honourable title of Sir, a title other crime journalists used as a sign of worshiping and glorifying you. I was a naughty boy and I never used it. Sir, I have since repented and I seek your forgiveness for showing disrespect to an army general.
Sir, I have always believed that those who live by the sword also die by the sword.
The resignation letter I served Gitahi read: “Malice and witch-hunt will never take this company anywhere. But I take solace in the Bible which states that those who kill by the sword also die by the sword.”
“And I also take solace in the words of William Shakespeare who said that the evils that men do live long after they are dead. God will one day hear the cries of the silent majority who have been suffering for long or have been forced out of this great company through witch-hunt and evils perpetuated by a small clique of managers who have been using their positions as a tool of oppression,” I wrote.
Sir, you must be aware that Wangethi Mwangi, whom you turned to for gossiping me after Kiboro told you off, also retired from NMG on August 30, just a week before you were sacked. I did not weep for your or Wangethi. I rejoiced because fate had painfully shown both of you that all human beings are equal when it comes to God.
Did you watch K24 TV a day after you were sacked? Jeff Koinange did an emotional story looking at your tainted tenure and summed up your new assignment as the Post Master General thus: “It’s like giving a man a rope to hang himself!” Did you think Jeff Koinange would say that about you five days ago when both of you laughed your hearts out on his famous bench?
For six years, you lived in a dreamland at Vigilance House. Sir, welcome to the reality in the world where the majority downtrodden live. Your attempts to cripple my tour business flopped. I accepted my fate and built a new life. It’s time you shed off your big ego, pride and arrogance and learn to live humble lives like the rest of us.
With kindest regards,
Former Crime Editor
Nation Media Group