I have it from two seperate authoritative sources that Sam Ongeri, spectacles steaming and brow sweating copiously, examined a badly injured Dr Robert Ouko at State House Nakuru and declared in a shaky voice that he needed urgent medical attention. Ongeri is a qualified medical doctor. It was at that very moment that Nicholas Biwott grabbed a gun and shot Ouko in the head. It is said that everybody present including the then president Moi froze in utter shock.
Ongeri is said to have been as stiff as a Meru oak tree his eyes wide in terror at what transpired before his very eyes.
This single incident more than anything else during his long political career, must stand out in Prof Ongeri’s mind so much so that no crisis will be too big ever again in his life. Political or otherwise. Not after what went down on that eerie 13th day of February 1990. After all the cold-calculating-and-yet-cool-as-a-cucumber Biwott would have decided that he did not need Ongeri as a possible witness thus what befell virtually all Ouko murder witnesses would have happened to Ongeri. But he survived. One of the very few who did.
And that is why the huge scandal at Ongeri’s ministry of education has not shaken the good professor and calls for his resignation cannot have given him any sleepless nights. Not even his so-called sacking by the Prime Minister (later rescinded by the president) moved him. A confident Ongeri arrogantly told the press “I have not heard from the appointing authority.” And sure enough the President swiftly moved to quash the “suspension” or whatever you want to call it, very shortly after that.
To cut a long story short folks, there is nothing that you can show Ongeri that he has not seen in his life before? Do your worst if you must but what can you really do to scare the man who has seen it all?
That is the Ongeri attitude. That is how this man who sees himself as a Kisii warrior sees things. And Kisii warriors NEVER blink let alone get shocked.
But what the professor has failed to realize and tragically so is the fact that the old politics he is practicing will not work for long. Even as some of his supporters on the ground have started threatening Luo residents in Kisii with eviction notices (after the PM’s suspension order) many other folks from Kisii have distanced themselves from Ongeri and joined the rest of Kenyans in calling for his immediate resignation to pave way for investigations at his ministry. The same has happened in Eldoret and amongst the Kalenjin community some of whom have just had enough of the increasingly cocky agricultural minister William Ruto.
Folks, take it from me, it is just a matter of time before we see the backs of both Ongeri and Ruto for good. Sadly I fear that these two tribal chiefs will not go quietly and will do their utmost to stir trouble and possibly blood shed just to prove how popular they still are to those Kenyans still naïve enough to swallow such antics.
But there is a more fascinating tale behind the happenings of this past Valentine’s and the two most dramatic political events for a very long time.
The way the PM would have ordinarily handled the suspensions of Ruto and Ongeri would have been for him to drop Ruto (who belongs to his half of the cabinet) and then have the president issue a statement dropping Ongeri (who is an appointee of the PNU wing). Instead the PM issued a sweeping statement suspending both. Why?
Well it was all political chess, very well orchestrated by the PM (although it will backfire badly on him). Raila and his handlers knew that suspending both Ongeri and Ruto and pretending that he had the powers to do so would endear him to the Kenyan public and leave President Kibaki with very limited options. If Kibaki stayed mum as he usually does and left the suspensions to hold Raila would still be a hero and his image as a powerful PM would have greatly been enhanced. If the president quashed the action, it would be a clear indication that he supported corruption. So either way the PM would win. I am reliably informed that the PM gave his famous press conference shortly before boarding a plane for Japan on official government business. This was no coincidence. And neither was it a coincidence that the press conference was called on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. The idea was to delay a possible response from the president for as long as possible. To be honest I am rather surprised that the president responded that quickly. I was expecting the president’s men to stir on Monday morning at the earliest.
Some of my sources claim that Raila’s handlers are keen to force a constitutional crisis and thus early elections which would put the PM in prime position for the presidency. I am not sure about that. But what I do know is that the earlier elections are called from now, the better the chances of the PM. If we get to end of 2012, the PM’s chances will be virtually nil, the way things are going. Already with the Mau saga and this latest incident (where he sacked corrupt ministers only for Kibaki to re-instate them at least that is how ordinary Kenyans are looking at it) can be used as valuable political capital to support a Raila presidential bid but only if early elections were forced on Kenyans by a constitutional crisis of sorts. This kind of political capital cannot be refrigerated and does not last long.
Things are getting very, very interesting on the political front and it is anybody’s guess what will happen in the coming weeks and months.
Earlier Kumekucha article: How Biwott transferred assets after 2007