Kenyans are a very disgusting lot. They really don’t care about the most important question one needs to urgently ask whenever they come across somebody who seems to have cash literally coming out of their ears. And that critical question is; where did the money come from?
Just show Kenyans the cash and you are a hero, no questions asked. But personally I would go as far as questioning even cash that floods in for so-called good causes. Charity Kaluki Ngilu announced her bid for the presidency in 1997 looking “all money” complete with a brand new seductive dress that was a tad too short but must have cost a bomb. It was all for a good cause. After years of the Moi regime we wanted to get rid of him pronto and for a brief moment it looked like maybe a woman could break the tribal barriers and unite enough opposition votes to remove Moi and KANU from power. What followed was one of the best financed presidential campaigns ever seen in Kenya. Very few stopped to ask the crucial question, where did all that money come from? Had Ngilu won those rigged presidential elections, this question would have become even more critical and so in many ways it is just as well that she did not win and the only thing she emerged with was the distinction of being the first woman in Kenya to run for the presidency. In retrospect this was hardly surprising coming from a tribe that has had a long history of being led by women (but then that is a post for another day.)
As a matter of interest that Ngilu cash came from some very deep pockets in the United States of America with an agenda in Kenya. The same gentlemen that former Kanu secretary general Joseph Kamotho bluntly addressed in the press and told; this is NOT the Philippines. Many puzzled Kenyans were wondering what the hell the balding guy was talking about. I am told that once upon a time the CIA helped install a woman president in the Philippines and one of the key tools that helped them change the course of the political river that led to the win of Corazon Aquino was wads of cash. Yet another fascinating story for another day.
But I digress too much because today I address the issue of drug barons in Kenyan politics. This is probably one of the most dangerous subjects to write about in Kenya. I know because I have had my life threatened and have even had to run. Make no mistake about it, these drug folks are well organized and their cash opens all doors for them. There is hardly a place to hide when they have identified you as “a problem”. Even an anonymous blogger like myself can suddenly find that they are pretty exposed (as I found out the hard way).
In naming one of the drug barons I know in government let me tell you a short story. In the run up to the 2007 general elections I was fully behind ODM and its’ presidential candidate Raila Odinga. I am NOT a Luo but like many Kenyans I was seduced by the ODM rhetoric and I was yearning for change. Cynical and hard to convince as I am, I found myself in the place where I was sure that ODM would bring about the desired change we vadly needed in Kenya. And that is the reason why I was deeply shocked and hurt when I later heard that the ODM presidential candidate had offered Mr John Harun Mwau a full cabinet seat in his half of the coalition government. Mwau, the story goes, turned it down because of his frequent Business trips out of the country and accepted the less busy docket of an assistant minister. Knowing the character of the man I cringed at this news. Imagine a drug baron as a full cabinet minister carrying a diplomatic passport and all? I was later told by some ODM die-hard that “the captain” did not have a choice because the man gave ODM a lot of cash for the presidential campaign. That did not wash with me. So what if he financed the ODM presidential campaign? Why was he allowed to in the first place by a candidate looking for change in Kenya?
I have written several posts in this blog about this man (you can read this one) and so I don’t want to repeat myself. The bottom line is that Mwau was a sharpshooter working with the Kenya police and climbed up to the rank of acting Inspector of police. And he was not one of the more disciplined officers because he insisted on keeping his beard and had to get a letter from some doctor proving that shaving his beard would be a risk to his health. When Mr Mwau left the police force in some very controversial circumstances he suddenly became a very rich man. Journalists have often asked him how he made his money and he has always waived his hand and said it was from business and quickly hurried on to the next point. One journalist pressed the question and asked what business exactly he was doing. Mwau replied that he was importing electronics. Mwau in a thinly veiled threat told journalists to be careful with him. Apart from being a scary character to journalists seeking information, Mwau has always been pretty generous with reporters. Let me just leave it at that. And so journalists have learnt not to ask Mr Mwau certain questions and even more important not to dig too deeply into how he acquired his stupendous wealth.
All over the world former policemen are rarely considered to be overly intelligent, if anything many jokes are traded about the lack of intelligence of policemen. However in Mr Mwau’s case there is evidence to prove that he is an extremely intelligent man. In a land mark case challenging the election of Moi as President in 1992 (in an election where Mwau also stood for president), he opted to represent himself and ended up impressing many lawyers and even judges (although he did not win the case). Many thought his performance was better than what many trained lawyers would have achieved. When this kind of man is let loose in a country like Kenya for so many years unchecked the result is that he becomes part of the very fabric of the nation so that touching him may have a major impact right across the entire economy of the nation.
For instance there are allegations supported by enough documentation and evidence that the well-respected Nakumatt chain of supermarkets had its’ early days financed by money launderers. Money laundering and the drug business are inseparable twins joined at the hip and the heart. Read this Kumekucha story for details.
(To be continued)
See also the earlier Kumekucha article: Is it okay for a drug baron to be in government?
Judging from some of the comments this post has provoked I felt that a comment made by a reader from one of my earlier articles in Kumekucha about the drugs trade would be appropriate to put things in perspective. I reproduce it below;