Sunday, April 28, 2013
Was Mutula Murdered?
Why did the late Mutula keep wild lions at his Maanzoni home? Here he is seen feeding them.
No death of a politician has caused so much shock and anxiety in Kenya since the assassination of JM Kariuki in 1975. Even the death of Vice president Kijana Wamalwa in a London hospital in 2003 did not have quiet the same impact as the sudden and very unexpected death of Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo who went to bed and failed to wake up Saturday morning.
It also needs to be pointed out that even in life the late Senator Mutula Kilonzo was a man full of surprises.
He first came to the limelight as one of former President Moi's most trusted and accomplished lawyers and went on to build a reputation for being a very conservative and strong defender of KANU evils during the Moi era. How he re-invented himself successfully to be one of the most consistent and vocal voices for reforms and changes in Kenya is well worth studying and analyzing. And not just for PR experts and spin doctors.
In his long and distinguished career as a lawyer Mutula also built a reputation for never losing cases that he defended. There are those who will be quick to point out that he was involved in corruption and questionable deals but then the question would be if it was just a matter of paying off judges why didn't other lawyers do the same and win a reputation to rival Mutula's? The bottom line is that nobody can dispute the fact that this man was one of the sharpest legal minds ever produced on these shores.
Kenyans are a strange lot and will usually be quick to sanitize the dead so that any student of history looking to create a true picture and profile of a dead public figure will quickly learn that they all die saints in Kenya. Alas, Mutula's weaknesses are very well documented in this blog including the fact that during his entire tenure in parliament all his salary and earnings went straight to the Kenya Revenue Authority to settle a colossal long standing tax bill he had with the taxman. In addition to that his fondness for pretty female ankles was legendary.
Still the odd thing here is that I find it difficult to dwell on his weaknesses and misdeeds and most who write about Mutula will find themselves in exactly the same position. I have asked myself why, even as I struggled to write this piece. Twice I read it through and failed to recognize the usually tough and very critical Kumekucha who always ignores the pact the Kenyan public have made with their dead public figures to speak no evil. At the end of my revisions I was unable to add the kind of venom that helps bring out the truth about a person.
I suspect the reason is that Mutula was too rare a breed in Kenyan politics. He always spoke his mind without fear of raffling feathers and he always stuck to his position on matters no matter what kind of pressure he came under. That just doesn't happen in Kenyan politics and no other politician has taken that path.
In my raw notes I currently have a series on Mutula running from an in depth investigation into what may have caused his death and his possible enemies to little known facts (including the very sensitive case involving President Moi and a scandal where he managed to "kill" a planned international expose using his legal and negotiation skills). They make extremely fascinating reading and will greatly help anybody to understand what has just happened and possible reasons as to why it may have happened.
Indeed many will find good reason to analyze the life of senator Mutula Kilonzo in the next few weeks and months and even in many years and decades to come.
Hardly surprising because when all is said and done this man was different and that is why too many Kenyans across the political divide are anxiously awaiting official word as to his cause of death and will be appalled if it is indeed true that somebody somewhere cut short the senator's life.
Fare thee well Mutula, great son of Kenya.