Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Mysterious But Powerful Nancy Gitau

SHOCK: Uhuru's Chief Advisor Nancy Gitau Reveals Waki Report Was Doctored, Denies Fixing Ruto

October 20, 2013
By THE STANDARD (Exclusive)

President Uhuru Kenyatta's chief advisor on political affairs Nancy Gitau is said to be one of the most powerful figures in the Jubilee administration. She is one of the people mentioned by a prosecution witness at the ICC as having played a role in getting witnesses to fix Deputy President William Ruto before the Waki Commission. In spite of her power and influence for last six years she has been in government, Ms Gitau has never granted a media interview. STANDARD NEWSPAPER Senior Writer MWANIKI MUNUHE exclusively interviewed her at State House, Nairobi. Excerpts:

You have been mentioned in the ongoing ICC cases as one of the state officials who were procuring witnesses for the Waki Commission to fix the Deputy President William Ruto, what do you make of this?

Many people have been mentioned before the International Criminal Court, I have no idea what number I could be, and many more people will continue to be mentioned. I felt humiliated not because I was mentioned, but because this is the most humiliating thing for Kenya and Africa in general. The point is, I don’t take this ICC business as a comedy; this is a tragedy. Many people will be mentioned but this is a tragedy whichever way you look at it.

You were a senior government official when the Waki Commission was appointed; did you have any role in the commission whatsoever?

I will tell you facts as they are; I attended almost all the Waki Commission hearings. I would attend as an ordinary citizen. I heard all the stories. In fact, I also attended the Krigler Commission meetings. Equally, I had access to the Waki Commission evidence, I spent a whole weekend reading all the 1,900 statements filed with the commission and I read cover to cover of the Waki report. What shocked me is that what I heard in the Waki Commission meetings and what I read in the statements is not what was contained in the report. There was a retreat in Naivasha to discuss this report; I was the first person to say that this matter must never be allowed to go to the ICC. I did not think our institutions had gone to the dogs. We are not a failed state.

But Kenyan Parliament voted in favour of ICC, effectively, the country through Koffi Annan took itself to The Hague. Comment?

No, the motion in Parliament was whether or not a local tribunal should be established. In fact, we did not even seem to know what a local tribunal meant in the first place. That motion of establishing a local tribunal was lost. But that did not mean that a motion to take the country to ICC had been adopted. In other words, failure of this motion was not equal to ICC.

And let me be honest with you, I am not one of the people who give Koffi Annan the credit he has been given by other people. He is part of our problem. He has been part of this long programme just like Maina Kiai. These NGO people have something in common, they are fluent, they know how to hold the fork, and they attend cocktails and are given a platform in big forums which they use to undermine their country and its institutions.

What programme are you referring to?

There has been a programme to portray Africa in a certain way that we are still very primitive. This programme is done for a purpose and that purpose may not be necessarily political. They call it civilisation programme. ICC is part of the programme. NGOs have been used to further this programme by undermining their own institutions and thus setting a certain public opinion. Listen to the description of the dress code of the people who were allegedly cutting each other's neck have been given. Ask yourself; do you see the people that ICC is describing in your villages, where do they live? When did killing become normal, whose project is this? Africa must see this project for what it is and we must tell them "this is your project have it."

This is a Kenyan case; it is not an African case, why do you keep on talking about Africa and not Kenya?

I say Africa because ICC is about two people, the owners and the clients. ICC like many other people have said was meant for Africa not the European countries. Former colonial masters still think civilisation process is still on, they need tools to do that and ICC is one of them. Why do they shake when Africa threatens a mass exodus yet Africa comprises of just about 27.8  per cent membership? The owners like the Dutch are happy. How much money do you think Kenya is exporting to their countries by all these travels, accommodation, hiring of lawyers. Somebody should do this calculation. They fund NGOs and purport to give independent voices yet the NGOs themselves are part of the owners of ICC.

But there are African lobby groups that are not necessarily Kenyan and are supporting the ICC trials?

I have checked and I think they are about 30 lobby groups. What is clear is that they get their funding from one source that technically owns them. They are agents of neo-colonialism. They are agents of creating the impression that African systems don’t work. Some colonial masters still think they left Africa too soon.

How does you current job and the previous one compare?

I am happy to be working at home. During my previous job at USAID I travelled extensively and nowhere did I hear people talking ill of their countries. Just like in a family set up, you may not like your brother or sister very much but you don’t go shouting about it in the market. I think I am most satisfied working for my country especially working under a hardworking and caring President who feels very strongly about the future of the country.

You mentioned you worked at USAID for about 17 years, what were you doing at USAID?

I was the team leader in the democracy and governance sector, it was an exciting job because I got to travel to many countries across the world. Around 1992 during the multiparty struggles, I spearheaded a programme to strengthen the Kenyan Parliament. We pushed through creation of house committees amongst other legislations. Many of the NGOs you see today got their first funding on my signature including Kenya National Human Rights Commission because at that time, their push coincided with our interest in democracy and good governance. I pushed this programme for about six years.

Essentially, my job entailed working closely with the embassy, liaising with state department in the management of human rights and democracy governance programme in Kenya.  But before joining USAID, I had worked under Undugu programme; I worked in many slums across the country. I worked in Coast region, Central, Nyanza. I was shocked by life in slums particularly because I had not seen a slum before in my village. But what I never saw in slums is negative ethnicity. People lived in peace and there was no fear of violence.

After 17 years of an exciting job at USAID, why did you quit to join government?

First of all, I did not apply to join the former President Kibaki's administration. I was called to join the government in the year 2007. Somebody called me and said he was calling from State House who I later learnt was Stanley Murage who would later become my boss. I met him at Serena Hotel, Nairobi.  He requested me to join government but I could not agree because it never crossed my mind I would ever work for the government. So I told him I was happy at USAID. He later called me but this time to State House where I met him and after a long discussion, I agreed to take a position in government

Nancy Gitau schooled in Mukumu Girls in Kakamega County. She is a holder of Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Masters, University of Nairobi. Gitau worked for USAID for at least 17 years.

This piece was first published on 20th October 2013 by the STANDARD NEWSPAPER,  read online Std for more insights of Kenya politics, news and analysis


July 22, 2016

By Mwaniki Munuhe for STD
Nancy Gitau, the head of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s political advisory unit. A top aide of President Uhuru Kenyatta has resigned, exposing behind-the-scenes intrigues within the Jubilee government.

Nancy Gitau, the head of President Kenyatta’s political advisory unit and a key adviser on governance, tendered her resignation to the Head of State on Monday. The Standard has established that in her resignation letter delivered to the President’s desk last Monday, she plans to quit next month. Mrs Gitau confirmed her resignation Thursday when contacted by The Standard. “I will quit the Government beginning August this year. I wrote to his Excellency the President earlier in the week about this matter. I am leaving the Government a happy woman. I have accomplished a lot since February 2007,” she said.

Gitau is among a team of eight listed in the Presidency’s website as members of the Executive Office of the Presidency. She is named as Senior Political Adviser to the President. Others in the team are Joseph Kinyua, the President’s Chief of Staff, Jomo Gecaga (President’s Private Secretary), Lawrence Lenayapa (State House Comptroller), George Kariuki (Deputy State House Comptroller), Manoah Esipisu (State House Spokesman), Abdikadir Mohamed (Senior Adviser, Constitutional and Legal Affairs) and Nzioka Waita, Secretary of Delivery, the Presidential Delivery Unit.

The resignation is a culmination of a sustained tug-of-war within the Jubilee administration and could well be the beginning of an episode that could give the public a rare peek into the behind-the-scenes power struggle.

Gitau has been at the centre of vicious infighting pitting camps allied to the President’s The National Alliance (TNA) party against the United Republican Party (URP) of his deputy William Ruto. Because of her power and influence, Gitau has also earned herself enemies within TNA, leaving her exposed. There are incidents where even senior officers at State House on several occasions tried to block her from accessing the President at his State House office.

Similarly, the relations between her and forces around the DP had at one point deteriorated to the extent that some key players within Government felt the stability of the coalition was under threat. Relations edgy As a result of the rising tensions, Gitau was moved from State House to Harambee House in the City Centre. She soon thereafter resorted to working from her private office as it increasingly became clear she was unwanted and even some of her close allies dumped her.

Sources told The Standard that relations between Gitau and certain players in Government had become so edgy that she felt her stay, even with the support of the President, was no longer tenable. As a consequence, there has emerged, subtly though, two main camps within the Jubilee administration: the pro-Gitau camp and anti-Gitau one.

Gitau has recently taken a back seat as crucial political decisions – like the merger of Jubilee allied parties – were being made and executed largely without her input. Sources say Gitau and some TNA MPs had been opposed to the party’s dissolution. But speaking to The Standard, Gitau downplayed suggestions that these intrigues were central to her decision to quit Government. Instead, she attributed her exit to the desire to follow her passion. “I am leaving Government to follow my passion.

My strong desire is to work on public economic empowerment and poverty alleviation. It is to work in the non-governmental sector as a consultant,” she said. At the height of the anti-Gitau campaign, URP-allied MPs had openly demanded her sacking in connection with the case against Ruto at the International Criminal Court.

In The Hague courtroom in June 2014, Ruto’s lawyer, Shyamala Alagendra, claimed that Gitau and then Interior Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo had recruited ICC witnesses to fix the DP. It was alleged that the two funded the witness protection programme, and co-ordinated recruitment of witnesses to provide evidence to the Waki Commission to implicate Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). That arose during cross-examination of ICC witness P-0613.

The allegations have, however, never been proven but Iringo, who – like Gitau – was inherited from President MWai Kibaki’s administration, has since been sacked. Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria would later confess that he was part of the network that put together a machinery to fix Ruto. The ICC case against Ruto has since been terminated. Asked about her relationship with President Kenyatta and Ruto, Gitau said: “His Excellency the President and I have a very good relationship. He trusts me. We have a professional relationship. I’ve worked closely with him since 2009. He wants the best for all Kenyans. I enjoyed working with him and for him. He treated me very well. But time has come for me to move on.” She would, however, not make a comment about her relationship with the DP.

Besides Iringo, other key figures inherited from President Kibaki’s Government and who have since left the Jubilee Government are former spy chief Michael Gichangi and former head of public service Francis Kimemia. Gitau’s clout in Government had earned her friends and foes in equal measure. At a press conference held at Parliament Buildings, ODM Chairman John Mbadi had described her perceived influence. “Nancy was behind-the-scenes manager of Uhuru’s presidential campaign in 2012-2013. Being a politically-aligned servant beholden to Uhuru, she was untouchable. At various times of her employment in Government, she has been viewed as Uhuru’s political agent”. She leaves Government at a time when President Kenyatta is preparing ground for what promises to be a grueling re-election campaign.

Before joining Government, Gitau worked at USaid for many years. At the time of leaving, she headed the democracy and governance unit. Those who worked with her say she helped identify and nurtured all the current crop of civil society leaders who joined the Narc Government of 2002. SHe was recruited into the Government by former head of strategy at Kibaki’s office, Stanley Murage.

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