Seeing you recently in the leading news item certainly brought memories flooding back from the days when you were the customary number one news item. And until you issued a quick retraction about what you said, you suddenly had the most ardent supporters of my dearly beloved king hopping in madly delighted rapture.
Said one: “The endorsement by Moi of UK is just what the doctor ordered…everyone in the race this time is craving for his endorsement…The fact that UK is in bed with William…should have been cause for antagonism but now with Moi going public and endorsing UK, this can only help solidify the reconciliation, peaceful coexistence and unity of the two communities in the Rift Valley.”
But you moved swiftly and clarified that you had been misconstrued. Until you issued this clarification, I was a little bit confused. You see, the day before, your son Gideon, who is reputedly your favorite - and political heir - was reported to have come out condemning my dearly beloved king as having wasted the time of KANU officials and members due to his dalliance with the G7 alliance. So, how could it be that your statement seemed to be heading in the opposite direction to the lamentations of your anointed heir?
Could it be that you were playing “good cop” to Gideon’s “bad cop” in order to keep a place on the table because it is foreseeable that both my dearly beloved king and his best political buddy William may be forced to, at least temporarily, relinquish their political aspirations for the presidency due to their indictments at the International Criminal Court? With such a portentous scenario a real probability, it would seem politically smart to ensure that there remains in existence a bridge to forge a political rapprochement that would see the end to the political bickering between my dearly beloved king and your beloved Gideon. In such a scenario, so much for Stephen the servant leader!
But your clarification has sent all of us reckless and rudderless political conspiracy theorists in a tailspin. It seems we are always misquoting or misrepresenting your words and intentions. And since this seems to be a perennial occurrence, I thought perhaps you could help us with a few more clarifications.
First, what do you know about political assassinations in Kenya? You recall that you – at that point you were Vice President - had issued an inaccurate statement in Parliament at the time of the assassination of the late JM Kariuki that he was in Zambia? JM’s remains were later found in a forest in the outskirts of Nairobi, the victim of a murder in which state security agents were heavily implicated. In another instance, when you were President of the Republic your government issued a ludicrous statement that the late Robert John Ouko had committed suicide by dousing himself with petrol, setting himself on fire and then shooting himself in the head. It turns out there was a lot of foul play involved and top members of your government were implicated. You later summarily wound up the Commission of Inquiry that you had set up to delve into Ouko’s death. To the best of your knowledge, what really happened? Lately, we are hearing that the late Bishop Alexander Muge was killed in a state security operation. What do you know about this?
In 2007, after the incompetently botched elections, Kenyans set to each other in a manner never before witnessed. Historians tell us the some of the roots of this violence can be found in the so-called ethnic clashes of 1991-1992 which your government was accused of having heavily contributed to. So here’s the second question for clarification: did you have a role in the 1991-1992 violence? Can you explain the role your government had in this violence given that several credible investigations and research reports pointed an accusing finger at your government? Are you willing to concede that this violence was state-perpetrated or at least state-condoned?
The third clarification I would dearly love to hear from you, Baba, is with regard to the Wagalla massacre in Wajir. We have listened to some very harrowing and tormented victims’ and eyewitness’ accounts with regard to this sad incident. Your security and law-enforcement agencies are directly accused of having been at the centre of what must surely be defined as a crime against humanity. The situation is so serious that it is untenable for Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat to chair the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission given his alleged role in this episode. As President and Commander in Chief of the Republic, what did you know about this situation? Was your approval sought to undertake these violations? If not, what sanctions, if any, did you impose on those who are accused of having been directly responsible for the Wagalla massacre?
Fourth, please clarify the role you played in authorizing or consenting to the torture of hundreds of Kenyans in such detention centers as the Nyayo House torture chambers? Were you ever informed of the activities that went on in these places? You will admit that the design of, for example, the Nyayo House torture chambers lend credence to the argument that the torture project had been sanctioned from the very highest offices in the land – yours. What would your response be?
The fifth clarification I would seek is with regard to detention without trial. Would you concede that it was wrong to bundle people into punitive custody without any exercise of their due process rights? For example, if you were asked to meet with those who suffered detention without trial for simply agitating for a multiparty system of government, would you issue an apology to them? In addition, would you compensate or recommend compensation for those who lost loved ones or others whose careers were ended by this experience?
Lastly, could you declare your wealth? How much land, for instance, belongs to you or other legal entities affiliated to you in the Mau Forest? Have you read the leaked Kroll Associates report that traced money running into billions in foreign accounts belonging to your family members and close associates?
Baba, please clarify on these issues soonest.
Mugambi Kiai is the Kenya Program Manager at the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA). The views expressed in this article are entirely his own and do not reflect the views of OSIEA