• Details have emerged of how one legislator was acquired as a spouse in a successful attempt that lured him away from tabling an impeachment motion.
• The nation has been accorded front row seats where their attention has been riveted on the law of acquisition.
Every man has his price. This is one of the lines in the play A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt.
It is based on the life of Sir Thomas More who was the 16th century Chancellor of England. Sir Thomas was regarded as an upright, moral and principled man.
The play opens with More extolling Richard Rich, a low-level functionary, seeking to become a teacher rather than seek a high-ranking politician job, so he wouldn't be tempted by the bribery that comes with political office.
An argument then ensues on whether or not anyone can be bought. On one hand, Rich believes ‘every man has his price’, while on the other, Sir Thomas, disagrees with the notion that anyone could succumb to the temptations of status, power, wealth and women.
Evidently, Sir Thomas has not been living in Kenya for the past couple of weeks.
The nation has been accorded front row seats where their attention has been riveted on the law of acquisition.
Details have emerged of how one legislator was acquired as a spouse in a successful attempt that lured him away from tabling an impeachment motion in Parliament against former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.
This acquisition was revealed in the details of divorce proceedings between Meru Senator Mithika Linturi and Marianne Kitany, former chief of staff of Deputy President William Ruto, that have been openly publicised.
Opinions have been divided on the public nature of these divorce proceedings, with some saying this is a personal affair that should be resolved amicably and privately. Others are gleefully and unabashedly enjoying the public spectacle.
To those of us who think this ought to be a private matter, what curious creatures we are. We are like the proverbial Arab, who allowed his cold camel to stick its nose into his tent; then progressively, other parts of its body, until the camel was entirely inside the tent, eventually kicking the Arab out.
It is axiomatic that we did not heed the ‘Beware the Camel’s Nose’ warning. We allowed the State to legalise us when we pronounce ‘I do’ or ‘I don’t’, through instruments that bind us, called marriage and divorce certificates.
We acquiesced to allowing the State’s ‘nose’ into our marriage tents to dictate to us at what age or gender we can or cannot marry; under what circumstances our unions can be dissolved; and who will take what share of our property or progeny. The State is a public affair.
Therefore, our disgust at these public divorce proceedings is akin to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.
To those of us enjoying the public show, let us attempt to walk while chewing gum by learning a thing or two about acquisition.
In economic speak, acquisition is when one entity (the acquirer), purchases most or all of another company’s (the target's) shares to gain control of that company.
This allows the acquirer to make decisions about the target’s assets without the approval of the target’s shareholders.
There are various types of acquisition. One is a friendly acquisition. This occurs when the target agrees to be acquired at the right price. Friendly acquisitions work towards the mutual benefit of both the acquiring and target companies.
Second is the killer acquisition. This occurs when the acquirer wants to terminate the target’s projects or products to eliminate competition. Upon acquisition, the acquirer simply shelves the target’s products to ensure they never see the light of day.
To determine if the target is the right candidate, the acquirer undertakes due diligence prior to acquisition on the following: (a) is the price right? — to determine if the asking price for the target company exceeds the value of its acquisition; (b) debt load — a target with an unusually high level of liabilities is viewed as a warning of potential problems ahead; but also as an easy acquisition because the acquirer does not have to spend more than they have to; (c) clear financials — to prevent unwanted surprises after the acquisition is complete.
Undoubtedly, Kitany was the acquirer while Linturi was the target. This was both a friendly and a killer acquisition. On one hand, both received a mutual benefit from the acquisition — Kitany scuttled the impeachment motion at the behest of her shareholders and subsequently acquired a spouse, while Linturi received one night of pleasure and subsequent several nights of shelter. On the other hand, competition from around 150 legislators who were in support of the impeachment motion was defeated.
And most importantly, the price was right at the cost of one night at Sopa Lodge. Additionally, going by Kitany's account, the target had a debt load of house rent arrears. This made the acquisition easy by offering the target shelter.
She appears to have been very meticulous in financial record-keeping that has served her well as evidence in these divorce proceedings.
In the event that you are wondering how a human being can be equated to a company and eventually acquired, this is possible because both have a common denominator. And that is rights. All rights are based on the origin of property. Therefore, property and human rights are inseparable and inalienable leading to self-ownership.
‘You may be married to me but I am not married to you’. This is a statement made to Kitany by Linturi, and it will not be forgotten by many Kenyans for a long time to come.
However, Linturi should be alive to the transitive law that states that, if A is equal to B, and if B is equal to C, then it follows that A is equal to C. Hence, if A is the friendly and killer acquisition that took place in Sopa Lodge; and B is exchange of mursik, miraa and cash dowry that precedes a union of marriage after the acquisition; and C is the culmination in marriage after B has been fulfilled; then it is undeniable that A is equal to C. Linturi, please do the math.
My final unsolicited advice to Linturi is this: Never begin any negotiation on an empty stomach, or, in your case, rent arrears because if the acquirer takes your first offer, you either asked for too little, or you offered too much.
Every man has his price. For some it's money, for some it's women, for others glory. But the honest man you don't have to buy — he winds up costing you nothing — Harold Robbins