Originally, some of us were really excited that a handful of Gema individuals had decided to go against the tribal current to work actively with Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), a party generally associated with the Luo. For, in Kenya, the word “tribalism” is almost synonymous with the word “Kikuyuism”.
Thus, whenever we – who belong to non-Gema communities – condemn “tribalism”, we are really expressing only a deep phobia for the Kikuyu, Central’s populous and enterprising community. But it is by no means a baseless fear. Our anti-Kikuyuism is wrong only because it condemns the whole community.
But the fact remains that, during the Kenyatta and Kibaki regimes, a certain clique of Gikuyu, Embu and Meru individuals have ridden roughshod over Kenyans. Those are the individuals who have blackened the reputation of their ethnic bloc.
That was why the counter-current by Joe Nyagah and Tony Gachoka – their choice of the ODM as the party through which to pursue a political career – sounded so courageous and principled.
Joe Nyagah, a decent man whom I have known ever since our days at the University of Nairobi, has given me no cause to change my mind.
His shortcomings – for he has some – are common to the social class to which he and I belong. They transcend narrow ethnic interests.
But I do not think that Tony Gachoka is a dedicated tribalist either. He does not impress me as a dyed-in-the-wool “Kikuyuist”. What I do not doubt is only his go-getting individualism.
His personal record, about which his own family may testify – and which anybody can give his eyes to see in the libraries of our newspapers – that is the only disturbing thing about Mr Gachoka. It is what raises eyebrows about his threat to “spill the beans” on Raila Odinga concerning the 2008 post-election violence.
Mr Gachoka claims he has the low down on the present Prime Minister which the International Criminal Court (ICC) could use to disable Mr Odinga in his quest for State House.
Of course, Mr Odinga is far from being a vestal virgin. A great deal of stinking muck might be discovered beneath his carpets. But Mr Gachoka’s threat raises at least two questions. In the first place, is it true?
In the second, how does it relate to the laws of both the land and the comity of nations? Given Mr Gachoka’s colourful history, will any self-respecting prosecutor and – through her submissions – any self-respecting judge enfold Mr Gachoka’s as a genuine dossier without subjecting it to the most thorough counter-examination?
Secondly, Mr Odinga’s alleged crime took place between September 2007 and February 2008 – more than four and half years ago. I served the subsequent Johann Kriegler Commission (as its media liaison functionary) and can affirm that Mr Gachoka never offered the commission any evidence against anybody.
If he has kept such evidence to himself, then here is the nitty-gritty. In the 1980s, during the trials of those who had attempted a coup against President Moi, many Kenyans learned for the first time that concealment of a crime plotted or committed by another party is itself a crime. The books call it “misprision”.
The question, then, is unavoidable: Why did Mr Gachoka maintain profound silence during all that hoo-ha by the international media about the part allegedly played by Messrs Hussein Ali, Uhuru Kenyatta, Henry Kosgey, Francis Muthaura, William Ruto and Joshua Sang in the run-up to the post-election mayhem?
Could the answer be the same as that hurled at Miguna Miguna’s own recent outburst against the Premier? Could it be that, while Mr Gachoka could have been an insider, extreme self-interests overrode all sense of decency and all legal requirements?
That is why I keep raising the question: Why won’t Mr Odinga ever see the need to devise a water-tight method of ensuring that he hires only self-respecting aides?