Mr Gitobu Imanyara is a formidable lawyer. In fact, the Imenti Central MP is an award-winning human rights lawyer.
Mr Imanyara is a brave and tenacious man. In fact, it is his bravery and tenacity which drove his editorship of the campaigning Nairobi Law Monthly magazine in the 1980s and 1990s and earned him many a stint in Kanu jails and cells.
Mr Imanyara is a stickler for the rule of law. In fact, in his single-minded pursuit of the rule of law and due process, Mr Imanyara has been to many courts representing clients or because of falling afoul of the authorities.
Mr Imanyara often goes against the grain. In fact, dissent is grist to Imanyara’s political mill.
But, good people, the man who rose in Parliament on Wednesday to make a personal statement about what happened to him a day earlier cannot be the man I have presented to you above.
Mr Imanyara told Parliament that he was abducted by armed men who forced him to face Mt Kenya and repeat three times “Uhuru Tuko Pamoja”.
Mr Imanyara also told the attentive House that his abductors asked him not to accompany Prime Minister Raila Odinga on his visit to Meru.
Thirdly, he said he was asked not to attend a meeting in Limuru which was called to counter an earlier gathering of the Gema communities at the same venue. Mr Imanyara was expected to speak at the caucus.
The import of Mr Imanyara’s statement was threefold:
One, his abductors were acting for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta; two, they are supporters of the Gema agenda; and, three, they are enemies of Mr Odinga.
This means the abductors want Mr Imanyara to sever political links with Mr Odinga or, better still, join the Uhuru bandwagon.
Three issues immediately came into play. One is the crimes against humanity case pending against Mr Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court (ICC); the second is the location of the alleged abduction which is close to State House and the third is the claim by Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo that there is a plot to assassinate Mr Odinga.
ICC’s eyes and ears must have followed the story of Mr Imanyara with interest for the simple reason that it would have a bearing on Mr Kenyatta’s conduct before he heads to The Hague.
If it could be proved that Mr Imanyara had been intimidated by his allies, this would have a bearing on the matter of interference with witnesses.
The roads around State House teem with uniformed, plain-clothed, armed and unarmed security personnel and are believed to be closely watched.
That an MP could be abducted in this area would cast the abductors as fearing nobody or nothing, or the security agents around the country’s most guarded address as asleep on the job, or complicit in the act.
Almost immediately the story of Imanyara’s abduction broke, the most frequently asked question was whether the abduction was related to the alleged plot to kill the Prime Minister.
Related or not — and it is difficult not to relate the two whatever your take — the two paint a fearsome picture of insecurity.
But something does not add up. Why did Mr Imanyara not go straight to the police to report his abduction? Had his razor-sharp legal mind gone wool-gathering?
Why did he opt to make a personal statement in the House? Is it because there he could drop names without fear of facing legal action?
Problem is that just does not match Mr Imanyara’s public persona.
So, is Mr Imanyara’s story convincing? It would appear that the German and French missions in Nairobi thought so and moved swiftly to condemn his intimidation and urge investigations.
These and other missions have, however, not weighed in on the alleged plot to kill the PM.
Clearly, First Lady Lucy Kibaki, these days conspicuous for her absence and silence, was not amused. She weighed in with a warning to politicians to keep State House out of their wars for supremacy.
While she rightly saw the claims of murder and abduction in the context of her husband’s succession, she was keen to shield the First Family from the machinations.
Where will it all end up?
There is no knowing. Not after Mr Odinga ordered Internal Security Minister George Saitoti to take action against Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere because of the chaos that reigned at the Limuru meeting.
It is Prof Saitoti’s provincial administration that outlawed the meeting and his police that enforced the order!
Kwendo Opanga is a media consultant firstname.lastname@example.org