Why Kalonzo rushed to placate his colleagues after Mutula’s outburst
Posted Monday, January 23 2012 at 20:00
There is a sub-plot to this ICC saga. On Sunday, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka was engaged in a very open show of damage control.
He made a great show of hugging Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and repeatedly emphasising that he is in solidarity with the Ocampo 6.
Obviously, Mr Musyoka was trying to undo the damage done by his close confidante, Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo.
The VP’s Wiper Party colleague had provoked the ire of supporters of Mr Kenyatta and his Ocampo Six comrade-in-arms William Ruto, by declaring that if indicted to face trial at The Hague, the two must relinquish public positions and give up the ambitions to contest the presidency.
The moment the Justice minister made those legally-dubious remarks, the Kenyatta and Ruto camps were furious, but they took the position that Mr Kilonzo was merely a surrogate for the VP.
On public platforms and Facebook and Twitter postings, supporters of the two suspects left no doubt that they held the VP responsible for Mr Kilonzo’s utterances, dredging out the out the ‘tutapita kati kati yao (we will sneak in between them)’ to underline the suspicion they hold for the man a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Mr Musyoka popularised the ‘tutapita kati kati yao’ strategy when he ran as a third party candidate in the climatic duel in 2007 between President Kibaki and ODM challenger Raila Odinga.
He never managed to sneak in through, but after the polls, he swiftly cut a deal that saw him become President Kibaki’s deputy in the bid to shut out Mr Odinga.
Then the VP was sideswiped when Mr Odinga vaulted over him on the pecking order after coming in as Prime Minister courtesy of the coalition agreement that ended the post-election bloodshed.
Since then, Mr Musyoka, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have been together in the alliance – initially KKK and then G7 – dedicated to blocking Mr Odinga’s route to State House.
But there has been no doubt that while the Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have stood shoulder-to-shoulder, they have looked askance at Mr Musyoka as if he were an interloper.
The fact that they were in the ICC crosshairs obviously reminded them of the ‘kati kati’ strategy.
President Kibaki will soon have to suspend Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza and appoint a tribunal to investigate her over the nose-tweaking, pistol-waving incident involving a shopping mall security guard, Rebecca Kerubo.
The president has no choice in the matter, so pressure from bankrupt ethnic chauvinists trying to sell the “our people our being finished” drivel will have no bearing.
That brigade has been conjuring up the most outrageous of conspiracy theories, including one that the whole thing was an ethnic plot designed to stop Judge Baraza succeeding to the top seat when Chief Justice Willy Mutunga retires at some time in the future.
Firstly, there is no guarantee that the deputy automatically ascends when the Chief Justice retires.
Secondly, many of us openly supported the nomination of Judge Baraza to the onerous position without consideration to her ethnic background.
Those now ethnicising the issue surely must know that Lady Justice Baraza is the Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.
And if, indeed, it was a conspiracy, then she would not have been the author and active participant unless the drama at Village Market was a creation of her detractors.
The big question is whether she threatened the security guard with a gun, and not whether the ‘‘lowly’’ guard failed to recognise or pay obeisance to a VIP who, supposedly, should not be subjected to security checks like ordinary mortals.
The other day, I erroneously attributed the “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately” phrase to George Washington.
Proper credit goes to fellow American Revolution hero Benjamin Franklin.
Thanks to all the readers who pointed out my grievous error, and apologies to all those who may have been misled.