When Ngunjiri Wambugu spews verbosity such as “KANU’s bad past happened because Kenya was operating in a political environment that supported those extremes”; (- See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-159005/kanu-reborn-could-come-full-circle#sthash.T1RZF0S6.dpuf) he knows he is trying to spin and rewrite history. As is the case with recent Ngunjiri articles, this particular one is insulting to the collective intelligence of Kenyans and apart from distorting historical facts, it makes incredulous claims not supported by evidence anywhere.
To start with, it should be known, Ngunjiri’s enthusiastic embrace of KANU is linked to the imminent Jubilee coalition fall out. KANU is being promoted at the expense of vanquishing DP Ruto’s URP, and who else to promote KANU than someone who just left the position of strategist in Raila Odinga’s presidential campaign? But that is a story for another day. (Watch out for Part 2)
In his referenced article, Ngunjiri is dishonest and desperately tries to absolve individuals in KANU for the tragedies that befell this country and its people when KANU was in charge. Prior to independence, KADU ensured that devolution was entrenched in the Lancaster Constitution talks in London. Individuals in KANU had better ideas. Within a year of independence in 1964, KANU’s president refused to allocate funds to the regional governments and abolished them altogether. It would take Kenya another 50 years to create devolved units. But back then in 1964, KADU leaders were also lured into unsustainable political pacts by KANU that ended in KADU dissolving and merging with KANU. The greedy and insecure KANU leadership then proceeded to swallow up all the smaller parties and eventually Kenya became a de jure one-party state. Using parliamentary superiority, they proceeded to mutilate the Lancaster constitution and create an unquestionable presidency for Mzee Kenyatta. Quite clever politics according to Ngunjiri Wambugu!
They were not done! As ruling party for four decades, KANU failed to take advantage of post-independence goodwill to put in place systems that could have made Kenya move in economic tandem with democracies elsewhere, for example South Korea, whose per capita income was less than Kenya’s in 1963. Today, Kenya’s per capita is a depressing $963 while that of South Korea is $22,590 according to figures by the World Bank. In contrast, Kenya’s richest families (and I don’t have to stress their links to KANU) are reputedly collectively worth in excess of USD100bn while South Korea’s wealthiest is worth just about USD10bn. That is how different we are courtesy of nationwide plunder by KANU never seen anywhere in Africa before.
Every available asset was grabbed by the elites, be it land, mines, wildlife reserves, beach plots, etc. Some even built international airports using public resources in their private farms! They have not given up these assets. They still hold one to them. They are asking you the Kenya voter through Ngunjiri’s mighty pen, to give them one more chance to plunder again. What nerve!
In essence, a whole Kenyan generation has gone to waste in the period KANU was in power. That is why our peers overtook as the forces of status quo conssolidated power and wealth. The rate of inequality in Kenyan society remain among the highest in the world, and sadly also, Kenya has the largest population of displaced individuals for a country outside a war-zone. Are these records a ruling party like KANU wants to remain proud of? What exactly are the good things Ngunjiri attributes to KANU?
In a sense, the serious national problems that are attributed to PEV 2008 are directly linked to the four decade long plunder of resources, economic mismanagement and monopoly of state power by individuals in KANU. These are historical facts KANU cannot run away from. KANU’s legacy should stay buried if just out of respect for the millions it disenfranchised, the thousands it persecuted without justification, the hundreds who lost their lives fighting its brutal regimes of yesteryears.
It is also utter nonsense for Ngunjiri to suggest that the Rainbow Alliance, led by Raila and Kalonzo, “left KANU in a huff because they failed to take over the party leadership”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, mass defections from KANU started much earlier at the advent of multi-party democracy in 1992. Defections continued in 2001, when Moi unilaterally and undemocratically declared Uhuru Kenyatta as KANU sole presidential candidate, this being the main reason Rainbow Alliance left KANU. Prior to all these, Uhuru had been heavily defeated in the parliamentary elections in Gatundu South before Moi nominated him to parliament. Thirdly, Uhuru’s incompetence as party leader of KANU was evident in the term of the 9th parliament. Whilst Uhuru inherited a party with over 130 MPs from President Moi, KANU’s fortunes dwindled to a paltry dozen MPs in the 10th parliament. The fact is, Uhuru’s pathetic management skills as a party leader were on show for everyone to see.
In 2007, Uhuru as KANU Chairman made global history being an official opposition leader to cross floor and support the incumbent in a general election. It was later to emerge this was part of a carefully scripted succession plot. Fast forward to 2008, even the loyal of the loyalist like former Keiyo South MP Nicholas Biwott had had enough of the Uhuru circus and abandoned the sinking KANU by quickly taking over the little known National Vision Party and becoming its party leader. The recent wrangles in TNA which is a ruling party suggest that its leadership is not up to the job and their inability to lead shows in state. As it is presently, Gideon Moi’s reign as KANU leader is not showing any signs of positive change either and the party remains a pale shadow and uninviting to ordinary Kenyans.
If KANU’s long-time Chairman retired president Moi was as good as Ngunjiri purports, why has he not even been considered for the prestigious Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership? In what amounts to national embarrassment, much younger and less experienced leaders have been awarded ahead of KANU’s Moi for their delivery of security, health, education and economic development to their people, in addition to democratically transfer power to their successor. The question remains, Why does the Mo Ibrahim Foundation continue to overlook KANU’s Moi? From the look of things, we can only keep our fingers crossed that the same fate wont befall KANU’s first executive officer ex-President Kibaki who retired from presidency last year.
Still on the low ratings of KANU’s Moi, why has the ex-President not been considered for nomination to join the “The Elders” which is a renowned NGO of public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates, who were brought together by no less a person than President Nelson Mandela in 2007? Amidst all the problems of Africa, Moi – with more than 50 years’ experience in politics and leadership – has not been called up to look into resolving a single issue. It goes further that the “The Elders” mandate including working on solutions for seemingly insurmountable problems such as climate change, HIV/AIDS, and poverty, as well as to “use their political independence to help resolve some of the world’s most intractable conflicts”. Moi cannot even help us save the crucial water tower of Mau Forest! To appease Rift Valley, Kibaki did grudgingly appoint Moi as a special envoy to South Sudan in 2003. The severe implosion of that country points to a decorative special envoy, deeply asleep or simply incompetent, and not good enough to babysit and nurture a delicate democracy. That is KANU leadership for you. Instead of helping Sudanese emerge smoothly from decades of war, we are busy exporting such KANU diseases by becoming large land owners in Southern Sudan, grand corruption, and promoting ethnic state appointments instead of ensuring democratic institutions take root in that country.
Show us an African statesman directly produced by independent parties, and we will show you Nyerere, Khama, Machel, Mandela, Kaunda, Odinga, Nkurumah, and the likes. Show us despotic African leaders and we will show you MESAN’s Bokassa, KANU’s Moi and of course ZANU’s Mugabe. The Moi-KANU dictatorship brings terrifying and sad memories to many grown up men and women in Kenya today some of whom were abducted as 20 year olds at their campuses or working in newsrooms, tortured, maimed, detained, forced into exile for protesting regime excesses. KANU also has the distinction of being heavily implicated barbarous atrocities against its own people such as the Wagalla massacre.
The unresolved stories of the murder of Robert Ouko, Julie Ward, JM Kariuki, Pio Gama Pinto, Alexander Muge, Argwins Kodhek, Father John Kaiser, are all linked to the diabolic actions of KANU mandarins who to this date continue to enjoy life with their families and swimming in luxury of ill-gotten wealth. Does Ngunjiri care about the families of those who were murdered – when will they get justice? Will this justice come when KANU regains power as Ngunjiri is trying to propose? Where was Ngunjiri when JM’s corpse was being fed to hyenas? Or when Ouko’s corpse was thrown off a helicopter at Got Alila? Is this the legacy Ngunjiri wants to revive?
Ngunjiri woefully sugar-coats KANU’s ownership to the Moi family and tries to pass it off as generational change. The most poorly kept secret is Moi wants his younger son Gideon to assume the leadership of state through KANU. It is a chess game where certain names can be president, others can only be opposition. In its long history, KANU has no proof that it nurtured individuals to take party leadership. Uhuru’s contested victory in 2013 is the product of a convenient pre-election coalition very far from KANU and its backward politics. That aside, Biwott, Jirongo and all the people mentioned by Ngunjri moved on in protest to lead their own parties. Would Ngunjiri and KANU also take credit for the present economic mismanagement, runaway corruption and suppression of civil liberties by Jubilee government being that these leaders were nurtured by KANU?
Moi’s repeated opposition to multi-party and persistent but false allegory that multi-party will fan negative tribalism places KANU’s ideology in perspective. They prefer a centralized system controlled by a few elites for nothing but for consolidation of political power and ravenous wealth acquisition. That is a prospect Kenyans of goodwill should reject in totality. Like a leopard, KANU and its patronage are unlikely to change its spots.
(Part Two Follows)