How two unqualified chaps fooled a nation, the third simply appended his signature
The last time I checked, Kenya is not a kingdom. And yet that is precisely how even highly educated Kenyans some of whom read this blog treat the office of the president.
For those who are unaware, a King owns all their subjects and everything that they have. You breathe and live at the pleasure of your King. (An interesting aside here is that in our country all civil servants still serve at the pleasure of the president and that is why President Moi was within his constitutional rights one day when he instructed at a public meeting; Nikifika Nakuru sitaki nione hio nyangau English translation; When I reach Nakuru, I do not want to see that animal in office.") The Kings's word is not just final, it is the law and he can do as he pleases and those who question him quickly lose the weight on their shoulders. The same applies to a Queen when she inherits the throne as the sovereign as is the case in Britain at the moment. Although I must add that the United Kingdom is a very watered down version of a real Kingdom and the Prime Minister there has immense powers.
In the old days the way to greet a King was to literally worship him by lying prostrate on the ground on your stomach with your hands stretched forward (Kneeling was not good enough). Another interesting parallel here, was the time that Kuria Kanyingi told a public meeting in Moi's presence that if only the Almighty would allow it, he would without hesitation take a large chunk of his own life and given it to Moi so that he lives much longer for the benefit of Kenya—I often wish that there would have been a way for his maker to call his bluff. The results would have been hilarious. Another sober Kenyan announced at yet another public meeting that because he had greeted Moi, he was not going to wash his hands for a week. In response, the wananchi dutifully clapped enthusiastically finding this utterance rather intelligent).
It is because of the way Kenyans treat the office of the presidency that the vast majority of Kenyans do not believe anybody can be president. Uhuru Kenyatta, yes. An ordinary Kenyan called Ouma Njoroge, NO. Kumekucha, NO. There is a term that is used in thi blog commonly in comments that underlines this fact. I is "pretender." So Ouma Njoroge would be called a "pretender to the throne" and so would Kumekucha if he were to dare declare interest in the said office.
Naturally the current state of affairs did not emerge by accident, it was carefully cultivated over many years of threats, intimidations, assassinations and dismemebered private parts.
Johnstone Kamau who rose to be Kenya's first president (the world knows him by his nickname which stuck—Jomo Kenyatta) had no prior experience of leading anything or anybody other than being briefly the headmaster of some school. In fact there are those who say that Mr Kamau once upset quite a lot of people because when cash was raised for him to go abroad to represent the wishes of the freedom fighters who sent him, he later abandoned the cause to do his own things. Like study for a degree in anthropology and marry the mzungu maid at the house where he was a shamba boy (gardener). But I leave that to Historians to set the record straight because there was no way they could have done so when the man was alive and kept their genitals intact.
Was Johnstone Kamau the sort of man to unite the country that had been sharply divided by the colonialists among tribal lines in a deliberate and ruthless divide and rule policy? Hardly. This is the name man who wrote a book promoting Kikuyu chauvinism called Facing Mount Kenya. Little wonder that 80 per cent of his cabinet consisted of people from one tribe. And their actions clearly revealed their intention and thinking. They treated the Kenyan presidency like a Kingdom. King Kamau was on the throne and would hand over the monarchy to one of their own. Why else did they administer an oath to ensure that the presidency (monarchy) would not cross the Chania River? There are numerous other examples to prove this point.
To ensure that no enthusiastic Kenyans would get any bright ideas, those around the president deliberately created a perception of the office that still lingers today. Kenyans were not even allowed to discuss his possible death. That was treason according to long-serving Attorney General Charles Njonjo. Even discussing anything that touched anything that was close to him was punishable by death or detention without trial (if you were lucky). A man called Jean Marey Seroney will forever linger in the annals of Kenyan history because he was detained for uttering TWO lousy words and within the precincts of parliament at that. Martin Shikuku said; "Kanu is dead." Mr Seroney simply quipped; "That's obvious."
Those who could have challenged the King were dealt with. Tom Mboya, JM Kariuki, Kungu Karuma etc. So that by the time the King passed on in his sleep in August 1978, there was really nobody left. There was no national politician who could inspire the masses. The few remaining were languishing in detention. So the "monarchy" could easily have passed on to a member of the Kamau family and influential foreign publications like Time magazine said so in writing, putting forward the names of the President's closest confidante Mbiyu Koinange (Jeff Koinange's grandfather) and the president's nephew, Njoroge Mungai as the two most likely to ascend to the throne. But the Almighty had plans of his own. There were a few nishaps in some small tiny details.
The first thing that went wrong for the King's men was that Johnstone Kamau passed on in Mombasa, a few hours after Mbiyu Koinange had left for Nairobi. It was the only few hours in years that Mbiyu Koinange had been far from the President's side and that's the time he died. Amazing, is it not? So more importantly, Koinange was not around to activate the carefully laid-out plan of action. The second thing that went wrong was that the person who had been the real administrative rule of Kenya all along—Charles Njonjo decided that he was not going to hand over power just like that. Duncan Ndegwa's recently released biography has confirmed what we suspected all along—that the old man drifted in and out of regular comas most of the time during his last years in office, so the de-facto president during the last years was one Charles Mugane Njonjo. Njonjo hatched a plan (people say) to get the hapless-looking Vice President (a former P3 teacher) to be president for a little while and warm the seat for him.
One man called Paul Ngei wisely warned them all that if they allowed Daniel Moi to seat on the throne for even one day, they would never get the seat back. They ignored him, after all they were intelligent and they had gone to school much longer than the said Moi. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now here is the fascinating bit. The former teacher whom they all underestimated and had never seen the inside of a University ended up outsmarting all of them and immediately began on the road to demystifying the presidency. Those around him saw this as a weakness and bidded their time. After the failed August 1982 coup, Moi decided to go back to the Kenyatta system and way of doing things and ended up ruling with an iron hand for 24 years and despite all manner of attempts to remove him from power, the crafty Moi ended up voluntarily leaving office in 2002.
One thing was the undoing of the mighty Western powers in their many failed efforts to remove Moi. These guys have always assumed that anybody who cannot speak English fluently and without accent is NOT intelligent. They therefore greatly underestimated Moi whose only qualification was street-smartness and understudying President Kenyatta for 11 years. In the same way they have assumed that anybody who can speak the language flawlessly is intelligent. I shall not mention names.
But my point today is this. Most Kenyans believe deep inside that the presidency is reserved for royalty. You need special, well-known politicians (who have already stolen enough public funds to finance their bid for the presidency) to be president. Being president in Kenya is actually being King. You Must have "blue blood" running through your veins. That is why anybody who thinks otherwise, like Kumekucha is a dreamer.
John Githongo for president.
Why Is Hon Michuki bullying his youthful challenger?
The photographs Kumekucha feared to publish.
Horror of Kenyan with female sex organ sharing cell with men at Kamiti Prison
Are you a Kenyan? Do You love your country? Join in this noble campaign to change things. Do something instead of just complaining.