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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The President's Lawyer (Kenya Betrayed)

And then she thought about her speech during Bob’s funeral service – trying to hide her tears - and her pain - because she had believed to owe it to him and their life together not to show her real feelings in front of the public…….

So she had said in her own mother tongue:

…. Your Excellency the President. I am not going to speak in English and I ask you that you bear with me if I am not coherent.

But first of all I would like to appeal to all peace-loving Kenyans and all those who are gathered here to please keep the peace. As the wife of the man lying here, I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes to please let us send him off in peace.
Because he was a peaceful man. He loved his country and if you genuinely love him as you say you do and as I do, I appeal to you with tears. Please! Please! Let us be peaceful.

Do you agree with me? Please, I beg you, let us give him a good send off.

My husband was a good man.

I lived with him for 25 years. I got married to him while I was at the University of Nairobi. He did not let me finish my degree work but I have no regrets because what I learned by living with him is more than I would have learned if I would have been at the University.

Why do I say that? I say that because Dr. Ouko was a man of exemplary intellect. Our house was a big library with books of all kinds and he was a man who would share everything worth knowing with me.

I didn’t know anything about economics, but now I have some knowledge of what economics is all about. Now when people talk about Resolution 435 or whatever, I know what it is all about.

And I learned from Dr. Ouko the art of humility……..he was a humble man. He was a down-to-earth man.

I learned from Dr. Ouko to enjoy life to its fullest because he loved life. He was a man who liked people. He was a sociable man. Ouko would laugh wholeheartedly.
I learned from him that it is good to be mindful of other people’s welfare. He cared for his people.

I learned from him that it is good to be truthful - and my husband liked truth and if there was anything that could hurt him in this world, it was that somebody would lie about him or would claim that he had told a lie.

And therefore there is a lot I learned from him and I thank God that I had the opportunity to share these years with him.

My husband had a clear mind. He knew where he was going. He knew his priorities. And his first priority was his relationship with God. He believed in God totally ……
And his second priority was his President …..

But his top priority was his country …….. Kenya ……

He had visions for his country. He had dreams for his country and he was prepared to die for his country!

I think everybody knows that and we as a family knew that. We as a family came a poor fourth in his priority and he made us understand that.

I used to say that I was a widow of the government…….. because many times he would be gone for so long and sometimes he would just telephone me to pack his suitcase for the next journey…..

God blessed us with seven children. I think, five of them I had while he was away.
But we understood. We knew what he liked and we let him do that.

So as a family we will miss him dearly. He loved his family.

But what amazed me most about him was his sense of duty. Duty for him was paramount. If duty called, whatever - even when one of the children was in the hospital or I was hospitalized - he would go.

Because what pleased him most was that he had done his duty for his country and for his President …………..

So – in conclusion - I would say that I am happy that we had him and that we as a family, we have tried to follow his good example but I am happy that he knew his God, so I know where he is.

Last Sunday only, we were in church with him together, here in Koru. A small church, he was trying to build here - African Inland Church.

I went to church with him and that day he was the preacher. And my husband preached a moving sermon. He preached from the Book of Jeremiah, and the Book of Job ……

And for his people, let me not stop before I say this, Ouko didn’t go into politics by choice. He was born a civil servant and he used to say that politics was not for him. But once he entered politics, he told me:

“I want to do politics with a difference. I will try to be truthful to my people.
What I cannot do for people I’ll tell them: “sorry” this one I cannot do. But what I can do, I will do it gladly.”

And he has always done that …..

He swore that he will not involve himself in magendo (corruption) and I am proud to announce that Dr. Ouko never involved himself in any magendo.”

***

All of the sudden, her phone rang. She got up, dragged herself to the corner and picked it up, “Hello?”

“Christabel, this is Musila.” A senior member of the LPD, and now a relative after his son had married one of her daughters, she had asked him to use his connections to thwart her Summon to appear before the Committee.

He had failed.

“But I can tell you what – it will be difficult for Biwott’s and Moi’s lawyers to come hard on you. It will look unseemly.”

“So I must appear?” she asked.

“Chairman Sunguh insists on it.”

Christabel shrugged. “Thank you for trying.”

***

Mutula Kilonzo was one of the most accomplished attorneys in the country, he was the only personal lawyer Moi had kept.

He was of medium height, and a little stoop. He always kept his hair long. His face was clean-shaven. And because of his impeccable dressing, he was one of the spiffiest men in all his court appearances.

This afternoon, upon getting to Moi’s study where the former Head of State was waiting, he opened his briefcase set on the desk, sat down and then cut to the chase, “How do we handle this?”

Cough. “That’s why I called you here.”

The attorney plugged his eyes on Moi’s. “We have obviously failed to stop Marianne from coming, and we have failed to limit the scope of her testimony.”

“So what else can we do?”

Mutula leaned forward, “The best I can do is to raise objections whenever something threatening comes up. I will be on guard.”

“What if the Chairman allows her to talk freely?”

“I will use all kind of legal manoeuvre to stop her. And even if I have to use tactics that will derail the whole process, so be it.”

Moi coughed. He liked that resolve. Satisfied, he said, “One more thing - Mrs. Ouko appears before the Committee tomorrow …. Go easy on the poor woman.”

“That will depend.”

“On what?” Mzee asked.

“On how far she streches her testimony. If she limits it to what she has said in the past, all will be well. If she tries to break new grounds, I will have to stop her.”

“Won’t that look back? Won’t if look like I am doing a battle with a widow? I cannot let it look like I am that cold.”

Mutula nodded, “All right.”

He knew the former Head of State was very keen on his legacy. He did not want anything that would blot his image.

“But what if she says something about …..”?

Moi interrupted him, “Don’t come after her. The woman has suffered enough.”

On that note, Moi wished him good luck and saw him to the door.

Two hours later, Mutula Kilonzo was back in Nairobi.

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