Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba has made a surprise entrance into the presidential race. He turned up seemingly from nowhere and presnted his papers, yesterday.
Interestingly this heroic freedom fighter who paid for his fight for democracy dearly when his detention witthout trial by the Moi government resulted in stroke that almost killed him, can’t read and neither can he sign documents. So the question arises, if he was elected president what would happen? Who would sign those important and highly confidential documents? Who would read those equally confidential reports for him?
In my view the contributions made by Matiba in the fight for democracy is so big that he deserved to be treated better. If for no other reason then at least because of the rather devastating consequences that he has to live with for the rest of his life. But alas, that is how we Kenyans treat our heroes. I have seen several times in this blog, some Kenyans rubishing the heroic nature one John Githongo. That is Kenyans for you. While Matiba was fighting Moi, Kibaki was saying in parliament that proponents of change were trying to fell a Mugumo tree with a razor blade. To reward Kibaki, Kenyans elecvted his president in 2002 and ignorted Matiba even as he struiggled to save his crumbling empire from auctioneers.
But I shouldn’t get emotional. Let me stick to the present.
There is no doubt that Matiba has near-fanatical support in many parts of Central province, especially his native Muranga. Which leads us to the big question; will his candidacy take votes away from Mwai Kibaki?
Judging from what has happened in the recent past, and especially the ruthlessness with which the Mungiki affair was handled, which caused the death of many innocent young men in the hanbds of the police (and then to rub those raw wopunmds with salt, the police has denied any involvement in the dissapearnce and death of many of these youths), Matiba’s candidature is definitely NOT good news for Mwai Kibaki’s re-election bid.
The president will remember only too clearly his humiliating defeat in the hands of Matiba in the 1992 elections when the contropversial Kiharu politician surprised everybody by coming second to the eventual winner, President Daniel Arap Moi. Of course, this time things are very different and President Kibaki is the incumbent. However the danger here is that Matiba does not really need to get more votes than the president to mess up the latter’s re-election plans. All he needs to do is deny him substantial votes in the greater Muranga area and the entire presidential race equation will change.
This has to be giving the president’s handlers sleepless nights.