There comes a time when the nation is more important than the individual. Such a time came for the late Prof George Saitoti early 2002. Then, signs were a political greenhorn was being preferred over him for the Kanu presidential candidate in the General Election that year.
In the passion-charged moment at Kasarani, the late professor of mathematics missed one fundamental fact: That the nation is at all times more important than the whims of individuals or a power clique.
Saitoti’s friend then, who also suffered the same spike, was Joseph Kamotho. Kamotho would later describe Kasarani as kichinjio – a slaughterhouse for some political careers, and a fattening room for the chosen. Which is why I dedicate this column to Prof Saitoti, Joshua Orwa Ojode, and those who died with them in circumstances that should be investigated. Only then would the people know what preceded the accident on the fair-weather Sunday morning of June 10.
There is no force stronger than the popular will of the people. Yet every day there are claims of vested interests sponsoring presidential aspirants, plotting or undermining alliances to scuttle the national interest.
The latest addition to this season of intrigues is that some forces allied to the power clique in State House are undermining the so-called G7 Alliance to manipulate the Kibaki Succession. Although these forces love the G7 cocktail, they fear The Hague may scuttle the ambitions of their blue-eyed boys. They, therefore, need insurance against the eventuality. They need a king they can control.
They need a stand-in-candidate if the International Criminal Court makes it impossible for certain presidential aspirants to multi-task. They realise standing trial for crimes against humanity and running for president in a country thousands of miles away from The Hague may require super skills to pull through. They do not want forces of status quo to lose its best bet for continuity.
These forces are claimed to be behind President Kibaki’s latest love for Musalia Mudavadi. The United Democratic Forum presidential aspirant is said to be a compromise candidate for beneficiaries of impunity.
To be sure, Mudavadi has denied that he is a safe bet for a power clique that wants to protect proceeds of impunity.
This class controls wealth acquired through proximity to power, and protected through political patronage. The landed aristocrats and ethnocrats are looking for a Kibaki successor who shall not disturb the status quo. They want a president who can protect private wealth; one who shall not rattle private capital in the name of resolving historical injustices and equity. They do not want those who display anti-corruption zeal, or those who don’t have a record of plunder of public resources.
These forces prefer a harmless, non-controversial, and easy-to-work-with president. They believe proceeds of impunity can thrive better under such ruffle-no-feathers leadership in State House.
The electorate is invited to reject vested interests and ‘planted’ presidential aspirants. Even the perception of presidential aspirant being a project of the powerful may be good enough to invite the tragedy of the mongoose upon them.
Such presidential aspirants should know with love of the powerful minority, even if by innuendo for now, citizens have reason for caution.