By Peter Kimani
The race to State House has been thrown wide open, and it appears set to start in a different kind of arena: the courtroom. In keeping with our new-found freedom, which means contesting the validity of full-stops and commas in the new Constitution, some clever chaps have found sufficient evidence to challenge the suitability of the top five presidential candidates, whom the media have christened the Big Five.
This is fitting since in conservation, the Big Five is the term used to describe the most dangerous carnivores that terrorize wanyama wadogo (small animals) like the zebras, warthogs and impalas. In the animal kingdom, the Big Five ride roughshod over others.
And so do the political Big Five. The garrulous Tinga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya, as we reported in this forum recently, has been busy predicting polls for the top seat as a two-horse race – all other mules don’t count.
The mules include Sister Martha, the former Justice Minister whose general counsel is for Kenyans to ignore pollsters that don’t often include her in the top league; Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, whose hairline appears to be receding by the day, and Gachoka
MP Mutava Musyimi, a man of cloth who must relish the poetic justice that the court petition appears to engender.
As the Bible says, the donkey may be derided for its ugliness, but it was also destined for greatness, for Jesus rode one.
The English poet, GK Chesterton sums this up succinctly in The Donkey:
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
For now, it’s only the donkeys that are in the clear to run for top office. The Big Five have to wriggle out of a jumble of litigation or risk being locked out of contention. This is in line with the new stipulation that places personal integrity above all else.
Tinga stands accused of all manner of claims, from nepotism to fabricating academic testimonials. His love for power is alleged to have attracted him to the 1982 attempted coup, for which he was detained for six years by the Nyayo regime. The court petition seeks more information on Tinga’s participation in the power grab.
Veep Kalonzo Musyoka is accused of land grab and disregarding the rule of law, something that he was admonished for by a retired judge and committed to civil jail. He is also accused of using his influence to secure radio frequency for a firm owned by his wife and son.
Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi, or simply Double M, is having double trouble over something called Goldenberg, a monumental scam in which billions were looted from the Treasury under his watch, and most recently, the cemetery land purchase in which hundreds of millions were stolen from the Local Government Ministry while he was in charge.