BY Wainaina Ndung’u
While he was alive, the long serving Kangema MP was an avowed enemy of the proscribed group, whose followers he relentlessly hunted down and ordered killed.
But since his death, the former leader of the group, a man the no-nonsense minister could never see eye to eye with, has transformed Kangema into his hunting ground.
In a move some observers interpret as taunting the former minister in his grave, Njenga recently used a campaign rally to launch his presidential bid through Mkenya Solidarity. Mr Njenga perceives Kangema as his launching pad as he has already fielded a candidate in the constituency, in a bid to succeed Michuki, a man Mungiki loved to hate.
Through the September 17 Kangema by-election, the former members of the dreaded Mungiki sect are set to try to conclude unfinished business with Michuki. In what many Kangema residents see as a renewal of old rivalries, the Mkenya Solidarity Movement, which is connected to the former Mungiki sect through its former leader, has unveiled humble village shopkeeper John Gathogo Githaiga as its candidate in the by-election.
Mr Gathogo was unveiled during a function termed as a show of might where a 300-vehicle convoy arrived for the opening of a party office in Kangema.
At Muranga’s General Ihura Stadium, the statement of one of the last speakers at the rally was telling. After most speakers had addressed the crowd, Mr Njenga escorted a grandmother to the podium. The grandmother praised the former Mungiki boss for having rescued her, “from the cave”.
She told the crowd dominated by youths below 40 a little bird had told her that there was no difference between Mkenya and Mungiki. She was voicing a thought that is the subject of discussion in the area although Mr Njenga thereafter disowned her sentiments as “personal.” But underlining the commitment to concluding the unfinished business, the MKenya leader recalled how he and his lieutenants were frustrated after visiting Michuki at his home in 2005 to plead for an end to the extra judicial killings of their followers by police.
“He was in charge of the police as minister for Internal Security but he remained defiant to the end telling us that we all would be hearing death announcements,” Mr Njenga told the crowd.
The 33-year-old MKenya candidate sees himself as a unifying factor if elected the next Kangema MP and says the local community is deeply divided between those who opposed or supported Michuki’s crackdown against members of the dreaded sect.