It was a mini-reunion of the people who served during the Mwai Kibaki presidency. They had come to witness one of their own, their former prefect actually, tell the story of his life and career.
Francis Muthaura, best remembered as head of civil service and secretary to Kibaki’s Cabinet, had invited these luminaries at the Nairobi Serena Hotel for the launch of his memoir, A Moving Horizon.
In attendance were former governors, Kiraitu Murungi, Francis Kimemia and Nderitu Mureithi. Also present were former Chief of General Staff General Julius Karangi, former National Intelligence Service Director General Michael Gichangi and George Kinoti, the immediate former Director of Criminal Investigations.
Others were former Attorney General Githu Muigai and retired Court of Appeal judge Aaron Ringera. Corporate titans who showed up included Peter Munga, the chairman of Equity Group, Benson Wairegi, the managing director of Britam as well as Eddy Njoroge, the former CEO of Kengen.
Former ministers included Prof Margaret Kobia, Amina Mohamed and Prof Jacob Kaimenyi. Current Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria also made an appearance and announced that he had invited himself to the event after hearing about it from his PS Amos Gatheca, who was an invited guest.
With such an impressive line-up of guests, you understand why it is important to write memoirs. All these individuals had at one point served in the 10 years that Kibaki served as Kenya’s CEO.
There is a general consensus among those in the know that the Kibaki years were the best in terms of economic transformation. Apart from what we read in the media, and which is sketchy at best, many Kenyans would like to know the secret behind this famed success.
This success, or lack of it, is what forms the history of a country. These individuals created Kenya’s history, so who better to narrate this history than the people who created it?
Kiarie Kamau, the CEO of East African Educational Publishers, who published the book, described Muthaura’s memoir as a multi-layered work.
“It is both his story, and at the same time the history of Kenya; it is a memoir, but at the same time a practical political science tome; on another reckoning, it is a journey of a deceptively simple, quiet and humble civil servant, yet also an explosive dossier of a seasoned technocrat who has presided over important epochs in the history of our nation,” said Kamau.
Muthaura has served all of Kenya’s presidents, from Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
However, the height of his service came during Kibaki’s tenure, when he literally masterminded the public service.
During this year’s Nairobi International Book Fair, Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale, who was a special guest, courtesy of his memoir, For The Record, paid glowing tribute to Muthaura.
Duale, in his tribute, said that Muthaura’s tenure as the head of civil service is a yardstick through which all civil servants should draw lessons.
With such rare praise from one of the key pillars of Ruto’s government, it is, therefore, safe to say that indeed Muthaura knew his game, and that game – statecraft – is what he shares in the memoir launched last Thursday.
International Criminal Court
Muthaura had a stellar career in the civil service, that was almost ruined when he together with five other individuals. were hauled before the International Criminal Court (ICC), charged with crimes against humanity, a charge he vehemently contested, famously dismissing the whole trial as ‘manifest nonsense’.
During the launch, Kuria, who declared himself as a Kibaki and Muthaura diehard, said that Moreno Ocampo, the former ICC prosecutor, got his facts wrong. “The Muthaura I know is not a murderer; the Muthaura I know is not a rapist,” said Kuria.
Although in his speech Muthaura merely mentioned that his tribulations at the ICC are contained in the book, it is Kiraitu who dealt with the issue at length, indicating that the trial occupies a large section of the book. Kiraitu said that the ICC trial left too many mental and emotional scars on Muthaura. He attributed the open heart surgery on Muthaura, to what he underwent at The Hague.
“The pain was too much, considering what he had done for the country; you do a lot of good but it is not appreciated.” said the former Meru governor, adding that Muthaura is a man of character, integrity and humility.
He compared Muthaura’s tribulations at The Hague to the story of Jesus in the Bible; “Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead but was eventually betrayed…”
So why did Muthaura decide to write the memoir?
“First, so many things and events have happened during my life that I thought if those historical events are sequenced in a book, readers will benefit immensely from the history of this country, its culture, governance and national dynamics from the struggle for independence to the current state of our nation,” explained Muthaura.
Ngunjiri is the curator of Maisha Yetu, a digital Arts and Books media platform [[email protected] ]