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Mystery of the audio on Uhuru slapping and who gained from it

President Uhuru Kenyatta with his deputy William Ruto at State House Gardens, Nairobi. [PCSU]

Kenya is a land of many mysteries, political and others. Some are currently sensational and others remain deep in history, waiting for unravelling.

Those that wait for unravelling include the whereabouts of Dedan Kimathi’s remains, what happened to Stanley Mathenge, the killing of Pio Gama Pinto and Tom Mboya, the 1982 coup attempt, and the 2007 poll violence. Each of them raises more questions than answers in that some of the given explanations defy common sense.

Claims that Kimathi’s grave site is unknown contradict the 1968 government statement that the grave was well taken care of. Mathenge’s saga implied that the Mwai Kibaki government was so dense that an old Ethiopian could con it into giving him a fully paid one-week holiday at the Pan-Afric Hotel and return him safely to Ethiopia.

The why of Pinto’s and Mboya’s death still baffle; was Pinto’s death accidental in that something went wrong somewhere? Was Mboya’s assassination international made to look domestic?

Pio Gama Pinto. [File, Standard]

There are hanging issues in the 1982 attempted coup and the 2007 chaos; the offered explanations lack depth and appear to hide something. They remain mysterious, sensational, and good research territory for future historians. The present mysteries are also captivating. International mysteries include Russia beating up on Ukraine whose ramifications show three interrelated things.

First, it reveals such world interconnectedness that disturbances in one place affects places far away. Second, are the socio-economic dislocations that threaten existing governments. In Britain, Boris Johnson can hardly survive. Third, are the warnings to leaders to heed advice and not to allow vanity to overtake common sense. World leaders seemed to have lost common sense because had they been more caring about the concerns of the others or less provocative and arrogant, the violence in Ukraine would probably not have occurred.

In Kenya, one of the most fascinating mysteries is the leaking of an audio recording in the Karen residence of Deputy President William Ruto. Who taped and leaked Ruto’s confidential discussions with invited elders from Kiambu led by Captain Kungu, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cousin, and why?

There are two possible theories or explanations. First is that Ruto, or his men and women, did the deed and then tricked the Azimio team to ‘love’ the audio so much that Azimio took pride in publicizing it. If so, Azimio fell into the Ruto trap with Junet Mohamed, Raila’s political major-domo, repeatedly playing the audio in rallies in attempt to make Ruto sound violent. Thereafter, other Azimio honchos seemingly enjoyed challenging Ruto to physical confrontations.

The second theory was that of ‘walls’ having ‘ears’ and then developing ability to tell what they heard. The theory of walls having ears is traced to supposed exchanges between President Jomo Kenyatta and James Kanyotu about private buddy-like talks that Kenyatta and Mbiu Koinange had had.

James Kanyotu. [File, Standard]

When Jomo supposedly asked how Kanyotu had found out, the answer was simple, ‘walls have ears’. Did the walls in Karen have ears that transformed themselves into mouths to relay juicy titbits to selected audiences? If so, whom did the walls intend to embarrass, Uhuru or Ruto? Whatever the leaking reasoning, mischief prevails.

Of the two explanations, the first sounds more plausible. Ruto probably taped himself and released the audio to the Azimio team to make Uhuru look and sound wimpy. If so, this would fall into the pattern of adjusting Uhuru’s voice, in the social media, to make him sound like a crybaby.

Ruto defended his supposed desire to slap Uhuru as rescuing him from the pith of surrender. In leaking the audio, he also broke the trust of his guests. While outsmarting Azimio makes political sense, breaking the confidence of well-meaning and trusting elders, does not. It makes him look diabolical.