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Waki commission statements were changed in report, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chief advisor on political affairs opens up

POLITICS
By - MWANIKI MUNUHE | October 20th 2013
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chief advisor on political affairs Nancy Gitau. [PHOTO: COURTESY]

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chief advisor on political affairs Nancy Gitau is said to be one of the most powerful figures in the Jubilee administration. She is one of the people mentioned by a prosecution witness at the ICC as having played a role in getting witnesses to fix Deputy President William Ruto before the Waki Commission. In spite of her power and influence for last six years she has been in government, Ms Gitau has never granted a media interview. Our Senior Writer MWANIKI MUNUHE exclusively interviewed her at State House, Nairobi. Excerpts:

You have been mentioned in the ongoing ICC cases as one of the state officials who were procuring witnesses for the Waki Commission to fix the Deputy President William Ruto, what do you make of this?

Many people have been mentioned before the International Criminal Court, I have no idea what number I could be, and many more people will continue to be mentioned. I felt humiliated not because I was mentioned, but because this is the most humiliating thing for Kenya and Africa in general. The point is, I don’t take this ICC business as a comedy; this is a tragedy. Many people will be mentioned but this is a tragedy whichever way you look at it.

You were a senior government official when the Waki Commission was appointed; did you have any role in the commission whatsoever?

I will tell you facts as they are; I attended almost all the Waki Commission hearings. I would attend as an ordinary citizen. I heard all the stories. In fact, I also attended the Krigler Commission meetings. Equally, I had access to the Waki Commission evidence, I spent a whole weekend reading all the 1,900 statements filed with the commission and I read cover to cover of the Waki report. What shocked me is that what I heard in the Waki Commission meetings and what I read in the statements is not what was contained in the report. There was a retreat in Naivasha to discuss this report; I was the first person to say that this matter must never be allowed to go to the ICC. I did not think our institutions had gone to the dogs. We are not a failed state.

 

But Kenyan Parliament voted in favour of ICC, effectively, the country through Koffi Annan took itself to The Hague. Comment?

No, the motion in Parliament was whether or not a local tribunal should be established. In fact, we did not even seem to know what a local tribunal meant in the first place. That motion of establishing a local tribunal was lost. But that did not mean that a motion to take the country to ICC had been adopted. In other words, failure of this motion was not equal to ICC.

And let me be honest with you, I am not one of the people who give Koffi Annan the credit he has been given by other people. He is part of our problem. He has been part of this long programme just like Maina Kiai. These NGO people have something in common, they are fluent, they know how to hold the fork, and they attend cocktails and are given a platform in big forums which they use to undermine their country and its institutions.

 

What programme are you referring to?

There has been a programme to portray Africa in a certain way that we are still very primitive. This programme is done for a purpose and that purpose may not be necessarily political. They call it civilisation programme. ICC is part of the programme. NGOs have been used to further this programme by undermining their own institutions and thus setting a certain public opinion. Listen to the description of the dress code of the people who were allegedly cutting each other’s neck have been given. Ask yourself; do you see the people that ICC is describing in your villages, where do they live? When did killing become normal, whose project is this? Africa must see this project for what it is and we must tell them ‘this is your project have it’.

 

This is a Kenyan case; it is not an African case, why do you keep on talking about Africa and not Kenya?

I say Africa because ICC is about two people, the owners and the clients. ICC like many other people have said was meant for Africa not the European countries. Former colonial masters still think civilisation process is still on, they need tools to do that and ICC is one of them. Why do they shake when Africa threatens a mass exodus yet Africa comprises of just about 27.8  per cent membership? The owners like the Dutch are happy. How much money do you think Kenya is exporting to their countries by all these travels, accommodation, hiring of lawyers. Somebody should do this calculation. They fund NGOs and purport to give independent voices yet the NGOs themselves are part of the owners of ICC.

 

But there are African lobby groups that are not necessarily Kenyan and are supporting the ICC trials?

I have checked and I think they are about 30 lobby groups. What is clear is that they get their funding from one source that technically owns them. They are agents of neo-colonialism. They are agents of creating the impression that African systems don’t work. Some colonial masters still think they left Africa too soon.

How does you current job and the previous one compare?

I am happy to be working at home. During my previous job at USAID I travelled extensively and nowhere did I hear people talking ill of their countries. Just like in a family set up, you may not like your brother or sister very much but you don’t go shouting about it in the market. I think I am most satisfied working for my country especially working under a hardworking and caring President who feels very strongly about the future of the country.

 

You mentioned you worked at USAID for about 17 years, what were you doing at USAID?

I was the team leader in the democracy and governance sector, it was an exciting job because I got to travel to many countries across the world. Around 1992 during the multiparty struggles, I spearheaded a programme to strengthen the Kenyan Parliament. We pushed through creation of house committees amongst other legislations. Many of the NGOs you see today got their first funding on my signature including Kenya National Human Rights Commission because at that time, their push coincided with our interest in democracy and good governance. I pushed this programme for about six years. Essentially, my job entailed working closely with the embassy, liaising with state department in the management of human rights and democracy governance programme in Kenya.  But before joining USAID, I had worked under Undugu programme; I worked in many slums across the country. I worked in Coast region, Central, Nyanza. I was shocked by life in slums particularly because I had not seen a slum before in my village. But what I never saw in slums is negative ethnicity. People lived in peace and there was no fear of violence.

 

After 17 years of an exciting job at USAID, why did you quit to join government?

First of all, I did not apply to join the former President Kibaki’s administration. I was called to join the government in the year 2007.  Somebody called me and said he was calling from State House who I later learnt was Stanley Murage who would later become my boss. I met him at Serena Hotel, Nairobi.  He requested me to join government but I could not agree because it never crossed my mind I would ever work for the government. So I told him I was happy at USAID. He later called me but this time to State House where I met him and after a long discussion, I agreed to take a position in government.

Nancy Gitau schooled in Mukumu Girls in Kakamega County. She is a holder of Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Masters, University of Nairobi. Gitau worked for USAID for at least 17 years.

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