If only Shakespeare were alive today! If only Shakespeare had been a Kenyan! If only Shakespeare had access to the internet and social media.
What a wealth of material the world’s best known playwright would have had. Surely he would have sharpened his quill pen and set about writing a new play.
It would have focused for certain on the sorry, no tragic, state of affairs that has beset the Kingdom Of Uhuru Kenyatta, a realm yet to come to terms with the nightmarish bout of civil unrest, mass killings, and horrendous inter- tribal fighting that followed the elections in 2007.
Shakespeare would not have had to look far for the larger than life dominant character of all his great plays. His Macbeth, his Hamlet, his Lear would have been easy for him to recognize in the group of characters who are today in Kenya acting out such extraordinary roles in the never-ending saga of the ICC.
Each of them plays a part, as Shakespeare wrote; “strutting and fretting his act upon the stage.”
- 1 Stop taking Kenyans in circles — Mudavadi tells Ruto
- 2 DP William Ruto at a crossroads
- 3 DP Ruto camp supports BBI but...
- 4 It is time for Martha Karua to lead Kenya
The trouble is, this is no theatrical production. This is real life, real intrigue in the ugly cockpit world of Kenyan politics where rivalries and jealousies have fed upon one another for generations where family feuds have coloured judgment, where patronage and power are inextricably mixed.
What benefits a politician in Kenya today is, alas, to the detriment of wananchi.
So where does our story, our tragedy begin?
What happens in scene one of the epic drama being performed on a daily basis by the elite political class in Kenya? How do the opening lines of “The Exceedingly Curious Case of Moses Kuria “ go?
Scene 1: The rich voices of a chorus of MPs in Kenya’s Parliament building rings out. “Don’t be vague, let’s go to the Hague.”
Scene2: Somebody in Holland is listening. The International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo announces six Kenyans are criminally responsible for the post election violence that lead to the death of at least 1,300 people.
Scene 3: The chorus approves. But we hear you say: where, oh where, is today’s main actor, Moses Kuria? WelI, you will have to be patient because he is waiting in the wings.
Scene 4: But at the HQ of President Mwai Kibaki and his Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, there is no celebration. Rather there is shock and bewilderment. It seemed to them that the court had made a mistake, or so they thought. After all their coalition government had given the impression that it was trying hard to get the country moving on. And two of the accused Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were leading lights and potential successors in their respective parties.
Scene 5: Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto decide to mend their political differences. Why? They are in opposing parties and they stand for different policies. But what binds them is the fact the ICC has accused them and is requesting them to come to the Hague and face trial. They are among the original Ocampo Six who have been named by the court. They are accused of inciting their supporters to fight one another.
Scene 1: Things are looking bad for both Kenyatta and Ruto who are, after all, the highest profile of the accused. This demand to come to court could ruin both their political careers. Something has to be done.
Scene 2: A prayer meeting somewhere in Kenya. The two young pretenders turn on Raila Odinga, another pretender. They accuse him of fixing the charges so that he can ascend to power. They move around the country, attending prayer meetings.
Scene 3: The steps of the ICC building in the Hague, Holland. A choir, a different choir of Kenyan MPs renders in full voice the national anthem. They are there to support their two favourites, Uhuru and Ruto. The charges are solemnly read out and their presence is acknowledged by the court.
Scene 4: Treachery rears its ugly head! Ruto returns to Kenya and threatens to leave the ODM, his party and that of his political mentor, Raila Odinga. He believes they have abandoned him to the mercy of international justice.
Scene 5: The ICC formally presses the charges against four Kenyans, including Wiliam Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta.
Scene 1: Kibaki dispatches diplomats and top government spin doctors all around the world. The mission is to try and rescue the Ocampo Four and Kenya’s international image. But it doesn’t work. And what’s more the 2012 elections are coming up.
Scene 2: Uhuru and Ruto join forces. They make a formidable team and they spend their time going the country defending themselves against the accusations they face. The ICC is a tool of the west, the imperialists, a plot to dictate to ordinary Kenyans who their leaders ought to be, and that Raila is being manipulated too. Some of this propaganda is being conveyed by a little known PNU strategist called Moses Kuria.
Scene 3: The election. Uhuru becomes president, Ruto becomes heir apparent. And Raila is opposition leader once again. The plan has worked. But still the shadow of the ICC looms large.
Scene 1: Uhuru’s charges are dropped for lack of evidence. But Ruto still has to deal with the ICC nightmare. It just won’t go away. But that is not the only problem.
The political marriage between Uhuru and Ruto was based on political convenience.
At the time of the nuptials it suited them both to share the same capacious political bed. But now the relationship, like that of many newly weds, is becoming strained.
Scene 2: A thunderbolt and lightning strike the stage. A body is found belonging to a man whom the ICC claim was a prosecution witness. He is found in a river bed in Kapsabet. And there begins the mystery of the man who died or never died. Now it becomes clear that someone was preventing witnesses from coming to court. And what is as disturbing is that several witness who were due to testify have now recanted their statements. Something foul was in the air. What’s more, the court rules that it will admit evidence from witnesses who had since recanted their evidence or those who had died.
Scene 5: Politicians aligned to Ruto are terribly shaken. They too cry foul. The grip of the Hydra-headed monster is growing tighter. What to do? Another round of prayer meetings seems the answer.
Scene 1: Enter the Procurer. A prayer meeting is astounded by the remarks of Moses Kuria. The Gatundu South MP alleges that he was part of a plot to get witnesses to give evidence against William Ruto. He says that he did so at the behest of the ruling party, PNU.
Scene 2: Raila issues a statement that accuses President Kenyatta of being involved.
Scene 3; A confused Kenyan public look on and wonder at the absurdity and try to fathom its way through the clouds of confusion created by the latest twists and turns in this story. One man believes one thing, another something quite the opposite. Where to turn to? Perhaps today will bring an answer. Because this morning an ICC investigator appears on the scene.
He has been dispatched here to try and sort out fact from fiction, truth from lies, half truth from rumour. Good luck to him.
But for a satisfactory ending to this drama, perhaps Shakespeare should enter the theatre of Kenyan politics. He alone, probably, could make sense of it.