Sent by ODM Kenya
Our "clean" friend ...
-- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Kalonzo is a 'man behind the Mask'
By Sarah Elderkin
It seems that Kalonzo Musyoka, who has been at pains to promote himself as a man of impeccable integrity, might not be telling the full story concerning his past, perhaps hoping that people have short memories.
Kalonzo might not be the worst of our politicians - but anyone who decides to set himself up as 'Mr Spotless ' needs to be very sure that the facts don' t contradict him.
In May 1991, Kalonzo, then deputy speaker of the National Assembly, found himself committed to jail over a land dispute that involved what a High Court judge called "a serious and appalling fraud " by the law firm where Kalonzo was a senior partner - Musyoka & Wambua Advocates.
Mr Justice Frank Shields severely castigated Kalonzo and his legal partner, Paul Musili Wambua, for transferring and registering a piece of land that had been the subject of a longstanding dispute - despite their having received a court order to surrender the title deeds of the land in question.
Committed to civil jail
Shields committed the two to civil jail for contempt of court but they appealed for a stay of execution. This was refused by Shields, but the pair 's court adversaries, Johnson Dedan Murimi and Maina Murage, appearing for their client Matunda Estates Ltd, the original owner of the land, agreed not to press for enforcement of the order, and Kalonzo and Wambua therefore remained free, pending a Court of Appeal hearing.
The case in question concerned a piece of land in Athi River that Matunda Estates Ltd, represented by Murimi & Co Advocates, had agreed in September 1989 to sell to Kalonzo and Wambua ' s client, Access Insurance Company.
Access paid a 10 per cent deposit of shs.1.5 million and it was agreed that the remaining payment of shs.13.5 million be paid by November 15 the same year, just two months later.
Although Access had not yet made the full payment for the land, Murimi & Co - in an act of genuine good faith by them and Matunda Estates Ltd - forwarded to Kalonzo and Wambua the certificate of title, discharge of charge, land rent certificate and rates clearance certificate pertaining to the land in question.
Access failed to honour
When that date arrived, Access failed to honour its financial undertaking - but Kalonzo and Wambua did not return the documents in accordance with the agreement, and they continued to hang on to them, despite several subsequent requests by Murimi & Co that they be returned.
Eventually, in May 1990, Murimi and Murage decided they had no option but to apply to the High Court to force Kalonzo and Wambua to honour their professional commitment. Murimi & Co also argued that the land deal had failed and that Access should forfeit the shs.1.5 million deposit.
Kalonzo and Wambua in turn argued that they had found there was a charge on the property registered in the name of Middle Africa Finance Company. A long legal battle ensued, but eventually, some 16 months after the date when
full payment was supposed to have been made, Mr Justice Frank Shields found in favour of the applicants, and on March 18, 1991, Shields gave Kalonzo and Wambua 10 days to return the title deeds.
Land transferred and registered
On April 10, Murimi and Murage, represented by Waweru Gatonye, returned to court, seeking that Kalonzo and Wambua be committed to civil jail for contempt of court.
When the suit came up for hearing on May 20, Mutula Kilonzo, representing Kalonzo and Wambua, dramatically reveled to Mr Justice Frank Shields that the land had, in fact, already been transferred and registered under the name of Access Insurance Company.
Mutula told the court the order compelling his clients to hand over the title deeds had not been served on them personally, so they were therefore not in contempt of court.
He applied for a stay of the committal proceedings, as well as of the order requiring Kalonzo and Wambua to return the land documents to Matunda, on grounds that the pair had filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal. Shields responded that the application had been filed in a mischievous way.
Wambua and Kalonzo had shares
It turned out that not only had Kalonzo and Wambua not complied with the court order - even after they had discovered there was an application that they be committed to prison for failing to do so - but that, less than two weeks after the application had been lodged for their commitment to civil jail, they had, on April 18, 1991, said the affidavit, aggravated the contempt by " presenting, or participating in the presentation of, or failing to stop the presentation of, the documents of title with the land registry for registration on April 18, 1991" .
And that is what had happened. The land had been registered in the name of Access Insurance Company - of which, it transpired, Wambua was vice-chairman and in which Wambua and Kalonzo both owned shares.
There was further shocking information. Murage told the court that two caveats lodged against the title by Middle Africa Finance Company had been unlawfully removed or discharged, following which the discharge of charge and transfer were registered and the property transferred to Access, which had been issued with a new certificate of title the following day.
'A serious and appalling fraud'
The application for removal of the caveats had been made by lawyer Patrick Otieno Lumumba, acting for Kalonzo and Wambua and for Access Insurance, but Middle Africa Finance Company knew nothing about it.
In fact, Murage said, a letter from the registrar of titles giving Middle Africa Finance 45 days ' notice to withdraw the caveats against the title had apparently been written on February 27, 1991, yet it had not been received by Middle Africa Finance until 78 days later.
The envelope bore a stamp indicating its dispatch from the department of lands on April 24, 1991, but it had not been registered for postage at the general post office until May 14, 1991 - long after the 45 days' notice had expired, long after the caveats had been unlawfully lifted and long after the illegal transfer of the property from Matunda to Access had been effected.
This was quite sufficient for Shields, who said he was of the view that Kalonzo and Wambua had committed "a serious and appalling fraud ".
He requested that this be investigated by the attorney-general, and that the AG 's office and the Criminal Investigations Department take note of and look into how the title deed had apparently been illegally transferred.
An officer from the attorney-general 's chambers was present during the hearing as a ' friend of the court' and the possibility was evident that Kalonzo and Wambua risked criminal charges over the affair.
Kalonzo had been worried
about public exposure
He ordered that Access show why the court should not order the cancellation of the transfer of the disputed property.
Kalonzo had clearly been worried about public exposure in the case because, when it was first reported in the Daily Nation the previous month, he had responded in parliament by accusing the Nation of " open cheating and propaganda " against him.
He was supported in this by his neighbour, Yatta MP Gideon Mutiso, who said the newspaper 's report was "a malicious invention by the press to mar the good name of the deputy speaker and the august House ".
Kalonzo also took refuge, as he is wont to do, in the religious persona he had carefully created for himself at home (and has since promulgated nationwide and beyond), telling a Kitui Kanu recruitment meeting at the end of May (in rather stomach-churning words that in retrospect look very similar to Kamlesh Pattni 's recent excessive and affected piety), " When the situation looks awesome, a right hand appears, and then I see it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. "
There was no divine intervention
Cockar, said that, notwithstanding the agreement between counsel for the two parties that Kalonzo and Wambua be spared prison, " this court can still, if it so desires, enforce the order of Shields J, who does seem already to have granted considerable indulgence ".
Soon afterwards, Kalonzo 's lawyer, Mutula Kilonzo, finally appeared in court to present to Shields the documents pertaining to the disputed land, and he made a passionate appeal to the judge, saying, "The documents are forwarded in absolute good faith and as purge of contempt that you have found to have been committed. "
Shields responded by lifting the contempt order but he ordered the cancellation of the transfer of the land from Matunda to Access and directed the commissioner of complaints, the attorney-general and the Law Society of Kenya to investigate the matter further.
Apparently, the AG chose not to institute criminal proceedings, as nothing further was heard of the case.
Determined climb up the
greasy pole of establishment politics
No less intriguing is the story of Kalonzo Musyoka' s determined climb up the greasy pole of establishment politics, apparently without caring whose fingers he crunched beneath his boots on the way.
It is a story that Kalonzo would also probably prefer were glossed over - one that demonstrates how, beneath the outward display of suave urbanity, youthful good looks and professed Christian attitudes, there beats a heart driven by pure and unrelenting ruthlessness and opportunism.
Kalonzo entered Parliament via a by-election in 1985, after a policeman gone berserk had shot and killed the previous Kitui North incumbent, Philip Manandu - whom Kalonzo had contested against in 1983, when he polled an undistinguished 3,000 votes to come third behind Manandu, who won by a huge margin, polling more than 15,000 votes.
In the by-election after Manandu 's death, Kalonzo was the only candidate from the late MP' s home area, and he doubtless benefited from Kenyan voters ' well-known propensity for casting the sympathy vote after the death of a sitting MP.
Patronage paved the way
to many other introductions
The patronage of the powerful Kitili paved the way to many other introductions for the smooth-talking Kalonzo, and ensured that he became an increasingly familiar figure in the corridors of power.
Kitili was to lose his life in a car crash not many months later, leaving his prot ég é to move on to the camp of Kitili' s brother, Kyale Mwendwa, who, unopposed, took over Kitili 's mantle as MP in the ensuing by-election.
Kyale did not have the support of the whole district, however, and he particularly spoilt his chances by not getting along with his brother 's widow, Nyiva Mwendwa, who was also a powerful personality in Kitui District. Kalonzo saw which way the cookie was crumbling and realigned himself with Nyiva.
Kalonzo had by now been appointed an assistant minister for works, housing and physical planning. His climb up the establishment ladder continued apace, and the fact that he was cutting himself a very comfortable niche in Kanu was underlined when President Moi in 1987 paid his first-ever visit to Kitui North, to conduct a fundraising event.
Rival disqualified after
his nomination papers disappeared
Muliungi had become well known across the constituency through his work distributing famine relief supplies - and was also becoming the beneficiary of support from a significant contingent of Kitui North constituents living in Nairobi, who had previously been behind Kalonzo but who had become disenchanted with their MP throwing his weight around among the big boys and girls in Kanu, as if he alone were worthy of their ear.
Muliungi, however, was destined never to stand in any election that year. He was disqualified after his nomination papers inexplicably disappeared. Kalonzo, now with no challenger, sailed back into parliament under the ignominious Kanu nomination-stage 70 per cent rule of 1988.
This allowed those receiving 70 per cent of the vote at the party nomination stage to go straight into parliament, bypassing the election itself (in the process, disenfranchising anyone who was not a Kanu member, since only Kanu members were allowed to queue-vote at the nomination stage).
In this way, nearly 60 MPs, almost a third of the total National Assembly at the time, went to Parliament in 1988 without a proper election.
Most scandalous and fraudulent
Many of the nomination results were predetermined, winners were declared losers and losers declared winners, those with the shortest queues were said to have the longest if they were the government-favoured candidates, results were declared before the voters were counted and so on.
Kalonzo, who had worked hard to prove himself a true Kanu man, was said to have polled one of the highest vote percentages in the country, 84.4, and he was among those who returned to parliament without facing the ballot box.
Once back in the House, Kalonzo continued polishing his political star, and it continued to shine ever brighter. Still aged only 35, he was two months later elected deputy speaker of the National Assembly, then in September the same year was elected Kanu national organising secretary, becoming the youngest MP ever to hold two such posts simultaneously.
Roundly castigated government
In particular, he assured himself of a grateful pat on the head every time he roundly castigated any government critic - which he did at every opportunity. Moi was so impressed by Kalonzo 's zeal, in fact, that he even came out publicly to praise him as a diligent and steadfast supporter of government policies.
In this guise of staunch government defender, Kalonzo in 1989, the year after his re-election, criticised the Daily Nation in a long harangue in parliament, accusing the paper of every kind of evil against MPs and the nation, as well as of sacking a former personnel manager for seeking to contest a Kanu post.
Parliament rallied behind Kalonzo 's motion to bar the Nation from parliament, and for a while the newspaper was banned from reporting its proceedings.
What Kalonzo had neglected to tell the House, however, in an incident that raises serious questions about his honesty and his glibness in the art doublespeak, was that the personnel manager in question was his brother.
In the front line of those attacking Oginga Odinga
After the July 7, 1990, multi-party demonstrations that became known as Saba Saba and which led to the tragic detention of Kenneth Matiba, and also to the detention of Charles Rubia and Raila Odinga, it was Kalonzo who moved a motion of national importance in the House to discuss the events of that day, attacking with scathing hatred both multiparty advocates and the US Embassy under the leadership of Ambassador Smith Hempstone, who had thrown his weight firmly behind the multiparty movement.
Kalonzo was right up there again in the front line of those attacking Oginga Odinga after Odinga had tried, on March 13, 1991 (before the repeal of Section 2a), to register the National Democratic Party - the young Kalonzo going as far as to warn the venerable politician against what he termed " a treasonable act" .
Later, when Odinga announced his intention to sue Vice-President George Saitoti for libel over remarks Saitoti had made about Odinga when addressing UK parliamentarians in London, Kalonzo jumped in to call a press conference at Kanu headquarters, where he described Odinga' s actions as " the height of bad manners aimed at bringing the office of the vice-president into disrepute" .
Saitoti had called Odinga a Communist and accused him of importing Soviet arms into the country in order to overthrow the government. Recognising a golden opportunity, Kalonzo took particular trouble to go into much greater detail about activities Odinga had been accused of in the past.
Newspaper accused of having
a sinister motive
Kalonzo himself threatened that, if the libel suit went ahead, the government would mount a strong defence - "very strong indeed, so that Oginga Odinga will never again ever think it is possible to play around ".
Kalonzo held aloft a copy of the Daily Nation, which had made Odinga 's lawsuit front-page news, and accused the newspaper of having a sinister motive for doing so. The Nation took Kalonzo to task in a no-nonsense editorial soon afterwards.
Kalonzo went on to detail what he considered Odinga' s political mistakes and wrongdoings since 1944 - though, as The Weekly Review observed, Kalonzo also " managed to demonstrate a certain shoddiness in his research work by making mistakes on dates of great significance.
For instance, Kalonzo claimed that the precursor of Kanu, the Kenya African Union, was banned in 1953, when it was in fact banned in 1952 at the declaration of the state of emergency. Kalonzo also claimed that the famous Limuru Kanu conference that outmanoeuvred Odinga from the party vice-presidency was held in 1965, when it was actually held the following year."
The Weekly Review noted that the statement issued by Kalonzo about Odinga 's alleged past "dwelt on matters that were of great public debate when they took place. The interesting thing is that some of the accusations against Odinga were denied by the very government of the day. "
No let-up in Kalonzo
's onslaught on
The previous night, Odinga said, some thugs had broken into the house but had been repelled by watchmen before they could accomplish whatever it was they had intended.
It was a plan, Odinga said, that had been hatched in " quarters not too difficult to guess ". He told reporters that, the following day, more than 10 police officers in two Land Rovers had picked him up in Kisumu and asked him to accompany them to Bondo.
Odinga said he had asked for a search warrant, which the police did not have, pleading with him that they were only following orders. They did not say whose orders these were or what they were looking for but they left empty-handed after a three-hour search.
Odinga said the intention had been to frighten him and others agitating for political change, and that the incident had been part of an intimidation campaign that had included an earlier break-in at Matiba' s home and an assault on Mrs Edith Matiba that had left her with a fractured skull, a break-in at the home of outspoken anti-establishment CPK Bishop David Gitari in 1989, and the continued public harassment of pro-pluralism CPK Bishop Henry Okullu and lawyer Paul Muite.
Undisguised contempt for
At the time, the position of speaker of the National Assembly was vacant, the previous speaker, Moses arap Keino, having resigned. Kalonzo, as deputy speaker, had been a frontrunner for the job, which he clearly coveted.
But his firm 's murky dealings with regard to the Athi River land case were perhaps too much even for members of the discredited sixth Parliament to stomach.
Was Kalonzo prevailed upon not to stand, or did he foresee his firm 's legal acrobatics being embarrassingly brought up in any campaign for the seat? In the end, he played safe and did not put his name forward. There was only one applicant for the job, and Professor Jonathan Ng' eno was appointed in early June 1991.
All this is not to say that people cannot reform. We hope they can, and we should encourage them to do so and praise them for it. Truth and reconciliation are very, very important for our country.
But the first word there is truth. We cannot move forward to reconciliation and a brighter future by perpetuating the lie that our past has been perfect. Our politicians, rather than going into denial and trying to market themselves as spotless, need to recognise their mistakes, own up, learn from them and attempt to do better.
After all, if a politician can 't recognise that things he did in the past were wrong, how can anyone be sure that he won 't repeat them in future?
Sarah Elderkin, a former managing editor of The Weekly Review, is a freelance journalist.
Editor 's note: In September 2005, as the referendum campaigns shook the country, the then Internal security minister Mirugi Kariuki threatened that the case against Mr Kalonzo Musyoka could be revived.
Kalonzo said the case in which a law firm he was linked to was involved, was resolved 16 years ago. He said it was not a criminal case and that the contempt proceedings were occasioned by delay in returning the title deed. But he said it was purged when it was delivered. He read a sinister motive in the threat, particularly given the timing.
GALAMORO : Riwruok mar JOLUO e Piny Ngima, orwaku uduto mondo ubed e kanyakla mar burani. Ornwa nyingi gi nondi kaka obedo. Riwruok e teko joka Nyanam.
Copyright © 1999-2007, Jaluo dot com
All Rights Reserved