H.E. Emilio Mwai Kibaki, C.G.H, M.P,
President of the Republic of Kenya
Re: Open Letter About Use of Office for Personal Benefit
Dear Mr. President:
In a previous letter to you a few months ago, Your Excellency, I noted that you have served and continued to serve our country well, despite what happened during and after the disputed elections of 2007.
I also noted that you have done a good job in redeeming your legacy and that the only thing left to seal it, is for you to ensure peaceful handover of the presidency to your successor, preceded by a period of peaceful campaigning and elections.
While you have publicly not said much as to who you prefer as your successor as president, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that you must have a preference and are poised to do whatever you can to have that person elected.
That’s all good and well for this is politics we are talking about and no one can condemn you for having a preference for your successor but you will remain rightly condemned and forever so if you illegally or inappropriately use your office to prop up or support your preferred candidate.
It is with this in mind, Your Excellency, I write to you because in recent times, you have either conducted yourself or have allowed your office to be used in such a blatant manner as to suggest you are ready to illegally or inappropriately use your office to do just that, namely, prop up or support your preferred successor.
This is not only unacceptable, it’ll tarnish your reputation besides not being successful as Kenyans are now more wiser than ever before and will reject any efforts by you or anyone to once again try and ram down their throats as president someone they don’t want.
You know all about this because you were with them when they rejected the Uhuru project in 2002 that saw you propelled to the State House as Moi’s successor.
This fact notwithstanding, it is now openly being said and not without plenty of anecdotal evidence that the MP for Sabatia, Wycliff Musalia Mudavadi is your own project to succeed you.
I refer to Hon. Mudavadi as the MP for Sabatia, not as the Deputy Prime Minister because Mr. Mudavadi does not have a legal basis to hold the position of Deputy Prime Minister, having left ODM, the party that sponsored him for the position.
You or Mudavadi can hide behind the technical hurdles one has to overcome to have Mudavadi removed as DPM but if you were to follow the letter and spirit of the law, you would have long ago asked Mudavadi for his letter of resignation.
Ditto for Uhuru Kenyatta serving as DPM—and that notwithstanding your part of the coalition sponsored him for the position.
You have not done so, namely, asked for the resignation of these two politicians because it’s not in your political interest to do so.
That’s putting country second to your political needs and is therefore no doubt un-statesmanlike.
It is now also being reported in the news, and Mudavadi and his team are bragging that you are showcasing the Sabatia MP in your upcoming trip to the United States.
More specifically, the Mudavadi camp has issued a press statement bragging that Mudavadi will “represent Kenya at crucial meetings and be a key speaker at high-profile events,” adding that “[one] of the key invitations is to accompany President Mwai Kibaki to argue Kenya’s investment needs case at the Renaissance Group meeting.”
If, indeed, this is true as is being reported, it is condemnable on the grounds stated above, and that is, it’s both wrong as a matter of law and inappropriate as a matter of good governance and policy.
Showcasing Mudavadi in this manner is wrong as a matter of law because there is no legal basis for Mudavadi to represent the country in any of these events absent a clear explanation as to the unavailability of those who must do so as a matter of protocol and these are, in the order of priority, the Prime Minister, the Vice President, the Minister for Foreign Affairs or even a minister holding relevant portfolio such as the Minister for Planning and National Development.
Showcasing Mudavadi in this manner is also wrong and inappropriate as a matter of good governance and public policy because, as president, you are required to be neutral in matters affecting your succession to the extent you are not allowed to use state resources to prop up or support your preferred candidate as that would be in clear violation of Chapter Six of the constitution and many other laws.
Again, and to be sure, you do have a right to prop up or support any candidate you so choose to succeed you as president but what you don’t have is the right to use the office you hold in trust of the people to advance such a goal—at least not as flagrantly and in your face as would be the case were you to showcase Mudavadi as it’s being suggested.
There is also no doubt when you recently had Mudavadi read your message of condolences at the late People’s Watchman Martin Shikuku’s funeral when the PM was also present at the event violated rules of protocol but that’s far less a violation as it would be if you export these antics to foreign lands, not the least the United States in this auspicious occasion of the opening of the General Assembly.
For these reasons, Your Excellency, those of us who stand firmly for the rule of law and zero tolerance for abuse or misuse of state office for personal or selfish political gain kindly urge you to resist the temptation to use your office to prop up or support anyone to succeed you.
Indeed, as earlier noted, Your Excellency, you’ll go far in further redeeming and solidifying your legacy if from this time on to the day you had over power to your successor you conduct yourself as a statesman and rise above politics to advance only that what is good for the country and no one can make a case that attempting to ram down our throats yet another project is a good thing for the country.
This is our prayer and may the grace of God be with you as you ponder these and other heavy issues you must deal with as our president.
Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.