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The Venerable Charles Njonjo’s Gift to Uhuru in 2002 and Its Historic Meaning Then and Now

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Always humbled to know former AG Charles Njonjo or “Sir Charles” as he’s iconically referred to is one of those notables who follow and read my blog or column.

Indeed, some many years ago when I started penning the column, I was informed by the Star the former AG’s personal office staff had made an inquiry in his behalf as to my contact information and noted he was interested in meeting with yours truly.

Although he thought I was in Kenya, he was informed I am based in the US and in time, a meeting was arranged and I met him in Nairobi on my next trip there.

From first lunch meeting at Nairobi Club and others that would follow since, all I can say is the man is every bit the iconic and historic figure we have always known him to be. It is an honor and privilege to know him I just hope he would have agreed for yours truly to pen his memoirs but this is something he has resisted over the decades and it’s doubtful he would change his mind about it now.

When you hear the expression “if walls can talk,” well, this is one “wall” if it talks we would know a whole lot more about the Jomo Kenyatta and early Moi era than we now know and will completely come to understand why things happened the way they did.

We will also come to more fully understand why Mzee Njonjo decided to support Raila in his presidential quest against Uhuru’s bid.

Kenyans.co.ke tells a story about a symbolic gift Njonjo gave to Uhuru back in 2002 when Uhuru was trying to be president for the first time, in-experienced as he was and virtually against everyone’s expectation other than Moi who was fronting him.

According to the story, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s close aide Duncan Ndegwa, in his memoir Walking in Kenyatta’s Struggle, narrated that on the day that the embattled Uhuru was commemorating the 24th anniversary of his father’s demise during the 2002 presidential campaign, Kenyatta’s trusted aide Charles Njonjo came to him with an unlikely gift.

It was a cap Kenyatta senior used to wear matching Jaramogi’s in the early years of their friendship but took it off and never to wear it again after the acrimonious fall-out between the two.

Ndegwa stated that there was a general surprise amongst some individuals present at the commemoration who were old enough to recognize the cap since it had not been seen in public for 36 straight years since Kenyatta had taken it off.

The reason for why Njonjo gave Uhuru the cap, it is believed, was a call it was time to build bridges between Uhuru and then rebel Raila Odinga to rekindle the relationship that their fathers had and lost.

That never really happened back then (2002) but it has certainly happened and still happening now following the handshake that took place on March 9, 2018.

We appreciate people like Sir Charles Njonjo from Central Kenya who have long known, and others will soon know the only way forward with a one and united Kenya, is to bury the past woes and open a new book of togetherness and love for one another as brothers and sisters, all equal under the eyes of God.

This is what the handshake is all about and ditto BBI which is intended to implement the vision behind the handshake and in tandem with what Sir Charles and like minded also had in mind those many years ago.

It’s befitting that this vision comes to fruition in their lifetime, even as the future generation reaps the benefit.

 

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2019 in Politics, Uncategorized

 

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Raila Rescues Forgotten Chelagat Mutai; Another Writing On The Wall For Ruto & Company

I was saddened to read a story in today’s Standard Online about former MP Philemena Chelagat Mutai and her tribulations since before and after the Moi regime. I was particularly moved reading how the former MP is quoted as saying,”When things got too much, I decided to reach out to the Prime Minister and I am so happy he acted quickly to help save my life.”

Politics aside, I was just moved by the human story in this: while she is not alone in suffering in the country, Hon. Mutai is practically alone in suffering this much and for this long simply because she was among a small number of politicians who stood their ground against the Moi regime and KANU at a time even fewer politicians dared never to even try.

Conversely, had she played ball and lined her pockets with what was likely to be the reward, especially coming from Eldoret as she does, P Mutai probably will be at the top in the country in every respect and probably running for president herself.

What a sad irony in by itself.

Indeed, Hon. P Mutai’s saying she is happy the Prime Minister “acted quickly” to “save her life” says a lot not just about this unheralded hero of reforms in Kenya and RAO, the caring PM but it also says a lot about the state of our country where those who have been at the forefront in fighting corruption and impunity, such as Ms. Mutai have essentially been left to suffer the consequences of their unselfish, determined and nationalistic actions while the beneficiaries of the very corruption and high-handedness they fought are riding high and ebullient, even to this day.

Fortunately, the gallant efforts by Mutai and others are finally albeit slowly but surely coming to fruition as manifested in the passage of the new Constitution, and onwards now to implementation of the reforms they fought for in ensuring justice and equality of opportunity for all Kenyans.

To be sure, not all Kenyans have forgotten about these gallant efforts by Mutai and others, however.

By coming to Mutai’s rescue, the story confirms Raila as not just being the compassionate person he is–unlike false accusations to the contrary by some elements aghast about his success and prospects to be president, but the story also confirms that there are those jailed by Moi and who suffered immensely like Raila who would come to the aid of a fellow fighter and compatriot just as Raila has done, as soon as he found out, in this case after Mutai reached out to him for help.

Raila puts it best in saying about Mutai, “She has been with us in the liberation struggle. I was saddened to hear she has been sick and we decided to bring her here for specialised observation. We are trying to reach out and assist people who participated in making Kenya what it is today.” Emphasis mine.

I know the Dean of Raila Bashers and his understudies are fumigating and are about to blast away as to how this is “opportunistic” about Raila and blah blah blah but let them do so; they can’t help it.

The gallant politician herself, her family, her friends and people of good will from across the country, who read or hear about the story, know otherwise and that’s all that really matters about this.

By reaching out to Raila, Mutai did not do so in a vacuum or oblivious of the political implications of such a reach-out but she is sending a clear message about the same at the same time and that is, when it comes to addressing real problems faced by Kenyans, ethnicity, tribalism and politics do not matter and if reaching out to the Prime Minister is seen as an endorsement of him as opposed to Ruto or the other presidential contenders, who she could have easily reached out to as well, if she wanted to make the opposite point, then count her on the side of being practical and true to her reformist self for she has more in common with RAO on this than the rest.

Looking at it from another perspective, this story, in many ways, is the story of Kenya today: even as we prepare to enjoy the fruits of the new reforms, let’s not forget those who have made it possible.

There are many who are barely alive today who have been victims of simply agitating for reforms and change of direction in Kenya.

The least we can do for them, is to at least say “Thank You!” to them.

I would, indeed, propose that Parliament passes a law to provide for such a recognition, coupled with a lawful kitu kidogo.

Electing Raila as president, of course, will be the highest reward one can get for their suffering and struggle for the liberation of our country from the yoke of imperial rule and corruption and I hope he is so rewarded, among other reasons, come 2012.

On a lighter note, I could not but laugh out aloud right after reading the sad but moving Mutai quote above when reading about the one and only Charles Mugane Njonjo (CMN) and his branding of Mutai and six other MPs back in the day as the “Bearded Seven Sisters.”

I remember when he said this, even though I don’t think it was funny then.

Say what you may about CMN but he was just brilliant, even as he was being brutal.

I will some-day blog about when I first saw him in action from up in the gallery in Parliament during the 1984 inquiry into his activities. Needless to say, I was impressed and I don’t know anyone who saw or read what CMN had to say during that time, who was not.

Anyway, I am still laughing for I know Churchill and others are funny but even they would have been hard-put to come up with the “Bearded Seven Sisters” line when describing a group that clearly included Mutai, which was basically a derogatory reference to her as a woman (bearded), and a derogatory of the bearded men as being undesirable communists.

(CMN, I saw him at a hotel I was staying in Nairobi early this year and had to wish him a happy 80th, which he was quietly celebrating there that day with his close family and friends).

Kenya has had colourful politicians, some like CMN will remain equally loved, hated, admired, feared and despised looking back for just being who they are and they have no equal in this regard.

Some, like Hon. P Mutai have rapidly risen to higher political office, only to be forced down to the very bottom below even where they started in life because of their struggle to liberate Kenyans from abusive and brutal rule and have been languishing barely above it simply for being who they are and they, too, have no equal in that regard.

They may yet again arise to even greater heights, God willing.

Indeed, asked if she would rejoin politics, Mutai said: “When I leave hospital, I will shop for a political party that can accommodate my ideologies.”

ODM is home to at least one of the “Bearded Seven” and is led by your other fellow compatriot in the struggle for liberation.

ODM is therefore the way to go, Mheshimiwa.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Politics

 

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