Saturday, April 16, 2005

What Can We Learn from the Ouster of Ms. Gladwell Otieno?

Onyango Oloo's Gut Reaction to NAK's Latest Outrage

Ms. Gladwell Otieno, forced out by Kibaki's aides from TI Kenya

These shameless, corrupt political THUGS around Mwai Kibaki are so BRAZEN.

Not content with being pathetic screw ups within official NARC government circles, they are now fanning out to rein in dissent within the broader civil society sector.

Of course the presence of Kibaki sidekick and confidant

Joe Wanjui on the board of Transparency International Kenya is the clearest pointer that many so called NGOs are really GONGOs (as in Government connected NGOs). To that extent the whole Transparency International "arms length" so called independence was an obscene sham.

It would appear as if Ms. Otieno’s fatal crime was not keeping up the charade, of being her own person.

You see, back in 2003 right up to the first part of 2004, many of the Kibakites saw organizations like Transparency International, FIDA, NCEC, Centre for Governance and Democracy to be NAK affiliated outfits that could and in fact did provide ideological support to the Murungis and Kibakis during those heady Bomas stand offs.

At that time, a key section of the Kenyan civil society sector saw themselves as the true keepers of the national democratic flame- they were the ones who had dirtied their hands in the trenches of the nineties reform movement, they were the folks who were the bedrock of the change the constitution movement; the middle class town criers who alerted the outside world about the excesses of the dying Moi-KANU kleptocracy.

Mostly Nairobi based, this wing of the Kenyan civil society movement viewed with barely disguised suspicion and even slight contempt the unvarnished hordes of rural based community based organizations and ethno-cultural associations who came from the so called "KANU zones".

Quite frankly, there was more than a hint of ethnic tension percolating under the uneasy divide between the superstars of the mainstream civil society movement and the so called usurpers-especially because some of the key players in the latter camps had been long time supporters of the former ruling party KANU.

So that is why when Kibaki came to power, many of the mainstream civil society players saw NAK as "their wing" of the government with the LDP seen as little more than a KANU front scheming for a restoration of the ancien regime.

When key civil society figures like Maina Kiai, John Githongo and Makau wa Mutua were tapped to head government friendly task forces, commissions or key positions in the civil service, it was seen to be a boon and a victory for the reformers who had slogged on for years.

Of course, in these rounds of high profile appointments, there were glaring passovers- for instance, many observers widely expected Dr. Willy Mutunga to be tapped as the new Attorney General and many shared his outrage when Kibaki, through a road side announcement made the former law professor and one time detainee a member of a useless university based sinecure which he promptly and famously declined to take up. The appointment of the key gatekeeper of the Kenyan NGO movement, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana as an assistant minister in a strategic ministry was seen as another feather in the cap of the reformers.

Early last year, when the Onyango Oloos, Miguna Migunas and Adongo Ogonys were blasting Kiraitu and Kibaki for dragging their feet over constitutional reforms, our very close comrades and friends like Orina Nyamwamu and Kepta Ombati were taking their fellow Bomas delegates to court. Looking back, I still consider that stand off within the Kenyan civil society sector as a weird kink and wrinkle within an otherwise very closely knit social justice family.

Fortunately, over the last six to eight months the scales have kinda fallen off the visage of even the most starry eyed aficionados of the Murungaru-Kiraitu-Kibaki gang with many erstwhile civil society cheer leaders realizing that the sloth, the graft, the avarice, power mania of the kitchen cabinet around Kibaki is way beyond the pale. Coalescing as the Multi-Sectoral Forum aka the Yellow Movement(I still insist that is an unfortunate name for a movement with aspirations for militancy) the reawakened and rejuvenated Kenyan civil society movement seems set for greater things. Those of us who find ourselves outside the country are quite amped up with all this new political energy.

One of the problems the NAK mandarins have is that the people they thought they could control- the Githongos, the Jane Kiragus, the Gladwell Otienos are no longer playing ball-and perhaps never did.

Remember my Nairobi Deep Throat?

Well, one of the things he told me about Githongo was very fascinating. Githongo’s dad I am told is what in Kenya is the equivalent of "old money"-the senior Githongo founded the first African owned accounting firm in Kenya. Baba John was also apparently close to the people around Kibaki. The younger Githongo was considered a dream downloaded from paradise: he had impeccable credentials as an anti-corruption fighter, but he was also andu aitu. Deep Throat told me that the people around Kibaki rubbed their fingers in smug satisfaction- expecting that John Githongo would do a half-assed job: make a show of "fighting corruption a little" while turning the other way when the Murungarus and Mwirarias revved up their looting sprees. But they did not believe that John Githongo was NAK’s own "Black Eyed Incorruptible", a decent reformer who actually believed in the crusade against graft. Too late in the grand stealing game the thieves in the Kibaki regime found out that Githongo was NOT going to be playing along to their thievery, their cover up and their hypocritical claptrap about fighting corruption while trying to out Goldenberg Goldenberg. Deep Throat told me that I was too harsh on John Githongo when I tagged him as the UK’s point man-Githongo LITERALLY had to flee for his life because of the kind of Pandora’s Box he had uncovered.

And when Jane Kiragu of the pro NAK FIDA resigned from Aaron Ringera’s hoax of an anti-corruption eating position, this sent shock waves, because she too was expected to cover up for the Nyoomba.

Ms. Gladwell Otieno was supposed to be a coup. The fact that she is of Luo/Gikuyu parentage- the daughter of SM Otieno and the famous Wambui Mbugua was considered politically correct. Again, there must have been an unspoken expectation that she would treat the Murungarus, Ndwigas and Mwirarias with kid gloves, looking the other way when the Anglo Fleecing scandals erupted.

We saw how a certain Nairobi publication deliberately planted a false story in the media to try and besmirch her reputation and undermine the credibility of Transparency International Kenya. Even after she issued a statement clarifying that the government was reacting to a media spin of a report that was available online, the NAK wagons continued circling with those deranged vultures waiting to drink her blood.

Her ouster today and the arrest of NARC MP Reuben Ndolo should be a clear sign that these desperate hoodlums around our invalid President are prepared to introduce open fascist methods of political control.

Wanjui and his thugs were arguing from a position of insecurity when they demanded that Ms. Gladwell Otieno resign. It is a clear act of cowardice and desperation and speaks to the vitality of the Kenyan civil society sector. Coming a day after John Githongo’s press conference, this is a naked warning to dissenting critical voices in the civil society movement within Kenya. These old men are so frightened of the feisty younger generation voices like Githongo, Gladwell and others.

In this context, is it not comical to hear Lucy Kibaki basically banishing people in their 30s and 40s from even contemplating running for senior political office. According to the defacto President of Kenya, her spouse is in the running come 2007 and Kenyans outside the DP circles should forget about ruling Kenya for the next twenty years. The last time I heard something this STUPID is when some KANU sycophants(was it Oloo Aringo or Joseph Kamotho) went delirious, boasting that KANU would rule Kenya for 100 years.

So what happens next?

Well, if I were Ms. Gladwell Otieno, I would be very relieved.

I think that the Multi-Sectoral Forum should convene a press conference and DENOUNCE Joe Wanjui and his cohorts for pushing out the Executive Director of one of the most effective NGOs in Kenya. This should be a wake up call- what was Joe Wanjui doing on the board of TI Kenya in the first place?

The Kibaki Dictatorship(yes, that is an accurate statement) should brace itself for ferocious battles with its own voters- who feel disgusted, betrayed and very, very pissed off.

Lucy and Mwai Kibaki should press pause on their delirious Tawala NAK Tawala! video and contemplate the practical manifestation, within the Kenyan context of this old Latino left wing slogan:

El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido !

Onyango Oloo

No comments: