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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Ordeal of a green horn

Kethi Kilonzo pulled
through muddy waters

What was expected to be the mother of all battles between the ruling Jubilee and CORD alliances on the Makueni County soil is now a rumble in the corridors of Justice.
Kethi Kilonzo and former VP Kalonzo Musyoka


For before they face it off on the dusty terrain of Ukambani, they must square it out in courts.
The court route has become handy as pundits see it as the only forum where Jubilee can slay the dragon Kethi Kilonzo has become in the race to succeed her late father- Mutula Kilonzo as Senator for Makueni.
To let her slip into the ballot paper- her glaring illegibility notwithstanding- is sure disaster for Jubilee since Makueni voters seem hell bent to elect anything bearing the name Kethi Kilonzo- it does not matter whether she has any plan for Makueni or not, an attitude that seems to underline the stupidity of politics.
The fact is that Kethi has admitted allegedly using an expired passport to register as a voter at a station in Ngong Forest which she cannot remember. She used a photo copy of her ID during the registration because she had lost the original one. Laws do not allow use of a photo copy to register. She did not vote in the March 4 2013 election. Her name is not in any voter registers in the republic. The slip she holds as confirmation of registration bares the date of 2011, a year when registration of voters never took place. What is more; the slip was one among others that the IEBC claims were stolen. This set of facts stick out as a sore tore to face a soldier of integrity that Kethi passed for when she represented Africog at the Supreme Court petition against the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta. She lost the case.
The two coalitions were expected to stage a bare knuckle fight in the contest for the Makueni Senatorial seat but the fight has been postponed to allow the legal skirmishes to be concluded.
It is likely that the emerging facts about the case will deplete the high esteem Kenyans had in Kethi. However she denies any wrong doing, insisting that she is a registered voter whose role was to turn up to register.
Political temperatures were fever high soon after five candidates, among them Kethi were cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for the July 26 by election. But now, the truth is sinking that Kethi(Kikamba for raw) may indeed be a raw deal for voters.
The fact that IEBC cleared her knowing that her name was not anywhere on the voters roll has irredeemably tarnished the image of the electoral body and robbed it of any remnants of credibility it had after the last general election. Now observers are asking why did the IEBC approve the candidature of Kethi in the circumstances that her voter status stood. Did they do so to please the crowds that turned up that day or was it to please the Cord Brigade that had escorted her for the nominations? How then di IEBC hope to resolve the controversy they had created with this reckless, if not thoughtful, ineptitude?
CORD top leadership led by Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula  have campaigned twice for Kethi setting the stage for high level political intervention in the county. Even as the court battle rages, they are still flexing their muscles outside the county and courtrooms, spitting fire in all directions to underline the stakes involved in the race.
Jubilee leaders President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto are yet to set their feet in the county but sources close to them say it may just be a matter of time before they could take the county by storm.
But the tempo has drastically changed after the very same IEBC threw a spanner into the works nullifying her nomination certificate with the same zeal they had issued it.
The move angered Makueni residents who staged demonstrations in various trading centres including Kethi’s home market of Kikima, ironically to express solidarity with a candidate they hardly know anything about.
They did not even care that she never voted for her father in the last election or anyone else for that matter. Little did it matter that the lady who won the hearts of Kenyans by putting up a spirited fight in the Supreme Court, championing people’s rights to elect leaders- did not exercise that patriotic duty herself to cast a vote for Mutula-let alone Raila.
The state of affairs now leave Jubilee to take the flak for IEBC’s impropriety- with Kalonzo Musyoka charging that IEBC is TNA and TNA is IEBC.Indeed Kalonzo accuses TNA of deleting Kethi’s name from the voters roll, including the one in the offices of Wiper party since February 2013, long before anyone knew about this Kethi phenomenon.
They accused Jubilee of being behind her political evils and threaten to either boycott the polls or spoil the ballots by marking Kethi’s name on them      
“Top leadership of the two alliances appear to employ a wait and see elegance to the campaign”, said a resident- Peter Mwanthi, a long time Personal Assistant to Mutula who opposes Kethi’s candidature saying that it is a plot by Mutula enemies to ruin his family.
With less than two weeks into the election date which the High Court pushed to July 26 from 22,there is little visible activity on the ground, with the remaining candidates fearing to be seen to celebrate the Kethi political catastrophe.
Observers see the development as a still birth for the Mutula girl in politics and as a disaster for her as a budding lawyer whose credibility is as stake.
 The court battle aside, Kethi is facing an investigation for fraud and theft of official documents and could face criminal cases that may well ruin her image irreparably.
Unfortunately, given the hawks pushing and shoving her, Kethi has one choice- to push on-no retreat or surrender since whatever the case, the forces on the opposite side are awesomely condescending- in her own words, Kethi called them “my father’s enemies”.
Even then she may have to weigh the option of transferring her support to either Mwau or Kitundu in case her fight bears no fruit- which is the most likely scenario. Stay Anchored!
Kethi’s exit reduces the race to a two horse race between Jubilee’s Prof.Philip Kaloki and PICK’s John Harun Mwau.The other candidates are LPK’s Jane Kitundu and Albanus Katumo,an independent candidate.
Both Mwau and Katumo participated in the March 4 general election and lost to Mutula.
Mwau emerged a distant second with over 52,000 votes against Mutula’s more than 192,000.
The fight is now wide open with analysts saying it could go either way between Prof.Kaloki, Mwau and Jane Kitundu- depending on if Kethi and her backers shift support to either of them.
Left on their own, observers see Prof.Kaloki to have a head start considering he enjoys the support of the ruling Jubilee, contested the Makueni gubernatorial seat in Wiper along Mutula and enjoys good grassroots support.
 Besides, Kaloki has run away with the support of both sitting and former MPs in the county together with a sizeable number of the Members of the County assembly.His grip is so firm that the Speaker- Mr Ngelu is on his side and he has the impudence of deciding how the vote goes in Makueni County Assembly.
He is a man of means and his own class,capable of mounting a massive campaign as he  exhibited when he contested the gubernatorial seat in March.
His message to Makueni residents is that he wants to deliver them to the government of the day where thinks they stood to benefit immensely.

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