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My first encounter with David Murathe, Uhuru’s strategist

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On a sunny Saturday afternoon of October 4, 2008, I received a call from a man whose mobile phone number I did not have. He identified himself as Murathe, but I couldn’t recall the name and for a moment had him confused for Dr Stanley Murage, President Mwai Kibaki’s adviser and strategist. “Not Murage, Murathe,” the jovial, gravelly voice on the end of my mobile phone emphasised. I was still at sea. “David Murathe, the former MP for Gatanga,” he said. It mildly rang a bell. “I am now Uhuru’s (Uhuru Kenyatta) adviser,” he informed me by way of introduction.

I recall that call vividly even after all those years because it left a huge impression on me. At the time I was a rookie correspondent based in Nation Media Group’s Eldoret bureau and, therefore, not exposed enough to the country’s political movers to catch their attention or even that of their assistants. No one of Mr Murathe’s stature had called me before.

However, from that end of the world I had managed to write a number of in-depth analysis that had about the shifting political alliances that had obviously got the attention of some observers in certain quarters.

A tinge of fear often hits many a rookie journalists when they write articles that offends their powerful subjects. Mr Murathe’s unexpected call instilled that fear on that day. What could he possibly want from a correspondent he had never met before? I braced myself for the usual harangue.

“I liked the article you wrote today,” he said. Well, that was some sort of relief. I can recall him saying to me: “That is very good work and I want to encourage you to continue that way.”

The article in question was a special report I had written about an attempt by MPs from the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin communities living in Rift Valley to form a political alliance as a way of ending the hostilities between them.

Members of the two communities living in Rift Valley clashed following the announcement of the results of the December 2007 presidential poll which was won by President Kibaki (who was overwhelmingly supported by the Kikuyu), but disputed by his main challenger, Raila Odinga, whom the Kalenjin voted for almost to a man.

The proposed alliance was the brainchild of Molo MP Joseph Kiuna who termed it a reaction to what he claimed was the marginalisation of the Kikuyu diaspora by the regimes of presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Kibaki. Nominated MP Musa Sirma was among the first ones in the Kalenjin community to embrace the initiative.

“When two brothers fight, they often become best friends,” Mr Murathe told me that bright Saturday afternoon. “We should not have violence during every election cycle. This is the cure,” I can recall him telling me as clearly as my memory can serve me.

The Kalenjin-Kikuyu union or popularly known as the “KK” alliance, was one of the many reasons for the fallout between Mr Odinga and one of his key lieutenants in 2007 campaigns, Eldoret North MP William Ruto. Not only had Mr Ruto played a key part in Mr Odinga’s campaigns, he was in the four-man team that led the negotiations on behalf of Mr Odinga during the mediation talks led by former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan.

In the power-sharing agreement negotiated by Mr Annan, Mr Odinga was named Prime Minister deputised by Mr Kenyatta (representing President Kibaki’s side), and Mr Musalia Mudavadi representing Mr Odinga’s side.

Mr Ruto was named minister for Agriculture. But in a period of less than two years, the relationship between him and the PM had strained so badly over a number of issues culminating in Mr Odinga suspending Mr Ruto from the Cabinet in February 2010 over alleged graft.

All along, President Kibaki’s camp watched the infighting within ODM gleefully even as they sought to cut Mr Odinga down to size. One note of memory that stuck with me all those years is Mr

Murathe remarks about the clash between Mr Ruto and Mr Odinga: “Without the Kalenjin, he (Mr Odinga) is done,” he said. The main drivers of the KK alliance were to be Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto who were expected to mould it into a political vehicle through which to contest the 2013 presidential elections.

However, at the time of Mr Murathe’s call, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto had not publicly warmed up to the idea of the ethnic alliance. The latter simply avoided any talk about it in public. Mr Kenyatta said it would not work, accusing Kalenjin MPs of insincerity. “Such an agreement cannot work because, while some of us are sincere, our brothers are not,” he said during Mr Kiuna’s homecoming ceremony in September 2009. But in the end, they were forced to come together by circumstances beyond their control after they were both indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their alleged roles in the 2007/2008 post- election violence. Well, 10 years later, things have gone full circle. Mr Murathe, who was one of the ardent supporters of the KK alliance — which essentially birthed the ruling Jubilee Party — is now an avowed opponent of one of its leading lights, Mr Ruto, who is now Deputy President and is seeking to succeed President Kenyatta in 2022. How times change!

As Narrated by Sunday Nation Writer Kipchumba Some

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285 killed by floods since April – CS Wamalwa

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Lusaka deny claims of involvement in Wamalwa’s imminent sacking

The Government has warned people who have encroached the riparian land to move to other grounds as floods continue to wreak havoc in different regions of the country.

Environment CS Keriako Tobiko on Wednesday urged Kenyans to take responsibility and respect laws regarding the riparian reserve.

So far, 285 people have lost their lives and 810,655 others affected by floods, mudslides and landslides occasioned by heavy rains in most regions. While giving the weekly update on floods in the country, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa said a more comprehensive report that will factor in the crop loss in acreage will be confirmed next week.

“We also have acreage, in terms of crop loss in many parts of the country that our colleagues in Agriculture will be confirming by next week. As the rains subside, we will be able to establish the exact acreage in terms of crop loss that we have suffered, in terms of the irrigation, land and infrastructure,” the CS said.

He warned the Coast, Western and Nyanza regions will continue to bear the brunt of the floods as the rains are expected to continue into the month of June.

However, in Northern Kenya, Garissa and Mandera, which were among the worst hit, the rains were subsiding while most dams across the country were still full but had stabilized. At the same time, the CS urged county governments to work with the Meteorological Department by utilising the information given in a better way to caution those at risk.

“We take this opportunity to thank the Meteorological Department that has been of great help in terms of giving us very accurate information and reliable data. The accuracy tells us going into the future when we get alerts, please let us not take them lightly,” he warned.

CS Wamalwa assured those that had been affected with the heavy rains that the Government will them to rebuild homes after the month of June.

By Standard.co.ke

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I pay Sh20,000 every month to the party to keep it running- Senator Omanga to Jubilee disciplinary committee

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The ruling Jubilee Party has made good its threat to straighten wayward legislators. Among, them Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga is appearing before a disciplinary committee where she has herself as a loyal member of the party. She is accused of of gross insubordination after she failed to attend a parliamentary group meeting at State House convened by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week.

“So far I think I’ve paid almost over Sh600,000 to the party since I joined in 2017. I pay Sh20,000 every month to my party to keep it running,” said Omanga while being grilled before the Jubilee disciplinary committee.

I pay Sh20,000 every month to my party to keep it running- Senator Omanga to Jubilee disciplinary committee

The senator repeatedly defended her case by saying she was never invited to the Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting for Senators that axed former Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Majority Whip Susan Kihika.

Other senators, who now risk expulsion from the party if found guilty of misconduct include; Falhada Dekow Iman, Naomi Jillo Waqo, Victor Prengei and Mary Seneta Yiane.

Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju yesterday said that the party was out to deal with errant members who had gone against their fidelity to the contracts.

“We will not be merciful when it comes to discipline in the party. But I want to tell Kenyans whatever disciplinary action will have taken, we will follow due process,” he said.

To stamp the party’s no-nonsense mien, Tuju said its disciplinary mechanism would not be gentle with rebels some of whom had gone to the extent of using fake party stationery in their mischief.

More Follows…

By Standard.co.ke

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Tecra Muigai: Court to rule on suspect’s bond

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A court in Lamu has rejected an application to continue holding in detention Omar Lali, the boyfriend of Keroche Breweries heiress Tecra Muigai who died after a fall.
This follows the expiry of the 21 days pre-trial detention of Mr Lali on Tuesday.

On May 4 this year, Lamu Principal Magistrate Allan Temba allowed d the police to detain Mr Lali for 21 days at the Lamu Police Station to enable them conduct comprehensive investigations into the suspected murder of Ms Muigai.

The case was to be mentioned on Tuesday, May 26, for the investigator to submit a report and the court to issue further directions.

The court session was held via video link.

EXTENSION

When appearing on the live court session on Tuesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) applied for an extension of the detention of Mr Lali by another week.

The argument was that the DCI wanted Mr Lali to go with them to the crime scenes, including Jaha House in Shella, Lamu where Ms Muigai sustained the serious head injuries after she allegedly fell on the stairs and later died as she received treatment at a Nairobi hospital.

This particular visit would be the fourth one as the investigators had already taken the suspect to the scene three other times.

DECLINED

But while delivering the court’s decision, Mr Temba refused to extend the pre-trial detention on various grounds.

First, the police had already visited the crime scene with Mr Lali three times and the suspect fully cooperated. The investigators already took evidence from the scene and that it will be excessive to keep Mr Lali in the station cell just so that the police revisit the scene of crime.

Secondly, the granted 21 days that have elapsed were more than sufficient but no conclusive evidence had been found to enable the DPP make a decision on what offence to charge or not to charge the suspect with.

Thirdly, the court argued that the pending phone extraction is not a process that requires Mr Lali to be in custody further.

The fourth ground was that the pending toxicology analysis does not require Mr Lali to be further detained as Ms Muigai’s samples have already been taken and are being analysed independent of the suspect.

COMMUNITY TIES

The court also stated that Mr Lali has strong community ties and has a family.

It also argued that the police concurred that Mr Lali is not an immediate danger to the local community and the community itself has not posed any danger to the suspect and, therefore, giving bond will not pose a security risk.

“Lali has no capacity to interfere with witnesses as he actually doesn’t know who they are. The court will therefore fix the bond terms on Wednesday at 2.30pm once Lali proves by documents his fixed abode,” said Mr Temba.

KEROCHE DIRECTOR

Until her death on May 2 this year, Ms Muigai was the Strategy and Innovations Directors at Keroche Breweries.

The last-born daughter of the Keroche Breweries Chairman Joseph Karanja and CEO Tabitha Karanja was living with Mr Lali at the private house in Shella, Lamu when the accident happened.

Mr Lali was arrested on May 3, just a day after Ms Muiagi’s death, and he has been in police custody as detectives continued with investigations into her death.

A post-mortem conducted by Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor two weeks ago revealed that she died as a result of trauma to the left side of her face after she fell.

She was buried on May 16 in a private ceremony in Naivasha.

By Nation.co.ke

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