ODM reads mischief in MPs killings
Published on February 3, 2008, 12:00 am
By Oscar Obonyo
Soft-spoken Matungu MP David Were is a disturbed man. The legislator best captures the somber mood and grief among MPs following successive murders of colleagues, Mellitus Were and David Kimutai.
“One is called David and the other Were — that makes my full name David Were. I feel half-dead already because David and Were have been close to me,” the Matungu MP told The Sunday Standard.
The ODM politician shared a drink with Mellitus at Parliament Buildings, moments before the Embakasi MP was shot dead. By virtue of his training as a high school teacher, Were also enjoyed close ties with Kimutai, a former principal of Boywek Secondary School.
The deaths of the two ODM legislators has quickly cut down the party’s strength in the House from 104 to 101, including the Emuhaya seat vacated by Mr Kenneth Marende following his election as Speaker of National Assembly.
And while the police and a host of PNU-allied politicians point out that the deaths are not political, the ODM brigade reads mischief in the murders. The party is convinced this is part of a wider scheme to check the party’s influence in the House.
In a show of might on the floor of the House, the party subjected a combined force of President Kibaki’s PNU, ODM-Kenya, Kanu, New Ford-Kenya, Safina and other smaller parties to a humiliating defeat for the post of Speaker and deputy Speaker last month.
But perhaps more humiliating were the blatant and sweltering salvos fired by ODM MPs, particularly Mr James Orengo, Mr Ababu Namwamba and Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o at the “MP for Othaya”. These are uncomfortable episodes that PNU is doubtlessly not ready to have replayed.
Were says the notion behind the murders is clear. PNU, he argues, is out to weaken the power of ODM and its leader Raila Odinga. He observes that the plausible way of realising this is by targeting Raila’s foot soldiers.
“On the contrary, their actions have only but strengthened our resolve to stay together and fight on for justice to the very bitter end,” vows the former assistant minister.
But the Yatta MP Mr Charles Kilonzo cautions ODM against politicising the death of its two MPs. The move, he warns, could quickly push the party into political irrelevance.
“They have to go about it carefully since this matter is delicate. If investigation or courts proves them wrong, then Kenyans will soon dismiss ODM as a grouping of political opportunists and nobody will believe their subsequent shouts no matter how serious or genuine,” he says.
Received death threats
Last Thursday, The Sunday Standard spent two hours at the MPs’ lobby and canteen at Parliament Buildings to get a first-hand observation and reaction in the wake of the shocking deaths of ODM MPs.
A solemn mood engulfed precincts of the August House as the usually noisy MPs chatted in low tones in small groups. At the reception area, the MPs queued to sign condolence books. This was the day Ainamoi MP had been killed.
“This is not about ODM allied MPs alone, it is about all of us. We hear you (journalists) have also received death threats, a clear indication that nobody is safe,” PNU’s Turkana Central MP, Mr Ekwe Ethuro told The Sunday Standard.
Added ODM’s Kajiado Central MP, Mr Joseph Nkaiserry: “Only the truth — the hard truth — will save this country from ruin. And that is why as journalists you must tell Kenyans the painful truth about the stolen polls even as we politicians strive to talk peace.”
Amid murmurs from some MPs who accuse “the General” of warmongering, a visibly unhappy Cabinet minister pulls this writer aside to a corner to express his fears.
“There are people in the Government who are determined to destroy and bring it down to its knees. What they forget is that if this country goes down, they too will go down with it!” he whispers.
“Some of these chaps plotting bloody revenge have not visited or witnessed political anarchy in other African countries. I saw it all in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and even Uganda, which is like home to me,” says the third term legislator.
But asked why he cannot raise this matter with the President or take his colleagues head on, the minister says resignedly “it will not change the situation”.
Meanwhile, an enraged ODM legislator directs his anger at the Speaker, Marende, whom he accuses of betrayal for warming up to the Government side.
Says he: “Even as he plays the big sycophant by referring to Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka as “His Excellency”, he should be told that he is probably responsible for the spilling of the blood of the two MPs. It was our resolve and unity to hand him the big job that is now under attack.”
While there is no tangible proof, as yet, that the shooting of the two MPs is political, the timing of the deaths coupled with political, have raised tension and suspicion.
The near 50-50 spread of MPs on either side of the House, is a precarious arrangement that makes it a hang-Parliament. This is the scenario that essentially heightens political tension.