It began with Kenyan Pundit who got some of the controversial articles from the Weekly Citizen before others in the Kenyan blogsphere did...today someone sent the following extra piece to my blog.
Wambui Edges out Lucy out of State House:
Our Reporter(Weekly Citizen, February 20th- 26th, 2006)
The saying that when two bulls fight, it is the grass that suffers, graphically describes events unfolding at State House where President Kibaki has not only to contend with mega scams threatening his regime but also the unity of his immediate family.
Even as the purge on corruption continues, a political tit for tat scheme has been unleashed as the Muthaiga camp politicians enjoying the backing of the Othaya activist Mary Wambui square it out with the Hurlingham Group with the support of First Lady Lucy Kibaki majority of whom have now been reduced to political spectators.
Sources privy to the goings-on at State House divulged that the high-flying Wambui team comprising mainly of Kibaki’s old golfing buddies and bosom friends, are the ones now calling the shots in the corridors of power as the Hurlingham team cries foul.
What is causing the Hurlingham group sleepless nights is the treatment Wambui has been accorded allegedly by the state and the source of her wealth which she uses to bankroll the group and other social activities.
Wambui, the woman President Kibaki once categorically denied being a member of his family is allegedly enjoying state security and overwhelming press coverage by the state-run Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
Early in the month, she was spotting using a Kenya Wildlife Service helicopter with a team of security men acting as body guards. To prove how powerful On other occasions it has been alleged that she uses government GK vehicles in her countrywide tours and one wonders who foots the bill.
Back to State House, all is not well for the Hurlingham-based Lucy’s team, comprising of politicians mainly from the known to be Kibaki’s key advisors majority of whom have been sent packing after being adversely mentioned in the scam. The group is nicknamed Hurlingham because they used to hold secret meetings at a Hurlingham hotel.
In Lucy’s camp is former Finance Minister David Mwiraria, former Transport Minister Dr. Chris Murungaru, former Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, former Education Minister George Saitoti and sacked Kibaki’s Personal Assistant Alfred Getonga.
Wambui’s team includes Defence Minister Njenga Karume, Internal Security Minister John Michuki, former PS John Githongo, State House based Stanley Murage and former State House comptroller Matere Kereri. Others are parastatal heads Eddy Njoroge of Ken Gen, George Muhoho of Kenya Airports Authority, University of Nairobi Chancellor Dr. Joe Wanjui and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture Vice-Chancellor Nick Wanjohi.
To prove that the Muthaiga team is increasingly becoming powerful sources say, the appointment of former Lands Minister Amos Kimunya to replace Mwiraria at the Treasury was a result of lobbying by Wambui. Well-placed sources say, after the unceremonial departure of Getonga from State House, it is Murage who is now calling the shots thereby giving his Muthaiga club members an upper hand in meeting the president.
Last week, the Hurlingham team comprising of Kiraitu Murungi and Getonga in a rare show of solidarity accompanied Chris Murungaru to the Anti-Corruption Court to answer charges relating to wealth declaration claims.
The bone of contention in the whole fighting at State House is the Githongo dossier and the Hurlingham team is blaming the Muthaiga team for having recommended the appointment of Githongo ostensibly to “finish” them. Githongo’s appointment had the blessings of University of Nairobi chancellor Dr. Joe Wanjui and a number of the Muthaiga club members.
When word leaked out that Githongo was secretly closing in on the Hurlingham group, they hurriedly organized his operation base base from State House to Harambee House but Karume intervened and their move was thwarted. The game plan was that he was to be denied access to the President as Getonga takes control.
Murage is also said to have played a pivotal role and brokered the appointment of Martha Karua to replace Kiraitu Murungi as Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister. Both Murage and Karua are from Kirinyaga District. Other sources say, the Muthaiga team has now secretly introduced the former Kenya Power and Lighting Company MD Samwel Gichuru to State House and he has of late become a regular visitor.
Lucy who has of late decided to take a low profile since the Anglo-Leasing ghost disappeared with her supporters has finally fell in the trap laid by her main rival Wambui. Kibaki on the other hand has let nature take its own course.
But even as Kibaki watches from the touch line as the Githongo ghost sweeps the Hurlingham team, it is unlikely the can dump his Muthaiga bosom friends just in case they are named in any of the scams.
Those who understand Kibaki’s brand of politics say his relationship with his Muthaiga old friends date back to the formation of the Democratic Party (DP).
A story is told on how close Kibaki was to these people that a special table was reserved for them at the Golf Club known as the “Chairman’s corner.” This was reserved for Kibaki, Muhoho and Karume.
As the Anglo-Leasing scam investigations continue, the man said to be enjoying the goings-on is the Defence Minister Njenga Karume, Kibaki’s trusted lieutenant.
Karume was once in Lucy’s camp during their heyday on DP where he was the patron and party financier but temporarily parted ways in 2002 when Karume dumped the DP chairman and said that “Kbaki was a thankless man”. It was the entry of Karume to the cabinet that marked the end of the Hurlingham group and the emergence of the Muthaiga group in State House.
As the struggle over control of State House affairs continues, lobbying is in top gear to replace the sacked ministers who are also senior members of the Hurlingham group.
Other reports say, the sacked ministers several attempts to seek audience with Kibaki failed as their hotlines at their residential homes had been disconnected. State House comptroller has been playing cat and mouse games with them. He has also been allegedly recruited on the Muthaiga camp team.
Sources say, a major reshuffle is looming and a bruising battle awaits those calling the shots within the corridors of power.