Four days after Jomo Kenyatta’s death, Charles Njonjo and Mwai Kibaki went to Nairobi’s Red Bull restaurant to drown their sorrows. According to the British newspaper Sunday Times, as they were leaving, the restaurant owner, a good friend of Njonjo’s, asked him if everything was okay.
“Don’t worry,” Njonjo replied, “Kibaki will take care of us .”
Both Njonjo and Kibaki were birds of the same feather. They were friends up until then. Again, they were then members of a cabinet sub-committee organizing Kenyatta’s funeral and had some responsibilities to attend to.
While some family members wanted Kenyatta buried at his home in Gatundu, they were overruled according to Njonjo, the President was the father of the nation.
But this friendship only lasted until Kibaki was appointed Vice-President and his troubles began – first from Njonjo and then from Moi. At the time he was kicked out and replaced by Dr. Josephat Njuguna Karanja was replaced, the vice president had been demoted to only holding sessions in his Othaya constituency.
Njonjo’s entry into politics had complicated the place of Kibaki thought the Kikuyu MP would maneuver and could take over his job. Njonjo had the upper hand and knew how to bring down competitors. Getting rid of Njoroge Mungai – the man who harbored presidential dreams. To do this, he funded the little-known Dr. Johnstone Muthiora for the Dagoretti seat. The defeat of Dr. Mungai was the talk of the town and he had to be nominated to save face.
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Njonjo used emissaries to fight Mungai. dr For his part, Mungai used the police to catch Dr. harassing Muthiora during the campaigns by using his friend Bernard Hinga, the Commissioner of Police.
But six months after he killed Dr. After defeating Mungai, Muthiora was dead. It was said that he was suffering from blood poisoning (sepsis).
The Kabete Njonjo group worked hard to destabilize Kibaki and his politics. Two people had to be fought – Kibaki and Jeremiah Nyagah, because they stood in his way. Oginga Odinga also had to be silenced in a multifaceted war.
The opportunity to fight Nyagah soon came. Corn had been shipped from strategic reserves and was quietly sold.
While the cabinet was said to have approved the sale to make way for a new crop, more corn was being sold overseas, emptying the national granary remained.
This became the Moi government’s first corn scandal, and although Kenya had witnessed a bumper harvest, there was no corn locally.
In a major disclosure, the newspaper The Standard how the corn was harvested was sold and said that Nyagah was the man who countersigned the export permits for the sale of 197,770 tons between February 1978 and July 1979 at below market prices.
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In July, The Standard followed the story, this time with an editorial demanding that Nyagah be removed from Cabinet should resign.
But Nyagah knew the K ran behind the saga and canceled The Standard, asking the government to “clarify what happened to the bumper crop of 1979”.
< p>It is now known that the order to sell the corn came out of the cabinet, and when Nyagah said that “someone” was behind the story of The Standard, Njonjo’s face quickly appeared. “They can try to get rid of me through the newspaper, they can pressure me to resign, but I will not move,” Nyagah vowed.
A few days later, Nyagah apologized to the government knew where the corn went, he said, based on “false information”.
After Nyagah’s name was besmirched, the focus shifted to Kibaki.
Critical stories about Kibaki began appearing on the pages of The Standard. Kibaki’s cool demeanor was broken and in Parliament he urged MPs not to rely so much on the newspapers.
“It is we who have made them worse by being too dependent on them said Kibaki.
And in a sweep, perhaps addressed to Njonjo, he said, “There’s nothing special about becoming an editor or chairman of a newspaper.”
The Standard hit back an editorial, telling Kibaki that “there’s nothing special about being a vice president, either.”
The opportunity to crucify George Githii, editor of The Standard, came after he wrote an editorial in which he criticized the detention without trial, which had resumed in 1982. The next day, Parliament adjourned to consider the matter in a motion tabled by Paul Ngei, Minister for Cooperatives, and supported by Kibaki.
In his speech, Kibaki accused “foreigners” behind the to stand for editorials and said that “no editor or foreigner walking through a newspaper shall question the legitimacy of this government and the rights of th government to exercise the executive powers granted by this constitution.”
“Freedom must have limits. In fact, it is a fallacy to imagine that there is total freedom without responsibility. Now the first responsibility of every true Kenyan who has not sold his soul is to defend the integrity of this nation.”
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While the attack on Githii was taking place, eyes were on his friend Njonjo. And Kibaki did his best to oust Njonjo from power.
A week after this debate, the August 1982 failed coup d’état. The masterminds later claimed that they were in a hurry because Njonjo was also plotting another coup.
A commission of inquiry later found Njonjo guilty of being involved in Mungai Muthemba’s attempt to acquire weapons and the conspiracy to overthrow the government.
The 1983 snap elections ousted all Njonjo men from national politics. Little did Kibaki realize he would be vulnerable now.
After humiliating Njonjo, Moi decided to maintain his influence by further dividing the Kikuyu – first by undermining Kibaki.
Politically, Kibaki was confined to his Othaya constituency, and in the 1985 Kanu election, attacks on Kibaki became personal.
Foreign Secretary Elijah Mwangale openly campaigned for the vice presidential nomination. At the time, Kibaki spoke of politicians turned “political tourists”.
It had not escaped observers that Kibaki was also besieged in Nyeri by Waruru Kanja, who besmirched Kibaki’s bosom friend Isaiah Mathenge as a “home guard”. .
Others who openly attacked Kibaki included Nakuru Kanu’s chief Kariuki Chotara, but that only cemented Kibaki’s position.
By 1988, it was clear that Kibaki would become after the federal election fell him because he no longer had a national image – thanks to the incessant attacks. He was considered too tepid for the establishment – as he rarely put up a fight.
During the 1988 canoe election, Dr. Karanja Kibaki as the party’s vice-president after he signed off.
There have been attempts to manipulate the position of the chairman of the Nyeri branch and Kibaki was forced to tell the provincial administration: “There is a certain manipulation to it Intelligence. This scheme comes from people who have no sense of intelligence.”
That was the only time Kibaki took on the canoe machine created by Moi. In the national lineup for canoe, Mr. Davidson Kuguru, a semi-illiterate farmer, had replaced London School of Economics-educated Kibaki.
It was a troubled plan, and when he was Minister for Health he had lost most of his national prestige. While many thought he would resign, he did not and continued to work within Kanu when the push for multi-party politics became dangerous.
His decision to resign from Kanu and start his own Democratic Party was divisive the contradiction further. Those who didn’t like him called him a coward.
It was a catchphrase he lived by for a long time until he became president – and turned a ailing economy upside down. But he had fought many battles, lost some but won the presidency’s last war – and replaced the man who wished him out.