Modus operandi: denial, deflection, cover-up and threats
“I am not on trial,” roared Martha Karua, then a newly-minted, powerful cabinet minister and NARC luminary at inquisitive journalists. The news hounds were snapping at her ankles over the sensational story that had captured the nation’s imagination. The scandal had broken after allegations hit the newsrooms that Karua and a well-known male companion had been carjacked when, overcome with carnal passions, they had recklessly parked a Toyota Rav4 SUV at a roadside and descended into a moment of molten passion. The minister adamantly refused to admit or deny the allegations, and did not speak about it again. Her alleged paramour, initially more forthcoming, had attempted to clarify the situation by alluding to some documents she he had taken to the minister. He was laughed out of town, with wags quipping about the length and thickness of the documents, and other suggestive entendres.
“No such meeting ever occurred. Why would I want to work with a person saddled with so much baggage?” She was at it again 2009, when then Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo excited political analysts and reporters by reporting that he had brought William Ruto and Martha Karua together to work on a joint political strategy. The baggage referred to included the Ngong forest land case and the Maize Scandal. Jirongo not only stuck to his guns, he furnished eager journalists with more particulars of the encounter. Karua eventually relented and admitted meeting Ruto, but only to discuss the resettlement of IDPs. The Deputy president was acquitted of the charges in the Ngong land case, and easily defeated a parliamentary censure motion in connection with the maize scandal.
Today, Karua gave Moses Kuria 24 hours to apologise or face suit after Kuria announced details of a scheme, led by Martha Karua to frame the Deputy President, William Ruto at the ICC. Kuria claimed yesterday at aprayer rally in Kapsokwony, Mt. Elgon constituency of Bungoma county that he worked with Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth and others in procuring witnesses, preparing false testimonies and inducing the witnesses to pass them as their own. These are the testimonies which were later used to confirm the case against William Ruto and Joshua Sang at the ICC. The defence has always maintained that the case and the entire body of prosecution evidence are fabrications calculated at settling political scores. Indeed, some witnesses who recanted their testimonies did mention PNU leaders, including Karua as having been the masterminds of the scheme to fix Ruto.
Jubilee leaders see the latest developments – the recusal of a judge in the case as well as Kuria’s sensational disclosure- not only as vindication of long-held and controversial positions, but also as divine answers to their prayers. Speaking at the rally, Elgeyo Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen declared that God is already answering their prayers in abig way, and that they would not stop their prayer rallies until the case is terminated.
Litigious and Vengeful
In answer to Karua’s threat, Kuria has offered to provide full particulars of his meetings with Karua and Kenneth at venues including Galileo’s Lounge, where the scheme to fix Ruto was hatched.
Threats of legal action are well-known staples of Karua’s modus operandi. Indeed, during the life of the NARC and Grand Coalition Governments, she was the most litigious cabinet minister. Some of her actions have yielded multi-million shilling awards, while others are pending before court. Her relationship with the media deteriorated to such an extent that her ministry suffered a near-total media blackout during her tenure.
However, Kuria is not fazed by the threat, welcoming the impending lawsuit as an opportunity to canvass truths long suppressed from the public domain.
“We waited four years for these people to come forward and confess their role in fixing Uhuru Kenyatta and they never did. We will not wait another four years for them to speak about the Ruto case. This is why I have called them out,” said he.
Kuria’s allegations mark a new chapter in the history of a divisive hardliner with a penchant for arrogance, vindictiveness and an obsessive animosity towards the Deputy President.
When the deputy president was arrested in connection with the Ngong forest case, he was detained at the Kileleshwa police station for days before the court finally approved his bail terms. For a man of means, the delay was curious and it was rumoured that Karua, a former magistrate who had had a few feisty run-ins with the KANU leader during the 2002 general election campaigns, had a hand in it. Whilst this may be debatable or even far-fetched, there is no doubt that Karua is a fabulously vindictive individual.
Minister for Injustice?
Late one Sunday afternoon in 2009, GBM Kariuki, a judge of the High Court, was involved in a rear-fender with a matatu along Ngong road. Before long, allegations that the judge had lost his temper in the ensuing argument and stabbed the matatu driver with a sword hit the headlines. A simple motor accident ended up with the judge, a luminary of the Second Liberation, fighting for his freedom, job and reputation in court as he resisted charges of attempted murder.
Ultimately, Kariuki was acquitted of the charges. Curiously, no evidence of stabbing was led, nor was the sword allegedly used in the commission of the offence produced. Kariuki in his defence insisted that Karua, who was the Minister for Justice at the time of his arrest, was responsible for his predicament, in pursuit of a personal vendetta. In his testimony, Kariuki stated that he had a long-standing intimate relationship with Karua which did not end well, and that she had neither forgiven him, nor forgotten about it. He testified that Karua had pressured the police to arrest, detain and charge him with attempted murder. As minister of Justice, Karua had used her office to execute vengeance upon the hapless judge.
Kariuki has sued the State for malicious prosecution connection with the arrest and prosecution. Allegations of abuse of office by Karua form a key part of the claim.
Karua’s political history with Ruto is long, fraught and replete with occasion for bitterness and vengeance. The tipping point was the 2008 Serena Negotiations which yielded the National Accord and the Grand Coalition government. The encounters between ODM and PNU were intensely acrimonious. Ruto and Karua were seen as counterparts and hardliners in opposing sides, locked in a vicious struggle for power. Karua was adamant in refusing to negotiate, and after PNU was forced to negotiations, totally ruled out power-sharing with ODM. Even during negotiations, Karua had let it be known at every opportunity that ODM should be held accountable for post-election violence. At the end, Ruto’s effectiveness at Serena overpowered Karua’s petulant effort, setting stage for a powder keg of a relationship that lasted until 2013.
When all is said and done, there is ample precedent to support allegations that Karua is hardly above framing her adversaries in pursuit of vengeance. This is why Kuria’s assertions must be addressed with insight and seriousness..