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Weekly Citizen articles

These are the articles that resulted in a government raid late last month. Hat tip Avash!

Kibaki Senile: Who Is Ruling Kenya?

By Citizen Team Weekly Citizen, February 20th-26th, 2006

The increasingly besieged regime of President Mwai Kibaki scarred by the Anglo- Leasing graft allegations that has seen some of its key pillars crumble is being run by one man, sources now claim. And that man, say the sources is not President Kibaki but his overbearing controversial PS for Strategic Policy Analysis Stanley Murage. Murage and his close allies at State House are said to have capitalized on the president’s lack of political foresight and at time ill-health to independently run the country without consultations with bureaucrats well-versed with political, social and economic basics involved in managing a state.

Weekly Citizen, your favourite and Kenya’s most authoritative newspaper, has information it is Murage who drafted the statement that misled the President to the effect that former Education Minister Prof. George Saitoti and Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi had accepted their resignations when in the true sense the had not and never tendered their resignations. Surprisingly, while accepting the “resignation” of the two ministers, Kibaki made a blunder in his statement announcing that Saitoti was the Minister for Education, Science and Technology, forgetting the docket of Science and Technology was in the hands of Dr. Noah Wekesa. It is such blunders that sometimes worry many Kenyans over the President’s capacity to absorb crisis.

Sources in the know of goings-on at State House say, Prof. Saitoti and Murungi flatly refused to resign during a meeting with Kibaki. The meeting had been organized with Murage with full blessings of the old guards, namely John Michuki ( Internal Security), Njenga Karume (Defence) Amos Kimunya (Finance) and Francis Muthaura ( Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet). Of late detractors of the group refer to them as the “sleeping men”(SM). This is due to the fact they like dozing off into slumber even during public functions. Recently, Karume was in deep sleep at a function in Karen organized by the military. The picture was captured by the entire press and he was even unable to read the speech.

In fact word has it, Kibaki at State House usually takes time to sleep in mid-morning and mid afternoon and that is why after the nap, he addresses the nation after 7 pm. The look of freshness arising from being well-rested is usually obvious to any keen observer as the president reads out his speeches in the evening. Since taking power in 2002, Kibaki has made it his unfailing habit to address the nation in the evening unlike former President Moi who used to make major announcements at 1 pm.
That Kibaki may not be quite himself is further manifested by the fact that he appears not to know the number, names and positions of his entire cabinet. While in talks with a foreign ambassador sometimes back, Kibaki surprised those present when he said his vice-president Wamalwa Kijana was best suited to handle the issue. The President had forgotten that Wamalwa died two years ago and his vice-president is the embattled Moody Awori. At one time he is said to have referred to trade and industry minister Mukhisa Kituyi as Lugonzo, a former Nairobi mayor who died years ago. This appears to be a clear case of memory lapse. The diplomat had questioned the current state of famine in the country and measures taken to curb the situation.

This is not the first time Kibaki has blundered in public. While on a tour of neighbouring country, the Head of State confused names of ministers accompanying him. It is whispered, in an effort to avoid introduction mix-up, one has to say his name in advance so the president can know who is who. According to sources, so bad is Kibaki’s memory lapse that he at times fails to recognize members of his immediate family (First Family). During the referendum vote in Othaya, the president was captured live unable to recognize the name of one of his sons, Kangai, and First Lady Lucy had to remind him. Prior to the referendum, the president had surprised Kenyans by claiming the copies of the draft constitution were for sale when in true sense they were given out freely. At State House, Kibaki is said to forget names of his staff apart that of his chief chef. He at times forgets confidential documents giving his handlers a hectic time in tracing them.

Since the 2002 road accident that condemned him to a wheelchair and the mild stroke that struck him soon thereafter, President Kibaki’s health has been the subject of debate in many quarters. President Kibaki had to endure several months of poor health since the 2002 road accident and after taking over the reins of power in a historic hand-over ceremony. He was admitted to hospital with a blood clot in his leg after confinement in a wheelchair following the road accident. Although his medical handlers have on several instances assured Kenyans that his health is okay, political analysts say ever since the road accident and his subsequent admission to hospital for complication of high blood pressure, the President’s ability to discharge the duties of Head of State and at times resulting in memory lapse. Before the road accident that saw him suffer a fractured leg, arm and neck, President Kibaki was an astute politician whose oratory and grasp of national political events was at his finger tips although he is said to have been treated for cerebral aneurysm, a condition that causes disorders by weakening or enlargement of an artery or vein in the brain that can rapture or cause bleeding. The president had to undergo surgery to remove the aneurysm; something that left a lasting physical mark on his forehead, which observers explain, is the reason for the regular twitching of the muscles around the mouth, a characteristic common with the president of late. It is because of this complication, experts say, that caused the blood clot develop into his right leg that had been plastered after the accident, two factors that pinpoint to the mild stroke he had to subsequently suffer, paralyzing some functions such as body movement, which has been noticeable with the Kibaki. Although experts say that the duration of recovery depends on one’s age, general health and neurological conditions, President Kibaki showed remarkable improvement in his health but turns and twists of intrigues on the political landscape appear to have taken a toll on him.

And with John Githongo’s earth shaking dossier on grand corruption at the heart of the government and mounting pressure on his close allies implicated in corruption to quit office, the president is left facing one of his most trying moments. His indecisiveness in taking prompt action has raised numerous questions at his style of managing state affairs, which leaves the question of whether the president is in control of things. Aware of Kibaki’s current state, PS Murage has effectively capitalized on it has fast become the behind the throne dreaded by government ministers. The mere mention of his name is said to make many ministers cower in fear. Murage is the man who has more say in the running of state affairs than the president himself.
Murage himself a man who loves the bottle and does not keep secrets is known to boast that he is the seat of power and without him Kibaki cannot rule.

To prove this point, in all strategic ministries, Murage has ensured that he has his person as PS or minister. After hounding out Kiraitu and Prof. Saitoti, the PS made sure his man Amos Kimunya moved to the plum Finance Ministry docket to replace dimunitive David Mwiraria while other ministers were said to in acting capacity. In the now influential ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Murage has Martha Karua as minister. Both Murage and Karua hail from Kirinyaga district. A directive to have prominent personalities surrender passports and firearms is said to be the brainchild of the influential PS now popularly known as “Godfather” in the corridors of power. In the Ministry of Energy, Murage’s blue-eyed boy is PS Patrick Nyoike. In fact Murage is linked to the poles tender scandal at Kenya Powe and Lighting. It is said the Tanzanian firm in the controversial tender was introduced to Murage by his long-time friend Samuel Gichuru, a former long-serving MD of KPLC. The relationship between Murage and Gichuru dates back to the reign of Moi when both were members of the Central Province Development Support Group (CPDSG). Hosea Kiplagat, Murage relationship roots can be traced to the KANU era when Kiplagat brokered his appointment as permanent secretary. At AG chambers Murage’s pointsman is Solicitor-General Muchemi Wanjuki. Inside sources say, Murage was instrumental in the removal of Alfred Getonga from State House as Kibaki’s Personal Assistant and does not want a replacement as he prefers to handle the docket himself.

The PS is currently said to be working on a new look cabinet that will see a number of ministries merged. He is said not to get on well with Francis Muthaura. The other person Murage worked with but with a lot of suspicion is former head of the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) Brig.(rtd) Wilson Boinett. He is also known to have no time for Attorney General Amos Wako. He (Murage) is said to be fronting for Justice Samuel Bosire as the right person to replace the ever-smiling Wako.


Stanley Murage: Kenya’s new godfather

Our Reporter, Weekly Citizen 20th-26th February 2006

In the history of presidential power brokers in Kenya, no one has ever occupied the position of power currently enjoyed by Stanley Murage, the State House-based PS for Strategic Policy Analysis. Murage and new Finance Minister Amos Kimunya are the second and third most powerful men of the final stretch of the Kibaki presidency. And given the fact that Kimunya was a popular chairman of the prestigious Muthaiga Golf Club the year President Kibaki, patron of the Kenya Golf Union and a member of the Muthaiga Golf Club, entered the State House, and also the fact that Murage is a very wealthy man, the new power elite around the presidency is being referred to as the Muthaiga Mafia. Murage’s position is unique because no power-broker of his impact and ambition has cultivated his position within State House itself. Kenya’s premier to power brokers have always been based outside State House in the cabinet, parliament or civil service.

The Kenyatta era had Mbiyu Koinange, Dr. Njoroge Mungai and Charles Njonjo. The Moi era had Njonjo, G.G. Kariuki, Simeon Nyachae, Nicholas Biwott and Mark Too. The Kibaki passing-cloud era has had Dr. Chris Ndarathi Murungaru, David Mwiraria and Kiraitu Murungi before Murage made his masterstroke move and felled all of them in a three month period, beginning with Murungaru’s omission from the cabinet in December 2005. There have been State House-based powerbrokers but their operations have been behind-the- scenes to avoid overshadowing the president of members of the First Family. The first was the late Eliud Mathu in the Kenyatta era. Alfred Mwangi Getonga, who until last week was President Kibaki’s PA and Joshua Kulei of the Moi era was the last strong link of the Mt. Kenya Mafia to be broken by Murage. With Getonga gone, it is only a matter of time now before head of civil service and secretary to the cabinet Francis Muthaura also throws in the towel and Kenya Anti-Corruption boss Aaron Ringera is hounded out of his tenured office.

Stanley K. Murage’s triumph has been complete. His role in the destruction of the Mt. Kenya Mafia was pivotal. If it was not for Murage, self-exiled former State House-based PS for Ethics and Governance John Githongo would not have been able to release his devastating with as much impact both locally and internationally as he has. It was Murage who quietly informed Githongo late last year that his dossiers addressed to President Kibaki on the subject of the Anglo- Leasing scams had disappeared from the President’s office and living quarters at State House, Nairobi.

According to impeccable sources, First Lady Lucy Kibaki, who has a major stake in Equatorial Bank, which is adversely mentioned in Githongo’s dossier, Alfred Getong and three of the president’s children plotted the disappearance of copies of the Githongo dossier of November 25, 2005 from the president’s office and living quarters during the Christmas break. Murage, who was posted to State House in October 2004, noticed that copies of Githongo’s dossier in the president’s office at State House were missing and so he asked a number of State House staffers whose hiring he influenced and who answer only to him to trace copies of the same that the president had taken with him into his living quarters just before Christmas. Murage’s informers, who include State House cleaners, valets and kitchen staff reported to him the alarming news that the documents were nowhere to be found, not even in the refuse baskets from the president’s living quarters. Murage promptly informed Githongo about the development.

Sometime in late December and full consultation with the president’s old friend Joe Wanjui, Njenga Karume, Father (rtd) George Muhoho, Nat Kangethe, Prof. Nick Wanjohi, and Solicitor General Wanjuki Muchemi, Murage told Githongo to go ahead and release the Anglo- Leasing scams dossier(s) as he had threatened to do. The expose knocked out Mwiraria. But not even Kenyans and leaders anticipated that the BBC World Service would take up the story and broadcast it to a global audience, thereby knocking out Murungaru, George Saitoti, Kiraitu, Getonga and (coming soon) Awori and Muthaura. But the seeds of Murage’s downfall are already present in his greatest moment of triumph. He will be forever remembered as Githongo’s point man inside State House who helped to fell the Mt. Kenya Mafia. Who is this man Murage and has he outmanoeuvred Kibaki’s own most loyal lieutenants from within the citadel of their own power?

Murage hails from Kirinyaga where he was born on 18th of May 1950. A quantity surveyor, he served President Daniel arap Moi as a trusted permanent secretary for six years ( 1994-2000). During the same period he was an influential member of the boar of directors of Kenya Times Ltd, the then ruling party KANU’s media organ, a job secured for him on the intervention of three key pillars of the Moi regime: KANU Secretary General John Joseph Kamotho; the then Managing Director of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company Sam Gichuru and the then Chairman of the Cooperative Bank of Kenya Hosea Kiplagat, Moi’s favourite nephew. Today Murage, from his powerful perch at State House, has reduced all three men to his errand boys. Kamotho is the powerful Murage’s pointman in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Gichuru provides Murage with tens of millions of shillings of allegedly “clean money” for “political work” in exchange for a continuing slowdown of his corruption-related cases and Kiplagat runs errands between Moi’s Kabarnet Gardens and Kabarak command posts.

Murage has accumulated his immense powers inside Kibaki’s troubled State House by completely out-manoeuvering everybody that the president held dear to his hold on power. He has even isolated First Lady Lucy from the seat of power by ensuring that she is no longer allowed to the visit the place at night. He has destroyed Alfred Getonga and his network. And now the president is alone at State House with Stanley Murage and people vetted by the same Stanley Murage.

What is Murage’s agenda?And what are his links to two other powerful Kirinyaga personalities: Matere Kereri and former Director of Intelligence James Kanyotu?

As we went to press unconfirmed reports were emerging that a top anti-corruption judicial official who received a Sh. 5 million bribe in cash in the lobby of Nairobi’s Serena Hotel from one of Murage’s strange alliance. And then there is the mystery of what exactly Murage does and what his changing designation means. In a conversation with Weekly Citizen on Thursday last week, Murage insisted that his correct designation was Advisor to the President, Strategic Policy. But when he was appointed in October 2004, his designation was given as PS for Strategic Policy Analysis. Even the State House website has been changed to reflect this change. But no official announcement of a change in focus in Murage’s designation has ever been officially given.

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