Despite widespread complaints by political parties and South Mugirango voters that the political Parties Act is being arrogantly broken and compromised by PNU affiliates parties openly campaigning for James Omingo Magara, President Kibaki by word and deed endorsed the anomaly when he toured the area last Wednesday.
While on his way to Nairobi from a funeral in Rongo, South Nyanza, the Head of State detoured into the constituency and openly indicated to an attentive crowd, which included Mr Magara and Kanu\’s vice chairman and Education minister Prof Sam Ongeri that his choice is Magara when he positively responded to their pro-Magara chants.
Until then, the PNU heavyweights who had shown on open defiance of the Political Parties Act by campaigning for Magara and undermining their own party’s candidates in the June 10 by-election race included ODM rebel and Higher Education minister William Ruto and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, among many others.
The Political Parties Act prohibits any active participation by a member or official of any registered political party in the open promotion of rival parties and if found, it is punishable.
The Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung\’u has expressed deep concern about the PNU-engineered illegalities in South Mugirango but action is merely just begging for complainants.
In South Mugirango, this is not to be viewed in isolation or as a mere act of political expediency or convenience.
Also, this brazen disobedience of the political parties act by the PNU side vindicates those who had loudly expressed fears within the ODM ranks since 2008 that Mr Magara never truly belonged to the party but that he had been a mole working for forces hostile to the party.
There is a thin line and almost a direct link between the PNU-PDM daredevil electioneering law breaking and Mr Magara’s past troubles within ODM that led him to chicken out of ODM’s pre-election primaries for the by-election.
Even long before the current coalition government was put in place, big suspicions had rocked ODM with widespread talk that Mr Magara, then National Treasurer, was a key player among several MPs in the party who had switched allegiance to the national political forces antagonistic to ODM and Mr Raila, who included Mr Ruto.
Talk was rife that the group was on an elaborate sabotage mission sponsored by the PNU. In fact, it had been repeatedly claimed that Mr Magara was always a star player in nigh meetings that were held to raise funds and lay strategies to destroy ODM and remove Mr Raila from office prematurely and illegally.
In public, however, he would deny vehemently like do thieves in the dock in court even after being caught red handed.
The former MP almost openly came out disowning the party and its leaders when he was denied appointment to the Cabinet and instead the only slot for Kisii went to the less dramatic yet more experienced Christopher Obure from Bobasi.
It is noteworthy that Magara was the only national official who was not named to the Cabinet. Instead, he was made assistant minister for Trade. His very initial reaction was to reject it but close friends urged him not to.
However, he chose to join hands with ODM rebels led by Mr Ruto who it is said had become regular visitors to State House.
Some members wanted them removed from their government and party positions ahead of the highly charged first NDC and party elections at Bomas of Kenya in 2008.
But the ODM politburo under the magnanimous guidance of party leader Raila Odinga prevailed upon them and retained Mr Magara as treasurer and to the shock of many elevated Mr Ruto to the position of deputy party leader alongside Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.
But the group stepped up their defiance and continued to hold anti-Raila rallies in their strongholds.
He even openly defied his party bosses as they campaigned to capture the Bomachoge parliamentary seat in a by-election as he skipped and undermined their campaign rallies opting to hold parallel ones promoting PDP in the company of Mr Ruto.
But it is the flooding into South Mugirango of PNU stalwarts to campaign for him that confirms the people\’s worst fear – Omingo Magara was never truly in ODM.
“Kick a dog to know its owners” so goes the old English adage. When Mr Magara was politically kicked in the teeth by an aggrieved petitioner Ford-People’s Manson Nyamweya through the High Court, his real side came into the open.
(The writer is a Kisii-based businessman).