NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – Call him Kenya’s political undertaker, burying the presidential ambitions of those who didn’t make the cut. You either secured the majority of votes or bade the cameras adieu.
And after 11 years at the helm of the Electoral Commission, Parliament decided to end Samuel Mutua Kivuitu’s career. Or did it? End his career, that is.
Barely a year earlier had politicians agonised to have this man’s term extended. One may argue that they came close to declaring ‘No Kivuitu, No elections!’ And as fate would have it, the ‘akililia wembe’ proverb came true.
Fast forward to mid 2008 and they were falling over themselves to have him sacked, something to do with bad maths. Add a few thousands here, subtract hundreds there and wholla! An allegedly flawed election, bad enough to ruin his years of ‘celebdom.’
Kivuitu won our confidence, stole our hearts and then crushed them. In the quiet of his Garden Estate residence, I wonder what goes through his mind. Who betrayed who? When justice came calling on whose side was he and was any on his? What could the man have done when figures became strange or took too long to reach the nerve centre? What should he have done when tempers rose and the first punch flew?
As for the electorate, now that the August House has decided Kivuitu must go, do we applaud? He may have his faults, but what are his constitutionally guaranteed rights? What of security of tenure, what of a High Court order?
I have no answers here, simply to poke at that questioning expression ‘hm’? Hmmmmm.
Is it our constitution to interpret as we wish at our whim? Are we just in need of someone to take the fall for our greed, our bloodthirst, and all the nasties about who the real Kenyan people became earlier in the year? Is it that each one of us is simply fleeing the terror of ‘I’; that close look in the mirror that reveals the blemishes not of your neighbour, but of you who stands before it?
Election results were never so colourful than in his day. This man spared no word, observed no pleasantries. His love-hate relationship with politics began in 1961 at a Dar-es-Saalam university and later when he looked north to pursue a Law degree.
Mr Kivuitu was appointed a member of the Electoral Commission in 1992. Five years later, he led that panel.
Just a final word: Would you say the Digest on Important Election cases or Election Handbook for Political Parties is flying off the shelves? Why, you ask? Well… they were all written by him.