The Star (Nairobi)

5 April 2011

Kenya: Mama Ngina Prays for Kenyatta, Ruto

The Kenyatta family yesterday came out in full force to pray for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru before his departure for the Hague. His media-shy mother, Mama Ngina, his cousins Cabinet Minister Beth Mugo and former Gatundu MP Ngengi Muigai, his rarely-seen-in-public wife, Margaret Wanjiru, their children Jomo, Ngina and Muhoho, his sister Kristina Pratt and his uncle George Muhoho were all there.

The Kenyatta family was joined in the prayer ceremony held at the Gatundu Stadium by his co-suspect William Ruto, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and scores of MPs. Mama Ngina laid hands on both her son and Ruto as she prayed for their safe return from the Hague.

She said the charges facing her son and his co-suspects were the work of neo-colonialists and urged Kenyans to stand by her son and resist just like they had resisted the British colonial rule. "The colonialists gave us problems and it is now clear they have never relented," said the 79-year-old former First Lady.

Mama Ngina, who was speaking in public for the first time since her son and the other ICC suspects were named as suspects responsible for the 2007-08 post-election violence, said she was writing a book about her experiences under British colonial rule. "I'm sure Uhuru, Ruto and the rest will go to the Hague and come back so that we can proceed with nation building," said Mama Ngina. She said one day the truth of the post-election violence will come out. "Whatever is done in the dark will come to light," she said.

Ngengi Muigai set the tone of the rally when he drew parallels between Uhuru's charges at the ICC and the detention of his father, Jomo Kenyatta, by the British colonial government. "How much can a wife and a mother bear? Her (Mama Ngina's) husband's tribulations from the British colonialists and now her son from the neo-colonialists!" said Ngengi.

Mama Ngina was Kenyatta's fourth wife whom he married in 1951. She became independent Kenya's glamorous First Lady when Kenyatta became Prime Minister on December 12, 1963 and often accompanied him in public and even had some streets in Nairobi and Mombasa named for her. She and Kenyatta have four children, Kristina Wambui, Uhuru, Anna Nyokabi and Muhoho.

Other speakers at the rally followed the same theme that has prevailed in the prayer-meetings-cum-rally sessions. They criticised Prime Minister Raila Odinga and accused him of manipulating the ICC to prefer charges against Uhuru and Ruto who pose a threat to his presidential ambitions.

Uhuru accused Raila of seeking the presidency through the back door and said he and the others would be vindicated as they would go to the Hague, clear their names, come back and proceed with their march to State House.

Uhuru said the cases had united Kenyans who have been yearning for national unity and lasting peace. "In fact, even if I am jailed for 100 years, I will be contented for bringing this process that has been elusive since 1992," Uhuru said.

Eldoret North MP William Ruto compared himself and Uhuru to the Biblical Paul and Silas who walked out of prison after the gates of the prison fell open.

Ruto criticised Raila for not having confidence in Kenyans - in reference to the PM's calls that fresh investigations into the post-election violence be conducted with the assistance of the FBI or Scotland Yard. "Huyu mtu anafikiria kazi ya vijana ni kufyeka nyasi na kuchimba mitaro tu?" (Does this man think the work of the youth is only to cut grass and dig trenches?)," said Ruto.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said if the ICC failed to defer the Ocampo Six cases the African Union would establish an African criminal court which would be a replica of ICC.

Kalonzo said summoning the suspects to the Hague was tantamount to provoking chaos in the country. "You cannot ship leaders out of their country and expect peace to prevail," warned Kalonzo.

He said Raila as the chairman of the ODM Pentagon should bear full responsibility for the violence that rocked the country after he rejected the outcome of the December 27, 2007 general election. He said the issue of the Hague was not a Kenyan matter but that of the entire Africa. All the leaders who spoke blamed Raila for the ICC summonses but did not explain how the PM had made this possible.

The leaders who included several Cabinet Ministers, Assistant Ministers, politicians and clergy said the ploy would boomerang on Raila. Transport Minister Amos Kimunya said enemies of Kenya had hatched a plot to politically eliminate pro-Kibaki leaders ahead of 2012 so that they can assume leadership through the back door.

He cited the censure motion passed against him in 2008 over his handling of the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel as an example of the "beginning of the grand conspiracy to oust Kibaki loyalists." The ICC summons was just the climax of this plan, he alleged.

Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny criticised Raila's development record and claimed he had started to panic when he realised that members Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Kamba communities were working together.

Assistant Minister Chebii Kilimo told Raila to have his bodyguards withdrawn since he had said he had no confidence in the Kenyan Police.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni said Raila had demonstrated tribalism by having 73 percent of job slots in his ministry going to members of his community, 12 percent to foreigners and only 15 percent for the rest of Kenyans.

MP Peter Mwathi of Limuru said that after ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo realised that he had no concrete case against Uhuru, he was now going for his wealth by seeking to freeze his accounts.

Mathira MP Ephraim Maina said the coalition government had turned out to be a trap. "Hii serikali siyo ya mseto ni serikali ya mtego," he said.

Wakoli Bifwoli sent the crowd laughing when he said one of the Ocampo Six is an old man who could not have raped anybody during the post-election violence.

Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi said that in his legal opinion, the charges levelled against the Ocampo Six cannot hold. "I have read these charges and widely consulted and found nothing to pin down the six suspects," said the minister.

Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa said Ocampo's case had cracks and that was why his application to implicate Uhuru in the skirmishes that rocked Kibera and Kisumu failed. Beth Mugo said justice could not be found at the Hague but in Kenya. Gender Minister Naomi Shaban called for Kenyans to fast and pray during the time the Ocampo Six will be at the Hague.

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