I am back after a week end break and Purity is on the spotlight. A shake up of members of the Kenya diplomatic community is now inevitable and in Kenya-Stockholm, the question that has been hanging in the air is whether Lady Ambassador Purity Muhindi will survive the purge when the final list is released by the Grand Coalition government any time from now.
Purity’s luck depends on the political Party that will have the opportunity of filling the slot at the Kenyan Embassy in stockholm. There has been a quiet but active tug of war between ODM and PNU on Ambassadorial appointments especially in key countries like the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, South Africa, China and Scandinavia. Both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga would like to share appointments on these “strategic countries” because of political advantages.
Purity’s posting to Stockholm was allegedly influenced by the First Lady, Lucy Kibaki and one thing that is certain is that if the responsibility of appointing the Embassy boss in Stockholm falls on ODM, Purity will be the first to go even though she has been at the Embassy for only two years.
The same case applies to the United States where analysts believe that Ambassador Rateng Oginga Ogego will have to give room in case ODM calls the shots in the US because the Ambassador has been at loggerheads with both ODM and US Presidential candidate Barrack Obama.
The possible departure of Purity from Stockholm is unlikely to create anxiety among Kenya-Stockholmers (save for a few sychophants) because of the insignificant role the Lady Ambassador has been playing in the lives of Kenyans here. More often than not, the Ambassador has been steeped in controversy and scandal throughout her brief stint at the Embassy, scandals that, to KSB, makes her “the worst Ambassador Kenyans have had” at the Embassy since the days of the reclusive Ambassador Salim.
After her arrival in Stockholm on Monday October 9th 2006, Purity soon found herself facing a crisis over land that had been grabbed at her residence in Nacka and transferred to a Swedish neighbor, a transaction that the neighbor claimed, cost him Ksh 2 million. When ODM began a campaign for the recovery of the land, Purity called Swedish police to chase away a group of ODM members who went to the residence to verify the extent of the land theft as the campaign also gathered steam.
The police did not think that the Kenyans were committing any crime or violating any law and later left. As the campaign reached a climax, the land was quietly returned and the fence that had been tampered with was restored as ODM Scandinavia members blew Champaign to congratulate themselves for work well done.
The land grabbing drama was playing itself against a background of authoritarianism on the part of Purity at the Embassy and strong arm-tactics that saw the Lady Ambassador fire Mr. Paul Njenga, a gardener at the residence, to give room for a Swedish company that Purity thought, could do the job better. Through this action, Purity simply rendered a Kenyan jobless at a time when the Narc government was supposed to be creating half a million jobs per year to put the country’s 11 million plus unemployed youth to work.
PURITY AVOIDED FUNCTIONS ORGANIZED BY KENYANS
While the abrupt sacking of Njenga may have been a side-show, it is the inhumane treatment of Njenga as he went about his work that drew outrage among Kenyans in Stockholm. Njenga was denied the use of kitchen facilities by Purity, a luxury he enjoyed during the days of Ambassador Mukiri Kinyanjui who appointed him, while he was also denied toilet facilities at the residence once Purity moved in.
The consequence was that Njenga had to take his coffee breaks inside Purity’s dusty garage while he also faced the indignity of carrying his waste in a polythene bag which he personally dumped together with taka taka after work. When KSB arrived at the residence to verify Njenga’s accusations, evidence about his mistreatment existed at the compound. The whole of his coffee paraphernalia was still kept at a corner in the garage where purity’s white Mercedez Benz spent the night. Many Kenyans were shocked.
Purity arrived in Stockholm at a time when Kenyans were still in mourning because Mr. James Kiboi had just passed away. What was disturbing about Kiboi’s death in connection with Purity and the sacked Njenga is that the new Ambassador refused to pay Njenga a 10,000 Kr wage for work Njenga performed at the residence of Mr. Kiboi before the diplomat died.
Kiboi passed away on a Sunday while Njenga was supposed to be paid on a Monday. Instead of honoring commitments the Embassy had entered into with Njenga through Kiboi, Purity ganged up with Jenipher Awuor, her Lady Deputy, to defeat Njenga’s attempts to get his money. As Purity probably approaches the sun-set of her career at Kenya Embassy in Stockholm, Njenga is a bitter man who will never forget her.
When Ambassador Kinyanjui arrived at the Embassy, the first thing he did was to eradicate what had became known as “secret invitations” to Jamhuri day celebrations. He did this by making these invitations open to every Kenyan but when Purity arrived in Stockholm, Kenyans will remember the tension that surrounded a two hour Jamhuri bash in town when some Kenyans got invitations while others did not.
Kenyans in Stockholm are very stubborn and some of them have a habit of making small things look big while bigger things could as well be reduced to crap. There was tension when a group of Kenyans vowed to “gate crash” at the function. Although security was tight because the Embassy was taking no chances, there were no major incidents. A gaping hole in the Jamhuri attraction was that Purity eliminated the all-night Jamhuri bash that had been introduced by Ambassador Kinyanjui as she assumed an air of importance that has not been witnessed at the Embassy for quite some time.
Unlike Ambassador Sergon, Kinyanjui’s predecessor, and Kinyanjui himself (who were both very simplistic and down to earth), Purity appeared more elitist, stylish in her orientation, selective with her contacts and non nonchalant especially when it came to attending public functions by Kenyans in Stockholm.
Some Kenyans have theorized that as a woman, she could not afford to be as social as her male counterparts but this view reeks of gender bias. Kenyan women in Stockholm are some of the most social and others are popular for confronting men in public with controversial issues so being a woman should be no excuse for Purity’s apparent habit of keeping away from her people.
As she prepares to quit, she goes down as the Ambassador who never attended a single Kenyan Party, Nyama Choma or harambee, functions which are routine among Kenyans and which Embassy officials were attending before Purity’s arrival. KSB spies however saw her at a Ugandan Party in Kista while she was also spotted shaking her beef on the dance floor at a Sudanese diplomatic Party. When a KSB spy tried to speak Swahili with her at the Ugandan Independence Party, she refused and stuck to English. The story continues in our next installment.