Is Lucy Kibaki Under “State House Arrest?”

I have not been commenting on Kenyan politics for quite some time because just like all concerned Kenyans, I have been giving the Grand Coalition time to mature. One thing that has been characteristic in the situation is that the First Lady, Mrs Lucy Kibaki, has not been as omnipresent as she used to be during President Mwai Kibaki’s first term in office and her absence from the scene has defied official explanation from State House, prompting many Kenyans familiar with her slapping streak to ask where she actually is.

When the Grand Coalition was being sworn in, Mrs. Lucy Kibaki was conspicuously absent. That was after she went missing from the gala event of the schools and colleges drama festival that was held at State House some weeks ago where winners entertained the President. It was very strange that Lucy missed this routine event packed with entertainment meant to sooth the nerves of the President.

The First Lady has an office at the NHIF building measuring 5,078 square-foot, well furnished, guarded by GSU round the clock and costing the tax payer Ksh 761,900 quarterly. The Office was leased to her through Crystal Valuers in November 2003 but has never been used because the first lady has been busy with charity work under the auspices of The Organization of African First Ladies Against Aids.

Recently, a group of scholars proposed that First Ladies should be banned from Charity work because of “conflict of interest”, arguing that First Ladies were milking the State millions, claiming that they are fighting Aids while in reality, they are in business.

The contradiction is that although Lucy may have been busy, she has not been seen in public for a long time. Has she been too busy with private business that keeps her away from the public?

When I called State House to find out, there was no concrete reply and staff I talked to was more interested in establishing why I wanted to know the whereabouts of the First Lady than willing to give information.

I introduced myself and said that I am a Kenyan citizen who resides in Stockholm who was getting concerned that the First Lady had withdrawn from public lime light to an extent that she missed the swearing in ceremony at MPs and official opening of Parliament, something she never used to do.

After a few seconds of silence (it appeared to me that the official might have been consulting), he came back on the phone and said that he is not allowed to comment on the issue.

The disappearance of the First lady has been strange because during President Kibaki’s election campaign, she was working almost daily campaigning for her husband and after elections were stolen, she just disappeared. On May 28th, she was spotted shopping in Biashara street, Nairobi where she reportedly informed a curious crowd that she has been “busy working”.

She did make an appearance with the President on Madaraka day after allegedly slapping Gitobu Imanyara at State House but since then, she has not been seen in public again. At one point, Ida Odinga, the wife of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, questioned the whereabouts of the First Lady but no answers were forth coming.

At the State opening of the ninth Parliament, First Lady was surprisingly absent and her seat remained vacant although Judy, her daughter, was present.

I then asked the Officer whether it was true that First Lady had slapped Gitobu Imanyara at State House as the post election crisis unfolded. I thought he would get irritated but he avoided the question and instead, asked me where I had obtained the direct line to State House. I said that I have a friend who works with the Ministry of Defence who had passed the number to me.

I refused to give away my sources, cut him short and asked whether it was true that the President was very sick and sleeping almost 24 hours a day. He then surprised me because he began to laugh. He warned me that the conversation was being recorded and I said that it was fine that it was going on record that a citizen was asking about the health of the President. By then, he had forgotten my name and asked: “what is your name again?”

“If the conversation is being recorded, then my name is there”, I replied. “Nyinyi watu wa ngambo, kazi yenu ni ngumu”, he said before hanging up.

When the First lady allegedly beat Imanyara, some elders from Meru tried to intervene by convincing Imanyara to cool down the court case so that the elders could resolve the conflict outside court but I still don’t know how the mediation process went. Mr. F.K Musyimi, the Principle Administrative Secretary who was slapped by Lucy at State House last year, was relieved of his duties in February this year without explanations.

The same month, Jimmy, the President’s son, met the Press to deny that he had been shot by her mother at State House. According to the rumour, Jimmy was shot after he tried to plead with the President to step down after election rigging because people were dying because of him. Upset by her son’s intervention, Lucy allegedly opened fire on Jimmy, shooting him on the heap.

When he met the Press to deny that he was shot, he did not expose his thighs to show that he was never injured by any bullet. This miss has prevented the rumour from going away. Something must have happened to Lucy because her withdrawal from the public lime light is not normal. Is she under State House arrest for fear that she might try to slap Raila Odinga in public and create a crisis or something?

Okoth Osewe

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