Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: Who is Stanley Murage?
Murage’s name has appeared in several Wikileaks cables but who is he?
When the Mount Kenya Mafia ring began to tighten itself around Kibaki, another key personality who soon moved close to the President was the then fifty-five-year old Kirinyaga born Mr. Stanley Karuthai Murage who entered the scene in October 2004. Murage was not just fished by Kibaki out of the dark waters of political obscurity. Moi had long noted his skills and appointed him Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport in 1994 and then dropped him along with eleven other Permanent secretaries in a civil servant cutback in September 1999. When his friend Kibaki seized power, Murage was promoted to serve as Advisor and Permanent Secretary in charge of “Strategic Policy” in the Office of The President. Murage had also been appointed by Kibaki to serve in National Economic and Social Council.
When he entered State House, the first casualty who felt the real impact of his entry must have been Alfred Getonga who was sacked as Kibaki’s Personal Assistant amid media speculation that Murage was brought in to change the power equations at State House, which was, by then, dominated by the “Hurlingham group” that was allegedly headed by Kiraitu Murungi and Chris Murungaru. Murage’s appointment was also viewed as a counter to Francis Muthaura, Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet because of the duplicate nature of duties in relation to Murage’s new responsibilities at State House.
Murage is schooled in Building Economics and Quantity Surveying but quit his job as a Group Quantity Surveyor with the Kenyatta government in 1977 to look for greener pastures in business. He has been one of Kibaki’s trusted buddies and after Kibaki was sworn in as President, the role he has been playing in Kibaki’s life saw him scoop the coveted award of the “Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear.” Despite his background as a humble civil servant, Murage had several business interests across Kenya. His flagship was the Armstrong and Duncan Company, which specialized in fixing huge government and private sector contracts. Murage had good contacts with the Ndegwa Family, one of the families that owns Kenya and that was instrumental in helping Murage establish his business empire.
The advantage of having good contacts with the Ndegwas is that the family was close to Kibaki and any good contacts with them simply worked to Murage’s advantage, helping him cement the relationship between him and Kibaki in a symbiotic way. Still in the rank of proximity to the big shots, the new Presidential Advisor who had occupied State House in the person and personality of Murage was very close to the late Mr. James Kanyotu, the secretive Chief of Intelligence under the Moi dictatorship who passed away at Nairobi Hospital in January 2008. He is believed to have taken to the grave vital secrets that could have boosted the resolution of several mysterious deaths and assassinations of Kenyans including the assassination of the late JM Kariuki during the Kenyatta dictatorship and the assassination of Dr. Robert Ouko who is believed to have been killed by the Moi dictatorship.
With his crucial position, Murage needed backup from the likes of Kanyotu who was himself a veteran on Kenyan Intelligence. It is notable that Murage’s name popped up as a person who needed to be investigated following the scandal of the Artur brothers who masterminded an attack on The East African Standard Newspaper. According to information that came in the public limelight, the Artur brothers were hired thugs commissioned by the government while it is reported that they met President Kibaki at State House on several occasions in the process of planning the attack on the newspaper. Their presence and agenda in Kenya was blown by Raila Odinga and as the scandal unfolded through the media, Murage was one of the individuals who came into the spotlight thereby raising eyebrows as to the real role he was playing at State House. The Kirugi Commission that investigated the Artur brothers wrote that Murage:
…condoned the illegal activities of the two brothers. He should be prosecuted for the Standard Newspapers raid; banned from holding public office; investigated for his role in the illegal activities of the two brothers; further investigated together with the principal immigration officer for their involvement with the two brothers; [and] state his connection to the two brothers.133
Murage’s name had popped up early in the scandal, having been mentioned as having attended a secret night meeting at Michuki’s office at Harambee House together with CID Director Joseph Kamau to plan the raid on The Standard.134 The Standard reported that the said meeting took place hours before the attacks on the Standard Group Headquarters at I&M Bank Tower and the Likoni road printing Press.135 The connection between Murage and the Arturs was so serious that Lucy Kibaki, First Lady, was reported to have been unhappy with Murage because of his possible link to the two controversial men.
According to The Standard Report: Murage denied there was any truth in reports that the First Lady now believes the two ‘light-skinned’ men she saw him with at State House in mid-February were the same ones whose pictures the media splashed after the dramatic news conference by the foreigners at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s VIP lounge last Monday.136 Murage is also known to have been a close friend of Mateere Keriri, former controller of State House who fell out with First lady Lucy Kibaki and who was later fired from State House at short notice when things got hot. Pundits viewed Kerri’s departure from State House as the result of clashes between Keriri and Murage, which later spilled over to Lucy Kibaki who had the final word at State House. Lucy routinely slapped people at State House and got away with it although sometimes she did it in front of cameras and got caught, creating sensational scandals in the media.
At State House, Murage was firmly aligned to the “Muthaiga group” composed of elderly friends of Kibaki, who were fighting the “Hurlingham group” that had kept the Muthaiga old men at bay as far as proximity to the President was concerned. When Mwiraria, Finance minister, was forced to tender his resignation following the explosion of the Anglo-Leasing scandal, Murage is the guy who is believed to have consulted with Karume and the President to install the forty-fouryear-old kid, Amos Kimunya, as the new Finance Minister, an appointment that also stamped the Muthaiga group’s authority at the decision-making table at State House. Kiraitu later called a press conference to declare that “I am not finished yet,”137 even though the Hurlingham group was clearly losing to the Muthaiga group.
When he arrived at State House, Murage took control of the Institution rapidly although it is reported that he had no specific job description. The extent to which he had penetrated the Kenya power machine through the President was exhibited when he was left with the task of being part of a huge structure that was to fix Kibaki’s re-election campaign, which, nevertheless, started very late, probably because the Mafia cartel understood that elections were going to be rigged and that there was no need of sending the President to sweat profusely in the terrible campaign heat when the job could be done easily at KICC.
Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: pges 76-78