Juma’s Assassination Needed Tougher Action by Cord Leaders
The assassination of anti-corruption crusader Mr. Jacob Juma by the Jubilee government has elevated the businessman into a martyr overnight. With his brutal murder, Juma joins the ranks of Kenyans whose blood has and continues to water the tree of Liberation in Kenya. A key difference with the circumstances of this assassination is that Juma not only knew about his impending assassination but also named those who were plotting to kill him. One of the big names he dropped is that of Deputy President William Ruto.
In fact, the circumstances reminds one of the assassination of Dr. Robert Ouko in February 1990. Although Juma was not a government Minister like Dr. Ouko, the name of the “Total man”, Nicholas Biwott, a Kalenjin (like Ruto), was widely mentioned in connection with Dr. Ouko’s murder. Is Ruto emerging as the new “Total man” in Jubilee government?
Secondly, and just like Juma, Dr. Ouko was murdered because of his perceived war on corruption. Apart from other parasites who were looting State coffers during the dictatorship of Daniel arap Moi, Dr. Ouko was assassinated because of corruption scandals that, he believed, were being masterminded by Nicholas Biwott. In the same token, Juma appears to have been eliminated, not just because of the corruption scandals touching on personalities in government but because of scandals surrounding William Ruto.
Juma: Opposition should have called for a “Prayer Meeting” at Uhuru Park
As usual, a chorus of voices have called for the investigation of Juma’s assassination. However, experience with previous assassinations should inform any observer that nothing will be done and Juma’s real killers will never be apprehended by Jubilee. Already, evidence has been tampered with and the narrative has changed with Juma’s wife claiming that her husband was killed elsewhere then his body dumped at the “scene of crime”.
Although calling for an investigation ought to be the starting point, the opposition, led by Raila Odinga, ought to have exploited Juma’s assassination to increase the heat on the Jubilee government, not just for propaganda reasons but as a way of reminding the government about the consequences of adopting political assassinations as a strategy of dealing with fierce government critics.
To address the issue of Juma’s assassination, the opposition ought to have called for a political rally at Uhuru Park in memory of Juma who paid the ultimate price in the struggle against corruption in government. Alternatively, the Opposition ought to have called for a “Prayer Meeting” at Uhuru Park to pray for Juma’s family and victims of political assassinations. From the meeting, Cord’s supporters ought to have matched to the headquarters of IEBC in continuation of their anti-IEBC campaign. This is because the lost life of Juma ought to be more important than the call for IEBC Commissioners to go!
The combination of Juma Prayer Meeting-Anti-IEBC actions could have expanded the opposition’s case against IEBC through the argument that the Electoral body is seeking to rig political assassins back to power in 2017. Although the opportunity to link the Juma issue was lost when Cord leaders and supporters were tear-gassed for a third consecutive time on Monday, May 9th 2016, a new opportunity will present itself on Saturday, May 14th when Juma will be buried. The thieving ruling class does not understand the language of “investigations”. It understands the language of protests because that is what threatens its existence, forcing it to violate the Constitution by using tear gas on peaceful political protesters including children.
Scotland Yard or FBI will never be engaged by Juma’s Assassins
Raila Odinga has rightly said that since the government is the key suspect in Juma’s assassination, this government should call in Scotland Yard Detectives or the FBI to investigate the assassination. Although Juma was not a top politician, he was also not an ordinary citizen. Apart from rising to the status of the most-high profile Kenyan corruption buster in recent times, he was also a billionaire. It must be appreciated that he helped burst the Euro-Bond scandal which, he claimed, cost him Ksh 800 million in terms of information and evidence gathering. On the basis of his anti-corruption profile, his assassination surely deserves a proper investigation.
However, looking at the investigation of Dr. Robert Ouko by Scotland Yard Detectives, my take is that Jubilee is unlikely to heed Raila’s call for external investigators because of two reasons. With the IEBC headache Cord has created for Jubilee, external investigators of Juma’s assassination is likely to add more stress on Jubilee assassins because of the high public profile such an investigation would assume. Secondly, Ruto’s name was mentioned by Juma in the assassination plot and it is most unlikely that Scotland Yard or FBI would fail to interrogate Ruto about the assassination. Already, Ruto is burdened with a heavy load of corruption scandals on his shoulders and adding the Juma assassination package to this load is unlikely to work in Ruto’s political interest. The Scotland Yard-FBI call is therefore heading nowhere.
Cord should guarantee legal consequences for Juma’s assassins
On a long term, the best option for Cord is to permanently link Juma’s assassination to Jubilee assassins because that appears to be what it is with or without investigations. Cord needs to affirm to Kenyans that in case it comes to power, a Cord government will investigate Juma’s assassination and bring the assassins and their accomplices to face justice.
Raila Odinga should boldly assert that anybody who was named by Juma in the assassination plot will be rounded up and investigated. Former dictator Daniel arap Moi is enjoying life in retirement despite his regime having been responsible for several political assassinations (including that of Dr. Robert Ouko) because former dictator Mwai Kibaki protected him. Kibaki has himself escaped responsibility for several assassinations and extra-judicial executions because Uhuru Kenyatta is protecting him. Worse still, Uhuru’s regime has itself assassinated several Islamic clerics and equally executed several Kenyans but so far, there has been no single investigation of a single assassination or execution since Uhuru was rigged to power in 2013.
Juma’s assassination may not be the last. However, Cord leaders should firmly incorporate the struggle against political assassinations and extra-judicial executions of government critics into its politics. The Cord leadership should provide hope that in the event of a power take-over, the assassins will pay for their crimes. Just like the issue of corruption, the scourge of political assassinations must be part and parcel of Cord’s political agenda in the direction of charging perpetrators who must never be allowed to walk away with blood on their hands.