Mutua: Kibaki swore himself ‘at night’ fearing Raila would run to court
Fallen Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki swore himself for a second term in office at dusk in 2007 because he feared Raila Odinga, who was his main competitor, would rush to court to challenge the election results.
Kibaki, who passed away last week, controversially won the contentious polls with the slimmest of margins against a determined Odinga leading to chaos and mayhem across the country.
In an interview with Citizen TV, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, who served as government spokesperson in Kibaki’s government and was based at State House, has opened up on how he had to work around the clock to ensure the official results of the election were announced on the national broadcaster.
“As the results were being read we could clearly see the chaos that was taking place at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) and we knew that if Kibaki would be announced the winner, Odinga’s team would get a Judge to stop his swearing-in,” explained Mutua.
“Kibaki’s term in office was to end that evening. He would no longer be the Commander in Chief. We were not about to let that happen.”
Mutua recalls the process to ensure Kibaki is declared the winner by the then head of electoral agency Samuel Kivuitu and the same aired on live television was not a walk in the park.
He adds that Amos Wako, who served as Attorney General at the time, advised the then Chief Justice Evan Gicheru was around so that he could immediately ensure Kibaki is sworn in immediately he is declared the winner.
Mutua shared how they were watching from their offices in dismay as Odinga’s camp, then referred to as Pentagon officials, gave Electoral Commission chief Samuel Kivuitu a hard time and even stopped him from reading the results.
“When I saw the chaos was worsening, I asked Philip Kisia to switch off the lights at the tallying centre but he did not do so,” the governor who is serving his last term in office said.
“Moments later, I saw Kivuitu preparing to read the final results but he was stopped by the likes of James Orengo.”
“I decided we would ensure that he reads the results as quickly as possible and it is then I hatched a plan to ensure the Kenya Broadcasting Channel (KBC) airs reading of final results.”
The Governor called the then KBC Editor in Chief Waithaka Waihenya and asked him to send a cameraman to his office.
“I then called Nimrod Mbai who was serving as my aide then and asked him to take Mr Kivuitu to a room known as the Vice President’s room where he could read the results,” he said.
They managed to have the final results read but it was very hard for them because the pentagon team realized what was happening and rushed to break the door leading to the VIP room.
However, Governor Mutua had made a call and asked the reporter to hide the tape with Mr Kivuitu’s recording inside his pair of socks and insert a different one to his camera.
Then Mr Mbai escorted the KBC cameraman to the KICC basement and he was escorted to the station with a fleet of over 15 GSU vehicles.
As this was happening, Mr Mutua rushed to where the ex-Head of State was and found him playing with his granddaughter.
“Immediately, Kibaki’s daughter Judy saw me walk into the office, she excused herself and left with the young girl. It is then that I informed the president what I had done,” he said.
According to governor Mutua, the late president told him that he wanted to hear the results aired live so that his heart could settle.
A few minutes later, KBC aired the footage in which Mr Kivuitu declared Kibaki president, and the process to swear him in kicked off.
As soon as the matter was made official, Kibaki rose to his feet and for the first time hugged Governor Mutua.
Immediately after the swearing-in, the country witnessed the worst Post-Election Violence to have ever in history as Odinga’s supporters disputed the results.
Fast forward, Odinga, considered a front runner to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the August 2022 polls, has twice, in 2013 and 2017 disputed the results of a general election.