A potential betrayal that was nipped in the bud
In 1997, Kenneth Njindo Matiba called for a public rally at Uhuru Park to push for reforms before that year’s election. Matiba had been leading a no reform no election campaign from 1995 and when he called for this meeting there was great expectation.
James Orengo was the surprise attendant in that meeting as he was seen to be more close to Kibaki and Wamalwa. Orengo set the crowd into frenzy when he requested Matiba to be the field Marshall of the revolution and he (Orengo) would be his able general, leading the troops on the ground. Other leaders rooted for a revolution and Matiba speech was expected to endorse the same.
Matiba was the man of the moment and when he stood up to speak, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Matiba talked for a few minutes about the need for reforms but from out of the blues, Matiba revealed that he had not yet surrendered his Kanu membership certificate and that he was at liberty to meet Moi to discuss politics and business. The crowd was stunned and went very quiet for some time before some courageous men in the crowd asked ‘ati umesema nini mzee’. Matiba repeated what he had said about still being a kanu member. The crowd could not take it anymore and there was spontaneous booing, with plastic bottles thrown at the dais and many people started walking away. Matiba was forced to cut short his speech as even the small crowd that remained continued booing him.
Matiba was to majority of Kikuyus what Raila is to Luos, yet he was booed and almost ran out of town when he tried to do the unthinkable. Raila should learn from history and appreciate that the citizens also have a say in what the leaders do ostensibly on their behalf.