This woman MARY WAMBUI KIBAKI
There have been a lot of similarities between the Kenyatta and Kibaki administrations. This in itself will be a very fascinating area of study for historians for many years to come bearing in mind the fact that those close to Kenyatta were so opposed to the presidency ever crossing the Chania River that they took several oaths to ensure that it would never happen.
The said river is what divides the Kiambu Kikuyu from the Nyeri Kikuyu. For those who do not know the 3rdpresident of Kenya is a Nyeri Kikuyu whilst the first was a Kiambu Kikuyu. And despite all the blood oaths the presidency did in fact cross the Chania River in 2003.
The crux of the problem between the two Kikuyu factions is that Nyeri Kikuyus have always felt that they did the most to fight for independence (Dedan Kimathi and company hailed from Nyeri) while the Kiambu Kikuyus were mostly collaborators with the colonial government and even helped them smoke out and arrest freedom fighters (From Nyeri). And yet when independence finally came, the presidency and all other big positions went to those from Kiambu. The position of Kiambu Kikuyus is that they are smarter, better educated and better entrepreneurs and deserve every good thing that has happened to them in comparison to the lazy dreamers from Nyeri.
The last time this rivalry was played out in presidential politics was in 1992 when Kiambu fielded Kenneth Njino Matiba and Nyeri presented Mwai Kibaki. In those memorial first-in-a-long-time multiparty elections Matiba (Kibaki’s junior officer in government for many years) gave his former boss a through whipping at the polls and ended up as a close runner up to eventual winner Daniel arap Moi. However there are those who firmly believe that it was Matiba who was the genuine winner of those polls.
The politics between the Nyeri, Kiambu and Muranga Kikuyus has always been explosive but let us focus on the presence in both administrations of a Mr Fix-it. That was the nick name given to the most feared member of Kenyatta’s inner circle one Dr Njoroge Mungai. Mungai built a reputation as the man in the president’s court to look to when there was a crisis or “an obstacle that had to be removed.” Mungai has been linked to the assassinations of many perceived opponents and threats to the Kenyatta administration.
It is now emerging that the Kibaki administration also has its’ very own Mr Fix it in the inner circle. A person who deals with complex political problems ruthlessly. And in the case of the Kibaki administration it is the last person you would expect. In fact it is a woman. Her name is Mary Wambui. That is one name that sends shivers down the spines of many men in Kenya who are in the know. And for good reason.
Early in the Kibaki administration she acquired the nickname Wambui wa Munene but has a much more chilling nickname amongst the intelligence community these days.
Interestingly political analysts have never been able to identify the politics played out between the two wives of the president. There have actually been two extremely powerful camps close to the president. The Lucy Kibaki camp and the Mary Wambui one. The latter has always operated much more quietly and less dramatically but has always been the more powerful faction. It is the faction that is credited to have done the most in getting the president a second term in 2007 despite the odds.
What has probably clouded a lot of the significant events linked to the factions are the petty battles. For instance people have very effectively gotten rid of those they do not like by simply linking them to the Mary Wambui camp. That has always resulted in immediate sacking and sometimes physical ejection by the first lady herself. These turf wars between two women married to the same man have drawn attention away from some other more serious and significant events and operations most of them extremely shocking.
One thing is for sure. One day very soon analysts of Kibaki’s presidency will sit up and notice just how significant a role this woman who never saw the inside of a high school has played in this presidency.