Kenyan-born UK Councillor Munyambu wants to be Kenya’s next President
Kenyan-born Daniel Munyambu, a councillor in the UK, is determined to be Kenya’s next President in 2017. He came to the UK in 2007 to join his wife and was elected a councillor for Vange Ward in Basildon, Essex, four years later on a Labour Party ticket.
Munyambu says he feels compelled to stand for the top seat to provide proper leadership which, he believes, is lacking in Kenya at the moment.
He cited insecurity, corruption and exclusion from the government of many Kenyans especially those in the diaspora as the key motivation, arguing he will fight for justice and fairness for all.
Munyambu says the Jubilee government has totally ignored the diaspora community and failure to register them and facilitate them to vote is unconstitutional. He said Kenyans in the diaspora are a valuable resource and in his time as the President, he will ensure these Kenyans were appointed in key positions. He said most developed countries today use their diaspora communities to achieve their success.
Is Munyambu’s dream valid and achievable? I asked him whether he could defeat wealthy candidates like the current President Uhuru Kenyatta or even former PM Raila Odinga. His answer was emphatic: “Money is never the issue; the issue is having the right ideas. Obama never had savings but most Americans supported him because he had the right ideas.”
His dream comes at a time when he is in the UK after jumping bail in Kenya. He was charged with three counts of fraud in connection with Clickett Traders, a 4×4 vehicle export business he ran from his home in Basildon, UK. This was before Nairobi Principal Magistrate Esther Maina on March 2012. Prosecutors in Kenya allege he forged invoices for a Land Cruiser he never intended exporting to a Kenyan politician and he falsely obtained £15,800 (Sh2,354,200 at current exchange rates).
I reminded Munyambu that he still had a case to answer in Kenya and that the issue could be raised under Ethics and Integrity constitutional requirement for all vying for public offices. Munyambu said President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto faced bigger charges and today they are in power. He claims he will beat them hands down come 2017.
He added that he was not convicted of any crime. Councillor Munyambu pointed out inconsistencies of the charges claiming he was not in Kenya at the time it is alleged that he forged invoices. He showed me all travel dates in his passport which are stamped and confirmed he was not in Kenya.
The youthful councillor argues his political enemies are behind his troubles. He added that they are using a business dispute to stop his political ambitions.
Munyambu had offered to sell a Land Cruiser car to Kenya’s politician Harun Ole Lempaka through his company Clickett Traders.
He found the car which met the specifications agreed upon by the two parties. He bought it and was ready to export it. However, when he told Harun Ole Lempaka the car had the LPG facility (meaning it could use LPG-gas as well as Petrol) at the same time, Harun said he didn’t want that type of car and demanded his money back. Munyambu agreed to refund the total amount but after selling the car he had bought to somebody else to recover the money.
He says he thought that was the agreed way forward and wasn’t aware that behind the scenes Lempaka had sued his company in Kenya. In March 2012, he travelled to visit his mum and siblings as usual. Everything went as normal but one day he came back home to find the police had been in his mother’s house looking for him.
They had left a note asking him to report to Marshall House and they identified themselves as officers from the Banking Fraud Department. Munyambu presented himself in the company of former MP of Gatundu South Moses Mwihia.
However, he was arrested and his travel documents taken following the suit by Harun Lempaka. Technically, this meant he couldn’t travel back to the UK. He was denied bail three times and having tried all he could to get himself out of this inimical situation, he almost lost hope but kept fighting.
At this point, he didn’t know what to do concerning his seat back in the UK. The media in the UK had learnt about his arrest in Kenya and started to run negative headlines about him while he was in jail. For example, the Southend Standard on June 5, 2012 wrote an headline “Fraud Trial Councillor is a Policy Adviser” questioning his suitability to perform that task.
Time was running out and if he finished six months without attending any Council meeting, he would have been disqualified and a by-election conducted to replace him. The Labour Party leader was blamed for choosing him and he later suspended him pending investigation.
After many efforts to get bail in Kenya, he succeeded and was given a cash bail of Sh200,000 and Sh500,000 worth sureties. Munyambu says he paid Sh200,000 cash bail out of his pocket and his siblings managed the two sureties worth Sh500,000.
While in prison, he claims he was told by a friend that there were plans to kill him. He refused prison food for fear of being poisoned. Upon his release, he got his travel documents back and sneaked out of the country using public transport to avoid capture.
He spent 20 hours on the road and later managed to get back to the UK. He says that he felt like he was born again when he arrived in the UK. Councillor Munyambu has since been reinstated by the Labour Party as a councillor but has been busy fighting to clear his name back home. He says that he has spent over Sh1 million engaging services of seven law firms which he claims end up being compromised. He has now started to seek arbitration. As for his presidential ambitions, he already has a manifesto and is just waiting for 2017 when the whistle to kick off the game begins.