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Kizungumkuti: Have you seen Oga Obasanjo? Who sent him over here?


“There should be no doubt that Kenya is in an intractable economic crisis,” Mukoma Wa Ngugi wrote last week. “Filling up gas for a drive from Nairobi to my hometown Limuru cost 10,000 ksh (about USD70)”, Mukoma states in an article published by the e-mag Africa Is a Country.

The son of celebrated Kenyan literary giant Ngugi Wa Thiong’o is a newly minted Professor of Literatures in English at Cornell University, US.

Going to his hometown apparently cost him 10K fuel from Nairobi. Limuru is the Gikuyu pronunciation of Ilmorog, a fictional village in the writings of Mukoma’s father. Ilmorog, if you ask elders in Oloosirkon village in Kajiado, is the Maasai word for Kei apple.

Limuru town, or to be specific Ngugi’s birthplace Kamirithu, is about 40km from Nairobi CBD. Matatu fare is Sh100.

But Prof Mukoma Wa Ngugi told the world he spent a “whopping” Sh10,000 to buy petrol for the journey. The professor was tendering first hand, hard, incontrovertible and conclusive eyewitness evidence of Kenya’s “intractable economic crisis”.

Sasa unaona why Almighty Jehovah Wanyonyi in His prodigious wisdom that surpasses all human understanding created journalism? To separate facts from stori za jaba.

Anyone can say anything. Prof Mukoma wa Ngugi anapeana stori za jaba majuu.

He is not alone, sadly. Is there a single scribe, or any Kenyan, who has seen in “our land and nation” Oga Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo? He is supposed to be the chief mediator in the Kenyan “crisis” Mukoma wrote about.

On Saturday July 29, the media broke the story that Oga had facilitated a meeting between President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga in Mombasa.

Who saw him?

“After what appeared to be an unsuccessful mission by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan to mediate between the two feuding parties, the African Union is reportedly keen on developments in the country and has dispatched former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo,” Citizen TV reported.

Neither Oga nor anyone from the AU was directly quoted. File pics of Obasanjo. That’s unusual. An AU mediator requires public visibility, first of all, to reassure the apprehensive citizenry that something is being done to restore peace.

“Obasanjo was sent by the international community to mediate between Raila and Ruto following the demonstrations called by the opposition to express their anger towards the high cost of living. Obasanjo has already facilitated a meeting between Raila and Ruto who are said to have met at the weekend in Mombasa,” the People Daily reported on August 3.

Who exactly is this “international community” that sent Obasanjo? How was his appointment done? Who signed his contract, if any? Under what mandate or framework? What is Oga supposed to do, within what timelines? Who does he report to?

Why has Obasanjo not appeared publicly in Kenya to speak to the people? Who has seen him?

Smart TV reporter at Azimio presser: “We were here in 2007 and it took the intervention of Kofi Annan the late and the international community to forestall a country that was in the abyss [sic], and, I mean, here is Obasanjo again, why do we need foreign intervention or another entity and we have one of the most elaborate constitutional frameworks to address our problem?”

Had the reporter seen Obasanjo?

“Six leaders were instrumental in organising the meeting between President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga in the presence of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in Mombasa last week,” The Standard reported on August 1.

No photo. How did Mombasa Road establish Ruto and Raila met “in the presence” of Oga?

“Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, opposition chief Raila Odinga’s lead negotiator in crisis talks with President William Ruto’s side, has demanded that the proposed dialogue, to be chaired by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo [sic, former], begin on Monday and stick to the 30-day deadline they have proposed,” the Daily Nation reported on August 4.

Kalonzo called for the talks “at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi, on Monday, August 7, 2023, at 11am.”

No photo or word from Obasanjo. If, indeed, Oga is the man to chair the talks, isn’t he supposed to outline the entire process? Why would Azimio lead negotiator Kalonzo decide the venue, dates and deadlines, and not the negotiator himselufu?

As at the time of writing this piece, Oga had not issued any media statement or appeared publicly. Was he even in Mombasa?

Prof Mukoma Wa Ngugi allegedly bought petrol worth Sh10,000 for a journey from Nairobi to Ilmorog. Stori za jaba majuu. Same as Oga “mediator” Obasanjo. No Kenyan journalist can swear seeing him here.

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