By Adongo Ogony
or the record, I have known Dr. Willy Mutunga since I was at the Nairobi University from 1981. He has been a ferocious defender of human and democratic rights for all Kenyans, as a lecturer in law at the university and all his life.
He ended up in the Kenyan detention prison for his principles.
It was Dr. Mutunga, Dr. Oki Ooko Ombaka (Triple O), Dr. Shadrack Gutto, and Prof. Mukaru Ng’anga who used to invite student leaders to their offices at that time we were fighting against Moi’s one-party law passed in the Kenyan parliament under Article 2(A) in March 1982.
When we opposed Moi imposing the one-party rule, it was my job to write a memorandum from the Students Organisation of Nairobi University (SONU).
I was the Secretary-General of SONU and it was my job to write the memorandum telling Moi that their move was illegal.
I had no understanding of constitutional law in Kenya so it was the Mutungas, the Ombakas, and the Guttos who helped us and told us to go read stuff at the library and put sensible proposals.
Which we did.
I can’t remember the number of days we were sleeping next to big books in front of the library trying to write a memo to stop Moi in 1982.
Not surprisingly, “sleeping” next to us as we tried to figure things out were student Special Agents of the state.
We knew them by name and they knew us. Fair fight.
But we kind of put it together and put up the memo of protest against an imposed one-party rule under Article 2(A).
Under the rules of SONU, and the Students Representative Council (SRC) in 1982 once a decision was made it had to be executed or the students would kill you.
So they asked me to take the memo to State House. This was a SONU business so David Murathe, Onyango C.A and I took the memo to State House.
We were calling for a referendum on whether Kenya should have a one-party state.
Maybe SONU is the first national group in our country to call for a referendum as a means to resolve some national issues in our country.
So of course I was amused and disturbed when ex CJ Dr. Mutunga has been widely quoted as saying that although he doesn’t support Ruto and his campaign to be our next president, he thinks Ruto has the vote sorted out for now and that Ruto is a very clever politician.
Well for all we know, Adolf Hitler was considered one of the most brilliant (clever) politicians in the world in his war against everybody in the 1930’s.
Did the world surrender to Hitler and tell him oh dude you are so clever just do whatever you want?
No. People said we have to stop this monster.
Hitler’s biggest mistake was to invade Russia (the Soviet Union) with almost his entire army.
Hitler was on the verge of victory when his Nazi Army reached St. Petersburg the Russian capital and one of the biggest cities in the world at that time. Hitler’s army was sure once they sort out Russia, England and the rest of Europe would be a walkover.
The Nazis almost took St. Petersburg and then the tide turned.
The Russian army pushed them out of the city and they had to travel backwards. The winter storm was wiping out thousands of Nazi soldiers on Russian soil every day and the Red Army just walked over them and Hitler was finished.
The rest was paperwork for the US and England.
So personally, I have never bought into the theory of the evil genius who can’t be defeated and we all have to bow to them.
I will never do that and Kenyans should never entertain such defeatist attitudes.
The Mau Mau fighters had no hope in the face of defeating British Colonialism but they took their chances and went for the fight for a free country.
We are there now. If the Mau Mau fighters and their supporters thought it was impossible to defeat the British and have a free Kenya we probably would be still British Colonial rule.
But I take Willy Mutunga very seriously because I know about his honesty and seriousness about our problems as Kenyans.
He is telling Kenyans if you want to end the Ruto nightmare which has plagued Kenyans since 1992, you will have to work very hard for that.
I have no problem with that honest opinion from Dr. Willy Mutunga whom I respect very much.
By the way, I was invited to the Willy Mutunga lecture at the Gandhi Hall at the University of Nairobi just after he was appointed as our Chief Justice, and there was so much hope and anticipation from human rights groups who had known Willy for decades.
I got the last question in that forum and I asked the new Chief Justice what he thinks about Chapter Six of the new 2010 constitution which is supposed to bar thieves, crooks and criminals from holding public office in Kenya.
I asked him how the Judiciary was going to implement that big part of our constitution. Chapter Six.
I am still waiting for an answer but the latest Mutunga argument on Ruto tells all of us that even good human rights workers and lawyers like him do not have any faith in Chapter Six which demands integrity for anybody who holds a public office and probably in the 2010 constitution to help Kenyans achieve any justice.
I am okay with that.
Kenyans will find other ways to achieve justice for themselves and their country.
There is no doubt about that based on our history as a nation and people.
This has been our battle for a long time.
Kenyans are not afraid of anything. Never. I know that for a fact.
Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada