The onslaught went on for weeks inside and outside parliament, yet no one dared to name the alleged traitor. All the dumbfounded citizens heard was that the alleged traitor wore pin stripped three-piece suit, drank champagne, smoked Marlboro cigarettes and conducted himself as a co-president both within and outside Kenya.
The traitor debate had been kicked off by president Moi when he claimed that there was a senior politician being groomed by foreigner powers to take over power in Kenya.
Charles Njonjo was in England when the allegations were made. He did not come back immediately and he actually detoured to France before coming back home. When he got back home, he is said to have gone straight to state house to deliver two suits Moi had ordered in London. Moi and Njonjo shared a tailor in London and they often wore similar three-piece suit. After delivering the suits, Njonjo had a brief meeting with Moi where he was assured that he was not the alleged traitor. From state house, Njonjo headed to Nation centre where he held a press conference and denied that he was the alleged traitor.
The attacks continued even with Njonjo’s denial but none was yet ready to bell the cat. The attacks subsided in the third and fourth week and people thought Njonjo was going to pull through. But as it is normal with politicians, Njonjo miscalculated and made a cardinal mistake. He attended a Sunday church service in a PCEA church in his Kikuyu constituency and in this service, a lay leader called Githegi preached about a limping sheep that could not be trusted to lead the rest of the herd. The lay leader happened to be Njonjo’s friend and there and then his goose was cooked and come next week, parliament went for his Jugular.
Elijah Mwangale, a politician from Bungoma and a cabinet minister was the man who belled the cat. In one of the parliamentary sessions, Mwangale, who was sitting next to Njonjo stood on a point of order and told Njonjo ‘My friend Charles, you are the traitor people are talking about, in parliament and in the streets’.
Njonjo was stunned but he nevertheless responded, and only challenged Mwangale to repeat the same outside parliament, Mwangale laughed and told Njonjo he was ready to repeat the same as he was no longer powerful.
After naming Njonjo, Mwangale went back to his office and was followed by GG Kariuki, JJ Kamotho and Stanley Oloitiptip. The trio were of the view that Mwangale did wrong by naming Njonjo as the traitor.
GG was more emphatic, he told Mwangale that Njonjo was so powerful and if at all he wanted to be president, all he had to do was to press a button and the British and French would send their troops. Mwangale started sweating, he was no longer sure about what he had done, maybe Njonjo was indispensable and would bounce back. The next day, Njonjo resigned as a cabinet minister, member of parliament and as Kikuyu sub branch chairman, at least then Mwangale could breathe easy.
Njonjo parting shot after he was pardoned by Moi was that politics was a dirty game and vowed never to rejoin politics.
Maybe he was right as he has just celebrated a century of existence. Happy belated birthday to the duke of Kabeteshire.
Source Alexander James the inside man