Did cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i steal the political fortunes and entitlement of the famous Nyachae family of Gusiiland? And is Charles Nyachae in hot pursuit to force its restoration?
Nyachae junior mysterious jumping onto William Ruto’s hustler bandwagon and agitation against the Building Bridges Initiative has sent tongues wagging in the county. The East Africa Community Court judge Nyachae’s loud and politically pregnant decision to defect from his natural political home – the so- called dynasties, to pitch tent with hustler in chief Ruto has surprised many. Though he has clothed his “one-man rebellion” as merely being opposed to the government’s mismanagement of the implementation of the 2010 Constitution and imposition of the BBI law reforms, his actions and utterances have generated speculation that the scion of Gusiiland’s topmost dynasty family of political privilege could be fighting a multi-pronged war and the TangaTanga manouver is just a mere weapon in a wider scheme.
Nyachae family sources have revealed that Justice Nyachae who is the eldest and favourite son of former minister and long serving administrator Simeon Nyachae – himself a son of a colonial paramount chief Nyandusi who administered Gusiiland for British colonial masters is on a ruthless mission to dismantle Matiang’i whom the family thinks has disinherited them of their community leadership mantle. According to this narrative, Matiang’i who is the minister for Interior and Coordination of National Government would never have become anything in the Uhuru Kenyatta government and only got to join government when the ailing Mzee Nyachae overlooked his own son Charles who was the automatic choice and forwarded Matiang’i’s name for inclusion in the cabinet after the 2013 general elections.
The elder Nyachae had fronted the name of Charles but intelligence reports ruled him out of cabinet appointment on the basis of immorality, drunkardness and being a spent-spree. In fact, Charles has been annointed the family political heir while his stepbrother Lee Nyachae from last wife, Grace Wamuyu as the man to run family investments. Currently, senior Nyachae is holed up in his London home with doctors attending to him. His wife Grace and Lee being close to him as Charles and others are engaged locally. The family sources give varied reasons as to why Mzee Nyachae chose his protégé and long serving speech writer Matiang’i instead of his own son.
One is that Matiang’i was sent to the first Uhuruto cabinet as “a passing cloud” to hold brief, and at an appropriate time, step aside to pave way for Charles. They insinuate that the family was wary of having their son being in the then uncertain first Uhuru cabinet which was threatened with collapse in the event of the International Criminal Court cases then facing Uhuru Kenyatta Ruto and two others, ended in convictions. That when the cases were prematurely terminated and the Uhuruto government settled down, it was decided that Charles continues serving as the chairman of the Constitutional Implementation Commission until the expiry of his term then he could be considered for the cabinet job.
But upon the end of his term, Matiangi had networked and endeared himself to the inner sanctums of the Uhuru circle as the most hardworking and reliable member of the cabinet hence the need to retain him in the cabinet at all costs. From the ministry of ICT, Matiang’i had swiftly endeared himself as an ideal “cabinet hitman”, the system’s bully always available to bulldoze various complex deep state agendas including deploying brute force against real and imagined enemies of the state that he was quickly shoed in to the ministry of Lands, then Education before settling at the OP; the nerve centre of the executive and crowning it with the appointment as coordinator of cabinet and supervisor of ministries.
Using his newfound base deep inside the seat of power, Matiang’i convinced the powers that be to direct Charles to go into elective politics in the 2017 elections instead of eyeing the cabinet slot. Thus Charles’ ill-fated candidature to be Kisii senator in 2017 on a Jubilee ticket that had a strong team but was walloped by ODM candidates led by Sam Ongeri and Governor James Ongwae. It had been hoped that if Justice Nyachae had won the senatorial seat he could have been appeased with either senate deputy speaker or leader of majority. It is believed that it was Matiang’i and his newfound protectors around Uhuru who worked overdrive to appoint Charles as judge of the East African Court of Justice, based in Arusha to confine him out of the country hence minimise his endless canvassing to join the cabinet at the expense of the CS.
The judge is said to have just taken the appointment half-heartedly after his elder family members prevailed on him warning that rejecting it would undermine the good relations the family wants to maintain with the presidency and the bigger Kenyatta family. However, while in Arusha, Justice Nyachae and other concerned Nyachae family members noticed Matiang’i’s continued buttressing of his efforts to unite the entire Gusii community around himself and become its undisputed leader with the ultimate intention of using it to bargain to land the country’s presidency in future, especially once Uhuru retires. In fact, various vocal politicians from the community including the late Nyamira governor John Nyagarama, his Kisii counterpart James Ongwae, Senator Ongeri and MP Momoima Onyonka had started making public pronouncements in support of Matiang’i’s ascension to the presidency.
Funerals and development barazas had been turned into pro-Matiang’i campaign forums. Many believe Matiang’i was secretly engineering the campaigns. To the Nyachae family these “Dr Matiangi for president developments” and the sidelining of Justice Nyachae from joining the cabinet was tantamount to swindling the Nyachae family platform and forte; a coup overthrowing the Nyachae dynasty from Gusii community leadership and from the high table of national political leadership. What has followed has been a series of endless fightbacks by the Nyachae family and their loyalists to uproot Matiang’i and restore the family fortunes by returning Nyachae to the centre of politics and administration.
These have included holding talks with Raila Odinga and reaching out to Uhuru and his handlers to force a quiet settlement of the problem but all in vain. According to sources, Matiangi got wind of the maneuvers and has tried to send emissaries to the Nyachae family for a truce but in vain. Therefore to those in the know Charles’ surprising and unexpected jumping to the Ruto bandwagon is purely a blackmail mission to try and force the hand of Uhuru and Raila to drop Matiang’i from the cabinet and have him appointed to reclaim the Nyachae dynasty top pedestal of Gusii leadership and the top table in National leadership. Justice Nyachae is the quintessential scion of colonial privilege and pedigree who fits nowhere within DP Ruto’s cadres of the Kenyan underprivileged, downtrodden dirt poor whom Ruto is politically weaponising to take over power at the 2022 general elections.
Going by the hustler narrative, which has generated a national wrangle as having the potential of fuelling a destructive class war in Kenya but greatly working in Ruto favour ahead of 2022, Charles belongs to the same group as Uhuru, Raila and Baringo senator Gideon Moi whose privileged families have hoarded political power and economic advantage for too long and want to cling on while exploiting and sidelining the children of peasants and labourers. How he hopes to fit in the hostile hustler crowds and formations is still a puzzle. The very few other “dynasty sprinklings” professing the same hustler narrative and campaigns include Nakuru senator Susan Kihika, MPs Rigathi Gachagua (Nyeri), Nelson Koech (Belgut), Caleb Kossittany (Soy-Eldoret) and Kirinyaga women rep Purity Ngirichi, among others.
Charles and these types may easily end up being disowned as wolves in sheep’s skins at an opportune time by the hustlers whose sworn enemies are sons and daughters of dynasties. In the latest public appearance in a TangaTanga gathering, Charles showed up in Borabu donning the famous “Ruto cap” which was popularised by Ruto between 2012 and 2017. He was accompanied by former assistant minister and also a one time Nyachae family ally turned rebel Omingo Magara who returned to the Ruto fold recently after political wanderings and experiments. Justice Nyachae’s defection to the Ruto camp has revived the ghosts the PNU-ODM rivalry in the run-up to the tumultuous 2007 general elections.
One day during the run-up to that year’s election Magara led a group of ODM operatives including Ruto and former minister Chris Obure, into a funeral ceremony at Nyamarambe that was attended by senior Nyachae then a minister. In a moment of political madness Mzee Nyachae protested their arrival and amidst shouting some Gusii revered war songs unleashed armed youths onto the ODM team that ended up in injuries with some of the ODM leaders ending up evacuated and hospitalised for emergency treatment.
In the heat of this Charles rebellion, some Gusii elders mindful of traditions have been heard asking whether the Nyachae family has considered a vital and mandatory cleansing ceremony to make peace with Ruto. Many are of the view that the whole idea of going into TangaTanga is just bile driven political blackmail on the presidency which would not happen if Mzee Nyachae was to be in good health as it goes wildly against what the Nyachae family stands for. The elder Nyachae has ever stood by the government of the day even during difficult times.