Mutula wa Kilonzo — My Story
When Mzee Wilson Kilonzo Musembi and Mama Rhoda Koki Kilonzo had their second baby 56 years ago and named him Mutula, little did they know that the young boy who had to repeat class one for lack of fifteen shillings in school fees, would be a successful lawyer and legal advisor to Kenya’s president.
Mutula’s turning point came one afternoon when he was twelve years old. He returned home from school to find his parents and grandmother in tears because the area chief, David Musyoka, had brought a judge to demarcate the Musembi’s family land. “Then I didn’t know the difference between a judge and a magistrate,” Mutula says. “When I asked what was happening, an uncle told me that the chief wanted the judge to mark off my parents’ land for him.”
This incident happened during the same period that his father was having a land succession problem with his stepbrother. Mutula’s grandfather, who was polygamous, had the land shared equally among his wives — a decision that Mzee Musembi’s stepbrothers never agreed with. Consequently, one of them unilaterally decided to reallocate himself a section of Mzee Musembi’s land.
“At that age, I still could not understand how someone could just disregard all the traditional and cultural norms and take our land,” Mutula says. “I made a decision there and then to study law in order to understand the reasoning that judge had used to give away our land.”
Mutula believes that the concept of universal ownership of land does not arise: “Land is a God given right. The land history goes all the way to the biblical times when God promised land to the Israelites.”
Quoting Mark 15:42, Mutula refers to Joseph of Arimathea, who went boldly before the presence of Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body for burial in his land.
Mutula detests the land laws that are in place because they were intended to protect the colonial regime, a purpose that is no longer applicable. He gives an example where one can easily lose a legal battle if he or she fails to transfer the land within 90 days of payment for it. He hopes for land laws that would accord land the sanctity it deserves. “Land is one of the resources that keep the community together,” he says. “When freedom fighters took to arms against the colonialists, the fight was for land.”
Mutula says land is an asset that can break a nation. “The late president [Mzee Jomo] Kenyatta is the only person who understood the value of land,” he says. “He negotiated with the settlers for a system where the British government would fund the Kenyan government to buy the occupied lands through the Resettlement Trust Fund.” If not checked, Mutula warns that more chaos would arise and this time it would be worse than the wars of the 1950’s.
Interestingly, after admission as an advocate, he never legally pursued the land issue with his area chief, but did and won against his cousin. “I did this for so many other mothers out there in polygamous families who get denied their rights to inherit land because they have fewer children or something like that,” he says. “But even after wining against my cousin, I still paid him for the land and the coffee trees … In African culture, family is very important.”
Mutula however later bought the section that was right in front of his father’s house from the chief. “My greatest satisfaction is seeing that my grandmother, father and mother are finally buried in the land they all shed tears for when the judge gave it away,” he says.
The tin roofed house he first built for his grandmother (the grandmother was the first beneficiary of his private practice) has since been converted to a mausoleum that holds a collection of Kamba artifacts.
His pet preoccupation for a long time has been buying land from almost every part of the country just to prove he can own it, a deep desire to acquire something he lacked when he was growing up. While still on the things he lacked as a young boy, Mutula recalls how he packed a pair of black shoes for his first day at Machakos Boys’ School. “The invitation letter said to carry a pair of black shoes, so my father bought me a pair and we packed it,” he says. “I went to Machakos Boys’ barefooted and the pair of shoes were packed in the wooden box … now I have a collection of shoes.”
The story of “from rags to riches” would not apply here. Neither would Mutula fit the profile of those who were born with silver spoons in their mouths. Yet, he has made a life for himself and his family. “I had a purpose to live and not just to exist, a purpose to succeed in life,” he says.
Even though he had a sporadic kind of education in Mbooni Primary School and Machakos High School due to a lack of school fees, which was caused by his father’s alcoholism, Mutula managed to join the University of Dar es Salaam in 1969.
“My father resorted to alcohol after losing part of his land to the chief and his stepbrother; my future depended on my father quitting alcohol,” he says. For this wish, he is forever grateful to David Ngozi and James Ndambuki who as the chairman and secretary respectively of the local coffee cooperative hired his father as a guard at the coffee factory. “Being an employee of the cooperative made my father stop drinking.”
His entry at the university started in a controversial mode. “Julius Nyerere’s government being socialist decided to introduce a unique classification for graduates,” he says. “They decided to introduce an alphabetical grading system as opposed to numerical classification of degrees.”
Mutula, with his classmates, petitioned the university administration against the move. After much pressure on both the administration and the government, the decision was suspended for his lot. “My strategy was to beat the socialism grading system … so I had to get nothing less than a First Class,” he says.
True to his strategy, he graduated with a First Class Honors’ Degree in Law — the first in the East African region. “I proudly put the First Class Honors title after my names because it reminds me of my first major controversial issue with authority,” he says.
Armed with the First Class degree, he joined the Kenya School of Law. “Despite Kenya having attained independence ten years earlier, some professions including law were preserved for a few. The school was known to fail indigenous students. I wasn’t going to let them fail me.”
He came top of his class at the school. When asked by the school administration what gift he would want to be given, he opted for a bookshelf because he planned to start his own practice. That was the only year when the gift was never awarded at the ceremony because the shelf was too big to be carried into the room. His classmates at the School of Law included Justices Githinji, Omolo and Aluoch, and his cousin Justice Philip Waki.
The year is 1975. Two cousins, fresh from Kenya School of Law debate on the fastest way to earn money to buy cars. One opts for employment while the other opens a law firm. Thirty years down the line, Mutula tells that story with glee: “I told Justice Waki that cars would not get us our own practice, but a firm would buy us cars”. Waki bought his car within a few weeks of employment through his employer’s loan program. Meanwhile, Mutula struggled to establish his own law firm.
Mutula had saved most of the 300 shillings allowance he was receiving from the school. “The two law firms I did pupilage with specialized in conveyance and criminal matters and were also paying me some money,” he says. “So I was ready to set the law practice.”
With his savings, he approached Gerishon Kirima who was then a realtor and owned several buildings in Nairobi. He rented an office space overlooking Jevanjee Gardens at Kirima House for 250 shillings a month. Mutula then bought an ex-military Facit typewriter from an auction for another 250 shillings. “My father bought me a desk. I had faith that I was going to sustain the office.” And so Kilonzo and Company Advocates was born.
Comparing his currently spacious office to his first single room at Kirima House, Mutula recalls how the desk that cost his father 400 shillings at an auction had to be placed into the room before the partitioning so that it would fit. He adds, “I hired a clerk whom I paid 400 shillings a month and earned a further commission for cases he brought in.”
Mutula made 12,600 shillings in cash and another 50,000 shillings in pending payments within the first month. “And that was the beginning of my good fortunes.”
He bought his first car, a Datsun 120Y from D.T. Dobie after three months of practice. “I paid for it in cash, but I had to leave it there for weeks because I didn’t have a driving license,” he says. His father thought he was mad when he sent him a letter requesting him to get his son a driver.
Eight months into practice, Mutula says he had made his first one million shillings: “I was a millionaire. A million I had worked so hard for. That was the month I bought my first house.” He has a strong attachment to the ex-military typewriter and the desk both now sitting at his Machakos office. “They helped me make millions of shillings that I have invested in property throughout the country.”
In 1977, Mutula met Hosea Kiplagat, a nephew to retired president Daniel Moi. Kiplagat was buying land from a group of Mbooni miners based in Taveta who Mutula was representing.
Two years later, Kiplagat called on him again, this time with a different message. “He told me to have my goatee shaved and to get myself a new suit for an appointment the following day,” Mutula says, He didn’t know who he was due to meet. “Being a good boy I obliged. I did not know much about him apart from the fact that he had bought land from my clients two years earlier, but that was not an issue to worry about. I was an advocate and was ready to meet anybody.”
The next morning Kiplagat simply told him to follow in his car. “By that time I had bought by first Mercedes Benz,” he says. “I reasoned that since I had to look more presentable for whoever I was meeting … why not drive my classy car!”
He followed Kiplagat’s car all the way to Kabarnet Gardens. President Moi’s residence. “It only occurred to me that I was at Moi’s residence the moment I saw the G.S.U. personnel manning the gate. At first I was nervous, but when I saw the personnel waving me in, the nervousness changed to a feeling of importance and recognition.”
That was Mutula’s first meeting with Moi. “The meeting was quite casual,” Mutula says. “We had tea as he gave me my first brief. I oversaw a sale of land for him in the southern part of Nairobi. He made it clear to me that he wanted everything he does to be legally and morally right. I promised to do my best.”
The land transaction for Moi was successfully completed. “I sent him my fee note which he promptly paid. The important thing I remember is when he told me of how proud he was to see indigenous advocates working so hard.”
That was the beginning of representing the most prominent personality in Kenya.
During the twenty-six years Mutula has been one of Moi’s personal lawyers, their relationship moved from that of client/lawyer to that of family friends. “He is a great person,” Mutula says, “He is God fearing. I cannot remember any single time that my family ever visited him that he ate any food without saying a prayer. And I would tell you that there is no single legal advice I ever gave him that he disregarded.
“I have learnt more from him than I did from various schools I ever attended.” When Mutula invited Moi in February 1997 to officially open Utangwa African Inland Church, which Mutula had built for God in appreciation for the blessings he had received, Moi, after officially opening the church building, donated seats for the same.
The church is just a stone’s throw away from Mutula’s lower primary classroom at Utangwa Primary School. The classroom, though still standing and in poor state, is no longer in use. On the board in the staffroom wall still stands the school’s motto, mission and aim: “Hard Work Pays.” “Education for Knowledge, Friendliness and Responsibility for the Success of All the Pupils.” “Provision of High Quality Teaching and Learning of All Pupils.” Mutula has facilitated the construction of new classrooms for the school.
Philanthropy, especially to churches, women’s and youth groups’ projects are some of the things Mutula has learned from retired president Moi.Mutula’s occasional visit to Mbooni is spent attending to villagers who stream into his compound with various problems ranging from school fees for their children to legal issues.
One neighbor explained how they always knew of his arrival. “Hapa kwake ni mlima na hatuna stima. Mzee akifika lazima genereta iwakishwe na tunaona taa. Hapo tunapigiana simu.” (This village of ours is hilly and without electricity. Whenever he comes the generator must be put on and we see the light. There we call each other.)
“This place is always open to visitors.” another villager told this writer. “Mzee welcomes everyone. Even if he is not here, you will always get a cup of tea.”
For Mutula, Moi showed him his fatherly care and love when he personally called him over a powdery substance he received. “The police never investigated the matter thoroughly,” he says. “Even my personal doctor could not get their cooperation.
“Moi personally called me. He even taught me how to handle my letters since the two powders were delivered in forms of letters. He showed the same care when I lost my parents; he called to inform me that he would attend the burial when my mother passed away.”
Mutula received the mysterious powder that he suspects was meant to kill him in December 2004. His brother, who opened a similar mailing earlier, is still suffering from an ailment that medics have been unable to diagnose.
Police headquarters, upon enquiring on how they have handled the incidents promised to call this writer back. However, by the time of compiling this profile, they still had not called back.
There is more Mutula learned from Moi. He developed a love for the environment after seeing trees at Moi’s Kabarak farm. His Mbooni compound has a variety of indigenous and exotic trees and flowers.
His main house is built on one of the many hilly spots of Mbooni and is surrounded with several permanent water springs and streams. “People think that the entire Kamba land is dry and [populated by] people who rely on relief all year round,” Mutula says. “But not in Mbooni area.” He showed this writer the green vegetation of the area with manual cultivation that takes place around the year; Mutula has embarked on a campaign to maintain the greenery for his people.
His latest project has been acquiring a parcel of land and turning it into a private forest. He acquired a 12-acre blue gum forest and replaced the original blue gum trees with cypress. He explained that the blue gum, which were originally from Australia, were meant for swampy areas, but the colonial government planted them everywhere without considering the consequences: “…A single tree of blue gum consumes eight gallons of water a day. They dry up the land. If we do nothing about them, our people will continue competing for water with these trees.”
In his private 12-acre forest, he has allowed some villagers to cultivate food-crops among the trees. “They take care of my trees that give them water and at the same time are able to feed their families through the Shamba System,” he says.
He buys the seedlings from various youth groups who have tree nurseries. “The youths deliver and plant the seedlings,” he says. “They ensure that the planting is done properly because I only pay for healthy trees three weeks after planting.”
The private forest borders the Kikima market and would have made a good spot for commercial buildings. He has no regret for converting the area into a forest: “I am helping my people by maintaining the environment, and at the same time, the trees, when mature would be of commercial value to me.”
At 56, Mutula looks younger than most men his age. His normal workday begins at 4:00 a.m. when he wakes up, bathes and dresses before proceeding to have his breakfast of two boiled eggs, pawpaw and fresh lemon juice at his home library. He gets to his corner house office at 5:30 a.m. to read, and replies to mail that requires attention before going to the gym for an hour’s workout. He leaves his office at 8:30 p.m. for dinner at home with his family.
The pattern, however, changes when he is in his Mbooni home. “There is no electricity here so my early morning readings must be by a gas lamp,” he says. “The generator only works in the evening.” Whenever he travels to Mbooni, he carries with him at least two novels.
Being a nominated Member of Parliament has also interfered with this pattern. He has to be in parliament on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and the whole day on Wednesday.
Wednesday evenings has further been interfered with since he started cohosting a TV political talk show on a local network.
The recently concluded Goldenberg Judicial Commission of Inquiry tops the list of Mutula’s most memorable cases. The inquiry, he confesses, consumed most of his time and the only regret he has is that the government formed it in a rush in a bid to show that it was fighting corruption.
He admits that the country undoubtedly lost enormous resources through Goldenberg, because the Narc administration did not want a legal audit. To prove that a legal audit was missing, Mutula refers to the terms of reference of the commission that had to be reviewed midway.
[The National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) came to power in the general election of December 2002, ending nearly 40 years of rule by the Kenya African National Union (Kanu). Headed first by President Jomo Kenyatta, and then from 1978 by President Daniel Moi, Kanu had been in power since 1963, the year Kenya gained independence from Britain. Kenya’s current president is Mwai Kibaki.]
The second case was representing his cousin Justice Philip Waki at the tribunal set up by President Kibaki to investigate judges accused of corruption.
“I represented him not because he is my cousin but because I have known him since childhood and know that he could not be guilty of the charges that were leveled against him,” Mutula says. “Justice Waki is like most individuals who have been victimized without being given the chance to have their say. The judges should not have been treated in the manner in which they were.”
He says that the judiciary should be respected at all cost. Mutula cites an example where a cabinet minister disregarded a court order when the government took over the Kenyatta International Conference Centre from the opposition party Kanu.
“It is the judiciary that we turn to whenever we have been failed at all levels,” he says. “If the executive does not have respect for the judiciary, where would the common person turn to when they are offended?”
The third case involved the Kiambu General Transport Agency — a company belonging to the minister in charge of special projects in the office of the president, Njenga Karume — and Kenya Breweries Ltd. (K.B.L.). Mutula was approached by K.B.L. to handle the appeal after a High Court judge awarded Karume 241,586,711.58 Kenya shillings.
The appeal was being heard by three Court of Appeal judges: Justice Akilano Akiwumi (now retired), Justice Evans Gicheru (now chief justice) and Justice Abdul Lakha.
“Midway through the appeal hearing, Karume approached me and offered me 60 million shillings to help him win,” Mutula says. “I was representing K.B.L. and the only way I could help him was to misrepresent my clients. How could I do that? I work with my daughter and son, what moral teaching would I be giving them if I could accept financial reward for misrepresentation?”
He stressed that all the years he has been in the bar; he has never received any form of reward so as to misrepresent any client: “I became a lawyer because I believed in law and I would therefore not be party to abuse of the same law. So I told him no!”
Karume didn’t give up. He went to Moi to put pressure on Mutula. “President Moi called me and said ‘Mutula saidia huyu rafiki yetu Karume,’” Mutula says. (Mutula, help this friend of ours Karume.)
“President Moi knew that there is no deal I could have with anybody against my clients and he must have wanted to see what I would do,” he continues. “I could not tell him that there was nothing I could do, but simply agreed. I have represented president Moi is several cases and he knew that I would not take instructions on any case from parties that are not my clients in any particular case.”
According to Mutula, Karume’s offer came after his attempt to strike a deal with K.B.L. chairman Jeremiah Kiereini failed. The chairman reportedly advised him that the matter was already with the lawyers and that was when he approached Mutula.
K.B.L., through Kilonzo and Company Advocates, offered the Kiambu General Transport Agency 50 million shillings in an out of court settlement (10 million less than what he had offered to Mutula earlier). The Kiambu politician flatly rejected it.
The matter went ahead for a full hearing and Karume lost. Justice Akilano Akiwumi while dismissing the appeal described Karume’s evidence as ‘‘wishy washy and unhelpful to the court.”
In 2003, the Ringera Integrity Committee accused Justice Abdul Lakha of receiving 15 million shillings from Njenga Karume on the matter. Lakha opted to retire without clearing his name.
Court records show that in the appeal, Lakha was the only one who ruled to sustain the high court award to Karume. Since he opted to resign without having his name cleared by the tribunal, it would be assumed rightly that he must have received the claimed payment from Karume.
At the bottom of Mutula’s memorable moments is a 1978 case he considered to be a service to his Mbooni people. He represented Mbooni Ranching Cooperative Society against Joseph Mbugua Gichaga.
According to his former teacher, David Ngozi, who is now 84 years old (ironically, this is the same person who hired Mutula’s father as a guard at the coffee factory), Gichaga had rented the society’s building in Mombasa’s Moi Avenue. “He was our tenant for many years. He approached some of our officials to allow him to renovate the building,” Mzee Ngozi recalls.
“Ignorantly, the renovation documents he gave us to sign were actually for change of ownership to himself … without any reservations, we rushed to the only lawyer we could trust, our own Mutula wa Kilonzo,” Mzee Ngozi states with delight.
Once the then young Mutula launched a legal proceeding on behalf of the society, Joseph Gichaga made his own counter claim for the building. “But seeing that he could not win the case, Gichaga approached Mutula and attempted to tell him that the hearing had been rescheduled,” recalls James Ndambuki, secretary of the local coffee cooperative.
The court ruled in favor of the society and the building is still owned by Mbooni Ranching Cooperative Society 27 years after the legal victory.
How did this successful lawyer end up in parliament?
Mutula says Kanu first asked him to contest for a political seat in 1992, which he declined. After the first multi-party elections, he was once again offered a parliamentary seat as a nominated M.P., which he again declined.
The same trend followed during the 1997 general elections. “I never considered myself as a politician. I could not see how I would fit politics into my schedule,” Mutula says.
He found himself however getting more involved in politics after Kiss 100 FM managing director Patrick Quarcoo invited him in 2002 to be a panelist in the station’s Sunday radio talk show, Crossfire. “In the show, I represented and defended Kanu,” he says. “The show required a lot of sacrifices. Whatever my schedule, I had to be in Nairobi every Sunday afternoon.” He liked the show. “The freedom that was there allowed us to speak our minds without expecting to hear that the radio station was shut down.”
After the 2002 general elections, Kanu nominated him as an M.P. “Uhuru must have been told by Kanu officials not to ask me,” he says. “He just presented my name. Once it was there, I took it as a challenge.” He continued representing Kanu on the talk show.
When Kanu called for its elections, Mutula showed interest in the chair of the party. The other contenders for the seat were former cabinet ministers, Nicholas Biwott and Uhuru Kenyatta.
He abruptly withdrew from the chairmanship race however in support for Uhuru Kenyatta just a day before the elections at Kasarani.
Though he did not confirm this, a source within the Uhuru Camp confided to this writer that his withdrawal and subsequent support for Uhuru was negotiated by Hosea Kiplagat at an exclusive hotel in the Milimani area of Nairobi.
The source said, “the moment we saw him arrive for the meeting, we knew right then that we could count on his support. We were only afraid that he would not turn up. The trend had been worked out. Mutula was being seen as a spoiler for Uhuru. Kiplagat was the point-man and he was to convince him.”
A Kanu delegate from Mbooni who also talked with this writer had a different reason: “Mutula saw his stars going down when some delegates demanded money from him. He declined to give out any money while we were receiving money from both Uhuru and Biwott. Who would vote him if he appears to be mean with his money?”
After joining the Uhuru camp, Mutula came face-to-face with what he calls “high-level political corruption.”
“I could not believe it, here was the official leader of the Opposition, an alternate president of this country, in the presence of all his supporters including myself dishing out thousands of shillings to delegates in full view of journalists with their cameras rolling,” he says. “How can you expect any election to be fair after that?
“I was glad I pulled-out when I did. Biwott was giving out money and so was Uhuru.” With footage of political bribery to back him up, he says, “I feel like I have failed in my process of attempting to revitalize Kanu … I feel really terrible about it.”
This is the reason why he called Quarcoo after the Kanu elections to withdraw from Crossfire. “I was representing and defending the party in the talk show. What was I going to defend after what I saw? Was I going to defend a system that corrupts voters?”
He blames the media for exposing corruption selectively: “The reporters were there and no single network reported on these cases of bribery. In fact one editor called me to inform me that the footage would never be aired by any network.”
Being an M.P. has also enlightened him in so many ways. To him, the ninth parliament has not achieved any major feat. “How can one justify a system where good legislation is thrown out as was the case with the environment bill, just because one or two tribes are fighting each other politically,” he asks.
“The only way legislature can check and control the executive is by speaking with one voice … A system where M.P.s take home a half a million shillings while unemployment is at its peak is insulting to the electorate.”
On the controversial Constituency Development Fund (C.D.F.), he says, “the concept is good and viable. But Kenya being a multi-part democracy, each M.P. has at least an opponent in another political party. Giving M.P.s powers to control this fund is like giving them a tool to fight their opponents.
“This is public’s money and constituents deserve to use it, but C.D.F. is like someone taking your money from your pocket, giving it back to you and you turn around and say ‘thanks,’” he says. “These moneys are pegged to the G.D.P., but put under the control of the M.P.s to use to fight their opponents.”
With the abuse so far witnessed and reported by the media he urges his fellow M.P.s to enact laws to guard against further abuses. “But this would not be likely since all M.P.s apart from the nominated ones are direct beneficiaries,” he says.
There is much he would like to see changed in parliament: “Most of this is comprehensively addressed in the draft constitution that is now being toyed about with.”
Giving examples of various Parliamentary Select Committees (P.S.C.s), he says, “the P.S.C.s are based on inadequate rules … The rules have been designed to give M.P.s some supernatural powers … the way they handle witnesses appearing before them is crazy. They overrule the laws of natural justice. The right to question.”
He decries the manner in which senior and sometimes more educated public servants are literally insulted by these M.P.s (some with limited education) under the disguise of parliamentary powers and privileges.
On the parliamentary committee formed to enquire into the death of the late minister for foreign affairs, Dr. Robert Ouko, since he represented Moi and Abraham Kiptanui (the former state house comptroller), he declined to give his opinion as an advocate since doing that would be an abuse of a parliamentary process.
However, he gave his personal opinion as a citizen: “I have reasons to believe that the committee was compromised to tailor-make its findings. The report would be a further cover-up for the death of the late minister. The worrying thing is that Dr. Ouko was murdered and whoever was responsible is still out there.
“Would anybody wonder why Paul Muite, a distinguished advocate, had to resign from the committee? Something must have been going very wrong and he did not want to be part of it. I won’t be surprised if the report recommends further investigations.” (The interview took place weeks before Gor Sungu tabled his report in parliament. The report recommended further investigations as Mutula had predicted.)
He predicts the 2007 general elections to be a watershed: “It would be a great fight between tribalism and nationalism. There would be tribal coalitions in 2007 other than of parties. The gains of 40 years have been lost in two years.”
He appeals to the youth who are the majority to reject the preoccupation of politicians with tribalism. “Choose leaders that can reach beyond ethnic boundaries, leaders who respect academic freedom, research and development. Leaders who are issue oriented not those who cannot wait to appear on TV saying a lot of nothing.”
He further appeals to the youth to avoid drugs and keep away from H.I.V./AIDS.
On the proposed Suppression of Terrorism Bill, he stresses that it’s unacceptable since the bill is designed to violate civil liberty and tailor-made to suit United States interests. “George Bush may have been elected by the Americans, but his means of fighting terror isn’t universally acceptable,” he says. “Personally, I am completely opposed to terrorism and I agree with the desires to eliminate it, but I do not agree and accept the means being planned. The throwing away of half a century struggle for civil liberty is such an expensive price to pay.”
He adds, “the new means of fighting terror has degenerated into a religious war — Christians against Muslims, which is not good for our country.”
Does he miss Moi’s leadership? “He served his term. Even with President Kibaki’s weaknesses, President Moi served his term and we have to move on. I would end up with bitterness, which is a weakness if I were to wish him back. As much as we may wish him back, the law is quite clear. The country should let him rest in his retirement.”
Mutula has embarked on a crusade for the enactment of a comprehensive Freedom of Information Act. “The media is the only hope this country has to check on errant politicians,” he says. “I am ready to offer free legal services to Media Council and Kenya Union of Journalists in the drafting of the bill.”
Things have not been easy though for him. “We all have price tags on our necks. Narc government has tried to silence me but my independence cannot allow such a move to succeed. I shall die fighting for what I believe in.”
Mutula showed this writer documents from the Kenya Revenue Authority (K.R.A.) attaching his parliamentary salaries and allowances over some unpaid hundreds of millions in taxes. “They have attached my allowances from parliament making me the only M.P. earning almost a half a million every month yet carrying nothing home. Everything goes to K.R.A.”
He claims that he has been approached by certain cabinet ministers with offers to waive the K.R.A. claims in return for his cooperation with the government. “I have said no to that,” he says. “I have decided to let them have fun with my parliamentary allowances, but for the public, I’ll continue advocating for good governance.”