Monday, May 06, 2013

Chief pathological...

Dr Johanssen Oduor may be a competent pathologist, but given his performance during the pathology examination of the remains of the victims of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of George Saitoti and Orwa Ojode, perhaps it is time he moved to the private sector. His performance during the crucial hours after George Saitoti's death has led many experts in his field to question his competence or professionalism. It is not with surprise that the Mutula Kilonzo family sought out the services of a foreign pathologist to complete the examination of the late Makueni Senator's remains.

The Chief Government Pathologist in Kenya has quite often been an office with burdens that no man (or woman) can bear. Think back to every high profile death in Kenya and the role of the Chief Pathologist in either muddying the waters or covering up a murcer (assassination) is paramount. Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya, JM Kariuki, Bruce McKenzie, Robert Ouko, Alexander Kipsang' Muge, Father Kaiser, George Saitoti...the list of high profile autopsies that have remained unresolved is long and frightening.

Speculation about what might have killed Mutula Kilonzo will remain high regardless of what the pathology results say. The late Senator had his fingers in many pies, and his record in private practice and public service has given rise to multiple scenarios regarding his untimely demise. Could it be that he was privy to information that someone feared would be released since his election as Makueni's Senator? We will never know, but the outpouring of positive news stories (and a few negative ones) about his life give credence to the theory that a cover up is being perpetrated on an unsuspecting public.

It does not help that the late Senator was a notoriously secretive man. What is being revealed about his private affairs points to a man who trusted few, even in his family, about what he did, where he did it and with whom. How can it be that he kept his immediate family out of his Maanzoni home when he invited scores of strangers to pay for the privilege of "seeing how conservation should be done?" Why is it that he kept a strong-box in his office to which he had the only key? Who is the "fifth person" seen at his Maanzoni home in the hours before his death? Did he have a hand, in the 1990s, in declaring Cyrus Jirongo an enemy of the state? How much land and other properties did he own? How much did he owe the tax man? These and dozens of other questions may never be answered.

What is clear is that CORD has lost a strong voice in the Senate; its leadership is in disarray. Not to put too fine a point to it, but Jubilee is going to capitalise on the CORD loss. While it is not in doubt that CORD/Wiper will retain the Makueni Senate seat, whoever replaces the late Senator will not have the same level of influence in the Senate as he might have had. Whether it is John Harun Mwau or Gideon Ndambuki or some other man, the late Mutla Kilonzo's replacement will not be smart enough, wealthy enough or connected enough to ensure that CORD's dominance of the debates in the Senate will be as assured as before his unexpected death.

We end where we began: the pathology report is of academic interest at this point. Every high profile death in Kenya has been shrouded in mystery. If today we still do not clearly know how Mzee Jomo Kenyatta died, or why Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya, JM Kariuki and Robert Ouko were assassinated, I see no reason to believe that we will ever get the full story of how and why Mutula Kilonzo died. And it all boils down to how the office of the Chief Government Pathologist is managed.

No comments: