Nairobi, Kenya: There is a secret so big that Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo will take to hisgrave. It is a story he warned Standard reporter Roselyne Obala would shake Kenya.
Though he refused to give details, the late Senior Counsel insisted to Obala the story would not only surprise Kenyans, but could have major consequences.
That was on March 28 after Mutula was sworn in as Senator. A post-mortem scheduled to be carried out on his body Monday will seek to establish why he died suddenly, and without making even a single call to family or friends for help.
Sunday, as those close to him called for thorough probe into his death on Friday or Saturday night, a special team of detectives from Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters in Nairobi began working to try and piece together what transpired in the former Education minister’s final hours at his ranch.
At the same time, three committees were formed to plan his burial, after a day’s meeting with the family. They are the Senate, National Assembly and Family committees.
“We’ve had a consultative meeting with the family and agreed to form the three committees, the Senate, the National Assembly where he was before going to the Senate and the family one. The committee will meet on tomorrow for other arrangements,” said Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama at Mutula’s home inGigiri, Nairobi.
According to the Family committee’s interim secretary Mr Musyoki Kivindyo, each committee will meet and come up with a progressive report on burial arrangements that befit the late Senior Counsel.
It also emerged from his friend and former Attorney General Amos Wako, who is also the Busia Senator and was among the last to speak with Mutula, that the former Justice minister was in robust health.
Mutula’s trainer at the Hilton Hotel gymnasium, who took the former Makueni Senator through his aerobic sessions on Friday morning, corroborated this statement.
Later in the afternoon, Mutula would leave for his Maanzoni Ranch in Machakos County, where he would be found dead the following day, with foam on his mouth.
Mutula, a straight-talking politician and astute lawyer, told Obala a month before he died that he would reveal to her the secret he bore ‘with time’, but sadly he died before they could meet again.
On that March 28, after being sworn-in as Senator for Makueni, he said, during a short interview, that he had information that if published in the media, would “cause panic and mayhem”.
Said Obala: “A jovial Kilonzo emerged from the Senate and we had a brief encounter at the Senator’s lounge. It was on Thursday afternoon on March 28, when I engaged him in an interview to get to understand the Senate’s role,’’ reports Obala.
“From the outset, he appeared happy, energetic and raring to go, dressed in a brown suit. We exchanged pleasantries, and I began by congratulating him on his election as Senator for Makueni.”
Obala goes on: “He began outlining the responsibilities of Senators and how they will take the National Government to task over devolution. He then said their role was to be a link between County Governments and National Government.”
Mutula was explaining how they intend to take on the National Government over the implementation of the Devolution, “when he suddenly diverted and stated that there is a lot going on that Kenyans need to know,’’ Obala went on.
Mutula told her that it is no secret that the National Government is trying to frustrate the implementation of Devolved Government. ”
It was at this juncture that his tone changed, he looked serious and stated; “I have information that if I disclose to you Monday, your papers will be burnt the next minute.”
The statement came as a surprise, but when Obala pressed him, because she was curious to know more, and even offered not to name him in the story, Kilonzo retorted: “No, No, No.”
She pleaded with him, saying, “Please Mheshimiwa (Honourable), I will use an anonymous source,” he declined.
When she insisted he reiterated as they walked down the stairs: “Save the company (Standard Group Limited) and yourself. I promise to give you the information at the right time.”
Those were Mutula’s last words to the journalist as he walked away and, unfortunately, that is where the big story that never came to life ended.
Sunday, the officers from the CID’s Homicide Unit based at Mazingira Building along Kiambu Road took over the probe from their colleagues in Machakos. The team, led by the unit’s head Mr John Kariuki, will work with those from Machakos and are expected to attend Monday’s planned post-mortem exercise.
Officials at CID headquarters revealed the Homicide Unit revisited the scene where the body was found and was set to take over all samples that had been collected. They also interviewed Mutula’s workers who prepared him supper on Friday.
“They will visit the place where the food was prepared as part of the investigations into the death. They have also taken away samples of the food for testing and analysis,” said a senior officer aware of the probe.
The cause of the death is yet to be established.
“I do not know why I was not alarmed by this odd attitude. He was not keen on participating in Senate sessions, but wanted to talk more about his family and his career fulfillment. I should have prodded him further,” said Senator Wako, remarking wistfully about his last meeting with a friend he had known for over 35 years.
Wako last met Mutula on Thursday in the Senate during the afternoon sessions. He remembers seeing his friend walking in and sitting alone on a secluded seat. Mutula appeared dull and engrossed in personal thoughts; or may be it was just mental fatigue, said Senator Wako.
“I quickly moved to where he was and sat next to him and asked where he had been all this time. I was concerned that he had missed out on the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) retreat at Naivasha, and other party engagements,” Wako told The Standard.
However, the Busia Senator does not remember getting a clear answer to his question. Instead he asked his friend, whether he was prepared to make any contributions to the ongoing debate on the floor of the House.
But Mutula, indifferently, said there was no need.
“What is there to discuss about?” he asked, as if to suggest the issue at hand was not beyond his parliamentary colleagues to handle.
According to his fitness instructor of six years, who identified himself only as Tim, Mutula was at the gym at 6am in the morning, and went through his routine aerobic paces for 30 minutes before leaving.
“He was jovial as usual and quite physically fit as I took the aerobic class through the usual paces. Mheshimiwa was fit and went through the paces non-stop, without showing any signs of slowing down,” Tim told The Standard.– The Standard