In probably his most candid interview ever, veteran politician William ole Ntimama opened up to Nation’s Mayaka Gekara and Julius Sigei.
He admits that his active political life is now behind him, and he actually made a mistake contesting in the last elections. He revealed that consensus in his family was that he should retire, but his constituents urged him to continue leading them.
Q: But at 85, what was the wisdom of seeking re-election?
A: Honestly, this was the time I should have left the political scene. It was a mistake. Consensus in my family was for me not to stand, but my constituents filled this compound to ask me to stand one last time. I never wanted to retire in defeat. I had never lost an election.
The 85 year old talked of how President Moi would use him to fight other communities. He adds that Moi “did not want anybody to go ahead of him,” in the process making him one of the worst dictators. He even recounted how he was detained in 1983 for over 100 days.
Q: You were a pillar of the Nyayo regime accused of committing atrocities, perpetuating tribalism and corruption. Are there things you think Moi should have done differently?
A: Moi is a personal friend. I can pick this phone even now and he will tell me ‘come to Kabarak.’ He is very generous and kind. He can pay school fees for children from poor families and bare-foot women from Baringo could go to his house and eat with him.
If it were not for Moi, the Kalenjin would not have been educated. But as President, he did not want anybody to go ahead of him. This made him one of the worst dictators. He even detained me in 1983 for 102 days for alleged incitement.
On Raila and the elections, Ntimama claims that it was stolen from them.
Q: You guys waged a formidable campaign yet, you lost the election.
A: The TNA machinery was determined to finish Raila and all of us. We did not lose. They stole the election. There, are of course certain areas we should have done better, but we were winning.
He also adds that he does not see anyone filling Raila’s shoes, not even Kalonzo. He actually doesn’t have nice words for the former VP.
Q: Cord today is outmarshalled and outmanoeuvred. There are those who think it is time Raila handed over the baton.
A: Maybe it is a small lull. They will wake up. But I don’t see anybody who can step in Raila’s shoes. The whole area is empty.
Q: Not even Kalonzo Musyoka?
A: Ha ha ha. Don’t antagonise me with my friends but that coward… he can’t even put his own house in order.
On Kibaki, Ntimama says the man was selfish, with very few friends. He calls him a silent dictator.
Of concern is the fact that though the retired president has several big houses, he did not object to the government’s decision to build him another one in Mweiga.
Q: You served in the Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki and the Grand Coalition government. Which one do you consider to have been most inclined to public service?
A: The coalition government. This, we achieved, not because of, but in spite of, Kibaki. Huyo mtu ako na roho nyeusi kabisa (that man is very selfish). He has few friends and he was a silent dictator. He had no interaction with Cabinet ministers.
He is a self-seeker and out of touch with the common man. Take the quarrel over his office space. He has big houses in Othaya and Muthaiga and we have built him another in Mweiga.
But still he has not found it fit to advise against such waste and recommend the money be spent in worthy causes. Even Kenyatta may not have been like Moi in the heart, but he at least he would welcome women to sing for him even if they may not have eaten with him.
On Jubilee’s 100 days, Ntimama believes they have not done anything yet.
Q: The UhuRuto administration is marking its first 100 days. What is your rating of their performance so far?
A: They have not done anything to earn any marks from me yet. However, Uhuru Kenyatta handling the drug issue and good deeds must be appreciated. But there are also issues like (Deputy President William) Ruto asking for Sh100 million to furnish his official house, which has already gobbled Sh400 million.
Asked what was his relationship with Prof. George Saitoti, he said that the late politician feared him. He also called him a hypocrite, coward and corrupt. Ntimama alleges that Saitoti owned virtually half of Lavington.
Q: You had this on-and-off friendship with George Saitoti. What are the recollections of the man who was a challenger to your position as ‘king’ of the Maasai?
Saitoti was very afraid of me. But he was also a hypocrite and a coward. He made so much money from this Goldenberg thing that virtually half of Lavington belongs to him.
I saw his mausoleum and it is more glamorous than Kenyatta’s. He left colossal amounts of money. He did some things with Moi, but Moi refused to endorse him completely when it came to the matter of succeeding him. Moi said that the man could not lead.
The veteran however tactfully dodged the question on whether he owns half of Narok town.
Q: You are certainly a wealthy man with some claiming you own half of Narok Town, yet you bear the face of an ordinary Maasai.
A: I am not wealthy. I have only enough to eat and something more so they may not ask me what I have done all these years. I have only 200 head of cattle and about 600 sheep and goats.
Credit – Nation