Controversial tenderpreneur Jimmy Wanjigi made a surprise appearance in Bondo a day after the Kikuyu-Luo elders held a successful state-backed intercultural meeting hosted by the family of Raila Odinga. This visit has become a political hot potato among Raila advisers, The Kenyan Herald can now authoritatively reveal.
Multiple sources tell this writer the presence of Wanjigi has stung Raila advisers who had worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the Kikuyu-Luo meeting would be the only political event in the region for the weekend.
They paint a scene of being blindsided by the old fox, that is, Raila Odinga. They had been made to believe after the Saturday meeting, the Odingas – with no major outsiders – would have spent Sunday in their local parish as is customary whenever the whole Jaramogi family is around.
Yet like a venomous viper, Wanjigi slithered in Bondo in the wee hours of Sunday morning, his presence sending shockwaves among those within Raila and President Uhuru’s circles currently engrossed in negotiating a delicate power ploy.
Wanjigi is a problematic character for some of Raila’s advisers because they see in him a tainted opportunist and a schemer taking advantage of Raila’s children in his long game to re-enter public life with some veneer of respectability.
Among Uhuru circles, Wanjigi is kept at an arms length with sources telling this writer President Uhuru and Wanjigi are so murderous to each other that left in a closed room for a night, one man would be found dead by the sound of the crow.
Because Raila advisers know this, they have tried to ensure the PM is insulated from Wanjigi’s maneuvers, but Wanjigi being Jimmy, he has found another way: Raila’s family members, especially his children.
“His presence in Bondo was solely arranged by family members of the PM, and much as we’ve warned Mzee of his dalliance with Wanjigi, there’s little we can do when his children run part of his diary,” a source who requested anonymity told this writer.
In 2009, the US and UK governments banned Jimmy Wanjigi alongside Deepak Kamani and Anura Parera from entering its territory. They cited the three for massive theft of the state in what would become Anglo-leasing scam. Because of his grip on the Kibaki government, Wanjigi lived off the reach of Kenya’s anti-corruption laws.
As Uhuru came to power, Wanjigi was among the major bankrollers of Uhuru’s 2013 campaigns with an eye on the Standard Gauge Railway Ksh320 billion which he had conceptualized in the dying days of Kibaki regime.
Soon after Uhuru took power, thanks to “the hustler”, Wanjigi got jilted by Jubilee. Outfoxed, he nursed his wounds while lying low like an antelope between 2013 and 2016.
He first made contacts with Raila early on in the campaigns but was bluffed. Raila knew Wanjigi had bankrolled Jubilee against him and wanted nothing to do with him. Then shit happened!
When historians revisit the doomed NASA presidential campaign of 2017, they will discover, much to their amusement, that the entry of Wanjigi coincided with the beginning of the campaign’s free fall.
Factionalism, endless plotting, open sabotage became the order of the day. Each task had multiple teams performing, each unaware of the presence of the other. While much of this was kept intact, the overriding object being to win the election at any personal sacrifice, by the launch of the NASA Manifesto, the cracks were now too wide to ignore.
It turns out the groupies around Wanjigi had their own manifesto, which suddently became the ‘main’ NASA manifesto, upsetting the group then loosely known as “NASA experts” and whose main figurehead was economist David Ndii.
How did Wanjigi rose from an intolerable outsider to the inner sanctum of NASA, and, importantly, and ended up as a Raila confidante?
As NASA campaign got bogged down by financial constraints, Wanjigi who had been bidding his time after falling out with Jubilee regime took everyone by surprise when he promised – literally – to bankroll the whole campaign!
He had done this before, he told everyone who cared to listen. And those easily excitable characters, smelling new money, desperate for the arrival of Wanjigi’s windfall, were many in NASA.
Other than Oburu Odinga’s famed promises of liaising with the Russian military to topple illegitimate Uhuru regime (it started as a joke that Raila’s 2013 votes would be stolen so to assuage the fears of restless supporters, Oburu is said to have promised to organize a massive military offensive from Russia, launched from Tanzania) no other person had promised so much, with such a straight face.
Wanjigi had promised he would single-handedly pay all NASA agents, host in his many high end residences the international campaign experts NASA had hired from the USA, set up NASA data centre, use his contacts in China to print millions of campaign merchandise at his own costs and a million other things.
With his multi-million shilling promises, this smooth-talker with quasi-aristocratic mien became a powerful fixture in the biggest decisions of the NASA campaigns. Only that some of those decisions costly.
The fear now is that by Raila embracing Wanjigi, against the advice some of his advisers, he is sending wrong signals to not just Uhuru Kenyatta, who cannot stand Wanjigi, but also America and Britain, two powers with veto decision on who becomes Kenya’s president, who have kept Wanjigi at arms length, for more than a decade now.
This is a developing story…