A Generic-Medley-Bouquet Of African Oracy Flowers For My Comrade, Willy Munyoki Mutunga

Point of Entry:


“Kwaaria nῖ kweendana!”1 … Dialogue enters!

Hyperbolical Dibaji:2

On September 1, 2017, then Chief Justice David Maraga and President,
Supreme Court of Kenya, declared the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya’s
President, “…invalid, null and void” and ordered fresh elections within sixty
days. This was a first in Africa. No court before then had nullified the elections of a
sitting president.

From Lodwar to Mombasa, Mandera to Nairobi, Kisumu to Lamu, the lion-like
thunderous roar of jubilation among supporters of Raila Amolo Odinga, Uhuru
Kenyatta’s opponent, shook the earth like a mighty earthquake. In competition,
angry tiger-like growling from supporters of Uhuru Kenyatta tore the sky,
threatening to rip it asunder. Uhuru Kenyatta growled the loudest, calling the
honorable judges of the Supreme Court “wakora”3 and “wajinga.”4 A group
of ‘progressive intelligentsia’ promptly decided to constitute itself into an
alternative court. This court lauded then Justice Maraga’s ruling, while
evoking the memory of the 2013 elections in which the Supreme Court had
ruled in favour of Uhuru Kenyatta. The then Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, their
comrade, had read out the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling and argued it
was based on constitutional merits. The villification of Comrade Willy Mutunga
by this court of ‘progressive intelligentsia’ was instantaneous, and vicious!

Generic-medley-bouquet of African Oracy
What shall I say, me, Orature artist, to this court of people
Of the brain? What shall I say, me, carver of words, about
My fellow freedom fighters?
I shall first salute each one of them, pouring praise stronger than any torrent of
tropical rain!

2 Prologue/introduction
3 thugs
4 fools/idiots

I shall compose an epic, making each one of them a link in our unbreakable
his/herstorical chain And then, muse-powered by a spirit of corrective criticism,
I will boldly call them out for tearing apart a
fellow fighter. For, this is no time to crucify a
longtime comrade fighter just because
he differs
in legal opinion!

Look at the debris the hurricane of our verbal war has
left behind in our path, as a reminder that words can be
Look at the way you have shredded a
comrade’s legacy, leaving him in tatters on the
canvas of Kenya’s history! Look at the ugly
labels you have plastered all over him, in your
flaming ire; spurred on by ‘kamaliza’5 politics!

An abridged assortment of the labels of matusi6

A comrade found Willy Mutunga’s behavior … ‘disturbing’ …from his
handling of the Nancy Baraza issue to that of the Raila Odinga case…I
cannot classify him as a progressive…. The recent Maraga Supreme Court
judgement exposes him. The question we need to ask is: Did Willy Mutunga
change or was he always on the other side?
History has many renegades and turncoats…

Comrade Willy was dubbed ‘Chief InJustice’…leader of bourgeois
jurisprudence…dishonest and unreliable Kenyan who masquerades as a
progressive… traitor whose heart and soul are elsewhere…a malicious,
heartless character… hypocrite…’ who was always ‘on the other side’.
Under his leadership, the Supreme Court was dismissed as ‘Mahakama
ya Bandia…’

Metaphorical pangas were
sharpened arrows whetted
brandished stones of
words thrown!

The temperature rose higher than the centre-
most spot of the hot-sanded three-million-years-
old Sahara Desert!
The heat choked like in erupting volcanoes on Mount
Elgon! Steaming heat scalded like the Hot Springs of
Lake Elementaita!

Amidst this heat, standing on the dock, the ‘accused’

5 politics of elimination
6 insults
7 Court of bandits

accused his accusers of suffering from
incurable self-inflicted arrested
He chided them for being

‘Stunted, self-absorbed, quite oblivious to the harsh
realities most of our population face on a daily
basis …
they are on a dangerous terrain of
unacceptable and an unstainable status
The elite faces a resistance it underestimates
because of arrogance, impunity and immunity of power.’

The comrade in the dock then rhetorically asked, ‘When will the Kenyan elite
grow up?’ Answering his own rhetorical question, he emphatically concluded,
‘…It looks most unlikely!’

Meanwhile, calls that he publishes an autobiography persisted.

Dissenting Voice:

Amidst this deafening clamour, a lone, comradely voice, rose above the noise,
asking comrades:

“Can we now [therefore] expect autobiographies
from all of us so as to create a level playing field?”


Personal reflections:

I searched for myself in Comrade Willy’s ‘broad-brush-painting’ of a
‘Kenyan elite’ and could not locate either myself, or some other
comrades of our liberation struggle. Comrade Chief Justice, Willy, your
apples and oranges are all in one basket!
Winnow the millet; discard the chaff: unmask the ‘Kenyan elite’ under indictment.

Equally, I marvelled at the self-righteousness of the
accusers who demanded Comrade Willy publicly
his role in the unanimous 2013 Supreme Court ruling.
Nay, that he publishes an autobiography unveiling what had transpired in those

I marvelled because over time, I had witnessed some of the comrades ‘sleep
with the enemy,’ forging political alliances with the likes of Moi, Uhuru, Ruto,
Kilonzo…add on to the list!
Not once did I throw the metaphorical daggers they were aiming at Comrade Willy!


At the time this drama was unfolding, I was too ill to participate in the
‘war of words’ So, I reached out to Comrade Willy on telephone, seeking
dialogue and understanding. He assured me the unanimous 2013 judgement
was based on constitutional guide lines. He was bound by his oath to
honour the constitution – not by political partisanship.

My personal verdict and last word:

Comrade Willy, just over five years since your digital trial by the court of
‘Kenya’s elite,’ Me, your elder sister, colleague and comrade, wish to offer
my personal verdict:

First, in the name of positive ethnicity, I
greet you, Cousin from Kitui, Ukambani,
the original home of Eunice
Nzisa, my maternal
who taught me
that resistance-
obstinacy is an
honourable virtue.

I greet you, child
of resistance-
obstinacy and
‘see’ your stud
left ear or right
ear No matter…
A stud, symbolizing
resistance and

I salute you, comrade of the single
ear stud! I greet you, comrade of the
left ear stud!… knowing that you
listen and clearly hear the voices of
all Kenyans far and near.

I ululate you for your seer-envisioned
campaign for the pulmagation of Kenya’s
new constitution I high-five you for
daring to imagine a decolonized
new jurisprudence, warning: ‘We transform or perish!’
Salute, tireless champion of the constitution and devolution
for recognizing that devolution is Motherland Kenya’s new oxygen.

I embrace you for heralding a patriotic and indigenous jurisprudence!
Okot p’ Bitek would bear-hug you for challenging judges to discard
‘sisal wigs’ and abstain from dressing like aliens in the course of
delivering people’s justice.

I garland you, Campaigner against
corruption comrade of the lean stomach
for appointing an
Ombudsperson, amidst loud,
aggressive resistance.

Hats off to you, steadfast institutional
builder for the demarginalization of
Kadhi courts.

Shukrani tele for advocating the immediate
implementation of ‘Not more than two-thirds’ gender
principle in representation.

Hail, defender of ‘HeforShe,’ for launching the Sexual Harassment Policy.

Hurray, Wanjikũ’s Chief Justice for establishing court stations in
marginalized Kenya Hats off to you, Champion of ‘Wanjiku’ justice, for
insisting on participation
by the people as a national principle in Kenya’s pulgamated
constitution. Handshakes aplenty for your emphasis on justice
delivered for Kenyan people, while vouching, ‘No decision will be too
tough for me to make if that is the price we have to pay to meet the
aspirations of the Kenyan people.’

Kudos to you on your Justice, Technology and
Innovation policy liberating dinosaur-prone law courts
from technological illiteracy.

Highest of honor to you, Honourable Chief Justice, for offering
the nation your historic ‘Public Apology’ for Kenya’s legal
injustices across history.

Bravo for summoning the courage to take the rampant wild bull of corruption
by the horns fumigating infested courts, then recovering and reclaiming stolen
judiciary Lands and Assets.

The list of your achievements stretches from the Kenyan Coast to the
Highlands! They sit on Batian, Nelion and Lenana, the highest peaks
of Kῖrῖnyaga/Mt Kenya! They sit on Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo, the
topmost points of the lofty Kilimanjaro!

But, to end on a personal
detail, accept my song of
for your comradely debating spirit
            minus matusi and stones of words!

I ‘re-memory’ those heated UoN Senior Common Room
            arguments those on feminism often sprawling
            across the campus
            yet never reaching scorching heat, or boiling point.

Ahsante, fellow mobilizer and comrade of UoN
Staff Union Soft-spoken, humble, but firm!

Ululation for you, one of my staunchest
cheerleaders in my wrestling matches with
the ogre/monster
            aka Multiple Myeloma.

Salute, graduate of Nairobi Remand Prison, Manyani and Kamiti
Maximum Prisons! You teach us that no barbed wire, however
intimidating, can cage visions of liberation!

Final Ruling:

William Munyoki Mutunga, Former Chief Justice and President of Kenya’s
Supreme Court, You are a true comrade and Kenyan patriot!
You are a Kenya national shujaa!


  • Emeritus Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, Department of African American Studies, Syracuse University, is a poet, playwright, essayist and literary critic, who has been a human rights/social justice activist for most of her life.

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