Political assassination has been employed as the ultimate and final way to get rid of opponents. At no time is there a likelihood of an aspirant being dispatched to meet St Peter — before time — than during general elections.
The looming 2017 edition is bound to be expensive, competitive and ‘bloody’. The stakes are high, the prize money — and tenders therein - big and reason enough to kill.
Just the other day, Tiaty parliamentary hopeful, Simon Pepee Kitambaa, was killed in cold blood alongside Baringo County MCA Frederick Cheretei.
Pepee, who was appointed chair of the National Council for Population and Development by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year, was going to face off with Asman Kamama in the forthcoming Jubilee Party primaries.
Pepee and Cheretei, who is the MCA for Loyamorok Ward in East Pokot, were drinking with five others at Alfa Bar in Marigat near the junction to Kabarnet town when two masked men sprayed them with bullets.
One of the attackers, according to Baringo County Commissioner Peter Okwanyo, had an AK47 assault rifle, while the other had a panga. The assailants later burnt their victims’ cars as patrons scampered for safety.
Past political assassinations indicate that being killed around this time, or before being sworn in, is not a far-fetched possibility.
Consider this: Melitus Mugabe Were, the newly-elected Embakasi MP was shot dead outside his Woodley estate house in Nairobi after winning in the 2007 General Election. Frederick Masinde was declared winner of Mathare parliamentary seat posthumously after dying in a suspicious car accident near Adams Arcade in 1994.
David Mutai Too was shot dead before he was sworn in as MP for Ainamoi in 2007. Too was shot dead three days after Mugabe Were, in what police described as a crime of passion.
So, what should an aspirant do to avoid assassination attempts before fully ‘eating’ the fruits of being a mheshimiwa?
Israeli-trained security consultant Richard Tuta says there are four theories in all political assassinations. The easiest, and most used is the ‘lifestyle theory’ — or what the Israeli Mossad and other Western intelligence agencies call the ‘Honey Trap.’
“Lifestyle theory means the way you live can easily determine whether you become a victim or not,” says Tuta. “For instance, if you love women, that flaw is what will be used by your enemies to finish you. If you love alcohol, it is the drink that will be used to finish you, and no one can point an accusing finger at your real enemy,” he explains.
The Honey Trap makes assassinations easy as it’s convenient to pin the murder on a love triangle.
“For a businessman who has a dispute with people over money, and also has a love for people’s wives, even if he’s killed by a heart attack, fingers will point at his business rivals or the cuckolded men,” says Tuta. “Such a person is an easy target for any assassin because he has enemies everywhere,” he explains.
The second is ‘premeditated theory,’ where “in order for you to be a victim, you must have provoked somebody somewhere because no one can kill you for no reason.”
Here, the politician provides his or her reason to be killed - like Jacob Juma rattling the powers that be over the EuroBond and other corrupt undertakings for instance.
Tuta singles out ‘deviant place’ as the third theory, in which,“Someone might not be after your life, but the things you do will easily put you in danger. You might be a down-to-earth billionaire who is very philanthropic to slum dwellers.
But walking in the same slum in the middle of the night, a drug addict could kill you to steal your sneakers. So, avoid unnecessary danger,” warns Tuta, citing the example of the late Kilome MP Tony Ndilinge, who was shot dead in Githurai where he had stopped to have a drink at a local bar in 2001.
The fourth is the ‘routine theory.’
“If you are used to a routine, then you have already done 50 per cent of the work for would-be assassins,” says Tuta, adding that, “Even if you have an elite security team, routine will be the biggest chink in your armour, literally. Be different, be abrupt and avoid routine, because no one will ever attack you without first studying your routine.”
But a politician can sense when his life is in danger. The late Kabete MP George Muchai had sought police protection after sensing his life was in danger, but was still gunned down alongside his police bodyguards in February 2015.
In May last year, Kilifi Woman Rep, Aisha Jumwa, claimed her life was in danger after allegedly receiving death threats through her mobile phone from a caller who identified himself as ‘Waithaka.’
Former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo, also claimed his life was in danger as Flying Squad officers were trailing him. Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi claimed he was also being trailed by unknown people.
“History in Kenya is very clear how politicians have been killed,” explained Wandanyi. Tuta, the security expert, advises that, “What one needs to do is reduce the risks inherent in all the above theories that might lead to your death.”