Malindi Member of Parliament Aisha Jumwa had a solution.
She needed to find a problem. So she gatecrashed and disrupted a large meeting of a political opponent in his own home.
The gathering, she argued, was illegal because campaign time had ended at 6pm the previous day. What ensued? A fracas. A gunshot. A death. That this happened on the eve of a by-election is significant.
Ms Jumwa had campaigned for her preferred candidate as if her very life, let alone gubernatorial ambition or political career, depended on his election into the Kilifi County Assembly.
But Ms Jumwa had a grouse. Youth from Nairobi had been ferried into Ganda Ward by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), her former political party, to disrupt the poll. She swore they would see fire.
ODM youth in turn swore they were in Ganda to protect the party’s votes. The implication? Ms Jumwa and her sponsor, Deputy President William Ruto, were out to steal the election.
Something had to give. Ms Jumwa is big and beautiful, loud and proud, assertive and aggressive, and a tad arrogant. Showing she was as hard as nails was her solution.
The problem was a fight with her political opponents. Unfortunately, a fight with the law over death comes with plenty of costs plus interest. Ms Jumwa may pay for these with her career and freedom.
She will be fighting for a long time to regain her reputation. A reputation flees in an instant in an F1 car, but comes back on a mkokoteni (handcart).
On this bloodstained and mkokoteni-bound reputation, hangs her political career.
Enter Mr Junet Mohamed, the MP for Suna East, parliamentary whip and trusted lieutenant of ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Addressing a by-election rally in Nairobi’s Kibra constituency, he fills the air with threats of violence.
He asks supporters to “necklace” (hang burning tyres around the necks) of those who bribe voters in the constituency.
Why? Because he has been advised by “Chief Justice Tom Kajwang’, who swore in Baba, that voter bribery is criminal”.
He tells them to burn down the Deputy President’s official residence in neighbouring Karen should the occupant bribe voters of Kibra. Why? Because the house is public property and must not be used for criminality.
Mr Mohamed refers to other parties’ running candidates in the by-election as adui (enemies) and not rivals. He says because Jubilee burnt their own vehicle and blamed ODM for it, they must be ready for proper vita (war).
Mr Mohamed would create problems. He does not care that taking the law into one’s own hands is an offence.
He is not concerned that arson is a criminal offence. Incitement to violence is grist to this lawmaker’s mill.
Enter one-time Vice President and two-time presidential running mate Kalonzo Musyoka. He rallies Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) MPs to back the party’s candidate in a by-poll for the Kitui County Assembly.
Why did Mr Musyoka personally campaign for the WDM candidate in Mutonguni Ward when there was nothing at stake? MCAs are a rung below MPs, who include Senators and Women Reps.
One editor hilariously headlined the story as Mutua beats Musyoka! In short, if Mr Musyoka could not grab a seat in his Kitui backyard in his native Ukambani, how could he win the race for Kenya’s presidency?
If he could not beat the Governor of Machakos, how could he claim leadership of Akamba?
Those wondering why outsiders were keen on Ganda and Kibra were being asked to see beyond their noses by Mutonguni.
Mr Musyoka handed himself a decisional problem for the Kenyans he seeks to lead to see for themselves. By getting involved in campaigns for a ward rep, he drew national attention to the ward and to himself.
He need not have. Mrs Charity Ngilu, the Governor of Kitui, stayed out of sight, which is why the public needed to be reminded that Mutonguni is indeed in her jurisdiction. Yes, she is Mr Musyoka’s governor.
Mr Musyoka will want to forget Mutonguni as soon as possible but Mr Mutua, who claims he wants to be President in 2022, and Mr Odinga, who he wants to run against, will not let him live this down.
It is not by-elections that are a problem. It is the politicians and the words and actions of Ms Jumwa, Mr Mohamed and Mr Musyoka, duly prove it.