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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Steadman discredited as links with Kibaki's men emerge

The relationship between Roger Steadman of Steadman Group and a powerful clique around President Kibaki can now be revealed.

Court documents exclusively obtained show that the pollster has been a close friend of George Muhoho, the de facto head of the Kibaki re-election campaign and Mr Joe Wanjui, the Party of National Unity (PNU) lead trustee and strategist.

So tight has been the friendship that Muhoho once stepped in as Steadman’s father in a Kikuyu traditional marriage ceremony at which Wanjui played spokesman. That was way back in 1998, according to documents from a 2002 court case.

Apart from being Kibaki allies, both Muhoho and Wanjui hold high-profile public positions. Muhoho, a relative of the Kenyatta family, is the Managing Director of the Kenya Airports Authority, while Wanjui is the Chancellor of the University of Nairobi.

The documents that have lifted the lid on Steadman’s best guarded secret— his links with top Kibaki men—stem from a court tussle six years ago between him and a woman, Monique Mukami Kibara, who had worked and lived with him for some time. In the court papers, Kibara had sued Steadman, claiming that she was his wife and wanted part of the property he owned. She was at the time a director of Steadman Research Services Limited and Steadman and Associates (U) Limited.

Even though the two lived together for several years, Steadman’s claim was that he had not completed the marriage ceremony that would have made Kibara his wife. When Steadman visited Kibara’s friends in 1998, he was accompanied by, among others, Muhoho and Wanjui. Wanjui acted as the father of Steadman, while Muhoho acted as a negotiator. "Sometimes in 1998, I was asked by Joe Wanjui to take the place of a negotiator on behalf of the respondent while he (Joe Wanjui) was going to act as the father of the respondent," Muhoho says in an affidavit sworn under oath and filed in the High Court of Kenya. Muhoho said they went to Bahati, Nakuru where they gave Kibara’s mother three live cows and the equivalent of 30 goats in cash.

Mr Steadman has been the target of attacks by the Opposition led by Mr Raila Odinga (ODM) and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (ODM-Kenya), owing to his close links with State House he has been fiddling with the opinion polls carried out by his firm, Steadman Group, to cast the President as placed favourably to win the December 27 General Election. His relationship with these elite has, however, only been mere conjecture until when his links were disclosed.

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