Wetangula Recounts Defying Father to Defend Rogue Politicians

FORD-Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetangula during a press briefing at Hermosa Gardens in Karen on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
FORD-Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetangula during a press briefing at Hermosa Gardens in Karen on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
Kenyans.co.ke

Bungoma Senator Moses Masika Wetangula has opened up on defying his father and going against family beliefs to represent politicians accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

Speaking to Debunk Media on Friday, July 15, Wetangula explained that he decided to represent the politicians and military personnel accused of staging a coup against late President Daniel Moi's administration in 1982.

After getting the news that Wetangula - who was brought up in a Christian family and served as an altar boy in a Catholic church - was involved in the case, his father took the next bus to Nairobi in a bid to convince him to recuse himself from the matter.

His father warned him that representing those political leaders would ruin his reputation and endanger the lives of other family members.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula during a session in the House on Tuesday, January 25, 2022.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula during a session in the House on Tuesday, January 25, 2022.
File

Wetangula, who was just starting his career as a young advocate, defied his father and went ahead to take up the case.

"My father was very frightened. He jumped on a bus and came to Nairobi and to my office. His instruction was, 'leave these cases alone'. You are going to bring problems to yourself and to the family.

"I told him that I won’t leave the cases because I know I am doing the right thing and history will absolve me. I asked him to go back home to the village and not talk about the cases to anyone because he knew nothing about them," Wetangula told Debunk Media.

Despite other lawyers avoiding taking up the case, the Bungoma Senator received advice from one of his friends, Byron Georgiadis, who helped him face the government.

"Byron Georgiadis, a very accomplished criminal defence lawyer from Kaplan and Stratton, invited me to lunch and gave me a lot of guidance.

"He told me: when you cross-examine a witness - and I know you do it in your own way - you must punch. You must leave a positive impression on the court, because at the end of the day when facts are borderline, the hunch you create has a bearing on the Judge or Magistrate, because they too exercise discretion," Wetangula recalled.

However, Wetangula did not succeed in that case, as his clients were sent to the gallows by the Court Martial.

Wetangula joined George Oraro to file an appeal at High Court.

At the High Court, the Senator successfully secured freedom for some men while Hezekiah Ochuka, Pancras Oteyo, Corporal Njereman and Corporal Walter Odira Ojode were hanged.

Despite losing, it helped him shape his career both in politics and in the legal field.

FORD-Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetangula during One Kenya Alliance meeting at Hermosa Gardens in Karen  on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
FORD-Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetangula during One Kenya Alliance meeting at Hermosa Gardens in Karen on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
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