A statement made by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week regarding the political intrigues in Kiambu and how these affect him, was not only disheartening, but downright defeatist. The declaration by the president that he would not visit Kiambu because of the wrangles between leaders in the county that he hails from, did not only depict him as faint-hearted, but also contemptuous of the people of the county who voted for him en-masse in 2013.
When the president announces in public that he is wary of visiting his home county because of the disagreements between leaders especially Governor William Kabogo and Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu, one is lost for words. One fails to understand how the president of the republic would go about reconciling the nation (a stated mission of the Jubilee government), if he is unable to reconcile those in his backyard and in his own words, “my friends”.
The presidency is supposed to be the symbol of unity and that is why the president of the republic and his deputy are expected to visit all corners of the country be they Cord or Jubilee zones and whether they got votes from these areas or not, preaching peace and unity. So far Uhuru has done very well visiting Luo Nyanza, the political stronghold of opposition leader Raila Odinga and other opposition zones, several times during his presidency. Were they in his shoes, some leaders would have avoided opposition strongholds in the fear of being unwelcome or maliciously because those regions did not give them votes in the last general election. So this thing about Kiambu, just don’t add up.
If Uhuru would get confused as he says by the petty squabbles between Kabogo and Waititu who are members of his ruling coalition and personal friends, how much more confused would he be made by the sharp disagreements between himself and for example Moses Wetangula or between him and Governor Hassan Joho? How confusing to him would the altercations between Joho and the so called Cord rebel MPs at the coast, be? Is he sincere in telling the nation that he is unable to visit Kiambu because of the leadership differences between two leaders while he comfortably stayed at the coast for weeks between December and January and addressed many public gatherings despite being told off by his juniors including Joho and Governor Amason Kingi?
What is the difference Mr. President between the wrangles that Kabogo and Waititu display in public and the ones between Joho, Kingi and a few others on one side and Gideon Mungaro and fellow coast MPs on the other side? And these scenarios are replicated across the country.
It must be brought to the attention of the president that although the leaders in Kiambu have their own individual merits, most of them were elected because he asked the people of Kiambu in 2013 to elected six-piece suits despite the qualities of the candidates in other friendly parties or because they have professed to be unwavering defenders of his regime. These are people who would in public pick bottled water from his table and gallantly walk off or even unceremoniously in his (president’s) presence, grab a microphone and start address the public without being cleared to do so. They do so because they believe they are the chosen few.
Mr. President if any level of discipline is to be achieved in Kenyan politics, it will start by you disciplining the local brigade in Kiambu for as they say, charity begins at home. Everybody is saying they are independent these days and the leaders in Kiambu might say they are only answerable to the people who elected them, but you and I know differently. You have the advantage of being the darling of the residents of the county, and if you as much as told the people even implicitly that you were unable to work with such and such a leader, they would not re-elect them. You therefore have the power and authority albeit indirect of telling them to tow the line or else. We the people of Kiambu are also keenly watching the conduct and performance of these leaders and they’d better remember that we are not as naïve as were in 2013 or during the recent by election in Kabete.
You can however Mr. President, not tell us you will not come to Kiambu because of the wrangles between these leaders. We like anybody else in the county want the presence of the man we elected to lead us and to hear what he has in store for us so that we can decide to vote or not vote for him in 2017.
Njonjo Kihuria is a freelance journalist.