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October 22, 2018

Uhuru is treated like a lame duck

President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta

Last weekend I was invited for a media interview on Inooro TV. We were discussing the issue of whether we should be having the ongoing 2022 succession debate. As some might know I have been a minority voice, especially within the Rift Valley and Mt Kenya region, where I am insisting that discussing 2022 politics now is wrong. It is less than seven months after a multiple election that divided the country nearly in the middle, and more than four years before the next election.

I also insist that it is disrespectful to Kenyans, who have just given those of us in elected office a five-year mandate to deliver on their socioeconomic expectations. It is in fact presumptuous of us as newly elected leaders, who do not even know whether we will be reelected in 2022, to be holding badly disguised development meetings to tell Kenyans who to vote for in an election that is more than four years away.

But what is even more disrespectful is the message we send to President Uhuru Kenyatta when his own supporters operate as if we are in a full-blown presidential campaign today, less than six months after we have just voted him into office for his second term. It is like we are telling him we were done with him immediately he was sworn in and we have moved on to the next President; and that he is now a lame-duck President who has no say in Kenya’s politics.

In fact, a stranger to Kenya would be forgiven for thinking that Uhuru’s term ends in a few months when he has just started his second term! Or maybe there are some amongst us who would prefer he step aside before 2022 so we can be fully in charge of the 2022 transition?

So let me state this here. Those going around transferring presidential votes that have just been given to Uhuru to his friend and Deputy President William Ruto for 2022, are being very disrespectful to Uhuru. As an ‘Mzee’ recently told me, it is the equivalent of a young man trying to inherit his father’s estate while he’s still alive. Uhuru is President until the last day of his term in August 2022, and his position is uncontested for the four-and-a-half years until then. Our presidential votes are with him until he’s done with his term — and has the ‘Big Four’ legacy agenda secured. Then we can discuss and transfer them accordingly.

But why are we having this 2022 conversation now?

A gentleman called Alex — or ‘the Peaceful Warrior’ — believes that what we are seeing is an acute sense of sycophancy amongst some of our leaders. He quotes Webster’s dictionary on the definition of a sycophant — “a person who seeks favor by flattering people of wealth or influence”. He also speaks against the message of ‘debt’ that is being propagated, quoting Timothy Njoya’s argument that the reason why Jesus refused to allow anyone he had healed to become his disciple was because indebtedness is the worst kind of sycophancy, as it kills reason.

So are those leaders who go around selling 2022 elections — when we still have at least 54 months before the next election — and when we are on this side of delivering the ‘Big Four’ agenda that Uhuru wants to secure his legacy around, sycophants? I do not know.

But I really cannot understand why anyone would want to spend every moment at this time reminding us of who to vote for in 2022; rather than focus our attention on Uhuru’s immediate legacy delivery needs? Not unless they think Kenyans are ‘voting objects’ who cannot think for themselves, and that the period in between polls is therefore for prepping them for the next election.

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