SUBDUED

Shunned by backyard: Lonely final lap for lame-duck president

Uhuru to leave a legacy of economic ruin, wanton theft, disease, huge public debt, unemployment and illegal attempts to mutilate the Constitution.

In Summary

• The by-election fiasco follows the High Court rejection of his attempts to amend the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative, which is opposed by his backyard.

• The two events fully launch the President into his lame-duck days before he leaves State House next year.

President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.
President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.
Image: PSCU

The jury is in. Mt Kenya has washed its hands of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Residents can’t wait to see his back. He won’t be missed. ‘Maliza uende’, they are shouting each day. The region is busy beating a new path to a post-Uhuru era.

How do we know? There is no other sensible way of explaining the thrashing of Jubilee candidate Susan Waititu in the Tuesday by-election in Juja. Uhuru is the party leader. His candidate managed just 5,746 votes against George Koimburi’s 12,159. The winner belongs to the little-known People’s Empowerment Party of Moses Kuria, Uhuru’s Gatundu South MP. Kuria is a Tangatanga stalwart.

The President did not bother to campaign for Waititu. Consider that Juja is only 30km from Nairobi where Uhuru lives and works. It is in his home county of Kiambu. Did he ignore the by-election because he knew ‘kwa ground’ things were different? Uhuru only attends a quiet funeral or inspects projects in Mt Kenya. Or addresses his people on the radio. He can’t hold a political rally. Who would listen to him?

In Rurii ward in Nyandarua, United Democratic Alliance’s Francis Muraya beat Jubilee’s Peter Thinji by 4,303 votes to 3,143.

A similar or worse slaughter likely awaits Jubilee in Kiambaa constituency and Muguga ward in Kiambu in the July 15 by-elections.

Jubilee’s decisive humiliation this week prompted law professor and columnist Makau Mutua to pose: “Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria gives Uhuru Kenyatta a shellacking in his Juja backyard. Could this be a sign that Mr Kenyatta has lost Mt Kenya and won’t be a factor in 2022?”

Definitely. His goose is cooked. Uhuru has nothing more to offer the region. The by-election fiasco follows the High Court rejection of his attempts to amend the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative, which is opposed by his backyard. These two events fully launch the President into his lame-duck days before he leaves State House next year.

The BBI ruling triggered jubilation in Mt Kenya. Residents poured into the streets of Makuyu in Murang’a to celebrate. Police dispersed the crowd and impounded a vehicle that was mounted with loudspeakers.

Matters aren’t getting any easier for Uhuru as the man who swore to uphold, protect and preserve the Constitution watches in silence while his sundry groupies insult and threaten High Court judges for doing exactly what they are mandated to do.

Despite offering Mt Kenya immense benefits, the BBI is largely perceived as a project to help achieve a Raila Odinga presidency next year. Raila is anathema to Mt Kenya. The handshake at the expense of Ruto who helped Uhuru win the presidency twice is unforgivable in the region. Raila is seen as fixated on becoming president, whereas Ruto has packaged himself as the hustler who understands and offers realistic solutions to the problems Mt Kenya people face.

A sign as clear as the noonday sun that Uhuru is no longer the Mt Kenya kingpin is the visit last month by a large number of Mt Kenya leaders who presented to Ruto a wish list for their support of his presidential bid.

On May 3, the DP unveiled a revival plan for key economic sectors in Mt Kenya following a three-day meeting with the region’s leaders. That means Uhuru is out of the picture of the future to which Mt Kenya aspires. He is irrelevant. The region is aligning itself to Uhuru’s most probable successor.

Like Narc and PNU before it, Jubilee will crumble before the next election. It has served its purpose. Moreover, Uhuru will leave a legacy of economic ruin, over-the-top corruption, disease, a mountain of public debt, unemployment and illegal attempts to mutilate the Constitution to suit his narrow agenda.

No serious leader or voter from Mt Kenya and most regions of the country would want to associate with the discredited political vehicle he used for his disastrous mismanagement of the nation.

Just 14 months to his final exit from the house on the hill, Uhuru has almost zero chance of wooing back Mt Kenya. He has taken the region for granted for far too long. The son of Jomo walks a lonely path into the dusk of retirement in Ichaweri village, shunned by his own people.