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PURGE

Jubilee’s season of betrayals

The architect of the JP sanitisation is a fine logger.

In Summary
  • Experienced loggers don’t cut a huge tree, like age-old mugumo, on the trunk.
  • The edifice is floored branch by branch, then the tree falls finely where it’s wanted.

The fall of Kithure Kindiki from the perks-rich perch of the Deputy Speaker of the Senate represents a betrayal-within-a betrayal. Another anchor of Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential ambition has been plucked. Communities east of Mt Kenya are reading betrayal.

Prof Kindiki’s Senate colleagues say he was a competent sit-in speaker. But the Tharaka Nithi senator had to fall after he lost the confidence of the ascendant faction of the ruling Jubilee Party. The wings of a rising politician from the Meru community plunk of the Gema power consortium have been clipped. Senators who called Kindiki a friend and a gentleman stabbed him savagely. Look for sadists no further.

Kindiki enraged the President’s faction by recognising a parallel centre of power in the party. His colleagues’ sympathy could not save him from the wrath of power—a cauldron of dark emotions.

 

During the lynching, Kindiki said the President did not set the baying mob upon him. But the next day he incriminated the fourth president, the third tenant of State House from the Kikuyu kin of the Meru.

Some Mt Kenya east politicians are saying their Kikuyu power partners betrayed them. Kindiki’s Meru county neighbour, Senator Mithika Linturi, spoke of spurn of the Mt Kenya east region. The Meru Council of Elders – Njuri Ncheke – advised caution. The elders remembered their predecessors petitioned founding President Jomo Kenyatta to include the ‘king’ of Meru, the late Jackson Angaine, in his Cabinet of the 1970s.

Central senators lynched Kindiki, as their Meru and Embu colleagues watched. Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga absconded; Meru Senator Mithika Linturi cried, but he didn’t vote. The historical power relations of Gema communities – Kikuyu, Embu and Meru – has largely benefitted the Kikuyu, with the presidency rotating between Kiambu and Nyeri.

First they came for former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu. Then they seized cantankerous Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and ethnic proverb-spewing Kiunjuri. Waititu, Sonko and Kiunjuri are allies of the DP. Waititu and Sonko are on trial for corruption. They could be casualties of Chapter Six of the 2010 Constitution. They may not get clearance to run for public office in 2022.

Meru voters supported Jomo’s presidency, from 1963 to 1978. They also supported Mwai Kibaki, from 2002 to 2013. The community supported Kibaki when he ran against President Moi for the first time, in 1992. They stood with him again in 1997. They voted for him massively in 2002, when he went on to become president. They threw their weight behind Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013, when Kibaki retired.

Mt Kenya east had hoped a slice of power would cross over to Meru, through Kindiki as a 2022 presidential running mate. They are no longer sure the big river would flow into a small one, after Uhuru unleashed senators on their son. Kindiki is collateral damage in the power plot to deconstruct DP Ruto, the godfather of Jubilee renegades.

The double betrayal complicates the DP’s presidential ambition. The search for a viable presidential running mate from Mt Kenya has once again been thrown open. Kindiki was initially regarded as a possible running mate, if the Kikuyu were to repay the Meru. Kindiki’s lynch has been given a wider meaning: He voted against his impeachment on behalf of Tharaka Nithi, a sub-community of the Meru.

The architect of the continuing Jubilee sanitisation is a fine logger. Experienced loggers don’t cut a huge tree, like age-old mugumo, on the trunk. The edifice is floored branch by branch, then the tree falls finely where it’s wanted.

 

The fall of Kindiki, coming soon after the ejection of Mwangi Kiunjuri as Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, is another episode in the slow-motion assault on the DP’s presidential ambition. Kiunjuri, for his superlative command of Kikuyu idioms, was rated as a possible lead voice from Central after Uhuru retires.

First they came for former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu. Then they seized cantankerous Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and ethnic proverb-spewing Kiunjuri. Waititu, Sonko and Kiunjuri are allies of the DP. Waititu and Sonko are on trial for corruption. They could be casualties of Chapter Six of the 2010 Constitution. They may not get clearance to run for public office in 2022.

The DP, the initial front-runner in the Uhuru succession, will have to find new ways of refloating his presidential ambition. Retreating and rebranding is an option.

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