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SUCCESSION POLITICS

Uhuru proves to be Moi's good political student

Senate the launching pad before straight-jacketing National Assembly to deliver his final 2022 political roadmap.

In Summary

• Moi, known s the Professor of Politics, had perfected the colonial divide-and-rule tactic to sustain his rickety leadership.

• He was also known for under-the-table deals with political critics, who would suddenly start praising him from the highest mountain they could find.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Raila Odinga during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative report at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, on November 27, 2019
2020 POLITICS: President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Raila Odinga during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative report at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, on November 27, 2019
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

President Uhuru Kenyatta is a graduate of President Daniel Moi's political school.

Moi, the despotic Professor of Politics, had perfected the colonial divide-and-rule tactics to sustain his rickety leadership. He was also known for under-the-table deals with critics, who would suddenly start praising him from the highest mountain they could find.

After the 1997 General Election and upon realising that the constitutional amendments of the Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group (IPPG) blocked him from running again, Moi hatched a plot to succeed himself (self-preservation).

 
 

He decided to lure and court the opposition to executing his plan. First, he approached Kijana Wamalwa but for some reason, Moi was not convinced. He decided to settle on Raila Odinga and the National Development Party. For his plot to gain traction and momentum, Moi made some adjustments in Kanu. That was the Kanu and NDP merger in 2002.

Mark this: In 1999, Moi appointed Uhuru to chair the Kenya Tourism Board and nominated him to Parliament in 2001 after forcing Mark Too to resign. Subsequently, Uhuru was appointed to the Cabinet as the Local Government minister. He was later elected first vice chairman of Kanu

Moi made changes in the Kanu government to accommodate Raila and NDP. Once in government, Raila and NDP supporters became the ruthless enforcers of Moi's authoritarianism. Democracy and civil liberties suffered.

Those who kept the struggle for democratic and constitutional reforms on course faced the state security machinery. In one incident, the leadership of the National Convention Executive Council and I almost died in Kisumu. It was a very scary situation but we lived to keep the struggle going and finally the new Constitution was born.

To cement the Kanu-NDP merger, the ruling party delegates' conference was convened on March 18, 2002. It turned into a political Waterloo. It claimed key political casualties. Moi wittingly said, “Every battle is won before it is fought and in this case, I want to see a single delegate who will vote himself out of a job."

One casualty, the late Joseph Kamotho, described events at Kasarani as kichinjio (slaughterhouse) in which he lost the secretary general position to Raila.

Moi nominated Uhuru as the Kanu chairman and the 2002 presidential candidate, which caused mayhem and outcry in the ruling party. The falling out led to the formation of Rainbow Coalition, which was mainly run by Raila/NDP and key Kanu luminaries who were shortchanged by Moi.

What came to be called Moi's project was seen as a ploy to install Uhuruso that even in retirement, Moi would still rule the country and insulate himself against charges of abuse of office that plagued his presidency.

Moi's regime president over 24 years of misrule, economic plundering and poverty. Uhuru's candidature was seen as a way of insulating himself and those around him from past misdeeds.

UHURU'S TENURE

Uhuru started with circumventing the Constitution through the controversial amendments to the Security LawsAct, some of which were declared unconstitutional. There were also changes in the Judicial Service Act that gave the President a bigger role in the appointment of the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice. In addition, the President now has control over the two Deputy Inspectors-General of Police and the Director of Criminal Investigations after the National Assembly made changes to the Miscellaneous Amendments Act, repealing the National Police Service Act 2011 by removing the role of Parliament

He has been militarising governance by appointing military men into civilian positions such as the Nairobi Metropolitan Services — headed by Major General Mohamed Badi.

Uhuru is demobilising and co-opting the opposition in his government. He is fixing the special-purpose vehicle, the Jubilee Party. It must not survive. Kanu reunion and consolidation is nigh. The opposition will be invited to the table to reinforce the new-look Kanu.

Apart from the divide and rule game, Uhuru is throwing in the air many balloons including the BBI. This is the Moi playbook.

Uhuru must abandon the Jubilee Party and his government. It is damaged goods. His Jubilee government has not delivered on many of its promises and the economy has taken a beating.

Like Moi, he is fixing a political succession plan that will secure self-preservation and offer protection as Moi did.

This is precisely what is happening and unfortunately, gullible Kenyans are cheering on.

Never join a political chorus without understanding the song and the composer. You might be rehearsing your own burial hymn. 

The devastating Covid-19 crisis is the excuse and cover. Uhuru is applying a simple maxim, ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste.' 

By forming a unity government, Uhuru will be able to finish his term and manage his succession. He is avoiding Moi's mistakes in succession management. He wants time to manage the political fallout.

The Senate is the launching pad before straight-jacketing the National Assembly to deliver his final 2022 political roadmap.

He has his 2022 presidential candidate.

The writer is the executive director, International Center for Policy and Conflict, @NdunguWainaina