2022 SUCCESSION

Is Mukhisa Kituyi the handshake presidential candidate?

He is not a polarising figure and he is steeped in knowledge of how to run a successful government

In Summary

• Given the fanfare with which Kituyi has splashed himself into the succession waters, one cannot help but conclude he is the compromise candidate for the handshake duo.

• He doesn’t have entrenched enemies, which is ideal to unify the country.

Mukhisa Kituyi speaks to the press in Kakamega
NEW ENTRANT: Mukhisa Kituyi speaks to the press in Kakamega
Image: JOHN NALIANYA

February has seen the passing of two individuals who have been at the centre of Kenya’s administration and politics for decades.

Simeon Nyachae, a good friend of mine and political mentor, passed on at 89, while Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji passed on at age 80. May they rest in peace.

Their obituaries read like small books because the two lived impactful lives, achieving and accomplishing things many would dream to do in life.

A common trait of both men is they were incorruptible, straight shooters, and overflowing with honour and integrity of a level no breathing person in government has or even approaches.

Just a few days before the passing of Nyachae, I was home to bury our oldest brother who passed on at 80.

My intention was to pen a public tribute to him and highlight a simple point: Daniel Omwenga Mayaka was an honorable, dedicated civil servant who served our country as a diplomat and to the day he retired.

Mayaka never stole a penny from the government and neither did he use his position to self-aggrandize.

A question or two I always have and intended to pose is why is it that nearly everyone in politics or government sees it as the opportunity to eat?

Why is it people seek elective office not to serve constituents but to have the opportunity to steal?

In his tribute to Nyachae, Kanu leader Gideon Moi did not answer the question directly but he inversely provided an explanation — or more aptly, he pleaded for the guilty and wannabes to end the culture of theft and corruption.

Gideon said, “To be successful, to reach the pinnacle of your career, and personal [life]and business you do not have to steal; you do not have to cut shortcuts…you reach the pinnacle by sheer hard work, determination and intelligence.”

This, according to Gideon and anyone who knew Nyachae, is one of the main takeaways from his life.

The same can be said of my late brother, the late Haji and men and a few men and women of their character who, as Gideon noted, are hard to find these days.

Some have said Gideon's statement was a jab at Deputy President William Ruto but it could be literally anyone in a position to steal.

Ruto, perhaps assuming he was the target of this noble assertion, came up with his own takeaway from Nyachae.

Ruto noted Nyachae “chose a different route. Instead of waiting to share what was there, he decided to create more. This is what he is teaching us, that though we can choose to wait and share, it is much more important to create one's wealth."

Yes, a convincing case can be made these two political rivals were directing missiles at each other, but the message is one that should resonate and be heeded to by all, more so those holding positions of public trust.

Do we have men and women of high honour and integrity; men and women who put the public interest first and not their self-enrichment when seeking public office?

In the years former Prime Minister and ODM leader Raila Odinga have vied for the presidency, he has presented himself as “clean as cotton” when it comes to corruption.

It was not a self-serving assertion at all, but his political enemies would agree that was true. Raila’s anti-corruption credentials were muddled up following the handshake but, politically, his being clean or not clean is neither here nor there.

Raila has not announced whether he will vie come 2022 but, given the fanfare with which Dr Mukhisa Kituyi has splashed himself into the succession waters, one cannot help but conclude Kituyi is the compromise candidate for the handshake duo.

He is ideal because he is steeped in knowledge of how to run a successful government and more importantly, he is not a polarizing figure.

He also doesn’t have entrenched enemies, which is ideal to unify the country.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator