Uhuru would do the nation a huge favour by stepping down in 2017

It cannot be fair that a Kikuyu will have held the presidency for 35 out of 59 years by 2022 if Uhuru wins a second term.

wpid-mutiga.jpgBy Muriithi Mutiga

It is a Kenyan tradition to seek legal solutions to political problems without first summoning the courage to clearly define those problems.

John Michuki was right, for example, when he said that the whole constitutional reform campaign of the 1990s was about removing Moi from power.

He received a lot of criticism, but the fact is that if Kenneth Matiba or Jaramogi Oginga had won the presidency in 1992, the reform campaign would not have been waged with the same urgency post-1992.

When Kibaki came into office, had he implemented the MoU with Raila Odinga and made him prime minister, the wider constitution review process would have been put on the back burner.
After Moi left power, the constitution review puzzle changed and many supporters of reform sought to resolve one issue above all else: The Kikuyu Question.

In discussing the Executive at Bomas, delegates said, in not so many words, that they wanted to prevent ethnic hegemony and demanded a parliamentary system in which even the smallest ethnic groups could help decide who rules.

The dysfunction of the Kibaki-Raila marriage saw Kenyans sour on the idea of the parliamentary system and an executive prime minister and told the Nzamba Kitonga-led review team as much.

But the drafters of the law still understood that the bulk of Kenyans wanted to avoid ethnic domination.

So they set a high threshold to win the presidency. The requirement that the winner has to achieve at least 50 per cent of the vote was designed to ensure that the victorious candidate would have to seek a mandate from across the country.

Unfortunately, the drafters did not foresee a situation where two groups could win and retain the presidency more or less on their own.

The Americans certainly would have advised that this can happen. One of the things you learn from reading the thousands of WikiLeaks cables online is that the US State Department retains some very astute analysts of Kenyan politics.

In one cable to Washington dated October 1, 2007, titled “Kenya Elections: Projected Voters”, they argued that opinion polls alone are not a good guide of Kenyan election outcomes. (

Ethnic hegemony

“It is useful to recall that actual voters determine the outcome of elections, hence the attempt here to project the ethnic identities of likely voters given available data.”

In the Americans’ estimation, taking into account historical voter registration and turnout data, the actual weight of Gema voters is 30 per cent and that of the Kalenjin should be regarded as 17 per cent, above their population proportion of 12 per cent.

The Gema and Kalenjin were on opposite sides in 2007. In 2013, they united and defied the Constitution’s attempts at stopping ethnic hegemony.

Jubilee warriors love this situation. Wiser heads would caution that in divided societies, the key to stability lies in sharing power and creating at least an illusion of fairness.
It cannot be fair that a Kikuyu will have held the presidency for 35 out of 59 years by 2022 if Uhuru wins a second term.

Muslim’s turn

Nigeria is suffering now because Goodluck Jonathan insists on seeking a second term when it is the Muslim’s turn to rule.

Now that the case at the International Criminal Court will collapse if the people who run the institution have any sense, Uhuru would spare the country a lot of problems and secure greatness if he stepped down after one term.

Forget about reforms and other fancy slogans. From the Coast to the North to the West and the lower East, Kenyans are unable to unite to deal with the country’s many challenges because there is a sense of suffocation by ethnic domination. That is the conversation you see online and hear in forums outside mainstream circles.

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta showed great wisdom when he rebuffed the Kiambu Mafia and insisted on the unviability of one Kikuyu succeeding another.

This must have been the logic, too, in Kibaki’s support for Mudavadi. Uhuru’s hand was forced by the ICC.

With the court in retreat, thanks mainly to Moreno Ocampo’s ineptitude, the younger Kenyatta would do the nation a major favour by stepping down in 2017 and letting others have a chance because this is simply not the House of Mumbi’s turn to rule.




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