Deputy President William Ruto is fighting his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta over succession, wanting Uhuru to support him for presidency and no one else.
Claiming that Central Kenya leaders and MPs made a pact to support William Ruto for presidency, more than 10 Kikuyu MPs are fighting Uhuru over their loyalty for Ruto. In fact, they say they owe Ruto a debt of political support for presidency which they say must pay.
Basically, the debt between Ruto and Central Kenya MPs was made during Jubilee Party nominations when Ruto made every effort to root out any and all Jubilee politicians in Central and Rift Valley who were not his supporters. On the other hand, all those MPs who won nominations and elections thanks to Ruto feel indebted to him.
Importantly however, while Ruto supported individuals to win nominations and election and made a pact with them, neither Kikuyu community nor other people made same pact with him. In a democratic society, voters cannot be blackmailed into voting for someone upon threat of attack if they don’t.
On account of this pact, many Kikuyu MPs have abandoned President Uhuru and gone to William Ruto. They are now busy campaigning for him though Uhuru has urged people to concentrate on development.
If we must talk about communities and political debts, Kikuyus owe Ruto no debt. He got the Kalenjin people to support Uhuru for presidency and Uhuru made the Kikuyu to support him for deputy presidency ending indebtedness to one another. In any case, communities cannot be made to carry debts for individuals.
But if communities must carry debts by their members, it is the Luo whom the Kikuyu can be said to owe a debt when Jaramogi Oginga Odinga refused colonial offer to form a government when Kenyatta was still in detention and later when Raila Odinga supported Mwai Kibaki for presidency when he was also a competitor. But if the Kikuyu owe the Luo and other Kenyans a debt for their support of Jomo Kenyatta and Mwai Kibaki for presidency, collectively Luos and other Kenyans also owe Kikuyus a debt for their sacrifice to bring about independence and other liberties which others also fought for.
If Central MPs are fighting President Uhuru for Ruto and their loyalty for him and Uhuru is suffering isolation from Central MPs over their premature campaigns for Ruto, their opposition to the fight against corruption which they claim targets Ruto and his accommodation of Raila for national unity, whom will the people support?
Already, the Kikuyu Council of Elders has made a statement that the Kikuyu community may not support Ruto because they believe he should quit politics together with Uhuru with whom they share presidency. They say when presidency ends for Uhuru, it should also end for Ruto. But Ruto and his supporters believe Uhuru’s presidency should last 10 years and that of Ruto 20 year.
Most import, history is repeating itself. During colonialism, when British government asked Kenyan African leaders if they could form an African government without Jomo Kenyatta and his colleagues who were still in detention, many of them including Tom Mboya, Julius Kiano, Eliud Mathu and other Kikuyu leaders accepted the offer claiming Kenya had new leaders and no longer needed Jomo Kenyatta.
However, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga almost singly rejected this betrayal of Kenyatta by Kenyan and Kikuyu leaders demanding freedom for Kenyatta and his colleagues as a condition for independence.
Though dangerous Jaramogi made this demand twice, once in London and second in Legco that was parliament then. When Jaramogi made this demand he was condemned not just by white but African leadership accusing him of insanity. They even claimed Kenya no longer needed Kenyatta’s leadership.
When Jaramogi was thrown out of Legco, he called a public rally in Kisumu asking people whether they supported Kenyatta’s release or not. In unison, the entire meeting called for the release of Kenyatta. Thereafter, Jaramogi called another meeting in Nyeri which also supported Kenyatta’s release and leadership.
When African and Kikuyu leaders saw people’s support for Jaramogi and Kenyatta’s release and leadership, they turned round to support Kenyatta’s release and leadership.
When I look at today’s conflict between Uhuru and Raila on the one hand, Ruto and Central MPs on the other, I feel a sense of historical dejavu. When Uhuru and Raila take their case for national unity and elimination of graft to the people and get their support, Central Kenya MPs and many other leaders will turn round, abandon Ruto and support Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila.
Koigi wa Wamwere