Opinion / Commentaries
Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 16:08 EAT
Two observations Kenyans have often shared relate to the political domination of certain tribes in the leadership of the country and associated concerns over the growing build-up of ruling dynasties. Fact: Kikuyu and Kalenjin are the only tribes that have ruled Kenya for the past 50 years.
If the Jubilee duo of Uhuru Kenyatta (Kikuyu), and William Ruto (Kalenjin), retain their seats in August and hold on to power for the next 15 years as their hearts desire, then by 2032 the two tribes would have ruled Kenya for 70 years.
According to the battle plan of the ruling Jubilee Party, Uhuru will trounce the opposition in the coming general elections, govern for a second five-year term, then hand over to his deputy to rule for ten years. As far-fetched as this might sound, the thought of Kenya being dominated by two communities for a whole generation is not only scary but induces a feeling of vertigo.
When will an Orma, a Masai, a Mijikenda, or any of the other smaller tribes ever get a chance? On the other hand, should Jubilee lose and one of the key opposition principals wins, then the chain of dual domination would be broken. It means either Raila Odinga (Luo), Kalonzo Musyoka (Kamba), Musalia Mudavadi (Luhya), or Moses Wetangula (Luhya), of the new alliance NASA, will unhinge the conundrum of tribalism that for five decades has influenced Kenyan politics.
That brings me to the growing power of political dynasties. If former President Daniel arap Moi had not crowned Uhuru in 2002, things would probably not have turned out to be what they are today. George Saitoti, half Kikuyu and half Masai, was ready to serve and so were Raila and others in KANU but they were not given a chance as Moi preferred Uhuru, scion of his much revered predecessor.
But even before Kasarani, it was Moi who brought in Musalia Mudavadi, Katana Ngala, and Ken Mmaitsi into the political arena to inherit seats left vacant by the death of their fathers who were among the President's close allies. The last two had to abandon university studies to honor Moi's wishes. That, to my opinion, was the beginning of the dynasty formation.
And when in 2007 Moi encouraged his sons Jonathan, Raymond and Gideon, to vie for political seats, it was a further reaffirmation of his desire to keep politics in the hands of his and a few powerful families. Gideon's ambition to ascend to the presidency is still intact and the families of Kenyatta and Moi are still tight as seen recently in the visit to the former President by Uhuru's mother, Mama Ngina Kenyatta. Whether the meeting had political connotations is yet to be seen but speculation is rife that Gideon's KANU may support Uhuru's candidature.
In the meantime, the dynastic epidemic is spreading faster than most people think. Both Uhuru and Ruto are preparing their sons to enter politics and hopefully take over when they leave. Raila's daughter, Rosemary, has already plunged herself into the political murk as a candidate for a seat her father once held. Both Raila's brother and sister are prominent members of the political elite. Kalonzo Musyoka is not far off. He too is training his son to enter politics.
What this means is that if things continue as they are, the only people who will govern Kenya will be members of elite families all the way up to the end of the century and beyond. Kenyans can do something about this. And the solution is as simple as it is translucent. Let us ditch all those mentioned above and embrace the common business promotional meme: 'small is big.'
Until now, the 'big' (in numbers) has been overshadowing the 'small' to an extent the latter has become invisible.
Let me explain further. There is a 'small' candidate out there we have been ignoring who deserves our attention. His name is Ekuru Aukot.
This 43-year old man comes from the pastoralist Turkana village of Kapedo in northern Kenya, one of the remote, forgotten regions. Until oil was discovered there a few years ago, the region was known only as a cattle rustlers' paradise where clans fought for control of pasture and water.
But even with the oil, the Turkana community is 'voiceless' and under threat of diminishing due to perennial famine and hunger. It is a hardship station which the British colonialists used as the detention point for Jomo Kenyatta and five of his colleagues in the heydays of the Mau Mau rebellion.
Yet despite all its backwardness, the community was able to produce a person who went to become a constitutional lawyer with a reputation that goes beyond the Kenyan borders. As a consultant in demand, he has helped half a dozen countries review their constitutions, and served in the same capacity in Kenya.
With a PhD from the UK-based University of Warwick, Aukot is the most educated presidential candidate ever. His anti-corruption stance is known. And because he comes from a small tribe, he believes tribalism has no place in Kenya. He is charismatic, brilliant, and is blessed with down-to-earth charm.
If there is one man who can tackle corruption and reform the way the Executive, Parliament, and the Judiciary, conduct business, it is Aukot. This man could be the double-edged sword solution we are looking for. If elected President through his Thirdway Alliance, Aukot could be the one to slay the dynasty concept and extinguish the trail of tribalism that is eating our country from within.
Just think about it.
The writer is a veteran journalist, author and former Member of Parliament for Bahari. All his books are available in bookshops in Nairobi and on Amazon.com