President Mwai Kibaki, accompanied by Nyeri Town MP Hon. Esther Mathenge is escorted by jubilant wananchi after he unveiled the new Gikuyu Bible at Kamukunji Stadium, Nyeri.
While it is debatable that the president asked politicians to desist campaigning for 2012, me thinks he is the least qualified person to instruct other ambitious politicians to avoid campaigning.
After the tragic events of December 2007, Kibaki should, in my opinion, be looking to engage in nationalistic matters that will rebuild his shattered image and help him in creating a lasting legacy since he will not be candidate himself for presidency ever again.
In so far as political instability or bickering is concerned, only two naive politicians, both of them aligned to Kibaki’s PNU wing of government, have publicly shown interest and started early campaigns for the presidency. They are Martha Karua and Kalonzo Musyoka.
But then it appears Kibaki's Nyeri trip was not just about unveiling a Gikuyu bible. A political bombshell was dropped while some very thorny barbs were thrown at some unnamed but well known individual(s) within Kibaki’s own PNU coalition. His off the cuff remarks were like an open declaration that Raila is not just his second in command but also his choice for president come 2012. These were his words; "There is no power vacuum and the current leadership arrangement in the country is well defined with a president and Raila as principal assistant." Note that the president did not say prime minister but principal assistant. These remarks were, as expected, largely ignored by Kenya’s highly compromised mainstream media but anyone who watched prime time TV news on Saturday night could not have missed it. If I were Kalonzo Musyoka, I would seriously think about putting a water-tight plan B in place.
It seems the president has secretly made a succession deal with Raila for 2012 and has been dropping hints for anyone who cares to listen. Government officials, led by one Francis Muthaura, are quick at publishing pecking order clarifications, but on the other hand the president is actually naming “musaidizi wake anaitwa Raila” at a public function in his own Nyeri backyard and also categorically stating that even tomorrow’s leadership is already prebooked!
Kibaki also has harsh words for his Agikuyu community: "For how long shall Kenyan people continue to fight? Have you people from this region decided to abandon animosity? Kenyans must decide to abandon this retrogressive behavior."
He went on to castigate (well known unnamed) “political leaders for preaching disunity" and urged "those harbouring ambitions to lead the nation to await their ripe moment rather than distract wananchi from nation building. The president asked: “Do not think you will get the chance tomorrow because there are others on the leadership? Wait a little while so that we can see how you will get there. If you start campaigns now, we will be against you and say that we cannot trust you anymore." Further note the president appears to be suggesting that there is no chance for 2012 (tomorrow), while warning those who are campaigning now that they will not be trusted.
Kibaki’s controversial remarks over the weekend can be interpreted differently but the message is fairly straight forward. When one considers that plans for Raila’s controversial inauguration as an Agikuyu elder are also at an advanced stage, what would an open and unequivocal Kibaki endorsement mean to the possibility of Raila being (re)elected as president with landslide in the next general elections?