2002 was a very memorable year and a lot of stuff happened. Two fascinating incidences are relevant to my post today.
The then president, Daniel Arap Moi was at this public meeting and he mentioned Prof George Saitoti’s name. The topology professor jumped to his feet at lightening speed as he usually did. Not different from a schoolboy whose name has been mentioned by the headmaster at a school assembly.
Moi started off by saying that the professor was his good friend. Saitoti beamed but then turned purple at what Moi had to say next. Infront of the huge gathering he emphasized how Saitoti was not qualified for the presidency of Kenya. Some people at the meeting seated in the VIP dias with Saitoti bowed their heads in embarrassment and disbelief.
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The other incident happened at Kasarani. After spending hours lobbying delegates and distributing cash through the night, Prof George Saitoti discovered minutes before KANU were about to elect a new party chairman in the Moi succession drama, that his name was missing from the list of contestants. Naturally the professor went ballistic. Moi heard the man murmuring and shouted; “Professor Kimya!” But Saitoti had gone totally bonkers and continued complaining and thgrowing his hands in the air. There was hush in the entire auditorium as the president stood up in full glare of rolling TV cameras to give the professor “daggers”. Moi’s action finally did it and Saitoti quietly sat down. Later he stood up and said those famous words; “There comes a time when the interests of the nation are more important than those of an individual.”
According to many sources Prof Saitoti later called Moi to complain about the shoddy treatment at Kasarani after years of blind loyalty to him. But Moi had made up his mind that his heir would be the son of the man whom he took power the presidency from. And so Saitoti crossed over and joined Kibaki, Raila, Ngilu and others in NARC, the party that eventuially won the general elections with an empohatic landslide that year.
Now on the eve of the Kibaki succession it seems that history is repeating itself again. Once again the man standing in the way of Saitoti’s presidential ambitions is one Uhuru Kenyatta.
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Folks never take lightly what the first lady says. It is clear that powerful forces in the Kibaki administration want Saitoti eliminated from the succession battle early. Indeed it is now clear that Uhuru Kenyatta’s appointment to the Finance docket was no accident or careless after-thought and analysts were correct to read succession implications in the announcement.
The big question now, is what will Satoti do? Will he look at his sums again? Whatever he does, George Saitoti will never be the president of Kenya. There are many reasons but the most important is that politics has changed and the dfays when his kind of politics worked have disappeared. His tactics may be effective in stealing parliamentary seats but surely not the presidency.
I will end by quoting a certain Kenyan who apparently called in to the radio station QFM this morning. The man said;
“Lucy Kibaki should remain as quiet as she was when her husband stole the election. If it is pity she is feeling for Kenyans she should have felt it then and backed her son Jimmy in warning their father to let go of the presidency and avoid attracting a cirse to the family.”
Interesting stuff. Very interesting.