PETER KENNETH’S NEW PLAN
Former presidential candidate and Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth recently opted out of the 2017 presidential race. He said he will run for governor in “two or three counties that have approached me”. His first attempt at the presidency in 2013 ended dismally. He garnered a paltry 72,786 votes. The question that follows is, what has brought him to this epiphany moment? In his own admission, the 2017 general election is between two outfits: The Jubilee Party and the opposition. And in his own estimation, the result will not be any different from 2013, hence his decision to withdraw and support President Uhuru.
There are some quarters that are not convinced by his reason(s).
Flamboyant Nairobi lawyer Donald Kipkorir says a Peter Kenneth presidential candidature in 2022 will be treated as a “betrayal”. Another theory intimates that PK is strategically positioning himself in much the same way Uhuru did in 2007, when he forsook his presidential ambitions and backed President Mwai Kibaki. He later secured the Gema community leadership mantle in 2013. Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago has waded in, saying PK’s entry in the 2022 race will upset the 2013 MoU — a hostile move the Kalenjin nation will not tolerate. It is not lost to keen observers that PK comes from Murang’a, an area that has felt continuously short-changed in power-sharing in the Central region.
Uhuru’s ascendancy to the presidency, however, cannot be attributed to the single act of sacrificing his political ambitions for Kibaki, and if there are any similarities between Uhuru and Kenneth’s actions, they end there.
The first factor that propelled the President to power was the brand name — Kenyatta.
It was an easy sell locally and internationally as it was perhaps Kenya’s biggest and best known name. The fact that the brand came with an enormous financial war chest was also an added advantage.
The second factor was his case at the International Criminal Court. It is an indisputable fact that Uhuru was not a presidential candidate at the discredited 2007 general election, which was marred by the post-election violence.
That he was personally indicted and the actual adversaries left scot-free remains a tragedy. His indictment brought out a deep sense of alarm and indignation in large swathes of the country. Many saw Uhuru as the sacrificial lamb, who was being crucified for attempting to defend the interests of a community under savage attack. In simple terms, he paid the price as a sacrifice for the community and country. Sacrifice is a major thread in Kenyan politics. The teaming up of former antagonists, the populous Kalenjin and Kikuyu, through the efforts of the youthful UhuRuto was a masterstroke. They took the country by storm and left opponents trailing in their wake.
Third is his personal charisma. Uhuru has an incredible presence and connects with all kind of people easily. He comes across as the good neighbour next door. When he invites schoolchildren to sit in his office chair and invites released prisoners to State House, he takes matters to unprecedented levels.
Kenneth, on the other hand, comes across as the stiff CEO he was at the KFF and the Kenya Re-Insurance Corporation. A nice guy, at least and an Obama replica at most. He built a brandname —PK — albeit only on social media and learnt the harsh lesson that there are no votes on Facebook and Twitter. On sacrifice, he scores zero and fails monumentally. Indeed, he attempted to sabotage Uhuru in 2013 and failed miserably. Betrayal comes with a price and he should expect to be punished by voters. His earlier rants that the government was inept, corrupt and he would never join Jubilee are on record. One is left wondering who is fooling who in this entire miasma.
ON ISSUES OF SACRIFICE KENNETH SCORES ZERO AND FAILS MONUMENTALLY