NO REASON TO FEAR PETER KENNETH
He is candid that all indications are that the 2017 race is going to come down to Jubilee and Cord. In the circumstances, a second stab at the presidency would not achieve anything meaningful
Iwas pleasantly surprised to receive a call from former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth. We go back about 30 years. We first met when as a young lawyer, I acted for Nationwide Finance Company Ltd, where he worked as the personal assistant to James Gachui, the then Managing Director and Gatanga MP. Notwithstanding he was at the time in his mid-20s, Kenneth declared to us, his agemates, his intention to become the Gatanga legislator. Needless to say, we were flabbergasted at his audacity, considering his then boss was the sitting MP.
As they say, the rest is history. Not only did he represent Gatanga constituency in Parliament but also remains one of the most effective MPs in our recent history. I have, therefore, learnt to take what he says very seriously.
I digress. The reason for the call was an article I got published by the Star on November 1. Over a cup of tea at the Sankara, we reminisced over the old days. Kenneth took the opportunity to share with me his thoughts about current affairs and to clarify his plans for 2017.
He was candid that in his assessment, all indications that the 2017 presidential race was going to come down to the two major political outfits — Jubilee and Cord. In the circumstances, a second stab at the presidency would not achieve anything meaningful.
Be that as it may, he still felt strongly the need to be of service to Kenyans. Being out of public service over the past four years has given him an opportunity to see the country from the perspective of a private citizen, and perhaps better appreciate the challenges wananchi face. He has travelled widely and interacted with Kenyans from all works of life.
His assessment of the Jubilee government is that it has tried because it took over leadership at a difficult time, arising partly from implementation of the 2010 Constitution, including new governance structures in the wider global social and economic environment.
This was a complex multifaceted task only comparable to what faced our first Independence government who had to chart their own path. There were no precedents to follow. As if that were not enough, they faced a baptism of fire because President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto were indicted at the International Criminal Court. Under the circumstances, they have made significant achievements in certain areas such as energy and infrastructure, even in the face of severe challenges. Kenneth has high regard for President Uhuru, with whom he worked closely during the 10 years he was in government. It therefore makes sense to support his reelection.
Much remains to be done. This is what has informed his decision to stand for governor. Kenneth believes he has the qualifications, managerial capacity and experience which is lacking in the counties. He is the face of change and the future.
Understandably, he has been taken aback by the reaction his announcement has provoked. More particularly, the linkage with the 2022 succession. He assured me that his intentions are noble and he is now fully focussed on 2017. He requested Kenyans, and particularly politicians, to stop reading mischief or foul play in innocent routine decisions.
As he stated recently, the Deputy President is a personal friend whom he holds in high regard and esteem. His parting shot was that Kenyans should not be distracted and need to direct their energies towards unifying and building the country.
HIS ASSESSMENT OF THE JUBILEE GOVERNMENT IS THAT IT HAS TRIED BECAUSE IT TOOK OVER LEADERSHIP AT A DIFFICULT TIME ARISING PARTLY FROM IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2010 CONSTITUTION, INCLUDING NEW GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES IN THE WIDER GLOBAL SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT