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

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

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

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